Gaga for Grapes

Who else finds themselves snacking on an entire bag of grapes to ward off sweet cravings? We do! While San Joaquin County is famous for its wine grapes, come September, the rest of the valley is harvesting table grapes. The juicy, crunchy, sweet morsels are cut fresh from the vine each fall, and they hold the power to evoke memories of a simpler time, back when we were kids!

As an adult, one of my favorite memories was when we first moved to Lodi and decided to invite my in-laws over for our first dinner in our new home. I whipped up a Waldorf salad of grapes, walnuts, and apples, to accompany the rest of our meal. This memory got me thinking. Why don’t I cook with table grapes more often?


Crostini with Roasted Grapes and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

2 c. red table grapes, halved

2 tbsp. honey

8 thyme sprigs

4 oz. goat cheese

1 baguette

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice grapes in half and place in a small bowl. Toss with the honey and fresh thyme sprigs. Pour the grapes onto a foil lined cookie sheet and roast for ten minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Slice a baguette into ¼-inch pieces on the diagonal. Brush with olive oil and bake for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread goat cheese on each slice of bread. Top with grapes, thyme sprigs, and an additional drizzle of honey.


Pasta with Sausage and red grapes

6 oz. mild Italian sausage

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. salt, plus ¼-tsp. divided

2 c. seedless red grapes

1 c. low sodium chicken broth

¼-tsp. red pepper flakes

10 oz. pasta (farfalle, penne, or orecchiette)

2 tbsp. parmesan, grated

¼-c. chopped fresh Italian parsley

¼-c. chopped basilp

Directions

Set a large pot of water to boil. In a large skillet cook sausage over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces until browned. Transfer sausage to a paper towel. Add oil to the skillet and cook the onion and garlic with ¼-tsp. of the salt, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. Add the grapes, broth, and pepper flakes, increase the heat to medium high, and cook until the grapes soften or burst and liquid thickens, about ten minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet and stir. Turn off the heat. When the water begins to boil, add the remaining tbsp. of salt and pasta. Cook according to the directions. Drain the pasta, add to the skillet, and turn heat to high. Cook, stirring until the sausage is hot and the pasta is coated with sauce, approximately 60 seconds. Divide between four bowls and garnish with parmesan, basil, and parsley.


Fall Harvest Salad

Ingredients

4 c. arugula

2 chicken breasts

2 c. grapes

½-c. crumbled blue cheese

2 small apples, cubed

1 c. walnuts

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

salt

pepper

Directions

Brush chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken over medium heat on a charcoal grill. Remove and set aside. Chop apples into ½-inch cubes. Slice grapes in half. Place grapes, apples, and walnuts into a small bowl. Toss with champagne vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Pour arugula into a large bowl. Pour the grape mixture over the arugula and add the crumbled blue cheese. Toss the salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Slice the chicken breasts and place on top of the salad. Enjoy!


Three Reasons to Enjoy Table Grapes

Antioxidants

Table grapes are high in antioxidants, which means they protect your body against free radicals that cause cancer.

Digestion

Grapes are an excellent source of fiber, which aids in digestion and keeps things running smoothly.

Lung Support

Did you know that grapes are one of the best ways to detox and clear the lungs of impurities? Studies have also shown grapes  helps ease asthma symptoms.

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