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Fall is a great time to try new recipes. Why? Because the markets are bursting with bounty of the harvest season. Included in that bounty is the fall harvest of grapes, which are in fine fresh supply through January. Besides their long season, grapes are amazingly versatile as an ingredient.
Here’s a sophisticated plate to serve while friends and family are watching the game at home, or for any gathering that calls for some creative gourmet cooking. The spicy grape chutney is a natural with roast beef.
Roast Beef Party Platter with Grape Chutney
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup tawny port
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups seedless red California grapes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 F. In a medium saucepan, combine the onion, port, vinegar, raisins, sugar, ginger, mustard seeds and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced to 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of liquid, about 15-17 minutes. At the same time, spread the grapes on a baking sheet and roast until soft and juicy, about 10 minutes. Add to the chutney, season with salt and pepper and let cool. Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Makes 2 cups.
Party Platter ingredients:
2 pounds thinly sliced roast beef
1 pound thinly sliced sharp or mild provolone
Red, green and black seedless California grape clusters
A variety of rolls
Arrange roast beef and provolone on a large platter along with the grapes. Place rolls in a basket and serve with the chutney. Serves 8.
Here’s a refreshing way to use grapes and apples to balance the strong flavor of cabbage with tart sweetness. Plus, the bold red and green colors make for a striking salad that is also easy to make. This versatile slaw pairs well with roasted chicken, hamburgers, pork chops and many other family favorites.
Grape and Red Cabbage Slaw
1/2 small head red cabbage (about 1 pound), finely shredded
2 cups halved green seedless California grapes
1 Granny Smith apple, julienned
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, grapes and apple. In a small jar, combine the vinegar, honey, mustard and olive oil. Shake well and pour over the cabbage mixture. Season generously with both salt and pepper and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 8.
Grape and flower centerpiece
Instead of using glass or plastic marbles to secure autumn flowers in a vase, consider filling your vase with grapes instead. Green, red and black grapes can easily complement your flower colors as well as securely holding the blooms and greens in place.
Directions: Fill a tall vase with grapes until about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Fill with water and arrange the flowers. Grapes can be placed in single color layers or mixed together like a mosaic.
For more grape ideas, go to grapesfromcalifornia.com or facebook.com/grapesfromcalifornia.