We’re hosting a Christmas Eve cocktail party. Now, Dad Cooks Dinner, but Mom is the Mixologist; she’s responsible for the drinks, I’m responsible for the nibbles.
Here is one of my favorite appetizers. Sweet and salty, sour and crunchy; the dates, goat cheese, and almonds combine into one tasty bite. Even better, I can make it a day ahead of time – stuff a date with goat cheese, add an almond, repeat – and pull it out of the fridge when it’s time to serve.
I made my picky eater try one. He took the tiniest of nibbles, and stuck his tongue out.
“I don’t like goat cheese.”
“Pop the whole thing in your mouth” I said. “You need to get all of it at once.”
He gave me the “jeez, dad” look, hesitated, gently put it in his mouth, and started chewing. He grimaced. Then got a thoughtful look on his face, shrugged, and said “eh.”
Well, at least he tried it.
Later, he came over with a sheepish look on his face.
“Are there any more stuffed dates?”
Recipe: Dates Stuffed With Goat Cheese and Almonds
- 24 dates (preferably pitted Medjool dates)
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese
- 24 roasted salted almonds
1. Stuff the dates
Cut one side of a date open with kitchen scissors or a paring knife. Open up the date, and stuff with a half teaspoon of goat cheese. Push an almond into the goat cheese. Repeat until all the dates are stuffed.
- If you can’t find pitted dates, that’s OK – buy whole dates, cut the date lengthwise until you hit the pit, pop it out, and stuff from there.
- This recipe scales as much as you want it to – or until you get sick of stuffing, whichever comes first. 24 dates is roughly 5 ounces of pitted dates. These go quickly, so I triple the recipe – a pound of pitted dates, and 12 ounces of goat cheese. (A 6 ounce can of roasted salted almonds is more than enough – a snack for me when I’m done stuffing). I stuff until I run out of goat cheese, and get about 75 stuffed dates.
- The dates can be made up to a day ahead of time, and refrigerated. Take them out of the refrigerator an hour before serving so they can come back to room temperature.
- We did a taste test with low-salt roasted almonds, regular roasted salted almonds, and smoked almonds. My favorite was the roasted almonds – they had a bigger almond taste than the low salt almonds – while my wife preferred the smoked almonds.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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