(Family Features) For many families, the opportunity to host cherished relatives and house guests is a treasured holiday tradition. This year, take your entertaining to a new level with distinctive recipes and decorating ideas featuring a signature ingredient.
A familiar, yet unexpected, ingredient such as California grapes can elevate a wide array of dishes in flavor, texture and appearance to help make the holidays extra special.
While you’ll surely dedicate plenty of attention to the holiday feast, don’t forget about serving up breakfast for the guests who arrive early or stay past the festivities. A rich, nutty pancake topped with juicy grapes serves up a joyful way to start the day. Then, for the big event, put a unique twist on traditional favorites with this stunning Golden Beet and Grape Salad and Grape and Wild Rice Stuffing.
Edible Accents for Sweet Seasonal Decor
The beautifully vibrant colors of grapes, which can be found in red, green and black varieties, add visual interest to recipes, but also make a delightful edible garnish or centerpiece. Grapes’ easy, natural beauty lends grace to your home’s holiday decor, while providing your loved ones with a healthy snack option between meals and events.
Grapes make for lovely centerpieces when placed artfully in bowls, on platters or draped from a cake plate.
For an indulgent and attractive treat, dip grape clusters in liquid gelatin then roll in sugar, spices and finely chopped nuts to make a “frosted” finger food.
Use grapes – fresh or “frosted” – as a garnish to decorate cookie plates, cakes, puddings, mousses and more.
If you’re the guest this time around, gift your hostess with a pretty basket tied with ribbon and filled with multi-colored grape clusters wrapped in tissue.
Grape and Wild Rice Stuffing
1 can (14.5 ounces) vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup wild rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped apple
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups California seedless red grapes
salt, to taste
Heat oven to 350° F.
Bring broth and water to boil; add brown and wild rice.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45-55 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
Saute onion, celery and apple in butter; add sage and pepper. Add prepared rice and grapes; mix well. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary.
Place in 1-quart covered baking dish and bake 20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.
Serving suggestion: Serve with roasted poultry or meats.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 188 calories; 6.7 g protein; 19 g carbohydrates; 4 g fat; 15% calories from fat; 1 mg cholesterol; 495 mg sodium; 2.5 g fiber.
Golden Beet and Grape Salad
1/2 pound yellow beets (approximately 3 medium beets), peeled
2 cups halved red California grapes
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon honey
freshly ground black pepper
1 head purple endive or butter lettuce, leaves rinsed, dried and separated, divided
In food processor fitted with shredding blade or by hand, grate beets. Combine shredded beets with grapes.
In small bowl, mix orange juice, shallots, oil, lemon juice, tarragon and honey. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Pour dressing over beet and grape mixture; mix well. Line eight serving plates with endive or lettuce leaves, divide salad among them and serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 73 calories; 2 g protein; 14 g carbohydrates; 2 g fat (25% calories from fat); 0.3 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 183 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.
Peanut Grape Pancakes
2 cups complete pancake mix
5 tablespoons peanut butter powder
3 cups halved green or red California grapes
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, unsalted
3/4 cup warm maple syrup
Prepare pancake mix according to package instructions; gently stir in peanut butter powder.
Heat griddle or large skillet and brush lightly with vegetable oil. Cook pancakes, 1/4 cup at a time, until browned. Serve sprinkled with grapes, peanuts and maple syrup.
Note: A complete pancake mix has everything in it but water, which is added to form batter.
Nutritional information per serving: 545 calories; 13 g protein; 114 g carbohydrates; 8 g fat (13% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (1.5% calories from saturated fat); 8 mg cholesterol; 766 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.
California Table Grape Commission