I question my sanity every year I set out to make my first batch of Concord Grape Muffins for the season. It takes a level of patience to stand at the counter and remove the tiny seeds from each grape with the tip of a paring knife. By time the 8 ounces of grapes I need for a dozen of muffins are ready — after 15 to 20 minutes — I’ve either hit a state of nirvana and can imagine myself seeding a few more pounds, or I swear I’m never doing something so silly again.
Then the muffins come out of the oven, bursting with fragrant pockets of Concord grape jelly. That’s exactly what happens to the grapes as they bake. Once I realize that making these muffins is really two recipes in one — homemade muffins and homemade grape jelly — the effort it takes to prep the grapes is well worth the reward. It also saves me from having to spread jelly on a muffin, and that extra 60 seconds means I’m one minute closer to gobbling up seconds.
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You know when you have a good batch of grapes on your hands. Each sphere of green or red deliciousness is firm — never bruised — and comes down with an almost audible burst before flooding your mouth with sweet, tart lusciousness. They typically require little intervention; we’ll pop ‘em straight from the fridge or zip them into baggies for easy eating.
Well get this: Grapes are perfectly in-season right now, so they’re extra crispy and juicy. With this in mind, FN Dish is ringing in Wednesday by showcasing some seriously grape-forward recipes. This time, grapes go way beyond PB and J with the crusts cut off.
Let’s face it, grapes are meant to mingle with cheese. Food Network Magazine’s recipe for Sweet Roasted Grapes simmers the fruit in honey until syrupy, keeping the spherical texture of grapes for a different cheese mate. Next, Food Network Magazine’s Grape-Walnut Conserve is bright and zesty when smeared on a cheese-donned baguette, especially with its merging of orange zest, raisins and lemon. And though tapenade is typically made of chopped or pureed olives to spread on bread, Food Network Magazine turns to fresh, juicy grapes for a sweet Cheese Plate with Grape Tapenade that’s fit for the most elegant dinner party.
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