Appetizers - Gold and red, lightly pickled beets cut in stars, flowers and hearts with mint garnish - stacked and standing upright atop jumbo green grapes. Garnish - crispy roasted Brussels sprouts leaves and walnuts scattered around the fruit & veggie stacks. Sitting on handmade blue pottery plate.

Appetizers – Gold and red, lightly pickled beets cut in stars, flowers and hearts with mint garnish – stacked and standing upright atop jumbo green grapes. Garnish – crispy roasted Brussels sprouts leaves tossed in lemon zest, lemon juice and walnuts scattered around the fruit & veggie stacks.

 

Whimsical little fruit & veggie appetizer delicacies for the holidays! Lightly pickled beets with sprigs of mint and dill stacked and free standing on giant grapes, plus gold beets blushed with pink that look like little peaches. Garnish with crispy Brussels sprouts leaves seasoned with lemon zest, lemon juice and walnuts.

I’d been wondering what to make for holiday appies – and then it came to me. Come mid December what will be the most welcome treat at a party? Veggies. Really.

Sweets, fat and salt are delicious and it is absolutely wonderful to go into full out indulgence mode over the holidays. But every once in awhile in between gifts of chocolates and home-baked, heirloom recipe goodies, you start to crave a little green. I’d read a magazine about decorative desserts, and how they are real art. So why do sugar artists get to have all the fun? Who says veggies have to be just for health? Come on people. Let’s get in on the party! Veggie delights – little bundles of fruit & veggie appetizers you can pop in your mouth in between conversations and sips of your favourite beverage.

Row of gold and red, lightly pickled beet appetizers cut in stars, flowers and hearts with dill garnish - stacked and standing upright atop jumbo green grapes. Sitting on handmade pottery dish.

Gold and red, lightly pickled beet appetizers cut in stars, flowers and hearts with dill garnish – stacked and standing upright on jumbo green grapes

The Recipes

Pickled Beet & Grapes Appetizer bites
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Lightly pickled beets in gold and red cut into pretty little shapes, stacked and free-standing atop giant green grapes.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Fun
Ingredients
  • 4 medium yellow beets
  • 4 medium red beets
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (Ratio of vinegar to maple syrup is 4 to 1.)
  • Jumbo grapes
  • Toothpicks
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place beets in single layer in baking dishes. Cook yellow beets and red beets in separate dishes. Pour water in each dish up to your first knuckle, and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes until a sharp knife inserts easily into the beets and they are fragrant. If larger beets are still too firm, then remove the smaller beets from the pan and return the larger beets for 15 more minutes.
  2. Let the beets cool. Keep yellow beets and red beets separate. Scrape off off skin with dull knife. Slice beets into thick, even slices. Cut into shapes with mini cookie cutters. Place shapes in two bowls separated by yellow or red colour. Drizzle each bowl with vinegar mixture and toss gently several times over 30 minutes.
  3. Remove beet shapes from vinegar. Lay on paper towels to blot excess liquid and cover with another paper towel.
  4. Cut the bottom off the end of jumbo grapes. Place grape flat side down on dish to use as a stand, and pierce with toothpick. The top of the toothpick will stick out. Spear one red beet shape and one yellow beet shape on top of each grape.
  5. Cover and store in fridge if making up to the day ahead of your event. (Beets are quite forgiving and last for a few days, covered in the fridge, whether pickled or not. But grapes get old fast.)
Notes
The problem with cutting shapes is what do you do with the odd-shaped scraps? Slow roasted beets are absolutely delicious. Heat the oven to 225 F. Cut beet scraps into even thickness, approx. ½ inch thick. Roast on parchment lined backing sheet for 2 hours, checking after 1½ hours. --The irregular pieces won't cook evenly so you might need to remove some from the pan and return the rest to the oven.
Gold & red pickled beets cut into pretty little shapes, hearts, flowers, stars. Sitting in vintage glass pyrex dishes - one red, the other gold - over blue-grey-gold background.

Lightly pickled gold and red beets in cut in pretty little shapes – stars, flowers, hearts

 

Crispy Brussels Sprouts Leaves with Lemon & Walnut
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Crispy, fragrant Brussels sprouts leaves roasted with lemon zest, lemon juice and waltnuts.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegetarian Snack
Ingredients
  • * ½ lb (227 g) pound Brussels sprouts, leaves only (from 1 lb (454 g) of whole Brussels sprouts)
  • * 1 tbsp olive oil
  • * 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • * 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • * ¼ c walnuts, chopped fine
  • * ¼ tsp kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Place Brussels sprout leaves in a large bowl. Stir the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour the lemon mixture over the Brussels sprouts leaves and toss to coat.
  3. Lay leaves in single layer, cup side up, on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Roast one pan at a time for 10 minutes in middle of oven until the air is fragrant and nutty. Edges should be golden to dark brown, and leaves crispy. If the leaves in the middle of the pan are still a little soft, remove crispy leaves and return inner leaves to over for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt.
Notes
Okay I'm not going to lie about how long this tasty treat really takes. Once you've separated the leaves it's quick. But those leaves took me for-ev-er to separate. Leaves can be purchased already peeled. But if you're a do-it-yourselfer, take your time. Mellow out and watch a movie, listen to a podcast, or phone up a friend and talk while you peel the leaves. You'll end up with ½ pound of leaves per pound of whole Brussels sprouts, and over ⅓ pound of Brussels sprouts ends. Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts ends and slow bake them with lemon juice to make sweet-sour chips. Slow-baked veggies are sweet and absolutely delicious. I don't know where all that sugar comes from but long roasting uncovers it. Recipe coming for slow-baked Brussels sprouts chips in two weeks.

Process photo - Brussels sprouts leaves tossed in lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and chopped walnuts. Bowl & tray before roasting, and crispy green & browned leaves after roasting.

Brussels sprouts leaves tossed in lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and chopped walnuts – before and after roasting.

 

Gold and red beets are so pretty together. The red bleeds into the gold to make the most beautiful gradient going from gold to peach to bright red to crimson. These little fruit and veggie stacks are party practical. You can easily balance a drink and carry the appie at the same time. And there’s no waste. You don’t need to carry that little plastic sword around wondering where to put it. The only throwaway is the wooden toothpick holding the stack together – and it can be swept into the compost.

Appetizer delight - Gold and red, lightly pickled beets cut like flower and heart with dill garnish - stacked and standing upright atop jumbo green grape. Garnish - scattered crispy roasted Brussels sprouts leaves tossed in lemon zest, lemon juice and walnuts. Pickled little golden beet blushed with red, looking like a little peach sits in the background. On little Okinawan turquoise polka dot dish over grey background. Bokeh

Appetizer delight – Gold and red, lightly pickled beets cut like flower and heart with dill garnish – stacked and standing upright atop jumbo green grape. Garnish – scattered crispy roasted Brussels sprouts leaves tossed in lemon zest, lemon juice and walnuts. Pickled little golden beet blushed with red, looking like a little peach sits in the background. On little Okinawan dishes.

Quote

I believe we gotta forgive and make amends
‘Cause nobody gets a second chance to make new old friends

“Most people are good” country song by David Frasier, Ed Hill, Josh Kear