recipes

Holiday 18 November 2021

Holiday Entertaining is Back with Sweet, Savory and Oh So Cheesy Ideas

Real California Milk helps impress guests with the California Cheese Centerpiece and Cookie Exchange Board

(Family Features) This holiday season, entertaining is back on the table and that means endless opportunities to showcase Instagram-worthy ideas. For those looking to impress friends and family, Real California Milk has two unique culinary ideas to take holiday traditions to the next level: The Cheese Centerpiece and Cookie Exchange Board. From fresh food as bountiful décor to camera-ready cookie presentations, incorporating California dairy into your entertaining is a winning holiday strategy.

California Cheese Centerpiece
The mission? Create a holiday centerpiece but make it delicious. Real California Milk partner Jessica Lawrenz, Founder of Monger, Mold and Milk, took the challenge with the California Cheese Centerpiece, the ultimate in edible entertaining with a beautiful display of Real California Cheeses, salami, fruits and vegetables arranged with fragrant herbal garnishes in a display sure to impress family and friends. As a bonus, it creates less waste than a stand-alone floral bouquet (and you’ll have less to clean up!).   

Find additional cheese displays and holiday recipes at realcaliforniamilk.com.

INGREDIENTS:

Variety of firm to medium (semi-firm) Real California Cheeses (find them here: https://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/cheese-makers)

Shown in arrangement:

  • Real California Dry Jack cheese wedges
  • Real California Wine-soaked Cheddar wedges
  • Real California Triple Cream cheese wedges
  • Salumi or salami, made into roses

Fresh fruits and vegetables:

  • Mini clementines or kumquats
  • Grapes or currants (both shown)
  • Fresh figs
  • Gooseberries
  • Cucamelons or mini cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes (tiger stripe tomatoes shown but any small tomato works)

Garnishes:

  • Bay leaf stems
  • Olive leaf stems
  • Rosemary branches
  • Lavender stems
  • Sage bunches
  • Chive or garlic flowers or any edible flower with a stem

Tools and Materials:

  • Circular tray or plate
  • Craft or flora foam (half sphere shape that is at least 1-inch smaller in diameter than your tray)
  • Double-sided tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Toothpicks, U-shape bamboo toothpicks (optional)
  • Cookie cutter shapes (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Cover foam in plastic wrap to protect food from making contact with the foam.
  • Use double-sided tape to secure the foam to the tray.
  • Now you can start assembling the centerpiece. Start from the bottom and work your way up to the top of the sphere.
  • Use the bulk of your leafy garnishment (bay leaf stems, olive leaf stems, sage bunches) on the bottom layer to create a base and coverage by poking the stems into the foam. If needed you can trim the bottom of the stem in a diagonal direction to create a more pokey end OR use a toothpick to pierce a hole in the place where you want to insert stems.
  • For best visual appeal, fruits like grapes and currants should be arranged to kind of flow over the edge of the tray near the bottom as well. PRO TIP: Use “U” shaped bamboo toothpicks to secure the stems of the hanging fruits into the foam.
  • From here use toothpicks to secure cheese wedges, salumi roses, fruits and vegetables into the foam. Cut shorter, triangular pieces of cheese (as opposed to longer triangular pieces used for a long/rectangular centerpiece). Use any tall wedges near the bottom where they will be easy to grab but not sticking out too far if placed near the top. You can use cookie cutter shapes as well for the cheeses, if desired.
  • Finally, take any of the smaller garnish pieces you have (lavender, chive flowers, rosemary ends, loose leaves) to fill in the spaces between all the items.

Holiday Cookie Exchange Board
If a cookie exchange is on the docket for this year’s holiday or you’re simply looking to upgrade your dessert table, take some tips from this stunning cookie exchange presentation. Mix and match Real California Milk cookie recipes to create a mouthwatering arrangement and decorate with mini candy canes, holiday lollipops, various holiday décor and lights. Add napkins, cookie bags for take-away, and recipe cards for sharing, and let your guests go to town.

Dipped in melted dark chocolate and rolled in crushed peppermint candies or Holiday sprinkles

Leave out ice cream, exchange holiday sprinkles for rainbow sprinkles, and dip in melted white chocolate with color for extra festivity

California is the nation’s leading milk producer and is responsible for producing more butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk than any other state. The state is the second-largest producer of cheese and yogurt. California milk and dairy foods can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies they are made exclusively with milk from the state’s dairy farm families.

About Real California Milk/California Milk Advisory Board

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is funded by the state’s dairy farm families who lead the nation in sustainable dairy farming practices. With a vision to nourish the world with the wholesome goodness of Real California Milk, the CMAB’s programs focus on increasing demand for California’s sustainable dairy products in the state, across the U.S. and around the world through advertising, public relations, research, and retail and foodservice promotional programs. For more information and to connect with the CMAB, visit RealCaliforniaMilk.comFacebookYouTubeTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Source: Real California Milk

Videos 27 October 2021

Add Grapes to Your Holiday Gatherings

(Family Features) Add a special touch this holiday season with simple yet stunning small plates that add beauty and flavor to gatherings with friends and family.

Available into January, California grapes offer a way to make the season special as an ingredient in your favorite recipes or as decoration for a festive centerpiece. Pops of red, green and black provide a seasonal touch and they’re perfect as an easy, fresh, healthy snack.

Plus, you can dip grapes in nut butter and finish with coatings of coconut, dark chocolate and almonds to make these Peanut Butter Grape Bites for a holiday treat that’s simply divine – without spending hours in the kitchen.

Visit grapesfromcalifornia.com to find more holiday recipe inspiration.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Peanut Butter Grape Bites

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Yield: 12 pieces

12        California grapes, chilled
1/3       cup natural peanut or almond butter
1/4       cup shredded coconut
1/4       cup chopped dark chocolate
1/4       cup chopped almonds

Place sheet of wax paper on baking sheet. Dip each grape in nut butter to coat half then dip in either coconut, dark chocolate or chopped almonds. Transfer to sheet then chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 70 calories; 2 g protein; 4 g carbohydrates; 5 g fat (64% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (19% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 25 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Appetizers & Sides 22 October 2021

Amaze Guests with Great Grape Appetizers

(Family Features) Along with the delicious food, gift giving and cheer of the holiday season, getting together with friends and family is also cherished. Whether it’s a cozy weekend dinner with friends or time for festive merrymaking, you can enhance any gathering with unique small plates and appetizers.

Make the season special with California grapes, which are abundant into January, as an ingredient in your favorite dishes or by decorating with them for colorful pops of red, green and black. If time is of the essence, they also offer an easy, fresh, healthy snack or side dish that adds color and flavor to your table.

As a versatile ingredient that adds taste and visual appeal, grapes can help you create memorable appetizers that will surprise and delight friends and family. For easy and delightful hors d’oeuvres, turn to Tricolor Grape Pizza with Goat Cheese and Thyme or Smoked Chicken and Grape Bruschetta, each offering simple yet flavorful ways to please a crowd.

Send guests home with Easy Grape Compote, or give it as a fun host or hostess gift for friends and family, so they can enjoy a little taste of the holidays even after all the excitement winds down.

Find more tasty appetizers, meals, desserts and more at grapesfromcalifornia.com.

Tricolor Grape Pizza with Goat Cheese and Thyme

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1 pound prepared pizza dough
  • flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups halved green, red and black California grapes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Position rack in bottom of oven and place inverted baking sheet on top of rack; heat oven to 500 F.
  2. On lightly floured surface, press pizza dough into 10-inch round circle and cover with towel while preparing toppings.
  3. Sprinkle large baking sheet lightly with flour. Stretch pizza dough into oval, about 14-by-10 inches, and place on sheet. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with grapes, thyme and walnuts. Place baking sheet on top of sheet already in oven and bake until crust is bubbling and golden, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Remove pizza from oven. Sprinkle with goat cheese and Parmesan. Season with pepper, to taste. Transfer pizza to board, cut into pieces and serve warm.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 350 calories; 10 g protein; 47 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (36% calories from fat); 2.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 580 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Smoked Chicken and Grape Bruschetta

Yield: 24 pieces

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 French bread baguette
  • 8 ounces smoked chicken breast (1 3/4 cups), shredded or cut into bite-size strips
  • 1 1/2 cups red, green or black seedless California grapes, halved
  • 12 ounces fontina, port salute or Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon chives, snipped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat broiler to 550 F.
  2. In small bowl, combine garlic, olive oil and salt. Set aside. Slice baguette on bias into 1/2-inch thick slices. Brush baguette slices with garlic-oil and place on cookie sheet. Toast in broiler about 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from broiler.
  3. On each bread slice, place about 1 tablespoon chicken breast and three grape halves then top with 2 tablespoons grated cheese.
  4. Place cookie sheet about 8 inches away from broiler and broil 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Place on serving platter and sprinkle with snipped chives and pepper.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 125 calories; 7 g protein; 9 g fat (68% calories from fat); 3 g carbohydrates; 24 mg cholesterol; less than 1 g fiber; 154 mg sodium.

Easy Grape Compote

Prep time: 5 minutes, plus cooling
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 4 cups black or red California grapes
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 strips fresh lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon high-quality balsamic vinegar (optional)
  1. In bowl of food processor, finely chop grapes and sugar using one-second pulses. Transfer to deep, medium skillet or wide saucepan; stir in lemon peel, salt and water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cover pan with lid, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 18 minutes until fruit is tender.
  2. In small bowl, stir lemon juice and cornstarch then stir into grape mixture with butter; simmer 6 minutes, or until desired consistency. Stir in vinegar, if desired. Serve warm or cool.
  3. Cooled jam can be stored in covered glass jar in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 160 calories; 0 g protein; 41 g carbohydrates; 0 g fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 170 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Festive, Fruitful Decor

Naturally beautiful, fresh grapes make for an easy, classic way to decorate for the holidays. Consider these ways to enhance your home and table:

  • Drape bunches of red, green and black grapes in decorative bowls and alternate with candles for dazzling centerpieces.
  • Fill a flower vase with grapes and water for color and texture to complement and support the flowers in the arrangement.
  • Bedazzle your ham or turkey platter with small bunches of grapes and fresh herbs.
  • Accent a perfectly cooked steak with grape rosemary skewers for a colorful, fragrant sidekick.
  • Adorn dessert plates and trays with sugar-frosted grapes to add a special sparkle.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Videos 19 October 2021

Fresh, Better-for-You Fruit Flavor

(Family Features) Whether you’re enjoying a special occasion or simply spending deserved time with loved ones, you can gather at breakfast or brunch and enjoy this easy-to-make, divine pancake that tickles taste buds and delivers a satisfying start to the day.

Add the naturally sweet taste of fruit to the breakfast table with this Grape Dutch Baby recipe that requires just 15 minutes of prep time in the kitchen. Or serve it as a light main dish for those nights when having breakfast for dinner is the plan. Fresh California grapes offer a tasty burst of flavor that pairs perfectly with an egg-based pancake.

Whether enjoyed at breakfast or throughout the day, grapes can be a convenient, healthy, hydrating and energizing option. In fact, research suggests regularly eating grapes as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle contributes to overall wellness and healthy aging. Specifically, eating grapes is linked to beneficial impacts on the health of specific body parts and systems, including the heart, brain, skin and colon.

Find more better-for-you recipes at GrapesFromCalifornia.com.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!



Grape Dutch Baby

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 6          large eggs
  • 1 1/3    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3    cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2       teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 5          tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2          cups red California grapes, halved
  • 2          tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/8       teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • confectioners’ sugar
  1. Heat oven to 450 F. Put large (10-inch) cast-iron or ovenproof skillet in oven.
  2. With electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs until frothy then beat in flour, milk, vanilla and salt, and beat until smooth, about 1 minute (batter will be thin). Remove skillet from oven and add 2 tablespoons butter, swirling to cover pan. Pour in batter and return to oven. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 14-19 minutes.
  3. While pancake is baking, in another skillet over high heat, melt remaining butter and add grapes, brown sugar and cinnamon, if desired. Cook until grapes are heated through and sugar has melted. Spoon grapes over pancake, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Nutritional information per serving: 280 calories; 6 g protein; 22 g carbohydrates; 18 g fat (58% calories from fat); 10 g saturated fat (32% calories from saturated fat); 180 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Healthy 09 September 2021

Go for Grapes as a Smart Choice for Health and Wellness

(Family Features) The importance of health and wellness is top of mind for many people. There are many contributing factors to wellness such as diet, physical activity, social engagement and genetics. All are important, but a first step to wellness is choosing healthy foods to fuel the body every day, ideally foods that support health in multiple ways.

Consider grapes from California: they are convenient, healthy, hydrating and provide energy to help support healthy and active lifestyles. Eating grapes is also linked to beneficial impacts on the health of specific body parts and systems, including the heart, brain, skin and colon.

Most of grapes’ health benefits are attributed to the presence of natural plant compounds known as polyphenols, which help promote antioxidant activity and influence biological processes that support overall health. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are natural sources of polyphenols.

Fresh California grapes are refreshing by the handful, but they also lend a tasty burst of flavor to a wide range of recipes you can enjoy any time of day. This Heart Smart Smoothie is a deliciously healthy way to start the day; pairing grapes with nuts and seeds in No-Bake Energy Bites delivers a hearty snack to enjoy midday, after school or following a workout; and Quinoa, Cauliflower and Grape Salad is perfect at any mealtime for a powerful combo of both taste and health.

Grapes and a Healthy Brain

Research suggests regularly eating grapes as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle may contribute to improved health outcomes, including brain health.

In a study of people with early memory decline published in “Experimental Gerontology,” subjects were either fed whole grape powder equivalent to just 2 1/4 cups of grapes per day or a placebo powder. The results showed consuming grapes preserved healthy metabolic activity in regions of the brain associated with early Alzheimer’s disease, where metabolic decline takes hold.

Subjects who didn’t consume grapes exhibited significant metabolic decline in these critical regions. Additionally, those consuming the grape-enriched diet showed beneficial changes in regional brain metabolism that correlated to improvements in attention and working memory performance.

Find more nutritious recipes at GrapesFromCalifornia.com .

No-Bake Energy Bites

Prep time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 energy bites

  • 1/3       cup raw almonds
  • 1/3       cup walnuts
  • 1/2       cup pitted dates
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons fresh orange juice or lemon juice
  • 1          pinch sea salt
  • 8          seedless California grapes
  • 1/3       cup chia or hemp seeds
  1. In bowl of food processor, pulse almonds and walnuts 5-6 times to coarsely chop. Add dates and process until mixture is finely chopped. Add juice and process until just combined; transfer mixture to small plate.
  2. Dry grapes. Pack 1 tablespoon date mixture around each grape, completely covering to seal. Repeat with remaining grapes and date mixture.
  3. Roll balls in seeds to coat. Store in covered container in refrigerator up to three days.

Nutritional information per energy bite: 120 calories; 3 g protein; 12 g carbohydrates; 7 g fat (53% calories from fat); 0.5 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 20 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.

Heart Smart Grape and Peanut Butter Smoothie

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 1          cup red California grapes, chilled
  • 2/3       cup unsweetened almond milk, chilled
  • 1/2       cup ice cubes
  • 1/2       small banana
  • 1          tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1          tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 2          teaspoons cacao powder
  1. In blender on high speed, blend grapes, almond milk, ice, banana, peanut butter, flax seed and cacao powder until smooth.

Nutritional information per serving: 350 calories; 8 g protein; 53 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (36% calories from fat); 2.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 220 mg sodium; 7 g fiber.

Quinoa, Cauliflower and Grape Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          cup white quinoa
  • 1          small head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
  • 1 1/4    cups red California grapes, halved
  • 3          scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2          ripe avocados, diced 1/3 inch

Dressing:

  • 2          tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1          tablespoon lime juice
  • 1          tablespoon honey
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/2       teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4       cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and drain on two layers of paper towels. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add cauliflower, grapes, scallions and avocado pieces.
  2. To make dressing: In small bowl, whisk vinegar, lime juice, honey, cumin, oregano and salt until blended. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over quinoa mixture and toss gently. Season with pepper, to taste.

Nutritional information per serving: 260 calories; 5 g protein; 27 g carbo hydrates; 16 g fat (55% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 170 mg sodium; 6 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Snacks 04 August 2021

Kid-Friendly Brain Food for Busy School Days

(Family Features) Starting a new school year, whether in the classroom or online, brings excitement for kids of all ages. Opportunities to see friends, make new acquaintances and explore new areas of interest abound.

Along with the exciting times can also come early mornings with hectic moments getting ready, including making sure that lunches and snacks are packed for the day ahead. Keep fresh grapes from California on hand as an easy, fresh staple ready to drop into lunches and pack as a portable snack – no need to peel, cut or slice.

Heart-healthy grapes are brain food too, and a healthy choice any time of day to help fuel young minds in the classroom or after school.

Grapes also pair well with other healthy ingredients to create fun and tasty snacks such as these Peanut Butter Grape Bites. Involving your kids in the process can be beneficial, and is as simple as asking them to complete one of several child-friendly tasks: rinsing grapes, measuring ingredients or, perhaps the most fun part, dipping grapes in peanut butter, coconut, dark chocolate or almonds.

Providing children with ways to help in the kitchen can give them a sense of accomplishment while teaching them important skills like math and how to follow instructions.

To find more back-to-school recipes for kids and families, visit GrapesFromCalifornia.com .

Peanut Butter Grape Bites

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 5 minutes
Yield: 12 pieces

  • 12        California grapes, any color, chilled
  • 1/3       cup natural peanut or almond butter
  • 1/4       cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4       cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4       cup chopped almonds
  1. Place wax paper sheet on baking sheet. Dip each grape in peanut butter or almond butter to coat half then dip in either coconut, dark chocolate or almonds, alternating with each grape.  
  2. Transfer grapes to baking sheet then chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 2 g protein; 4 g carbohydrates; 5 g fat (64% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (19% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 25 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission 

Healthy 04 November 2020

Easy Dishes to Boost Immunity

(Family Features) Staying healthy is important year-round, but especially in the cooler months when temperatures drop, people spend more time inside and germs can spread easily. What you eat and the lifestyle you embrace are critical components of staying healthy.

Nourishing meals full of fruits, vegetables, protein-rich foods and whole grains help provide the body's immune system with the nutrients it needs. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by getting enough sleep, being physically active every day, having enough fluids and reducing stress also help keep the immune system in shape.

As a nutritious food to include on your grocery list, grapes of all colors - red, green and black - contain more than 1,600 natural plant compounds such as antioxidants and other polyphenols that help protect the health of cells throughout the body. They also contain about 82% water, so they provide important fluids for hydration, which is also critical to a healthy immune system.

Grapes can be enjoyed as a healthy snack or an immune-boosting ingredient in recipes like Chicken, Spinach and Grape Pita sandwiches and Grape and Salmon Power Salad. Each provides a mix of immune-supporting nutrients, including zinc in chicken, vitamins A and C in kale, polyphenols in grapes and other important nutrients in the salmon, walnuts and barley.

Find these recipes and more in "Eating for Immune Health" along with additional ways to eat healthy and stay well at grapesfromcalifornia.com.

Chicken, Spinach and Grape Pita

Servings: 4

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sumac
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 package (5-6 ounces) fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup red California grapes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 whole-wheat pita breads (6 1/2 inches each), warmed and halved
  1. In small skillet over medium-high heat, toast pine nuts, stirring constantly until toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool. In large bowl, whisk lemon juice, shallot, olive oil, red pepper flakes, sumac, salt and pepper. Add spinach, chicken, grapes, feta and pine nuts; toss to mix. Stuff into pita breads and serve.

Nutritional information per serving: 445 calories; 24 g protein; 46 g carbohydrates; 20 g fat (39% calories from fat); 5 g saturated fat (10% calories from saturated fat); 57 mg cholesterol; 658 mg sodium; 6 g fiber.

Grape and Salmon Power Salad

Servings: 6

  • 3/4 cup pearled barley
  • 3 cups firmly packed kale leaves, torn and sliced into ribbons
  • 1 cup halved red or black seedless California grapes
  • 8 ounces cold, cooked salmon, skin and bones removed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Cook barley according to package directions. Drain and cool.
  2. Tenderize kale by blanching in boiling water 2-3 seconds or microwaving 1 minute. Rinse pieces in cold water to stop cooking; squeeze dry. Fluff and uncrimp dry kale pieces with fingers. In medium bowl, mix barley, kale, grapes, salmon and walnuts.
  3. To make dressing: In small bowl, whisk lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne. Gradually mix in olive oil. Pour onto salad and fold gently to combine.

Nutritional information per serving: 413 calories; 15 g protein; 30 g carbohydrates; 16 g fat (47% calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (8% calories from saturated fat); 22 mg cholesterol; 232 mg sodium; 500 mg potassium; 4 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Holiday 21 October 2020

Make Small Holiday Celebrations Special with a Fresh Menu

(Family Features) Holiday festivities with immediate family members or just a few friends rather than larger gatherings may feel different than normal, but you can make the most of the situation with these tips to add intimacy and special meaning to celebratory moments:

  • Use special dishes, glassware and linens to convey the tone of the celebration. Go ahead and use your best dishes or enhance your everyday plates with the use of cloth napkins or a festive tablecloth. Bring out the fancy glasses to savor every sip.
  • Arrange visually appealing, individual mini-snack platters for each person. Combine grapes with a special cheese, crackers, olives and nuts for an easy way to curb appetites before the main course.
  • Set a festive table with a simple but creative centerpiece. For instance, you can combine candles, flowers and draped bunches of colorful grapes. Place votive candles on mirrors for added shimmer and sparkle. Tie a gold or silver wire ribbon bow around the napkins at each place setting. Handwritten place cards with guests’ names can add a surprising and special touch.
  • Stay healthy to enjoy the holidays. Choose healthy foods like fruits and vegetables that help support the immune system. Maintain your exercise schedule as much as possible and ensure you are getting enough sleep.
  • Opt for homemade over processed foods for signature dishes then reinforce with prepared items to fill out the menu, if needed. Let your guests bring part of the meal or something to contribute to the festivities.

Adding a sweet touch to the menu can help keep guests coming back for more. For example, fresh California grapes are available into January and are perfect for the holiday season. Enjoy them as a fresh, healthy snack or side dish, or as an ingredient to add taste and visual appeal to recipes to make the season feel special.

Start the meal with a simple but beautiful salad such as Grape and Spinach Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Dressing, where the grapes provide festive color and pleasing texture. Pair your chosen entree with Warm Farro Salad with Grapes and Delicata Squash for a hearty side dish that can also be served on its own. Finally, cap off the celebration with homemade Grape and Apple Sheet Pan Pie.

Visit grapesfromcalifornia.com/recipe to find more holiday-worthy dishes from appetizers and entrees to sides, snacks and desserts.

Create the Perfect Appetizer Plate

Delight your guests with individual appetizer plates this season by considering color, texture and presentation. Remember, this is the prelude to the meal, so small portions are perfectly fine. Consider this starter list:

  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Fresh grapes
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Marinated artichoke hearts
  • Salami slices
  • Spinach or other dips
  • Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves)
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Crackers
  • Pita triangles
  • Thin breadsticks
  • Pretzels
  • Jam or honey

Grape and Spinach Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Dressing

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 8          cups fresh baby spinach, washed
  • 4 1/2    cups California grapes
  • 1 1/4    cups mandarin orange segments, drained if using canned
  • 1/3       cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3/4       cup bottled light balsamic vinegar and oil dressing
  • 1/4       cup orange juice
  • 3          tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 3/4       cup crunchy chow mein noodles
  1. In large salad bowl, combine spinach with grapes, oranges and onion.
  2. Whisk together dressing, orange juice and jam. Pour over salad and toss until greens are coated with dressing. Divide among eight plates and top with crunchy noodles.

Grape and Apple Sheet Pan Pie

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 50 minutes
Servings: 16

Dough:

  • 4          cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2    tablespoons sugar
  • 2          teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 1/2    sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1          cup ice water, plus additional if needed

Filling:

  • 3          pounds Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced (about 9 cups)
  • 4          cups black California grapes
  • 3/4       cup sugar
  • 2          tablespoons all- purpose flour
  • 2          tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1          pinch salt
  • 1          egg
  • 1          tablespoon water
  • demerara sugar, for garnish
  1. To make dough: In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and toss with flour mixture. Smash each butter cube flat then use fork to stir in cold water. Knead lightly until dough comes together in ball. Transfer to floured work surface and use well-floured rolling pin to roll into 10-by-15-inch sheet. Fold each short side into middle and close like a book. Fold once more to make thick block and cut in half. Wrap each piece in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. To make filling: In large bowl, combine apples, grapes, sugar, flour, lemon juice and salt; set aside.
  3. To assemble pie: Heat oven to 375 F.
  4. Roll one half of dough out to 18-by-13-inch rectangle. Transfer to 10-by-15-inch heavy baking sheet; place in refrigerator to chill while rolling out top sheet. Roll out remaining dough to 18-by-13-inch rectangle and use pastry cutter to cut into 1 1/2-inch wide strips.
  5. Transfer filling into chilled pastry and spread evenly. Lay dough strips on top of filling in lattice pattern and crimp sides together. Mix egg with water and brush top of pie. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake until filling is bubbling, and crust is nicely browned, about 45-50 minutes.

Warm Farro Salad with Grapes and Delicata Squash

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 3          pounds delicata squash, cut lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 1/2    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1          teaspoon coarse salt, divided
  • 1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1          pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2    cups farro
  • 2          cups water
  • 3 1/2    tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1          teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2    cups halved California grapes
  • 1/2       cup chopped parsley
  1. Heat oven to 425 F.
  2. On sheet pan, toss squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cayenne pepper. Spread into single layer and roast 10-15 minutes, or until bottoms are browned. Turn squash and roast 10-15 minutes, or until browned and tender.
  3. While squash is cooking, combine farro, water and remaining salt. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until farro is tender, 25-30 minutes. Drain leftover water and transfer to large bowl. Add squash, remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, grapes and parsley; toss.

Note: Acorn or butternut squash may be substituted for delicata squash.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Snacks 21 July 2020

Scary Good

(Family Features) Introducing kids to unfamiliar flavors doesn’t have to be a frightful experience. Getting creative and taking cues from some beloved characters may be all it takes for families to explore produce in a new way and discover how delicious, satisfying and enjoyable fresh fruits and vegetables can be.

A passion for produce may begin with America’s favorites, like bananas, apples, citrus, celery, carrots and broccoli, but that’s just the beginning.

Whether it’s their angry names and tough exteriors, or simply a fear of the unknown about taste and preparation, dozens more diverse and exotic fruits and vegetables like dragon fruit, horned melon and Brussels sprouts are often the sources of produce paranoia.

An initiative from Dole, in collaboration with Disney and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., is helping to take the scare out of specialty fruits and vegetables and widen America’s produce horizons. That’s because, like a good book or the characters in a beloved film, you can’t judge a fruit or vegetable by its appearance; nature’s true beauty often lies within.

The campaign offers character-inspired recipes, serving suggestions, digital and social activations, family-friendly activities, fun trivia and influencer partnerships that celebrate the not-so-scary world of the planet’s more unusual fresh bounty.

One easy way to introduce new flavors is by trying a variation of a familiar fruit or veggie. For example, there are more than 500 edible banana varieties in the world. You might sample a red banana or a Manzano, or even an ice cream banana, with a taste resembling vanilla custard.

These fun and kid-friendly Green Slime Nacho Cups feature plantains, for example, a member of the banana family with a different taste and texture than everyday yellow bananas – more firm and starchy like a potato. Increase your family’s produce intake even further with a Slippery Slimy Smoothie and Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads, which call for green grapes, celery, avocados, strawberries and blueberries.

Find more recipes and other not-so-scary fun at dole.com/Disney, and follow #Dole and #DoleRecipes.

Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads

Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3

  • 1          cup cubed, cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2       cup DOLE® Green Grapes, halved
  • 1/4       cup chopped Dole Celery
  • 1/3       cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2    Dole Avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
  • 6          whole-wheat pretzel twists
  • 18        whole-wheat pretzel sticks
  • 1          Dole Strawberry, sliced
  • 3          dried, sweetened blueberries
  1. In bowl, stir together chicken, grapes, celery, yogurt, salt and pepper.
  2. Scoop three equal portions onto serving plate. Shape each into oval.
  3. Top each with upside down avocado half.
  4. Decorate each avocado half to resemble Roz’s face. Using sharp paring knife, trim each pretzel twist to create horn-rimmed glasses lens by cutting off double loop section of each pretzel twist and discarding or enjoying as snack, keeping single loop portion, which will become one lens. Two lenses are needed per Roz Head.
  5. Place two pretzel lenses on each avocado to form glasses. Add pretzel stick to each side of avocado to form arms of glasses. Push four pretzel sticks into top of each avocado to form hair. Add strawberry slice, trimmed to look like lips for her mouth, and place blueberry on lower left side of face to form mole.

Green Slime Nacho Cups

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          green starting to turn yellow DOLE® Plantain, peeled and thinly sliced on bias
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1          Dole Avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
  • 1          tablespoon lime juice
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2       cup thinly shredded Dole Purple Cabbage
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss plantain slices with canola oil and season with pinch of salt. On parchment paper-lined baking sheet, arrange slices in single layer with no overlapping.
  2. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until crispy and lightly golden. Cool completely and set aside.
  3. Using spoon, scoop flesh of avocado into small bowl and mash, reserving one half avocado shell. Stir mashed avocado with lime juice, garlic and remaining salt. Stir in slaw, reserving some for garnish. Scoop into reserved avocado shell and smooth top with back of spoon. Stick reserved cabbage shreds out of avocado mixture to look like hair.
  4. Serve slime nacho cups with plantain chips.

Slippery Slimy Smoothie

Prep time:10 minutes
Servings: 2 (8 ounces each)

  • 1/2       cup DOLE® Spinach
  • 1          Dole Banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1/2       cup Dole Green Grapes, frozen
  • 1/3       cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/2       cup Dole Pineapple
  • 1/2       cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2       cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 5          ice cubes
  1. In blender, blend spinach, banana, grapes, cucumber, pineapple, almond milk, Greek yogurt and ice cubes until smooth.
  2. Pour smoothie into two glasses and serve.

 

©2020 Disney/Pixar (Roz)

Source: Dole

Videos 18 August 2020

Sweet and Spicy Nachos

(Family Features) When looking to guide your family toward healthier snacks, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.

Fresh California grapes, for example, make for an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make dishes that are satisfying and delicious like these Sweet and Spicy Nachos. Grapes of all colors - red, green and black - are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.

Find more better-for-you snack ideas at GrapesFromCalifornia.com.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Sweet and Spicy Nachos

Recipe courtesy of the California Table Grape Commission
Servings: 2

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1          tablespoon canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 2          tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 2          tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1          teaspoon honey
  • 3          ounces baked tortilla chips (about 28 chips)
  • 1/2       jalapeno, seeded, stemmed and finely minced (optional)
  • 2          tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • 4          ounces grilled chicken, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4       cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4       cup queso Cotija Mexican cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2       avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1          cup halved California grapes
  • 3          tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. Heat oven to broil.
  2. In food processor or blender, puree chipotle pepper, barbecue sauce, lime juice and honey until smooth.
  3. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange tortilla chips in single layer.
  4. Sprinkle chips with jalapeno, if desired; onion; chicken; and Monterey Jack cheese. Drizzle with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.
  5. Place tray in oven about 6 inches below element; broil 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, sprinkle with Cotija Mexican cheese, avocado, grapes and cilantro.

Source: California Grapes

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