cocktail party wrap-up & chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon
Last weekend, thanks to my wonderful parents (and the frequent babysitters of Maddie and Oliver), my husband and I had a lovely two nights of being child-free. Sam and I had a busy couple of evenings planned, plus we just really needed a break. I used to hate to admit that we needed time away from the kids – because that sounds awful, right? – but it’s true. Every now and then we just need time to ourselves. Last weekend was one of those times.
One of the items on our agenda was a cocktail party. And, after weeks of planning, Saturday night was the big night. I had an entire child-free day to prepare. It was fabulous. And the party was pretty good, too.
After much deliberation, I made the Pamplemousse Cocktail to serve as our signature cocktail. With help from Michael of A Dash of Bitters, I learned how to prepare cocktails in advance. I love learning new things, especially when it involves tasty beverages.
We had lots and lots of wine. In fact, we had so much wine that three or four bottles had been opened but were still nearly full, and another three or four had a glass or two left in them. We have some neighbors whom we can usually share leftover wine with — living next to us has its perks, you know — but they weren’t home. I ended up having to pour out the leftovers. Horrible, right?
The food was done potluck style – a great way to get guests involved, and also a great way to ensure there is plenty of food for everyone. I made a few dishes, and the guests brought the rest. To reward everyone for their hard work – and as bribery so they’ll show up to our next event – we gave our friends a treat to take home.
One of the appetizers I made for the party is one that I’ve done before, and it’s always a hit with the menfolk. Probably because it’s stuffed with pork and wrapped with pork. Very manly. Chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped with bacon is a recipe I found in Food & Wine magazine many months ago, and it’s such a simple but oh-so-tasty recipe. It’s perfect for people who don’t eat dairy products, and it’s definitely gluten-free, so you’re guaranteed to make most people happy with it. Except those who don’t eat pork, of course. This is not for them.
Yield: Makes 24
Chorizo-Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon
Adapted from this recipe from Food & Wine. I followed their recipe up until the end, and then I do something different. Instead of browning them in a skillet, I use the oven. I used organic Medjool dates that I found at my local Fresh Market store. I had to pit them myself, but it's so simple to do. Simply make a slice down the length of the date with a sharp paring knife, and then pop out the pit with the tip of the knife.
24 Medjool dates, pitted
1 small cooked Spanish chorizo sausage (about 2 ounces), casings removed
12 slices bacon, halved crosswise
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Find 24 toothpicks and have them ready.
Slice the chorizo crosswise into thirds. Halve each piece lengthwise, then cut each half into 4 lengthwise strips to make a total of 24 small sticks.
Tuck a chorizo stick into each date and pinch the dates closed. Wrap a strip of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick.
Place each date on a broiler pan (or a cooling sheet set over a half sheet pan), spacing them so that none of the dates are touching. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the bacon is cooked through. Remove from the oven and serve.