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'cause it's easier being a green sinner than a green saint . . .

Chicken with Grapes

1 Vendémiaire: Raisin (Grape)

The first day of the French Republican calendar celebrates grapes, a fruit dear to the French people for wine, of course, but tasty all on their own. (We'll get to wine on 20 Vendémiaire, dedicated to the pressoir or wine-press.)

We most often think of grapes as a snack food, either as fresh fruit or as raisins. Raisins often make appearances in baked sweets. And Jimmy always raves about grape pie, though I have never had the pleasure of eating a slice and have not yet attempted to make one.

I tend to love when grapes make an appearance in savory food just as much as enjoying them in sweets, however. I adore fresh grapes in a salad, and I find raisins often do nicely in quinoa, couscous, or rice dishes. (I enjoy the golden raisins much more than the purplish-brown ones. Prettier, and tastier too I think, though possibly that's just in my head.)

But these are examples of grapes as an accent in a dish. Grapes rarely get the chance to be the star, but here's a recipe I tried out on a couple of friends over for dinner a while back: Chicken with Grapes (with couscous and roasted asparagus). It's a Rachael Ray recipe, and like all her recipes it's designed to be pretty easy to execute.

Chicken with grapes

I often tweak recipes as I go, but this was my first try at this one, so I stayed pretty faithful (although I made green beans instead of asparagus, because I had some fresh ones). The grapes made a great component in the dish, and it was a hit. Everybody was pleasantly surprised at how nicely the flavors worked together.