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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove beet shapes from vinegar. Lay on paper towels to blot excess liquid and cover with another paper towel.
- 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.
- 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.)
- * 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
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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