I had a nice dinner out with my friend Amy back in December. Everything we ate was delicious, but most of all we loved the Spanish Stuffed Dates, which are dates wrapped in bacon and stuffed with chorizo. Here's my version... just as good if I do say so myself (and much cheaper!):
1 package of pitted dates
1 lb of bacon slices, cut in half
1/4 lb (maybe even less?) spicy sausage or chorizo
Cut the dates with a pair of shears so that they are "butterflied." Put about half a teaspoon of uncooked sausage in the date and snap shut. Wrap with half a slice of bacon and close with a toothpick. Cook in a skillet over medium-high heat, turning as needed, until bacon is cooked. My photo is not very good and they do look a little charred, but they were perf. And the sausage inside cooks fine, no worries.
I make egg bake/casserole type dishes a lot. They were big in my family, so I tend to gravitate towards these dishes whether sweet or savory. I made this on a whim recently because I had some leftover cinnamon bread that I didn't want to go bad. I layered the rest of my bread (about 6 slices) in a sprayed bread pan, along with some dried cherries, pecans or walnuts and a bit of brown sugar crumbled over it. Mix a few eggs and some milk (there is really no exact recipe for this, I make it differently every time) and pour over your bread. Drizzle some maple syrup if desired. Cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Pop in the oven in the morning for about 20-30 minutes at 375, until eggs are set. Slice and drizzle with maple or berry syrup (my favorite).
And hello to a bevy of new kitchen gadgets, thanks to Santa and all the other people in my life who spoil me.
First up, my brand new "mini" bread maker. I guess it's called mini because it makes a smaller, one-pound loaf, but it's still a ton of bread for just me and John. That being said, I've already made three different loaves, with many more to come. I'll discuss these on a later blog. I love it. I also used a gift card my mom got me to buy myself a nice bread knife.
Then, John's parents surprised me with a sweet and extravagant gift: a super nice 14-piece set of non-stick Calphalon cookware. I love them. I promptly took all my old pots and pans (except my "weathered" baking sheets) and donated them to a co-worker. I love my new pans and I'm being really careful with them, because pretty much anything you would think of doing with them voids the warranty! It's really nice having the perfect size pot/pan for any job, and a matching lid that actually fits!
My brother got me one of those electrical mini-cupcake makers. It makes 7 mini cupcakes/muffins in 7 minutes, and one box of cake mix made over 60! I spent the better part of New Year's Eve-day baking cupcakes for my friend Jenn's birthday.
So yes, basically this is a blog bragging about all the cool stuff I got for Christmas. But not really... it's like, "here's what's to come!" ... And much more!