Bacon Wrapped Dates with Toasted Pecan Goat Cheese and Palmiers - 2 Ways - Basil Pesto, Toasted Pine Nuts & Parmesan and Cream Cheese with ‘Everything’ Mix
Complicated, time consuming hors d'oeuvres have no business in our lives during this hectic holiday season, so grab some good quality, grocery store items and put them to work for you! These Palmiers are tasty, pretty and impressive and are a snap to make with store bought puff pastry. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil to my recipe or spread dough with Dijon mustard, top with thinly sliced prosciutto and top with grated Asiago for a bit of a Mediterranean direction. The bacon wrapped dates are yummy and are so versatile - I used goat cheese here but you can fill them with blue cheese and walnuts or Manchego and smoked almonds or even Brie. The holidays should be an enjoyable, relaxing time to spend with family and friends, not for slaving away in the kitchen.
Happy holidaze everyone!
Bacon Wrapped Dates
4 oz goat cheese, softened to room temperature
2 T toasted pecans (optional)
a few grinds of black pepper
10 slices of applewood smoked bacon, cut in half, width wise (I used thick cut)
20 Medjool dates, pitted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or use a Silpat mat. Mix goat cheese, toasted pecans and black pepper together in a small bowl. Stuff the dates with the goat cheese mixture. Roll up each date in a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes then turn each date over and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until done and slightly crispy. Cool slightly and enjoy!
Cream Cheese with ‘Everything’ Palmiers
1 piece of puff pastry (from a package of two, store bought puff pastry) thawed
4 oz cream cheese at room temp
1/2 cup Everything mix (see below)
flour for your board
2 T sesame seeds
2 T poppy seed
2 T granulated garlic
2 T granulated onion
Preheat oven to 400°. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to a
9" x 11" rectangle. Spread with the cream cheese all the way to the edges. Sprinkle with all of the ‘Everything’ mixture and then sprinkle with some sea salt. With 1 long side facing you, fold both long sides in toward the center line so they meet in the middle (do not overlap). Chill log for 15 minutes. Slice log crosswise into ½” thick pieces (you should have about 24). Transfer pieces cut side up to a greased baking sheet, spacing about 2" apart. Bake palmiers 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden all over. Let cool before serving. Palmiers can be baked 8 hours ahead. Let cool, then cover with plastic and let sit at room temperature until ready to serve.
Basil Pesto, Pine Nut and Parmesan Palmiers
4 oz basil pesto (store bought is fine)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (more if you like)
flour for rolling out the dough
1 piece of puff pastry (from a package of two of store bought puff pastry) thawed
Follow instructions in the recipe above using pesto, pine nuts and parmesan instead.
My friend Andrée used to call me "the Soup Master" back when we were cooking together at Parigi in Dallas ( I made most of the soups there ). So when it starts to get cold and rainy I naturally think of making soup, but which soup? You can literally make soup from just about anything! I happened to abscond with a ham bone with quite a bit of meat on it, the other night after bookclub (sorry Susie, thanks Cynthia), and this became my inspiration. This chowder has been a crowd favorite at both Alchemy and Wren Café over the years, it's super easy to make and the flavors are perfect together. Hmmmm, I still have the bone...split pea soup? Lentil? White bean? I love Winter. : )
Yukon Gold Potato, Corn and Ham Chowder
4 T butter
1 yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 dice
1 lb package of frozen corn (fresh if it's in season)
2 cups of ham cut from the bone or a chunk of ham
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream, more to taste
salt and pepper
green onions for garnish (optional)
1 T curry powder ( see note )
Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, corn and ham. Cook for a few minutes, stirring every so often. Add the stock and bring to a boil (skim if necessary). Let cook until the potatoes are soft and the flavors have a chance to blend, about 30 minutes (you want the potatoes to break down a bit to thicken the soup. Add the cream or half and half, stir. Simmer until ready to serve. Top with chopped green onion if desired.
NOTE: Add a tablespoon of curry powder while sautéing the onion for a different flavor direction.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"