Best Grape Salad
Start to finish: 10 minutes
2 pounds green seedless grapes
2 pounds red seedless grapes
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, to taste
1 cup brown sugar, packed, to taste
1 cup crushed pecans, to taste
graham crackers, crumbled, to taste
Wash and stem grapes. Set aside.
Mix sour cream, cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla by hand until blended. Stir grapes into mixture, and pour into a large serving bowl.
For topping, combine brown sugar and crushed pecans. Sprinkle over top of grapes along with crumbled graham crackers to cover completely. Chill overnight.
(Recipe adapted from food.com.)
New Year’s Eve is usually a late night for my friends and me, and breakfast time is gone with the sunrise when we awake around mid-morning. Brunch, then, is the perfect meal to ring in the new year. A combination of breakfast and lunch typically eaten by 3 p.m., brunch originated in England in the late 1800s and became popular in the United States in the 1930s.
Mornings and I have been butting heads since 1983 — the year I came into the world. That’s why brunch is quite possibly the best concept ever. It’s a meal I often enjoy when I’m off from work, either while traveling, during the holidays or on vacation. I love everything about it. The idea that sleeping in is perfectly acceptable and the ease of drinking coffee near afternoon all feels a bit devious but oh so good. There’s something about the pleasure of indulging in miniature blueberry muffins and bites of bacon-wrapped shrimp on the same plate complimented by a cold mimosa or bloody mary that’s laid back and unpretentious. Whether you dine out for brunch or make it at home, it’s just the right ticket to bring the busy holiday season to a close and welcome a brand new year.
This year, I’m saying hello to 2014 with an exciting brunch menu at home and a few great friends. Featuring sweet potato biscuits with country ham and local honey, grape salad (a new favorite), cheese straws and mimosas, I look forward to a relaxed day of reflection and a wonderful time to celebrate renewed hope. If you enjoy cooking and entertaining, I encourage you to create a menu with some of your favorite foods, too, and join the fun. If you’re more interested in eating out for brunch, try Sugar Magnolia Bakery & Café in town. Although they’re closed on New Year’s Day, they’ve got biscuits to die for, and the blueberry French toast is my go-to menu choice.
Now, about that grape salad. A cold, creamy and crunchy side dish that’s sweet and addictive, it’s made with cream cheese and sour cream, and the crunch from the Georgia pecans and graham crackers creates a satisfying texture. Aside from wine, grapes have never been used for anything better! I’ll provide the recipe, and I hope you’ll try it.
The first day of the year signifies a fresh start, a clean slate and a new beginning. It’s a wonderful time to set goals and reflect on years past. I don’t know if eating greens on Jan. 1 will bring you more money throughout the year or if eating black-eyed peas will bring better luck. What I do know is good food enjoyed in moderation with good people is a great blessing, and that’s a New Year’s resolution worth keeping.
Have a happy new year!
Rebekah Faulk is a local food writer and blogger at Some Kinda Good, a Southern, coastal food blog highlighting East coast restaurant reviews and Lowcountry-inspired recipes. Email her at SKGFoodBlog@gmail.com.