Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gorgonzola Cheese Stuffed & Bacon Wrapped Dates (and a few other apps) and what's on our grill for today

For those of you who love the saltiness of bacon, combined with a bit of sweet-- this is an easy appetizer, that is sure to please your dinner guests.  I was inspired to make this recipe by my co-worker (and fellow foodie).  I am a huge fan of Medjool dates.  I love their natural sweetness, and they are good for you!  When Craig and I were in the Palm Springs area, last October, I was fascinated by the acres and acres of dates that we saw, as we explored the area.

All you need are dates, cheese and bacon.  I tried making these on two separate occasions. On Round #1:

Using the handle of a wooden cooking spoon, I simply pushed out the large date seed.

..then stuffed them with gorgonzola cheese.

...then wrapped them with bacon (about two dates per slice of bacon works).

These were baked at 350F for about 20 minutes, until the bacon was cooked evenly; having turned them half way through baking.  I then served them to dinner guests, who loved them.

On Fridays, I work a half day.  That gives me time to get a head start on making Happy Hour treats for my sweetie. That way, when Craig comes home, he is pleasantly surprised with cocktails or wine and some finger foods. That's how we roll.. sort of like Ina Garten and Jeffrey.  We can decompress from our work week, and get ready to unwind for the weekend. Fun stuff.

This time, I simply sliced eat date open, and removed the seed.  That way I could fit a larger chunk of Gorgonzola, then I wrapped the bacon and secured it with a wooden toothpick.

I decided to use the broiler, and I positioned each date onto a baking rack with a silpat mat (or foil would also work for easier cleanup).  

Turning these once, they were ready to enjoy in less than 15 minutes. 

VERDICT:  These are very addicting.  Personally, I think broiling is easier and faster, but baking them works, to. There are lots of great flavors going on, and I'm not a huge fan of bacon (I like it, but not as much as my husband adores it).  Recently, I watched Chef Anne Burrell make a version of these using Spanish Machengo Cheese, and then she glazed these with maple syrup at the end. Genius!  I tried these, too.  Excellent!

This is how we roll, for Happy Hour:  Bruschetta, being my #1 favorite tapas of all time. Seriously.  Next, sun-ripened cantaloupe, wrapped with Prosciutto... more sweet and salty.  An assortment of Gouda cheeses (including smoked Gouda and strawberries) that we purchased at a California cheese place.  Chilled white wine.  Prost!

No recipe card is needed for this easy appetizer.  It's an lovely, warm afternoon and I need to get busy organizing our 4th of July BBQ menu-- we're making these excellent ribs...

The 4th of July wouldn't be the same without strawberry shortcake. It's a family tradition. I'm making this stunning Strawberry Cream Cake.

Happy Birthday, America!

I have guests arriving in four hours, and I'd better get rolling!  Enjoy your holiday! I know that we are.


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Joanne said...

One of my classmates always brings dates like that one of our class potlucks and I love them so much! She doesn't do them on the grill, but I bet they taste even better with that smoky edge to them.

Noelle Ritter said...

i would eat that whole platter. wonderful. looks like your chicken turned out well too! ps: been having a few meals lately where i forget to snap the "finish product" because people show up, we're too hungry, or there's wine involved... haha i need to focus! tell me this happens to you too?

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

If I let my husband see this blog, he is going to think he is doing without. We have a cocktail on the dock in the evening before dinner but I don't prepare any nibbles. I'll have to work on my wifely skills.

bellini said...

Very addictive Debby! Have a wonderful 4th of July!!!!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Oh my, would I love to pull up a chair to your table this afternoon. Bacon wrapped dates are one of my favorite appetizers but I never make them. My family would turn up their noses I'm afraid and then I would have to eat them all by myself.

All Things Yummy said...

yum, everything is better with bacon or butter LOL
That's so sweet that you prepare happy hour treats on Friday. Such a nice way to begin your weekend together.

Allie said...

Yummmm! I love little appetizers and things that you can just pop in your mouth - especially paired with wine. And the idea of unwinding and just eating simple foods. Sounds like so much fun!

Monica H said...

What a great little appetizer- I like all the different textures as well as the sweet and savory. yum!