Bite Of Minnesota: Roasted Grapes & Sweet Potatoes

In a recent job interview I was asked a couple of thought-provoking questions about my cooking style. While I was quite prepared for those questions and answered them adequately, I couldn’t help but ponder my answers throughout the following weeks in an effort to learn more about myself.

Sometimes I make unhealthy stuff like baked macaroni and cheese, but I add tomatoes to it for a little bit of brightness. Other times I make traditional food like deviled eggs and add sautéed onions, apples, and herbs to switch up the filling. I also make a lot of salads because ingredients like grilled peaches, roasted corn, and massaged kale are a great way to add variety to a normally boring dish. I may not have one single approach to cooking, but I do believe that variety is the spice of life and that comes through in my cooking as well as my daily activities.

Take the average sweet potato; it is not so exciting on its own and usually has limited ways of preparation: fried, baked, mashed, or covered in marshmallows and pecans. Now think about grapes; there’s only one way I eat grapes – straight from the fridge and raw. Imagine if these two standard ingredients met goat cheese and honey. I think it would look something like this:

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

Thanks to my habit of “reading the internet” (as my husband commonly calls my online research), I came across the idea of roasting grapes and fell in love with the amazing flavor profile. As you can imagine, they taste like raisins and I encourage anyone with kids to roast grapes immediately for snacktime. Yum!

To take it a step further, here’s a recipe from a lovely blog, How Sweet It Is, pairing roasted grapes with sweet potatoes, goat cheese, and honey. These would be so fun to make for a holiday dinner.

Roasted Grape + Goat Cheese + Honey Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
(from How Sweet It Is blog)
makes 4 potatoes

4 sweet potatoes
2 cups red, seedless grapes
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil (or another high heat oil)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons honey + additional for drizzling
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Poke holes in sweet potato with a fork, then wrap each tightly in aluminum foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until potatoes and tender to the touch. Unwrap foil and cut a slit down the middle of each sweet potato. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Lay grapes on a nonstick baking sheet and drizzle with grapeseed oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until grapes begin to burst. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Once sweet potatoes are somewhat cool, gently remove the flesh with a spoon, trying to keep the potato intact. Add the sweet potato to a large bowl, then mash with 3 ounces of goat cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and honey. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired, then scoop flash back into the potato skins. At this point you can re-warm the potatoes (if you let them cool completely) in the oven, then top with remaining goat cheese. Add grapes on top and serve with additional drizzled honey.

More from Crystal Grobe

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