Monday, August 27, 2012

Sweet and Salty Dates

It's Monday peeps.  What do I have on the brain? 
DATES and dates! 
Hubby and I have to do our annual health assessments for the insurance company, so we decided to make the best of it, take the day off, shuffle the kids off to day camp and and make it a date day too! 
Yay for us!
So after I skee-daddle, yeah that's right I said skee-daddle, it's a word, out of work this evening, I get a day off to get blood drawn, my weight taken --- um, no that's not the good part yet --- and have a date day with my man!
Other dates on the brain?  DATES!  Like the kind you eat! 
I was so excited when Heather over at Better with Veggies suggested Meatless Mondays from A-Z! While I have tried SO many new-to-me veggies, there are still some I have yet to experiment with.
Better With Veggies
For instance - the artichoke.  I have had these before actually, but usually the briny canned variety and usually in something prepared by someone else.  I decided that I should get my big girl pants on and tackle this ART-I-CHOKE.
Did you know they are mean little guys?  They poke.  It hurts!  It is a lot of work to prep them too!
phew!...and yes, my kitchen has the worst lighting
Satisfying?  Yes!  So yummy, this is the Ethiopian Millet Stuffed Artichoke I got from all my hard work! De-lish!
Ethiopian Millet Stuffed Artichoke
I have had NO luck finding Beets or Caper berries, neither of which I've had. 
So sad. 
Is there some kind of shortage of beets? Are they out of season?  I have no clue.  But I know I have seen them at my grocery store before, so I'll keep waiting.
This week the challenge was :  DATES!
Again, a new one for me.  I may have had these IN something, at sometime, but I couldn't really remember it.
My first thought when I saw them though was some cheesy, sweet and salty concoction.  The great google told me that some people like to eat these guys with bacon!  Interesting. 
I was looking for a veg friendlier version, and found a goat cheese stuffed version on pinterest.
A few adjustments and soon we had:
Sweet and Salty Dates
4 oz tofutti better than cream cheese
3 tbsp shelled, salted pistachios
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Freshly ground pepper
8 plump, soft dried dates, pitted and halved lengthwise
Sea salt
  1. In a small bowl, combine cheese, 2 tablespoons pistachios, and 1 tablespoon chives.  Season with pepper.
  2. Arrange dates, cut side up, on a platter. Scoop and stuff dates with cream cheesy goodness
  3. Garnish dates with remaining pistachios and sea salt
Need a quick app for guests?  Look how sophisticated these little guys can be!
Take a bite and it's creamy sweet and salty goodness....oh my yum.

As my obligatory taste testing was going on, I had another epiphany.
Date Sandwich Spread!
Chop up the dates, add some more cheese, and sea salt right to the bowl, combine and you have a perfect sandwich spread that would love to meet up with some rye bread for some tea sandwiches. 
Hmm, guess I'm not over the tea time treats the kids and I mustered up for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, but that's a tale for another post ;)

Earl grey tea, cucumber dill sandwiches, and figgy spread

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