Monday, February 18, 2008

Dinner Club - Appetizer Edition...

In an attempt to meet some people in our new neighborhood, I signed the poor, unsuspecting Mr. H and myself up for a dinner club. Although I am a bit of an introvert, Mr. H. loves a random social engagement, and could quite possible entertain anyone on his own for several hours.

Our job was an appetizer. When I spoke to our most gracious host to inquire what she was making so I could coordinate the appetizer, she replied "a meat." So, assuming that she had not settled on the main dish yet, I was left to my own devices. Which, for the first time, I could not come up with a damn thing. It's not like me not to know what appetizer to bring. I totally love appetizers. But we had some considerations - because we were going to someone else's house, it needed to be portable, able to travel easily, not needing to be cooked and immediately served.

So I tried something new that I found on the Epicurious web site - dates stuffed with parmesan cheese and then wrapped in bacon. I'm rather unfamiliar with the whole date thing. I'm not a big fruit person in general. But I love parmesan cheese, and I liked the concept of the salty cheesey and the sweet date (even though I almost gagged when I tried a date by itself). And who doesn't like bacon? I could eat just about anything wrapped in bacon.

So here we go.

My first surprise was the need to pit the dates. I had never seen a pit from a date before, and was very surprised at how much they look like beetle larvae (unfortunately my picture of it did not turn out well).

After pitting them however, I had a gaggle of hungry little mouths like wrinkly pac-men.

Next, came the cheese. Little wedges of my good parmesan (you know, the stuff that has the crunchy crystalized salt or something in it - I love it. I really love it melted) shoved into these bad boys' mouths. I kind of felt like I was in Little Shop of Horrors and danced around the kitchen singing "Feed me Seymour".

Then, after squeezing the little mouths closed, wrap them in bacon (I partially cooked mine because it was thick-cut) and bake at 400 degrees until the bacon is crispy and golden.

This picture was taken before the final baking, but you get the drift. They were all that they were promised - gooey, sweet, salty and smokey. They were best right out of the oven, but they held up well on the ride over, and they were surprisingly almost completely consumed. I wasn't sure how they would go over. Even if you are a little concerned, give them a try!

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