Why I’m becoming famous, by sharon

September 10, 2009

I bet you didn’t know that I’m on a steady rise to fame, but I am.  And do you know why? Because I bring bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and almonds to parties.

In fact, I was all set to bring something else to a party on Saturday, but the hostess said “Oh . . . well. That’s good. I guess. Or you could bring the bacon date things. PLEASE bring the bacon date things!!”

And so I was at the store today, buying ingredients for the bacon date things.  As I’m checking out,

Cashier: I gotta ask, why do you have this many dried dates? What are you up to?
Me: Oh, I’m making them for a party. You split the dates, remove the pit, stuff it with goat cheese and slivered almonds. Then you wrap bacon around it and cook it.
Cashier: Oh my god.
Me: Yeah . . . it’s kind of amazing. People lose their minds.
Woman behind me in line: What’s this? What are you talking about? You do WHAT do dates?
Cashier: (repeats what I just told her)
Woman: Oh my GOD.
Cashier: Honey, you just got invited to my Thanksgiving dinner. Which is now potluck.
Me: (laughing) They’re so easy, I swear. But they are insaaaanely good.
Woman: You need a card or something. It can say “Bacon-date girl.”
Cashier: But that sounds like she goes on dates and brings bacon.
Woman: I bet that would be just as successful. It’s bacon.
Me: (I’m done checking out at this point and I’m laughing really hard. I turn to leave)
Woman: WAIT! So tell me again, real quick, what do you do?
Me: (repeating the recipe)
Cashier: (hands woman a piece of blank receipt and a pen) Here, if you write it down can you give me a copy?

See there? People who’ve never even TASTED this are going crazy.  So here is the recipe. This is for a larger group, but can easily be multiplied or scaled down.

2 pounds of dried dates
8 ounces of fresh goat cheese (chevre)
slivered almonds
a big pack of thick-sliced bacon, 2 pounds?
toothpicks

I get dried dates for a reason. First, fresh dates can be hard to find. Second, I like the sticky texture against the creaminess of the cheese and the crunch of the bacon and almonds. Third, they’re a little sweeter, which plays nicely against the tanginess and saltiness. And this might be way more bacon than necessary, but what’s wrong with having leftover bacon in the house? It’s bacon.

With a small, sharp knife, cut a slit into one side of the date. Make sure you don’t cut it all the way in half. Open it up a little and pull out the pit.  I like to pit all the dates at once before moving on.  Get your goat cheese ready and make a pile of slivered almonds. Take, I don’t know, a teaspoon of goat cheese and stick it into the middle of the date. Poke a couple almond slivers down in there. Again, do this to all of the dates before moving on.

Cut your bacon strips in half. Wrap a half piece of bacon around each date, making sure the slit you cut is covered, and try to spiral around the whole date. Secure with a toothpick and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Once they’re all done (this amount may take 2 sheets) put them in the oven to BROIL, not bake.  Check and turn them every 4-5 minutes or so until the bacon is cooked through.  This might take a total of 15-20 minutes. Also, don’t have your sheet too close to the heating element. When they’re done, place the dates on a paper towel to drain the excess grease. Remove the now charred toothpicks and put them on a plate.

If you are making these ahead of time, you can store them in the fridge once they’re cooked. They’re best warm or at room temperature, so give them 10-15 seconds in the microwave to take the chill off.  Prepare to have random strangers ask if you are God (this happened to me once).  I’ll try to take some pictures of these and post them when I make this on Saturday.


radish hashbrowns, by molly

September 7, 2008

I can tell people I’m cutting out starches and sweets in order to lose a little pudge and no one says boo, but the second I say the words “low carb” folks tend to do one of two things: roll their eyes, as if I’d just said I’m doing the Hollywood Juice Diet, or immediately regale me with horror stories. So I tend not to use the words “low carb” any more. I just tell folks I’m replacing my previous diet of All Corn Syrup, All The Time with a diet of nutrient-rich vegetables and healthy proteins and really, can anyone argue with that? Oh. Yeah, they totally can. And they do. So I’m largely in the low carb closet unless someone asks.

99% of my meals are pretty normal and balanced — some sort of meat + some sort of salad/vegetable — and an observer probably wouldn’t even notice anything amiss unless the lack of bread or rice or fruit or sweets was blatantly pointed out. You don’t have to eat bizarre shit to stay compliant is all I’m saying. I avoid all the weird low carb products and cook my meals from scratch, using fresh, unprocessed ingredients. I’m literally eating more vegetables than I ever have in my life and I feel fantastic without my blood sugar constantly spiking and plummeting. Go me.

But. BUT. Sorry to say, one Sunday morning I would have punched even a family member in the face if I meant I could eat some hashbrowns. Enter this recipe.

Radishes? Awesome.

sweet, innocent radishes

sweet, innocent radishes

Bacon? Awesome.

sweet, life-giving bacon grease

sweet, life-giving bacon grease

Radishes cooked in bacon grease?

EPIC FAIL

EPIC FAIL

Oh, fuck NO. People, listen to me: do not do this. Put down the radishes. Walk away from your skillet. Because… you know what radishes cooked in bacon grease taste like? They taste like radishes cooked in bacon grease. This is NOT something you want to put in your mouth.