Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates

 Tapas, or appetizers, are a great way to introduce people to a wide variety of meatless treats.

Salty, tangy Gorgonzola is the perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the dates. The crowning walnut adds texture and visual appeal. These are rich. 3-4 per person is ample. Reduce as needed. This is pretty simple, so just keep the proportions the same and you'll be OK. Don't overfill the dates.

  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened (low-fat ok)
  • 3 oz good Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 1 Tbs orange juice
  • 8 oz pkg pitted dates (about 36 dates)
  • 36 walnut pieces
In a small mixing bowl, blend cream cheese, gorgonzola, and orange juice.Spoon mixture into a resealable plastic bag, squeezing it toward one corner of the bag. Cut of the tip of the bag at the corner.

Separate the dates along the slits used to pit them. You may occasionally need to create an opening using a paring knife. Squeeze about a teaspoon of the cheese mixture into each date and top with a walnut piece.

May be made one day ahead and refrigerated. Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Vegetarian Moose

Adrienne has finally launched her blog, The Vegetarian Moose. Adrienne is an excellent cook, and has been a vegetarian for many years. Moose is one of her three Great Danes. Check out her incredibly good Pumpkin Bread recipe. The guys in the Blues Agave Band give it two thumbs up.

Spinach and Garbanzo Beans

Eureka! Quick, easy, delicious, comfort food. What more can you ask for? I have made this twice in the past week, and taken leftovers for lunch. Smoked paprika adds a warm, well -- smoky -- flavor. It is not your mother's paprika. The recipe is super flexible, so have your way with it. Leave out the bread, add more tomato sauce, do what you will.Let me know what you discover.

I love this as a main dish. Serve it with pita chips or a good, rustic bread with olive oil. It is also ideal for a tapas party dish. This recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen.

  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups good bread, crust removed, cut into 1/2 inch cube 
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 T white wine vinegar (or red)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup tomato sauce ( I had an open jar of "Hot Sicilian", a current favorite)
  • 1 10 oz package pre-washed spinach
  • smoked paprika to sprinkle on top, optional
  • lemon juice to drizzle on top, optional
  1. In a deep skillet, heat 2 T olive oil. Fry the bread cubes until they are golden (about 3-4 minutes) then add the remaining olive oil, garlic, cumin, and crushed red pepper.
  2. Transfer to blender or food processor, add vinegar, and process to a coarse, crumbly paste.
  3. Return to skillet. Add garbanzos and tomato sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are hot and thoroughly coated.
  4. Add spinach to mixture in pan. Stir gently until spinach is just wilted (more if you prefer). 
  5. Drizzle with lemon juice and add a dusting of smoke paprika, if you like.