Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

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  • RECIPE: Creamy Grape Salad

    August 6, 2015

    RECIPE:  Creamy Grape Salad

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    I am totally obsessed with this salad! It is so delicious, refreshing and extremely easy to make. I have made it twice in 2 weeks changing it up a little each time. I was afraid that the halved grapes would release their juice and make the salad soggy, but it held up very well, even with apple and lemon juice added. Both times I made it, I kept some in the refrigerator for at least a week with no problems.

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    Creamy Grape Salad

    2 pounds table grapes, preferably mixed colors
    1 apple, any firm variety
    1 C sour cream, at room temperature
    1 C cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/3 C sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/2 tsp lemon juice
    Pinch of salt

    Some notes before we get started:

    GRAPES: you want sweet, seedless “table grapes”. Table grapes are grapes meant to be eaten fresh. You can use all one variety of grapes or a mixture. I like a mixture because they all taste slightly different and the different sizes and colors make for a more visually appealing dish. You can cut them in half or leave them whole. I like to halve them because they’re easier to eat. And, because I’m obsessed with using the between-2-lids method of cutting them. Also, if one of your grape varieties is less sweet you can make sure you get half of a sweeter one with it on your spoon.

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    APPLE: I don’t even know what variety the one I used was. You just need one that is firm not mealy. Unless you like mealy…? Does anyone like mealy apples? Anyway, you can peel it or not. I chose not to and it was fine.

    SOUR CREAM / CREAM CHEESE: I used full fat dairy with as few ingredients as possible. You can use lower fat but I don’t know if it would hold up as well. You could probably use Greek yogurt, but I haven’t tried it. With this batch I used half sour cream & half cream cheese. I made it before with all sour cream, which I prefer, and will probably continue to do all sour cream in the future. Make sure your dairy ingredients are at room temperature for easier mixing.

    SUGAR: I used dark brown sugar, but you could use white, light brown or a substitute. And, unlike me, make sure your brown sugar doesn’t have clumps before you try and blend it in. I had to grab a fork and try and find all the clumps in the dressing to break them up.

    LEMON JUICE: I threw this in spontaneously since I was juicing them for another dish and had some left over. And, since I had decided to throw in the chopped apple, lemon seemed like a good idea to help prevent browning.

    SALT: Why salt? Habit. I always add a pinch of salt to sweet dishes to enhance flavors.

    GARNISH & OPTIONS: I garnished the salad with a toasted minced coconut. Toasted pecans or walnuts would also be great. Had I noticed the orange in the fruit bowl sooner, I would have added orange zest to the salad and substituted orange juice for the lemon juice. I think the next time I make this salad, I will leave out both the apple and the citrus juice, but include either lemon or orange zest…or chop and add some of the candied orange peels I happen to have in the pantry. Or add some fresh herbs. I have spearmint, lemon verbena and pineapple sage in my herb garden, and I plan on trying each of them in this salad at some point.

    Okay, now on to the method:

    1. Wash grapes, remove them from stems, discard any rotten grapes, pat them dry with paper towels or a kitchen towel, or let them drip dry in a colander.

    2. Make dressing by whisking last 6 ingredients in a salad bowl until well combined and smooth. Again, watch out for clumps if using brown sugar.

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    3. Wash and dry or peel apple. Core and cut into bite-sized cubes. Add to dressing and stir to coat. This will help prevent the apples browning.

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    4. Cut the grapes in half and add to the salad bowl. The easiest method I’ve seen for cutting a lot of grapes quickly is the “between-2-lids” method pictured above. Or, add uncut grapes if you prefer. Stir to coat all of the fruit.

    This salad can be served immediately, or covered & refrigerated for up to a week. You may need to give it a stir before serving to redistribute the dressing. This salad is especially refreshing cold right out of the refrigerator on a hot day.



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    Author Bio
    Cindy Moore
    Cindy Moore

    Hi, Cindy Moore here. Colleen and I have been friends since we worked together while she was writing Tiger’s Curse. I'm a very creative person and a great problem solver. I love to cook, read, craft, and research random things. I love logic and information and hate not knowing the answer to any given question. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, which is sometimes good, sometimes bad. I love DIY and re-purposing things from their intended use.

    How much do I love information and answers? To the extent that I make lists on my phone of things to Google when I have a few minutes with nothing better to do. (Or, more likely, when I'm procrastinating about something I should be doing instead.) Every new thing I learn leads me to about a gazillion more cool new things. SQUIRREL!!! I love sharing new information and ideas with people. You can imagine what a dangerous place the internet is to me in my efforts to be more productive.

    I’ve been cooking since I was a kid and am a Foodie with no formal training but a large cookbook collection and internet access. I am a very picky eater due to some food sensitivities, but I love trying new foods and recipes, so I put my creativity and problem solving skills to good use while adapting recipes to my own personal tastes. I love shopping for exotic ingredients in specialty markets and online and probably have at least 12 different kinds of salt in my kitchen right now…none of which is plain iodized table salt. Given a choice I would always chose an ethnic dish over something like burgers or pizza. Asian cuisines, especially Thai and Vietnamese, are my favorites. I am totally addicted to Thai salad rolls and pork lettuce wraps.

    I’ve made a commitment to myself to reduce the chemicals and unnecessary or harmful ingredients that are in my food, bath and body products, or household cleaning products. I also I tend to think “why buy it if I can make it myself”.

    I love making jewelry, especially with natural materials like stones and fresh water pearls. Dangly earrings are my favorite jewelry item to make.

    I’m not really clear on the concept of “moderation”, nor apparently is Colleen. Nowhere is this more evident than when Colleen and I get together for our marathon holiday bakeathons. We tend to overdo things…slightly.

    All of these interests…”character flaws”?...will influence the kinds of blog posts you see from me.