roasted concord grape two ways.

Oh dear, I have been so delinquent in keeping up the blog lately! Life is getting the better of me and the days are flying by. Here we are mid October already! I want to share some of the things I have been making and eating lately. There are no recipes to accompany these as they are meant more for inspiration. The first is Roasted Concord Grapes With Olive Oil Maple And Sea Salt, on top of Greek yogurt with maple and flax seeds.. You can do it with any fruit as I been doing since the first stone fruits arrived in the Summer and unless you are really wild about Concord grapes like I am you might be better off with a simpler fruit like apple or plum The Concord grapes are real pain with the seeds and they require some serious work to get them out!breakfast I know I said I wasn't going to give a recipe but here is the gist of it in the loosest sense; Take whatever fruit you decie to use and spread it on a lined sheet pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and top with a touch of maple syrup. Pop the whole tray in the oven and slow roast the fruit at 350 degrees until it is soft. (With the Concord grapes, you must carefully split the grape and remove the seeds once they are soft and roasted... this takes patience and diligence and a small sharp knife!)

Once your fruit is roasted, Place a generous portion of it on top of your bowl of Greek yogurt and drizzle with a little maple, a tiny hit of sea salt and a good heaping tablespoon or two of flax seeds!

My other grape inspired recipe is Concord grape and Hen Of The Woods Crostini.

Place a generous amount of hen of the woods mushrooms on a lined baking sheet or in a big cast iron frying pan. Drizzle with olive oil, seas salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Cut a handful of concord grapes in half and gently remove the seeds. toss the Concord grapes with the hen of the woods and olive oil mixture. Throw the pan in the oven and roast at 350 degrees until the mushrooms are soft and some of the edges are a touch crispy.

Toast some really good bread and brush with olive oil after toasting. Top the bread with the roasted mushrooms and grape mixture. Shave some Pecorino Romano on top and get to eating! 

That's it! 

Have lovely Tuesday friends!!

I promise to be back sooner than later! 

concord grape

I have really been into Concord Grapes this season. I have been eating them nonstop. I have made several rounds of sorbet and ice cream. There is something so exquisitely nostalgic about the taste of Concord Grapes. No other grape tastes so classically “grape” and no other have the same dark luscious color. It is the complete and utter taste of the grape of my childhood. We had wild Concord grapes growing on the backside of our barn and on a huge boulder settled in the center of the apple orchard. We did nothing to keep them but they kept giving to us to us year after year.

I have a vivid memory from when I was about five or six of sitting at the kitchen table on a late fall afternoon, the air in the kitchen was heavy with the smell sugar and grapes. It was a jam weekend. I sat for what seemed forever, watching the absurd  bundle of smashed grapes drip through the many layers of cheesecloth twisted and stained and tied in a tidy knot. The juice of the grapes fell steadily into a large bruised ironstone bowl that sat in the middle of the long slate sink. The sound somewhat hypnotized me as the last of the late afternoon sun pierced the air and tiny dust particles floated about. As night settled in the only movement was the cat brushing  against my leg and the constant plip, plip, plip of the grape. 


Yes, Concord grapes have seeds but I have no issues with the seeds. Life is not seedless.


A Non Traditional Concord Grape Sorbet and Ice Cream

The first time I set out to make Concord grape ice cream and sorbet I had a houseful of girls and not a lot of time and one of them was allergic to eggs, so I decided to try my luck with a non-egg ice cream and a straight up sorbet. Eggs are essentially there in ice cream to act as an emulsifier and to create a light custard so I wasn’t sure how my non egg ice cream was going  to work out. I started with 8 cups or so of Concord grapes, which I destemmed.  I made my grape juice concentrate by cooking down the grapes until just soft, cooling them, then pulsating them in a blender for a quick moment. I then ran them through a sieve to separate the seeds and the solids from the juice. After transferring the juice back to a pot, I added 1 cup of sugar and returned the grape juice to the low flame, while stirring constantly until the sugar was dissolved. I then cooled the grapes juice until luke warm and added two cups of heavy cream. Stir until blended. (Don’t worry if it does not look completely mixed, it will integrate fully later when it goes in the ice cream maker.) I put the mixture of cream and grape juice in the freezer in a metal bowl to chill. When it was completely cold after and hour or so, I poured it into the bowl of my Cuisinart ice cream maker and followed instructions. When the ice cream had formed I transferred it to a shallow container with a top and put it in the freezer to further set. It was a vibrant grape color and deliciously creamy, the texture seemed totally fine to me and the girls had no complaints in fact they could not eat enough of it!! So, was this an ice cream ? I am not sure. Most ice cream recipes tend to call for eggs, so does it technically count? Or was it something akin to frozen Concord grape cream? I really don’t know. I just know it was delicious.


I made the sorbet the same exact way with the exception of not using cream. I started with 8 cups of concord grapes, roughly two quarts. I destemmed the grapes and threw them all in a pot with 1 cup of water and the juice of half a lemon. I cooked them down until soft, mashing them a bit. When they seemed soft, I set them aside to cool. I then transferred them in two batches to the blender and gave them a quick pulse to chop them up a bit further. (This is just a quick pulse; you don’t want to chop the seeds to bits!) I then ran the puree through a sieve to separate the seeds and solids from the juice. I transferred the juice back to the pot on low heat and added one cup of sugar stirring constantly until the sugar was dissolved. I put the mixture into a metal bowl in the freezer to chill. When it was completely cool, I transferred the liquid to the Cuisinart ice cream maker and followed instructions. When the sorbet formed, I transferred it to a shallow container with a top and placed it in the freezer to set. The result was a very dark and juicy Concord sorbet.


If you are stickler and have the time, you can deseed the grapes before you cook them down. I don’t choose to do it that way.


Below is a recipe for a more traditional way of making an ice cream. For me cooking is about experimenting and inspiration I follow very few rules except when it comes to hardcore baking because no one likes a saggy cake!



 

Concord Grape Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup of milk

1 ¾ cups sugar cups

¼ cup water

8 cups concord grapes

4egg yolks

pinch of sea salt

 

Place the grapes in a large saucepan with ¼ cup water and cook over low heat until bubbling. Smash the grapes with a wooden spoon to break them up a bit.

When the grapes are soft. Cool, then place in a blender for a quick pulse to further break them up.

Strain the grape solids and seeds from the juice through a sieve and set the juice aside to cool.

 

 

 

In the meantime,

Combine the cream, milk  and half the sugar in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat.

 

In a separate bowl whisk the yolks with the other half of the sugar.

 

When the cream mixture is just heated, whisk a cup or thereabouts, 1/4 cup at a time, into the eggs until the sugar and cream is fully combined with the egg yolks and sugar. Transfer back to the pot and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly for a few minutes until the mixture has just thickened to a light custard

Combine the cooled grape juice and the custard until integrated. Don’t worry if it does not fully mix, it will later in the ice cream maker.

 

Pour into a large bowl and chill.

 

When the mixture has cooled completely. Transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker follow. Once the ice cream has formed, remove it from the ice cream maker and pack the ice cream into a shallow container with a top, and freeze for a few hours. Your ice cream is then ready!

ingredients for plum and grape tart


CONCORD_GRAPE_SPREAD_2.jpg


Concord grape Sorbet and ice Cream



CONCORD_GRAPE_3.jpg

cooking down the Concord grapes and running them through a sieve

 

 

CONCORD_GRAPE_SPREAD_4.jpg

Concord grape ice cream and sorbet 

 

grape over dye

My obsession this week is over dyed linen. It started last weekend when I needed a surface on which to shoot the heirloom apples. I was tired of everything in my house and it was a Sunday at 4pm. I wanted some burlap and thought perhaps Purl might have some. I found not burlap but something else instead. Pieces of over dyed linens from a company called Norden Crafts, in the most beautiful soft natural colors, with names like “straw”, "putty" and "blue jeans" who can resist that? So I bought a couple. This morning as I cleared away breakfast I thought how sad it was that there were a few straggler Concord grapes that were destined not to be eaten. It was then at that moment that I thought GRAPE LINEN! I threw the handful or so of the grapes into a small pot with about 2cups of water. I smashed them down a bit and soon the water was hot and a beautiful pale purple. I strained the grapes from the liquid and set that part aside to be discarded. I poured the watered down grape juice back into the pot. I had a piece of buckwheat colored linen that I wasn’t crazy about so I rashly threw it in the pot and tossed it about until it was completely covered with the grape liquid. The linen soaked up all the water and it was a fairly perfect ratio. (Could have been a disaster with that little water) If you were doing a larger piece you would of course have to amp up your ratios.

And so it is that I now have this beautiful little piece of grape linen. It is the small things in life that make me most happy.