“Peel me a grape, daw-ling.” That is almost what I was feeling as I was making these cute little appetizers. Each one is painstakingly coated with the goat cheese mixture, which is chilled and firm to begin with, and then gets sticky from the warmth of your fingers as you go along. If you are working alone, your sticky cheese-coated fingers get little pieces of pistachios stuck to them in the rolling process. So you have to wash your hands periodically and put the cheese back in the fridge to re-firm up. Of course, as a bonus, you can lick your fingers before washing them. Then, when the grapes are all coated, you get to drizzle honey over them, which invariably also gets on your fingers. But I must tell you, it is all worth it. Every sticky bit.
I was really lucky, because I had help with this sticky business. One person to apply the cheese; the other person to roll on the pistachios. And that person was Kim from Rustic Garden Bistro, who came for lunch one fine day last week. We made short work preparing these grapes and then we ate them all. Sweet, salty, crunchy and juicy. I had also made some Tomatillo Albondigas Soup and Corn Bread, which made a nice lunch. We finished with Vanilla Ice Cream, Sliced Bananas and Chopped Pecans drizzled with home-made Caramel Sauce. But the best part was talking to Kim about food and blogging. You know no one can have a conversation with a food blogger like another food blogger. I mean, who else would ooh and aw over your shelves of props and your drawer full of different kinds of rice. Plus, Kim brought me EGGS! Laid by her very own chickens. You can bet I am going to think up some very special dishes to showcase them. Thank you Kim!
P.S. If you make these and have some chopped pistachios left over, head to Lentil Breakdown and see Adair’s recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Apricots with Pistachios. Yum!
Pistachio & Goat Cheese Wrapped Grapes with Honey
Makes about 40 grapes
3 oz goat cheese (chevre), room temperature
1 ½ oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cup shelled salted pistachios
½ pound red or green seedless grapes (about 40)
Honey for drizzling, up to ¼ cup, to taste
Ground black pepper
Toothpicks or small bamboo skewers
1. Wash and dry grapes.
2. In small bowl, mix together the goat cheese and cream cheese. Refrigerate, covered, to firm up, ½ hour to 24 hours.
3. Chop the pistachios by hand to no bigger than 1/8-inch pieces or pulse in a mini-chopper. Place in a flat bowl.
4. Put about 2-3 teaspoons of cheese mixture on a grape, and push and pat it to form an even layer to cover. Your fingers will get messy.
5. Roll cheese covered grape in chopped pistachios, filling in bare spots with nut dust. Place on serving plate.
6. Drizzle honey over grapes and dust with black pepper. Insert toothpick in each grape. Serve.
Note: You can cover grapes with cheese 24 hours ahead of time, cover and refrigerate. Roll in nuts just before serving.