(Family Features) Light, refreshing flavors are the perfect solution for a summer meal. As temperatures heat up, take your summer entertaining to the next level with a secret ingredient that is as pretty as it is tasty.
Alone or in a recipe, grapes from California are a deliciously healthy way to bring refreshing flavor to the summertime table. Delightful as a cool snack, grapes are also a great choice for your entertaining menu because they pair well with so many other ingredients.
You may be surprised by all of the combinations of flavors and textures you can achieve, from main dishes to sides and even desserts. Impress your guests with this mouthwatering lineup featuring grapes that includes a grilled flank steak, an extra fresh classic salad and an unexpectedly sweet but savory sorbet.
Easy Ideas for a Summer Party
Plan the perfect summer party with these easy entertaining tips:
- Create cozy seating arrangements complete with cushions and ample shade so guests can laugh and chat in comfort until the sun sets and beyond.
- Be sure to create pops of color with your tableware and food. Available in three vibrant hues – red, green and black – grapes make a beautiful centerpiece and colorful addition to any menu offering.
- When you need a simple appetizer, grapes are as easy as it gets. Ripe and ready when you bring them home, give them a rinse, place them in a pretty bowl and you’ve got an edible centerpiece in seconds.
- As day gives way to night, keep the festive mood strong by adding some ambient light. Whimsical paper lanterns or strings of white or colored Christmas tree lights lend a playful touch to parties after dark.
Find more refreshing recipes for summer entertaining at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.
Grilled Flank Steak with Grapes and Stilton
- 1 flank steak (2 pounds)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 bunches (8 cups) watercress, trimmed
- 1/2 cup crumbled Stilton or other blue cheese
- 2 cups red California grapes, halved
- Heat grill to high and oil grates.
- Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper.
- In small blender or food processor, combine vinegar, shallot, mustard and olive oil to make dressing. Season with salt and pepper, and puree until smooth.
- Grill steak until it reaches 130 F for medium-rare, about 6-7 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.
- In large bowl, combine watercress, salt, pepper and enough dressing to coat. Thinly slice steak across the grain and transfer to platter. Top with watercress, Stilton and grapes, and serve with additional dressing.
Grape and Spinach Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Dressing
- 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
- Place spinach in large salad bowl. Top with grapes, oranges and onion.
- Whisk together dressing, orange juice and jam. Pour over salad and toss until greens are coated with dressing. Top with crunchy noodles.
Savory Black Grape Sorbet
- 1 1/2 pounds (4 cups) black California seedless grapes, washed and stemmed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vodka
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 8 large basil leaves
- pinch of salt
- In food processor or blender, puree grapes and sugar until smooth. Pour into small saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until mixture has reduced by about one-third, about 15 minutes. Stir in vodka, lemon juice, basil and salt then let cool to room temperature.
- Pour mixture into shallow pan and freeze until hard, 3-4 hours. Transfer to food processor or blender and process until smooth and creamy, and lightened in color. Serve immediately.
Grape Basil Martini
- 3 basil leaves, torn, plus additional for garnish
- 5 green California grapes, halved, plus additional for garnish
- 2 ounces gin
- 1/4 ounce Essencia
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- In cocktail shaker, muddle basil and grapes with gin. Add Essencia, lemon juice and simple syrup, and shake gently. Strain into rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with basil leaf and float two grapes on top. Serve.