Category Archives: grapes

my favorite fall salad (grape, feta, and toasted walnut)

fave fall salad-1

a little over a year ago, i promised houston that i would keep him well fed, laugh at his jokes, and at least try to be a decent person to live with. in other words, we got married. i absolutely loved everything about my wedding day, from the crappy cabins that we stayed in (sight unseen, at least the interior) with the lovely view of the blanco river, to the sitting around the campfire at midnight on a wooden bench still in my ivory silk wedding dress, to the food. oh, the glorious food. i wanted to so very badly make my own food or cakes for the wedding, but i was talked out of it at every turn. and i’m soooo glad i was. they were right; i had enough to worry about.

fave fall salad-wedding food

this is the only picture i could find with the food in it. if i was taking the photos, things would have been very different (more food!). the unflattering pose is due to the fact that i am removing a garter that my sister-in-law loaned me. i couldn’t get it off fast enough–i think it was meant to fit on a baby’s arm.

we ended up having salt lick cater the wedding. it was held at a vineyard out in the hill country here in central texas, and i just love pairing wine with food like barbecue. it just seems to drive people crazy. i love the juxtaposition, i guess. being the california girl that i am, i couldn’t offer a meal without adding something green, fresh and fairly good for ya. so i made a salad. not just any salad, my favorite fall salad. thankfully all i had to do was provide the ingredients and two of favorite people actually put it all together while i was getting ready. thank you, friends.

fave fall salad 2

my favorite fall salad (serves 4)

this is part of a monthly series with other food blogger’s from across the globe called let’s lunch. see links to their fall salads below!

several cups mesclun or spring mix greens

1/3 cup toasted walnuts (left large and chunky)

about 20 red or black seedless grapes, cut in half

4-6 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

red onion, sliced very thin for garnish

vinaigrette dressing:

1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp water

1 tsp dijon mustard

4 tbsp good quality olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

make the dressing: place vinegar, water, and dijon in a small jar with a lid and shake. add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. close lid and shake again.

place greens in a large bowl and mix with dressing. i don’t tend to like a heavy amount of dressing, so i just add a bit at a time. place greens on individual plates and arrange, grapes, feta, walnuts and red onion on top.

if you love fall salads, check these out from the other let’s lunch folks:

bonvivant

a tiger in the kitchen

cowgirl chef

slow food chef

7 Comments

Filed under cheese, grapes, salad

white grape gazpacho

 grape gazpacho close3

ok,  so while most of you are getting out your sweaters and jackets, here in texas we are simply pretending it’s fall. we finally got a break from the 100 degree days this week, and by the looks of it, you’d think 95 was the most refreshing temperature imaginable. it’s all relative, I suppose. this is all to let you know that while you may no longer be in the mood for chilled soup, we are still right smack dab in the middle of enjoying such things.

now while i’m not a big fan of  ‘fruit’ soups in general (to me, they’re just a smoothie in a bowl that is frustratingly difficult to drink with a spoon), this is a very unusual blend of refreshing ingredients. althougth there is an element of sweetness from the grapes, it is gently tempered by the nut meats, fresh bread crumbs, and garlic. i told you this was unusual. in fact, at first i wasn’t even sure that i liked it. but it definitely grew on me. give it a try (even if you have to wait until next summer!)

white grape gazpacho (4 first course servings)

adapted from great cold soups and the new york times

3/4 cup toasted blanched almonds or marcona almonds

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

2 cloves garlic

2 1/2 cups green grapes

1 cup white grape juice

1/2 cup water

2 slices day old hearty white bread, crusts removed and cubed

1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

a few tbsp walnut oil for finishing

place blade on bowl of food processor. with processor running, add nuts and garlic until finely minced. then add grapes, grape juice, water, and cubed bread and puree until smooth. strain mixture into a bowl through a fine sieve. chill for at least 3-4 hours. meanwhile whip heavy cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. fold into grape mixture gently. garnish with sliced reserved grapes and drizzle with walnut oil.

8 Comments

Filed under appetizer, fruit, grapes, side dish, soup

pickled grapes

grapes-in-white-bowl

i must apoligize in advance for another post about pickled foods. and clear up the fact that my love for pickling things is not due to any recent in change medical condition on my part. i simply love sour. i’m assuming i just have way too many sour receptors located on the surface of my tongue and they can never be totally fulfilled. yes, i have a history of drinking pickle juice. and yes, i eat pickled items straight outta the jar.

grapes-colander-2

but THESE are different than all the others. these are special. these are exquisite. i know the idea of pickled grapes sounds strange, but this is a sweet brine (something i hadn’t even fathomed before!). you’re going to wanna use the freshest grapes possible in order to keep them crisp. no one likes a flaccid grape. or a flaccid anything. and be sure they are seedless. they should be fairly easy to find, but sometimes i grab seeded ones by accident because they’re next to the others. 

grapes-jars1

this will be a fun recipe to play with. you could switch up the brine, adding or deleting spices, vinegars, etc. next time, i may get all girly with it and use red wine vinegar and pink peppercorns. maybe for mother’s day?

spoon

pickled grapes (makes 2 pint-sized or 4 half pint-sized jars)

adapted from smitten kitchen, molly wizenberg

1 pound seedless grapes (red or black or a even a mix)

1 cup white wine vinegar 

1 cup granulated sugar (i used less-about 3/4 cup)

1  1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

1 stick cinnamon for each jar you are using (i used 4 half pint jars, 4 small sticks)

1/4 tsp salt

 

rinse and dry grapes. remove from stems and cut off very tip of stem end of each grape. this allows the brine to go well within the flesh of the grape and infuse it with it’s loveliness. place the grapes in clean, dry jars. they do not need to be sterile-these are refrigerated pickled grapes. place the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat to boiling. stir a few times to be sure the sugar and salt have dissolved and remove from heat. i poured mine into another container to speed up the cooling process (and it had a spout to ease in filling the jars). when the brine has cooled to room temperature, pour over the grapes to cover. place lid on jars and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

we devoured them after about 20 hours of brining so i couldn’t tell ya how long they keep. gosh, they were so good with fresh goat cheese and some black pepper water crackers. even the 16 month old in our group could not get enough…thanks, eli!

5 Comments

Filed under appetizer, fruit, grapes