It was haunting me all week.
I begged the Twitterverse for ideas even though I secretly had no intention of following their advice.
I poured over my favorite food blogs – Smitten Kitchen, Orangette, Dishing Up Delights, and 101 Cookbooks – for recipes.
I contemplated baked sweet potato falafels, prosciutto-wrapped shrimp with pesto, and endive spears filled with mayo-less waldorf salad, and sent my mother frantic e-mails with recipe attachments for her input as well.
Yet, when I finally made it to the store on Thursday evening to purchase the ingredients for the appetizer I would make for Friday’s “Happy Hour” with my brother and parents, I couldn’t get my original idea out of my head – the idea that had immediately come to my mind when we made our plans for the evening.
I strode past the sweet potatoes, ignored the endive, tossed my hair in the direction of the basil, and made my way directly to the refrigerated produce section.
I only had eyes for dates. And I only had visions of them snuggly wrapped up in bacon – like cute little edible babies in swaddling clothes.
I’d made the popular appetizer before. They were good – as most things containing bacon are – but some how not compelling enough to make an immediate return to the dining table. I knew I could do better. Knew I could stuff them full of more cheese, and get the bacon a bit more caramelized and crispy for the proper textural effect.
This time they would be perfect.
This time they would induce sighs and gasps of approval.
And this time, they would be gone in less than five minutes.
10 Medjool dates
5 slices of center-cut bacon
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice dates length-wise to remove the pit. Generously stuff five of the dates with goat cheese and five with Parmesan or another variation depending on cheese preference. Close date around the cheese to seal it in.
Cut each bacon slice in half and securely wrap a half slice around each date. Place dates on nonstick baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes – turning once after 10 minutes. Dates are done when bacon is crispy and caramelized as indicated above.
Remove dates from pan with a spatula and set onto a paper-towel lined plate to allow the excess fat to drain off. Let cool 15-20 minutes before serving. They will be very hot when they come out of the oven.