Cheese Stuffed Medjool Dates Wrapped in Bacon
Gatherings is the timely new cookbook on the market this season by Julie Van Rosendaal and Jan Scott just in time to rescue Kitchen Queens and Kings all over Canada from the “whatever will I make?” conundrum that terrorizes many as gathering opportunities present themselves throughout every holiday season. This book will redress your holiday and provide a fresh take on your gathering perspective through the myriad of gathering ideas presented for the entire year.
And the really great news? Many innovative recipes in the book are super easy with high impact, just like the Man Candy, above!
I am a “Gatherings” fiend! How I love to entertain! Thus, was tickled to have the opportunity to review this handy and practical book that will spark the imagination and support every host with a repertoire of trendy and innovative tips and tricks.
Gathering Tip: Drink in the Door
One gathering tip, from my house to yours, evolved as a tradition whenever I held a huge party; I call it “Drink in the Door”. I have been known to throw massive parties. In the winter, it is most difficult to greet the guests, get their outer footwear away, coats away, and pour them a drink before the doorbell rings. So, one year, I planted a card table in a snow drift outside the front door, covered it with a gorgeous white cloth, set out pre-poured Candy Cane Martini’s with blinking ice cubes scattered o’re the table. Guests would park, spy the happy welcome as they approached the door and stop amid the falling snow to sip and savor! Feeling welcomed and warmed before ringing the bell with drink in hand is such a great way to facilitate gathering greetings! My parties now start with a signature cocktail (usually just that one first drink) pre-poured and waiting just outside the door.
Summer parties? Usually a great pitcher or punch bowl filled with ice and a glorious concoction of Happy for self service on a table at the side of the house just before turning into the back yard.
Big Party Gatherings have Evolved to Family Time
I find I have slowed down much earlier than I planned “large party-wise”. Most of my gatherings at this phase of my life are all about family, but I love that!. The joy in my heart while preparing intimate family gatherings is even more satisfying than those days planning parties for over 100 where I cooked and decorated all. Those were the days: every Christmas and every Spring I had massive celebrations and competed only with myself each time, trying to outdo my last efforts. I thrived putting together dishes for this person and that person with love in my heart.
Those days of parties have influenced our Traditional Family Gathering fare. One appetizer requested over and over is the Medjool dates stuffed with a sharp cheddar cheese and wrapped in bacon. We began to call this “Man Candy” when I discovered the men swarming the tray, inhaling its entirety, every time served. Spying a similar recipe in the Gatherings cookbook was testament to me that these gals know how to throw a great party! I cannot imagine a Winter gathering without Man Candy. And easy? Too easy!
I wrap my dates “the other way” to keep the cheese inside the date.
Any reason for a gathering one can possibly imagine is covered in this book: birthdays, baby and wedding showers, special holidays, summer and winter fun days, brunches, lunches and munches!
This is the time of year most of us are in the kitchen double time preparing for our holiday feast and the various gathering festivities that embrace the spirit of the season and this book could not be more timely!
Now, Man Candy may not be pretty, but these three simple ingredients come together and create a magic mouthful muffled with groans of pleasure.
Bacon. Cheese. Dates. If you are single, he will say: Marry Me? If you are married, he will say: Make some more, honey.
Either way, your gatherings, large or small, friends or family, will be enriched. Party on, people! Food does bring people together. With the tips and tricks in this book, your holiday party will be the one “not to be missed”!
Note: Jan and Jan use Parmesan in their recipe and make other delectable suggestions. No end to the possibilities, here!
#GatheringsBook – the blog tour!
Check out all the #GatheringsBook bloggers who will be writing about the book through the week. This little surprise party was initiated by Mardi Michels at eat. live. travel. write. and I am tickled to participate. Links will be updated through the remainder of the week as the posts are published.
Mardi has a giveaway and has done a review on Recipe Geek. Be sure to pop over to enter to win!
Steph from Whitecap Books also posted our Blog Tour on the Whitecap site.
Mardi from eat. live. travel. write. Top tips on entertaining from Gatherings.
Mairlyn Smith chose Gatherings as one of her top new Canadian cookbook picks.
Charmian from The Messy Baker is writing about the Pecan Bourbon Blondies.
Amy from Family Feedbag has a giveaway! Better head over there to get in on the possibility of winning this book!
Jennifer from Seasons and Suppers made pork tenderloin with maple-balsamic cranberry sauce just in time for the holiday season!
Heather from The Tasty Gardener made Parmesan Thyme Puffs – this is another recipe I want to make.
Isabelle from Crumb Blog made Nenshi Pie
Jenny from The Brunette Baker made Pear and Cardamom Cream Cheese Tart
Stephanie from Clockwork Lemon made Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts
Valerie from A Canadian Foodie made Man Candy!
Thursday to be updates here as published
Britt from My Daily Randomness chose the Pulled Pork with Real Baked Beans
Robyn from Planet Byn made the Peanut Butter and Honey Granola
Libby from Libby Roach Photography made the Yorkshire Pudding
Meg from Sweet Twist of Blogging made Peanut Butter Balls
Louisa from Living Lou made Prosciutto Wrapped Prawns
Liliana from My Cookbook Addiction made the Simple French Onion Soup
Rhonda from Olive and Ruby made Sticky Cocktail Meatballs
Jenn from Chocolate Shavings made Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts and Grainy Mustard Sauce
- 40 Medjool Dates
- 40 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese (We like Imperial and 2 containers filled 60 dates)
- 20 strips of thick double smoked bacon, halved
- set of tweezers
- parchment covered cookie sheet
- Remove pits from dates with tweezers
- Portion cheese into 40 portions
- Stuff one portion of cheese into each date, ensuring the bottom end is secure and sealed so the cheese doesn't get pushed through the date
- Close open end of date as much as possible by folding dried candied date over the opening
- Wrap each date with ½ slice bacon over the opening, lengthwise to keep the cheese in the date
- Place on parchment covered cookie sheet, bacon seam side down, close together, but not touching
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Bake for 20 minutes until bacon is crispy; remove from oven and serve immediately OR
- Cool completely and pack in zip lock freezer bags; when ready to eat, place in oven proof serving tray still frozen, and bake at 350F for 20 - 30 minutes until warm and bubbly
Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book to participate in the Blog Tour. I have met both authors and often read their food blogs. I believe in promoting good Canadian food writing and great publications from Canadian authors. Thus, I am happy to promote this book, though I received no compensation.