2017-11-01 / Entertainment

Excellent Entertaining: Elegant Ideas for a Meal Worth Celebrating


Delighting guests in unexpected ways is the hallmark of exceptional entertaining. With a little creative flair, you can elevate your menu to impress guests with every course.

A savory appetizer is set off beautifully by fresh, sweet grapes in this Grape and Goat Cheese Crostini. Festive, bright and refreshing, grapes are a versatile ingredient that take dishes to the next level, making them ideal for special occasions.

Not only are grapes a smart choice to keep on hand for healthy snacking and everyday eating, the vibrant colors and flavors bring extra life to a basic protein. For a unique twist on a main dish, try dressing up chicken with an elegant addition like fresh grapes, as in these Seared Chicken Breasts with Grapes and Artichokes.

The secret to a winning dessert is presentation, and the vibrant colors of red, green or black grapes lend just the right look to these tasty Mini Pavlovas with Lemon Cream and Grapes. What’s more, the juicy sweetness offsets the tartness of the lemon for an explosion of flavor perfection.

Plan your next special occasion with the host of recipes at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.

Grape and Goat Cheese Crostini

Serves: 8
2 cups quartered green, black or
red California grapes (or a
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
16 baguette slices, thinly cut on
8 ounces fresh goat cheese
In medium bowl, combine grapes, lemon
juice, honey, thyme, salt, pepper and olive
oil. Spread each baguette with goat cheese
and top with grape mixture.
Nutritional information per serving: 200
calories; 9 g protein; 23 g carbohydrates;
8 g fat (36 percent calories from fat); 4.5
g saturated fat (20 percent calories from
saturated fat); 15 mg cholesterol; 340 mg
sodium; 1 g fiber.

Seared Chicken Breasts with Grapes and Artichokes

Serves: 4
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
(8 ounces each), butterflied
lengthwise into 4 cutlets
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, white part only, halved and
thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
1 1/2 cups quartered artichoke hearts,
frozen, canned or jarred
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons butter
3/4 cup green California grapes
3/4 cup red California grapes

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf
Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper,
to taste. In saute pan over medium-high
heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add
chicken breasts and sear 3-4 minutes per
side. Remove chicken and set aside.
Add remaining olive oil to pan, along
with garlic, leek and pinch of salt; cook on
medium heat 2-3 minutes to soften leek. Stir
in oregano, artichokes, wine, chicken stock,
lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Simmer
2-3 minutes then add chicken back to pan,
basting each breast with sauce. Add grapes
and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until grapes are
just soft and chicken is cooked through.
Stir in fresh parsley and serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 320
calories; 26 g protein; 23 g carbohydrates;
12 g fat (34 percent calories from fat); 3
g saturated fat (8 percent calories from
saturated fat); 70 mg cholesterol; 390 mg
sodium; 5 g fiber.

Mini Pavlovas with Lemon Cream and Grapes

Serves: 6
4 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup heavy whipping
1/3 cup lemon curd
1 1/2 cups halved California
chopped smoked or
tamari almonds
Heat oven to 350 F. Line baking
sheet with parchment paper.
With electric mixer on medium
speed, in large bowl, beat egg
whites and salt until firm peaks
form. On low speed, add sugar

1 tablespoon at a time until
meringue forms stiff peaks.
Whisk in cornstarch and vanilla.
Divide meringue into six 4-inch
circles on baking sheet. With
large spoon, make indentations in
middle of each. Place baking sheet
in oven and lower temperature to
300 F. Bake 30 minutes then turn
off oven and leave baking sheet
inside another 30 minutes. To
serve, whip cream to soft peaks
and stir in lemon curd. Dollop onto
meringues and top with grapes.
Garnish with almonds, if desired.
Nutritional information per
serving: 350 calories; 4 g protein;
58 g carbohydrates; 12 g fat (31
percent calories from fat); 8 g
saturated fat (20 percent calories
from saturated fat); 55 mg
cholesterol; 90 mg sodium.

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