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This Holiday, Create a Colorful Feast

11/10/2014 03:32AM ● Published by Family Features

As you prepare for this season of celebrations, consider recipes that offer a fresh approach to the traditional holiday menu.

With its sweet simplicity and vibrant color, a garnish featuring California grapes can make your meal presentation even more enticing. Keep those mealtime traditions intact by serving favorites like Brussels sprouts, but pair them with sweet California grapes in a salad for the perfect balance of flavor and crunchy texture.

A beloved side dish, such as cornbread dressing, will exceed all expectations with ingredients like red and green grapes, butternut squash, walnuts and pancetta. Complete the meal with a new twist on a trifle that results in a rich dessert worthy of any gathering for the holidays and beyond.

For more ways to increase the freshness and flavor of your holiday meals, visit GrapesfromCalifornia.com, Facebook.com/GrapesfromCalifornia and Pinterest.com/GrapesfromCA.

Helpful Tips for the Perfect Holiday Turkey

  • When shopping for your turkey, look for one with a pop-up timer.
     
  • To thaw your turkey, keep it in the refrigerator based on its weight. For example, it should remain in the refrigerator for 24 hours for every 5 pounds. To thaw quickly, place it in the sink and cover with cold water, changing the water every half hour per pound.
     
  • Once the turkey has thawed, always refrigerate or cook immediately.
     
  • When you’re ready to cook, baste the bird with extra virgin olive oil. Place turkey with the breast up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan in an oven preheated to 325°F. Loosely cover turkey with foil to prevent over-browning.
     
  • The turkey is done cooking when the meat thermometer reads 180°F, or if the red stem on the pop-up timer is up and the drumstick feels soft or moves easily.
     
  • Always allow the bird to rest for at least 20 minutes for easy carving.
     
  • Present your turkey on a platter with a fresh and colorful garnish, such as California grapes.

A Tasty Tradition

A Spanish custom spanning back to 1895, those who practice “the twelve grapes of luck” are said to be provided with a year of prosperity. Add this festive ritual to your celebration by eating a grape with the ringing of each bell at midnight on New Year’s Eve.


Raw Vegetable and Grape Salad

Ingredients

Salad
  • 2 cups shredded or very thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 1/2 cup cooked, chopped bacon (6 slices)
  • 4 cups green and red seedless California grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

  1. Toss all salad ingredients together in large bowl. Whisk together all dressing ingredients in medium bowl and drizzle over salad. Toss until ingredients are well coated with dressing.

Peanut Butter and Grape Trifle

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-ounce) container nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 8 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 (8-ounce) container lite whipped topping, divided
  • 1 (16-ounce) store-bought pound cake, sliced into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cups red seedless California grapes, plus more for garnish
  • 3 cups green seedless California grapes, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, chopped (optional garnish)

Preparation

  1. In medium bowl, stir together yogurt, peanut butter and honey until well combined. Gently fold in half of whipped topping. Set aside.
  2. In clear glass trifle dish or bowl, layer half each of pound cake cubes, peanut butter mixture, red grapes and green grapes. Repeat layers a second time and top with remaining whipped topping. Garnish with additional grapes (sliced in half) if desired, and chopped peanuts, if desired.

Cornbread Dressing with Roasted Grapes, Walnuts and Pancetta

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red seedless California grapes
  • 2 cups green seedless California grapes
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces diced pancetta
  • 3/4 cup sliced celery
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread (either store-bought or prepared from a mix), toasted
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss grapes and squash cubes together in large bowl with oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Spread in single layer on baking sheet and roast for about 20–30 minutes, until grapes have begun to slightly shrivel and squash is tender. Set aside.
  2. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook pancetta until it begins to brown slightly. Add celery and onions and cook until tender and onions are translucent, about 5–6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute more. Remove from heat.
  3. In large bowl, combine cornbread, pancetta mixture, grapes, squash, walnuts, sage and salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Set aside.
  4. In medium bowl, whisk together broth, butter, vinegar and egg. Pour over cornbread mixture and toss well to combine.
  5. Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon dressing evenly into dish. (At this point, you can either bake immediately or cover and refrigerate overnight to bake the next day.)
  6. Bake, covered with foil, at 350°F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes, or until warmed through and golden brown.

Sponsored by California Table Grape Commission

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