I love appetizers that capture the eyes. In fact, this is the course that I like the most. There's nothing more enjoyable than creating finger foods, putting together leftover ingredients and just experimenting with flavors.
On warm months, we usually stay outdoors in a bar across the road to a big playground enjoying a late afternoon aperitivo (aperitif) with a big spread of finger foods and little bowls of various concoctions. We take it as an opportunity to teach our son to cross the road responsibly towards the playground and back to us. More than once, he asked me to prepare a whole cocktail spread at home. I balked at the idea of creating myriad little plates of food. It seemed like a herculean task because I also had to think of dinner too and a baby who cannot detach herself from me. But when our baby started to take interest in zooming along with his brother to the playground too, it was time to pack up the idea of sitting down in an outdoor bar. The time to recreate it at home had to commence.
When I first prepared my appetizer spread, I made it as a surprise for my son. It wasn't easy to keep it a secret because he kept on popping in the kitchen and doing his little investigation. He was wide-eyed and so happy when he saw the kitchen table full of finger foods. I was so gratified by my son's enjoyment in taking his aperitivo with us. He also took in the part of engaging in small talks while he sipped his non-alcoholic cocktail drink. I had to pinch myself to see if I was really speaking with a five-year old instead of an older person. I did it again, and again, and again. What really motivates me is that a five-year old is so appreciative of having cocktails with his parents. Give it a few more years and we will lose him to his friends.
I encountered this recipe called bocconcini di uva al formaggio e pistacchi from Giallo Zafferano while browsing for some appetizer ideas to serve on Easter lunch at home. The balls looked great in the pictures and the recipe was easy to follow. This also solves the leftover grape problem because another appetizer I had thought of preparing also uses grapes. Four ingredients and a simple procedure are all you need to create these good looking grape balls covered with pistachios. When you pop it in your mouth, you almost don't realize that there's a grape right in the heart of it because the pistachios dominate the taste and the gorgonzola seconds it.
Grapes Dipped in Gorgonzola & Pistachios
- 20 grapes
- 80 g. gorgonzola dolce (creamy & mild gorgonzola)
- 80 g. cream cheese (I used Philadelphia.)
- 80 g. toasted & salted pistachios, ground
- Wash & dry grapes with a kitchen towel. Set aside.
- In a bowl, mix gorgonzola and cream cheese until homogenous. Set aside.
- Crush pistachios in a food chopper or food processor. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
- Dip dry grapes in the cheese mixture. Make it thick because the cheese mixture gets thin in the fridge. Coat with crushed pistachios by rolling it in the bowl.
- Put the balls in a covered container in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.