A few years ago, the husband and I had one of the best meals of our life, and as part of it, we ate one of the most delicious things you may ever taste: mascarpone stuffed dates with thick sea salt. Where was this life-changing meal? None other than at Komi, a now much acclaimed Mediterranean inspired, tasting menu-only restaurant in Washington, DC. When we went, it was very new (a bit cheaper), and still under the radar.
We have subsequently been back, and the meal was no less amazing, albeit, slightly pricier. I guess that’s what happens when the President gi ves arestaurant his stamp of approval.
So back to the point: the mascarpone stuffed dates. We’ve been making them for years, much to the pleasure of our friends and other dinner guests.This week I decided to take a little twist on them and swap out the mascarpone for blue cheese. Both versions are incredible, though the blue cheese definitely adds a richness; while mascapone lends a lightness to the already-rich tasting dates. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
If you’re asking yourself, what is mascarpone? Well, its an Italian style cream cheese, and its my #1 favorite ingredient to use. We can get back to its versatility another time, but know that it is sold at most grocery stores these days right near the cream cheese and creme fraiche.
In a small bowl, mix together the blue cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt and honey until smooth. If dates are not already pitted, stick your pointer finger in the date to widen the opening, and remove the pit.
Using a pastry bag, or simply a plastic bag with the end cut off, fill the bag with the cheese mixture. Pipe in a modest amount of the cheese mixture.
Lay the dates on a baking sheet or other pan, and place in the freezer for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the frozen dates for 10-15 minutes, or just until the cheese starts to melt. Sprinkle sea salt on top of dates, and serve.
Since I announced I was pregnant (btw, I am pregnant), everyone has been asking me: WHAT ARE YOU EATING!? It might be disappointing to hear that more than anything I have been craving fruit, especially citrus fruit! Good timing since citrus is now at its peak.
I made this salad combo recently, and couldn’t eat it fast enough. You could also add some feta or goat cheese to this salad to really take it up a notch. Hope you enjoy!
Winter Citrus Edamame Salad
For the salad:
2 heads of butter bibb lettuce, or bag of butter lettuce mix
1 blood orange, peeled and sectioned
1/2 pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
1 cup chopped seedless cucumber
1/2 cup plain edamame (I like the frozen kind from Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup chopped candied pecans or walnuts
For the dressing:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
lemon and/or orange zest
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, honey and citrus zest. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until the mixture comes together evenly. add salt and pepper to taste.
In a large salad bowl, toss together salad ingredients. Add salad dressing to your taste.
Coconut might sound a little tropical for December, but this simply decorated cake can be a perfect wintry dessert. You can also use these recipes to make cupcakes, or a double layered cake instead of a bundt.
Try this recipe for the coconut cake, which I finished with a cream cheese glaze and toasted fresh coconut. You can also use the sweetened, shredded coconut you find in the baking aisle if you can’t find fresh coconut.