Sunday, September 21, 2014

{Recipe Redux} Get Your Dehydrator On: Fancy Stuffed Dates

Here is a perfect appetizer (or dessert) to bring to your next party, potluck or picnic. Stuffed dates do not need a fork, they do not need to be kept warm, they're vegetarian and can be vegan, they're even gluten free. Just a few minutes of prep and a small number of ingredients are all that are standing between you and a delicious collection of healthy, delicious treats!

 Whether it’s extra garden bounty or a sale at the supermarket - dehydrating food is a budget-friendly way to stock up for later. You can use a food dehydrator, a low slow oven, or natural sunshine to preserve natural healthfulness. Show us how you like to dehydrate, or a healthy recipe for how you enjoy using dehydrated fruits, veggies or other bounty.
Sometimes life is just full steam! It has been a wild and wonderful summer full of weddings and travel, some great contract opportunities, a trip to Vermont as well as the beginning of a new teaching opportunity.
We have all had those months (or years) where it is all you can do to stay ahead of the avalanche. But, life marches on! And with the holiday season approaching quickly, we will need to have some tasty treats up your sleeve that don't require a lot of fuss.
I made four varieties, and the cogs are turning in my brain coming up with more! Almond butter and sea salt? Goat cheese with lemon zest? I think the options here are many! 
The most simple are the dates stuffed with a match-stick sized piece of fresh ginger. For a savory option, I mixed soft goat cheese with freshly minced rosemary. Inspired by the Lake Champlain Aztec chocolate I had the opportunity to try last weekend, I stuffed each date with a whole almond, dipped them in dark chocolate and then sprinkled each with the tiniest amount of cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
Tip: look for pitted dried dates - they're easier to work with.
Tip 2: some dates have a slit on the side, making stuffing quite easy. Others, don't. If your dates aren't ready to be stuffed, use a knife and pretend you're opening up an envelope. Easy breasy!
Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

  • Dried, pitted dates
  • Soft goat cheese
  • Fresh rosemary, minced
  1. Mince rosemary and mix with goat cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon into the center cavity of each date and enjoy. 
Pumpkin Pie Stuffed Dates

  • Dried, pitted dates
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Maple Syrup
  • Course sea salt (optional)
  1. Mix equal parts cheese and pumpkin.
  2. Stuff 1-2 teaspoons into the center of each date and arrange nicely on your your serving plate.
  3. Drizzle with a bit of maple syrup and sprinkle with sea salt, if you wish.
Ginger Stuffed Dates

  • Dried, pitted dates
  • Fresh ginger
  1. Peel ginger and slice into match stick sized pieces.
  2. Stick one piece of ginger into each date. Trim ends if needed.
Aztec Stuffed Dates

  • Dried, pitted dates
  • Whole almonds
  • Dark chocolate, minced
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Cayenne powder
  1. Melt chocolate in microwave or over double boiler.
  2. Stuff one whole almonds into each date. Dip stuffed dates into chocolate and set onto serving plate.
  3. Lightly sprinkle each date with cinnamon and cayenne powder.
What is your favorite way to enjoy dried dates?

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