Saturday, October 11, 2008

October Book Giveaway: Green Black Red

Did you know that it's grape season? I didn't. Grapes are one of those fruits that always seem to be around. Like bananas. Even though apples are also available year round, most people associate them with fall, probably due to the popularity of apple pie and pick-your-own apple farms. But grapes don't really have an identifying season.

So, now that we know, we can make it a point to eat grapes when they're in season, and I have just the cookbook to help: Green Black Red: Recipes for cooking and enjoying California Grapes by Susan Volland. Most domestic grapes are indeed grown in California and are available July through December. In this very pretty book with lots of dreamy photos of grape-centric recipes, Volland provides ideas for drinks, appetizers, quick dishes, kid-friendly dishes and desserts. She also does a chapter of recipes for entertaining, and a chapter of "classic" recipes with a grape-y twist.

It's all very fresh, light, produce-focused food that has come to characterize California cuisine. I think Volland's green grape gazpacho looks lovely; the sauteed sweet potatoes with bacon, kale and grapes sounds like a perfect balance of good things; and her grape and Brie fritters are imaginative and casually elegant--very California.

What do you have to do to win? It's easy! But you must be located in the continental USA, so I can afford to mail your prize and still fund my Veuve Clicquot habit...kidding! Prosecco is much more affordable in these rough economic times. To enter the book giveaway follow these steps:

1) Leave a comment telling me your favorite fall dish made with seasonal produce, whether it's grapes, apples, cranberries, whatever. (I came up with this question for selfish reasons: I want to cook some new fall dishes and need inspiration!)

2) Tell me your name and where you live.

3) Leave your comment by Wednesday, October 15, at 8 pm eastern time. The winner will be selected at random and posted by Thursday, so check back to find out if it's you! Then email me your address so I can send your prize.

And remember, I'm giving away recently published cookbooks throughout October since it's my birthday month. So if you don't win this time, you'll have more chances to come. Good luck!

A copy of Green Black Red was generously provided by the the publisher, Chronicle Books.


Eva said...

1) Steamed kabocha pumpkin, then season with balsamic vinegar and cumin to taste! Wonderful treat.

2) I'm Eva and I currently live in Beltsville, Maryland (attending UMCP)

Chrissy said...

I love stuffing with cranberries- so yummy in the fall. Thanks!

West Chester, PA

jojo said...

I love pumpkin, pancakes, bread, muffins anything except pie!
My name is Joy and I live in Clemmons, NC

mrs.mommyy said...

love pumpkin bread, make stuffed apples- cinnamon apples, hmm yam fries....I used to make alot of pie but now I make pumpkin cheesecake- and muffins- apple cheesecake- I create as I go along and get ideas from recipes

where I am from well my name is sandy and I am from somewhere that is warm right now and cannot wait for it to get chilly out- hopefully snow this year so I am between California and Rhode Island- right now in MO working

Jess said...

Favorite fall dish - baked sweet potatoes. Simple and awesome.

I'm Jess, currently living in Renton, WA.

cdziuba said...

I'm Carol in Wayne, NJ, and my favorite seasonal dish is Butternut Squash Soup.

mverno said...

apple crisp with plenty of ice cream

agordon10 said...

adrienne in ohio
pumpkin cheesecake.

Tina12312 said...

My favorite is sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and pecans. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I can always use new recipes.

Deborah said...

My favorate autumn dish is a hearty soup made with sausage, cabbage, beans and veggies. It's filling, warming and real comfort food. I'm Deb and I live in Pennsboro, WV.

Shame Project said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juliette said...

Hello there! I'm Juliette from Boulder Creek, CA. When the Fall weather turns crisp and it's time to light the fire, I love to make hearty soups and homemade bread. My recent favorite is a version of a stew I learned to make when living in Southern France - Dried favas, ham, onion, and leeks in a rich chicken stock.

Milton said...

As the weather turns cool, out comes the big pot for hearty soups and stews made with the remaining harvest of vegetables and maybe some leftover meat, simmered for hours.

RecipeGirl said...

Hi Julie, Looks like a fun cookbook. I had no idea that this was the season for grapes, and hey... I live in California too!

I tried a dish recently for dinner that was just fabulouse: Roasted Double Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Sage Rub and Apple Pan Sauce. Definitely fall-ish and it turned out oh-so tender


idahomom said...

Baked Squash with Maple Syrup

kygirl said...

I love pumkin bread

Shannon said...

Shannon, currently in Florida, but forever from New England :)

Hmm it's a toss up between seasoned pumpkin puree (as a side dish, with garlic, butter, a little cinnamon, salt and pepper), or apple and sausage stuffing. I LOVE fall.

gkstratos said...

Cranberry relish!

Sunnyvale said...

I like adding grapes to my green salad, of course, pumpkin pie, easy with canned pumpkin, but tastier with fresh.

Anonymous said...


jffryclough said...

fresh cranberry sauce is big around here

LBirk said...

What a beautiful book!

Fall means roasting chunks of butternut squash with whole cippoline onions.

LBirk said...

San Antonio, Texas

rgk said...

Roger from GA though originally from upstate NY. Fall is the best, fresh tart apples with grapes and walnuts and some sweet cream. Apple salad, less sweet than ambrosia.

Luck said...

Cranberry spicy compote - makes me think of Thanksgiving. Thanks for the generous giveaway!


Andrew's Mom said...

Cranberry muffins with orange glaze. I'm Jenny and live on Long Island in New York.

skytoucher said...

I love Chicken Veronique, a classy French dish made with halved green grapes. Served with steamed rice and crusty French bread, this entree is the star of a party, or an intimate dinner for two. I live just outside Southern California's wine country (Temecula), where I have seen glimpses of the fall grape harvest. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Danielle from Chicago here!
This is a Tyler Florence recipe that I saw the other day and had to make it. It was fabulous. He said he's used this grape sauce for quail and duck as well but I did the stuffed pork chops. We're also not big polenta fans so I just made some garlic mashed potatoes and steamed up some green beans. I wish I could take credit for this least I know a good one when I see one.

Fontina and Prosciutto Stuffed Pork Chops with Grilled Polenta Squares and Roasted California Grapes

4 bone-in pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick
2 quarts water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
4 fresh thyme sprigs
10 cloves
6 allspice berries
8 slices (about 3 ounces) prosciutto
4 slices (about 3 ounces) fontina
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
1 pound California red grapes, on the vine and cut into 4 smaller clusters/bunches
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grilled Polenta Squares, recipe follows

Prepare the pork chops. Make a brine by combining the water, sugar, salt, thyme sprigs, clove and all-spice berries in a re-sealable bag. Add the pork chops, seal up the bag and put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Drain the pork chops and pat dry. Using a paring knife, make a horizontal cut into the center of each chop to make a pocket. Stuff a slice of fontina and prosciutto inside each pocket and secure with a toothpick. Set 2 large cast iron skillets over medium-high heat and add a 2-count of extra-virgin olive oil to each skillet. Add 2 chops to each of the skillets and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until golden. Turn chops, push to 1 side and set grape clusters in pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper before putting the pans in the oven. Roast chops for 5 to 7 minutes until cooked through and cheese has melted. Remove from oven when done and set chops and clusters of roasted grapes aside on a plate - keep warm.

Consolidate juices into 1 pan and set over medium heat. Add a splash of chicken stock to the pan, scraping the bottom to extract all the flavors. Fold in cold butter while whisking to thicken sauce. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, set 1 pork chop on each plate on top of a Grilled Polenta Square, garnish with a cluster of roasted grapes and drizzle with pan sauce. Set a stack of hydroponic watercress to 1 side and serve.

Grilled Polenta Squares:
8 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups polenta/yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Fresh cracked black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal in a slow steady stream. Lower heat and continue to whisk until the polenta is thick and smooth, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and butter and continue to stir until incorporated. Remove from heat; fold in Parmesan and black pepper. Pour the polenta into a buttered 9 by 13-inch shallow baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula. Cover and chill a few hours. Cut the polenta into squares. Brush both sides with olive oil and transfer to a hot grill. Grill on both sides until golden brown.

ttfn300 said...

no idea there was a grape season... just figured they could grow year-round in CA :)

my fav fall dish?!? that's a hard one, i love everything apples and pumpkin, but I adored the delicata risotto i made a few weeks ago!

(shannon in boston)

janehixon said...

roasted root vegetables....always wonderful, eggplant parmesan, spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and pumpkin bread......

Jane - Minneapolis, MN

Emily said...

Favorite fall dish: pumpkin bread with pecans and mini chocolate chips

I'm Emily from Arlington, Va.

pintolinda said...

I like a tri-tip roast with roasted root vegtables.
San Jose, CA

Jada Ach said...

Pear & thyme tarts are my FAVORITE fall treats! And I must not forget wassail and mulled cider...yum! You can't go wrong with any combination of these wassail ingredients: apple cider, rum or whiskey, whole cloves, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, and a dash of red wine.

-Jada from Coastal NC

Anonymous said...

I like slow cooked sauerkraut and sausage.

kamewh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kamewh said...

I love making a simple apple crisp :)

Not completely a fall recipe, but here is an absolutely delicious recipe for Grape Salad:

2 lbs green seedless grapes
2 lbs red seedless grapes
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, to taste

Topping Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar, packed, to taste
1 cup crushed pecans, to taste

1 Wash and stem grapes.
2 Set aside.
3 Mix sour cream, cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla by hand until blended.
4 Stir grapes into mixture, and pour in large serving bowl.
5 For topping: Combine brown sugar, and crushed pecans.
6 Sprinkle over top of grapes to cover completely.
7 Chill overnight.

(orginally found on recipezaar -

My name is Kam and I am from Wisconsin :)

bfox74 said...

I love freshly made hot apple cider!

Hillary said...

I'm Hillary and I'm from Deerfield, IL.

I would have to say some of my favorite thing to eat in the fall are cranberry sauce during Thanksgiving and anything made with butternut squash. I discovered this new dish recently. It's a butternut squash risotto. You should try it out!

Thumbelina said...

easy. Hands down pumpkin pie. years ago, I was chosen to do a taste test and I had to make two pumpkin pies with 2 different pie shells, the company gave me all the ingredients to make pies A & B. Well ,the recipe was so delicious, I've kept it all these years and ever fall I make the pumpkin pies.

Anonymous said...

Apples baked with cinnamon and butter.

Hilary @

Darcy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

I love my cranberry jam thumbprint cookies in October. Bacon-wrapped roast chicken is also an autumn dish in our house. Both recipes fill our house with delicious, cozy scents!

Sarah from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

cheapvegan said...

My name is Marlene and I live in Independence, KS.

My favorite fall dish to make is Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup. Puree baked squash, sauteed onion and garlic, and chipotle peppers in sauce with some veggie broth and you have a filling, tongue pleasing, autumnal meal!

Anonymous said...

I love to make whole cranberry sauce. My kids eat it like crazy!
Elizabeth in Mi

kaylee8 said...

My favorite is Apple Brown Betty using my Grandmother's recipe!

wil and jeannette said...

We have a ton of grapes growing over are southern exposed pergola. Every year there is more and they get sweeter.
favorite fall recipe is roasted pork with saurkraut

Topher said...

its not that creative but I looooove an apple crisp with a thick layer of streusal topping in the fall.

zekks at

Rita M said...

Hi, my name is Rita and I live in central California. I usually make Pumpkin Nut Bread every year during the Fall, but this past week I discovered fresh cranberries... and I just found a great recipe for Cranberry Orange Bread, so I'll be baking tonight!

Anonymous said...

Apple Pie!

chromiumman said...

fresh cranberry sauce

AICORP said...

Ed from Massachusetts.

Favorite Fall dish can't be anything other than a mile-high apple pie

judybrittle said...

Apple Crisp is my favorite fall food.
Also cobbler,pie,dumplings,muffins.
My name is Judy and I live in Royal Oak,Mi.

Helen said...

I love roasted pumpkin soup!

Peggy said...

I love making food with pumpkins and apples,my favorite is pie and the kids love my breads and pie.
Pumpkin bread with apples and walnuts. I can taste it now.
I'm Peggy from Preston,Ct

elsmarlouamrman said...

I have a recipe for grape pie, usually concord grapes. Very rich, and good. Thanks for this chance.

arvard said...

The cranberry orange bread sounds really good and healthy.

klp1965 said...

i love homemade pumpkin pie with GOBS of whipped cream :)

bev said...

Since I live in a state where we grow lots of apples, I would have to say it's apple pie. Just love it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.Thanks for having the contest!

Betty C said...

It's a toss up between apple crisp and Waldorf salad. Fresh fall apples are just the best.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

That book reminded me of an estate in our area that planted a vinyard on its front and back lawns a few years ago. It is right next to a river. Too bad it is private, I would love to taste those grapes.
I'm Susan from New Jersey, and at this time of year, the giant le creuset comes out and I make roast chicken on root vegetables. Basically, it is a roaster set on a bed of potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnip, onions and lots of garlic cloves. Besides the usual salt, pepper, olive oil in bottom of pan, I throw in some fresh rosemary and about 3/4 bottle of chardonnay. (I like a strong chardonnay for this, and if you email, I will tell you which one, but I hate going into the liquor store and having to ask for it..its embarrassing.)

Jinxy and Me said...

I love pumpkin muffins!

lilyk said...

I love baked apples sprinkled with cinnamon!

Samantha P said...

watergate salad with pineapple, mmmm

calgirl said...

I make orange cranberry muffins and squash bisque.

Terry said...

Any sort of pie made from fresh seasonal fruit is great. I found one called "peachberry pie" last summer at a roadside produce store near Strasburg, Virginia. It is filled with peach slices, cherries and blueberries. However, the meanies who run that store won't give me the recipe! :-(

Bethesda, Maryland

Terry said...

By the way, forgot to say --- Happy Birth Month! (Mine is October, too, . . . the 28th.)

fancyfeet48 said...

Looks like a fun cookbook

Anonymous said...

I love stuffing.