Grape

Here’s the Wild Things Roundup for August, written by the lovely Butter Powered Bike (forager extraordinaire). Enjoy! 

Photo by Kyra Evers

I had thought that when Beks, of Cauldrons and Crockpots, and I chose grape as Wild Thing’s featured herb for the month of August that we’d get endless purple grape recipes – jellies and the like.  Strangely enough, that wasn’t the case.  This may be a good thing, as grapes play a role in my worst ever kitchen disaster.  One year, I boiled over an enormous pan of grape jelly.  There was purple goo everywhere, under the hobs, between the stove and the counter, on the floor, on the ceiling, on the cat.  Whew, I’m still scarred.

We’re please to bring you the round up of recipes for August.  We received some some really innovative contributions, as well as a few classics.  Enjoy!

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Have you tried making dill pickles at home, and had them come out mushy?  One of the great secrets of the pickling world is that adding a few grape leaves will help assure they stay crispy crunchy yummy.  Penniless Parenting is in on the secret, and has shared her recipe.

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Wine making is a family tradition in the Penniless Parenting household, and this time, she’s gotten her little ones in on the action.  Don’t think that making wine needs to be the sole territory of industry and wine snobs.  It can be a fun family project.

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Hank Shaw, author of the book Hunt, Gather, Cook took advantage of unripe green grapes to make verjus.  The juice from unripe grapes lends a gentle acidity to recipes, and has the great advantage of not clashing with wine, as vinegar would.

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What could be more traditional or delicious than stuffed grape leaves.  The Chef in my Head has written a great tutorial, including pictures for each step.  See just how easy making stuffed grape leaves can be.

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I’m willing to bet that you’re like me, and never even once thought to put grape leaves into a smoothie. Rawdawg Rory’s strawberry-banana grape leaf smoothie is an inventive and economical (remember, forage is free!) treat.

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One of the things that I love about stuffed grape leaves recipes is that everyone has their own take on the recipe, their own special spices and traditions.  This recipe from Artemis Botanicals includes the mouthwatering combination of fennel, coriander, and preserved lemons.

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My girl Beks, of Cauldrons and Crockpots knocked it out of the park with her recipe forgrilled chicken with grape leaf salsa verde.  This sauce looks mouthwatering on chicken, but it’s tart refreshing flavor could pair well with a number of recipes.

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I made some stuffed grapes leaves as well, trying a few unusual flavor combinations – chorizo, purslane, rice and cheddar – refritos, roasted poblano chiles, and queso fresco – and “local sushi” with cucumber, trout, and spicy mayo.  So fun playing with the lemony grape leaves as wraps.

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I also took a cue from Hank’s verjus, and whipped up a quick green (unripe) grape salad dressing.  I’m not a big salad person, but I’ve gotta say this may be my favorite salad dressing.  It is tart and fruity, without being overwhelmingly acidic.

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