I tasted the most delicious dark red grapes the other day, and was told that I
had better buy them quickly, because they’ll just be in season for another week
or two. Crisp, sweet, seedless and with an easy-to-chew peel, these dark
beauties are called “Sable” grapes, and they should be available in most
supermarkets. This is also a time to remind readers that the darker and deeper
colors are in nature, the higher the amounts of healthy antioxidants they
contain in their pigments.
Grapes are not only healthy. They’re part of
our heritage. Third in the list of the biblical Seven Species, grapes are the
only fruit that have their own special blessing, and when you think of it, they
play an integral part in the celebration of Shabbat and every religious
To our ancestors the grapevine symbolized security and
well-being, peace, quiet and abundance, and they preferred imbibing wine to
water (and often, it was probably safer). Both grape juice and wine vinegars
were beverages as well as seasonings, and iron-rich grapes were important for
consumption throughout the year. Even the vine leaves could be utilized – for
pickling and stuffing.
Chilled grapes are a particularly refreshing
snack, and together with a hearty bread, (goat) cheese and some cut-up
vegetables, make a delicious light summer lunch. Kids love them frozen, and
sliced or whole, they are a colorful addition to salads – like the two
QUINOA SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE VINAIGRETTE
For guests, I like to
serve this salad on a bed of two sauces (recipes follow), though it also tastes
very good without.
✔ 2 medium eggplants (about 800 gr.)
✔ 21⁄2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
✔ Salt and pepper to taste
✔ 1 cup red quinoa
✔ 11⁄4 cups water
✔ 11⁄2 cups grapes, halved
cup red onion, finely chopped
✔ 2 medium mushrooms, cut into quarters and sliced
✔ 3 Tbsp. basil, cut into strips
✔ 1⁄4 cup olive oil
✔ 2 Tbsp.
unsweetened pomegranate molasses
✔ 2 garlic cloves, crushed
✔ Salt and pepper to
Make the vinaigrette dressing by shaking all the ingredients for the
dressing together in a jar. Set aside.
Make eggplant sauce: Place each
eggplant in a separate piece of aluminum foil (preferably the recycled kind
found at health food stores) and season with salt and pepper and a little olive
Close the foil to form packages and bake at 170 degrees for 30
minutes till tender. Slice the eggplants down the center and remove the contents
with a spoon. Pulverize in a food processor or blender with 4 teaspoons olive
oil, salt and pepper.
Make tomato sauce: Grind the
peeled tomatoes till smooth. Add 4 teaspoons olive oil and salt and pepper, and
set this sauce aside as well . (This and eggplant sauce may be prepared ahead
Rinse quinoa in a fine wire mesh sieve and add the
water and a pinch of salt.
Bring to a boil, cover and cook 10
Remove from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Mix with
a fork, and add the rest of the ingredients for the salad including the
Serve on individual salad plates like this: Using a tablespoon,
make a half moon of eggplant sauce on one side of each plate, and a half moon of
the tomato sauce on the other side. Measure a third to a half cup of the quinoa
mixture in a measuring cup and turn it over in the center of each plate, and
POACHED CHICKEN & RED GRAPE SALAD WITH HONEY-MUSTARD
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side salad
✔ 2 butterflied
boneless chicken breasts
✔ 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
✔ 2 whole allspice
✔ 1⁄4 tsp.
✔ 1 parsley sprig
✔ 1⁄2 cup sliced celery
✔ 3⁄4 cup halved red
✔ 1⁄3 cup pecan halves
✔ 4 cups mixed red and green lettuces
✔ 1 Tbsp. minced shallots
✔ 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
✔ 1 Tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard
✔ 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Cut each
breast in half lengthwise. Pour enough water into a large skillet to reach 5
Add wine, bay leaf, allspice, peppercorn and whole parsley sprig, and
bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook 5 minutes. Add the chicken breasts in one
They should be covered by the liquid. If not, add boiling water to
cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat and remove from heat. Let stand for 5-10
minutes (the chicken breasts should be ready. If not, cook them on low heat
Cool chicken breasts and cut into pieces or shred. Mix with
the celery and grapes.
Put the lettuces in a large salad bowl or on a
serving platter and place the chicken and grape mixture on top.
the dressing: Put the ingredients for the dressing in the blender, except for
the olive oil.
Slowly add the oil with the machine running (keep the top
partially on, or pour through an opening in the cover), or whisk the ingredients
for the dressing until emulsified. Pour just enough dressing over the salad to
moisten it, and pass the rest.
(Dressing may be kept in a covered
container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)