Category Archives: Appetizers

Italian Wedding Soup Raviolis.. They Burst in Your Mouth!

 

Weekends with lady friends are the best, I think we killed 3 bottles of champagne between us, while making these delicious dumplings. I called upon the help of my Italian friend Sarah who I leaned on heavily for meatballs and ravioli, and my trusty taste tester Jeni, to make this genius idea happen.

I have had a idea circling in my head since hitting up Din Tai Fung. And while I left there a little annoyed (not every dumpling has to be a soup dumpling, JEESE!) I thought to myself, why cant I make this into an Italian thing too. I threw around all the ideas in my head landing on a final perfect, delectable version of a ravioli soup dumpling.

Now here’s the thing, if you don’t want to spend several hours, if not days making this recipe, you can buy solidified chicken stock for your base. No judgement here. But if you want it to taste like love, make the chicken consomme at home. That way when these little suckers burst in your mouth it means that much more. The recipe for that will be at the bottom of the page, (start there) just scroll all the way down if you want to be in the cool kid club.

My ravioli sucks. Sorry kids. Not to disillusion you, but its fucking hard. So I used wontons wrappers to speed up the process and make things uniform. I did it both ways, one way making a dumpling style, using only wonton wrappers (the tastiest and least waseful way) and the other using my ravioli stamp (hella wasteful and more thick)

Italian wedding soup raviolis  (serves 4 healthy eaters)

3 cups chicken consomme (recipe at the bottom of page)

100 tiny meatballs cooked (recipe just above the soup recipe)

100 wonton wrappers

For the sauce made in batches

The juice and zest of 2 lemons

1 sage plant (a small handful per batch)

2 cups of butter quartered

6 cloves finely chopped garlic

a small fistful of fresh thyme

salt

pepper

Putting It All Together

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Place out several wonton wrappers. There is significantly less waste if you fold them. place a meatball, and a teaspoon of the consomme in each wrapper, seal the edges and set them aside in batches.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the wontons for about 3 minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon, and briefly set them aside. We did about 4 batches of these. So in each individual batch you’ll use about 1/4 of the sauce ingredients.

In a large pan, while the water is coming to a boil, melt the butter and allow it to brown slightly with the garlic, sage, a large pinch of fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Add in the lemon and lemon zest, give it a stir, and toss in your first batch of of the wontons.  Saute them for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat. Repeating these instructions with the following batches

Garnish with a little parsely and sprinkle some romano cheese on top.

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These are Sarahs Tasty Balls (halved)

1/2 lb ground pork

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 c grated parmesan

3 cloves finely chopped garlic

A small handful of chopped parsley

1 egg

1/3 c bread crumbs

a splash of cold milk

1/2 tsp cumin

Salt, Pepper, chili flakes to taste

Mix these ingredients together by hand and form them into cm sized itty bitty meat balls. If you have left over meatball mix you can make several large meat balls to make up for the excess.

Chicken Consomme

1 Whole chicken skin removed

1 yellow onion halfed and seared (save the skins)

2 carrots pealed (save the peals)

1 celery bulb sliced and seared

A few sprigs of thyme

3 bay leaves

A few sprigs of parsley

A few sprigs of oregano

2 tbs salt

1 tablespoon peppers corns

Remove the skin from your chicken and cut it in to quarters. Sear your veggies and place them around the chicken parts. Put the herbs into a spice bag, cheese cloth, or tea strainer and pop them into the pot with the rest of your ingredients. Add water until everything is just covered and bring to a gentle boil. As all that brown sludge comes to the surface, skive it off. Let your chicken brother simmer down over 3 hours. You’ll know its done when you can grab a bone and pull it out of the soup and theres nothing on it. I also check that piece of cartilage that spurs off the chickens sternum, if its gone, you’re done!

Remove the big chunks from the stock, and strain it through a fine mesh sieve and a cheese cloth into a bowl. Let it cool to room temperature and set in the fridge over night (covered). When you wake up there will be (hopefully) A layer of fat on the top of a beautiful golden gelatinous  soup! Yay! You made food magic!  I usually end up with about 6 cups of broth. You’ll probably use maybe 2 cups worth.  If you failed at this life task, pop a packets worth of gelatin in there and carry on. Sometimes we cant win everything.

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Filed under Appetizers, Italian, Pasta, pork, Uncategorized

Fried Curried Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Coconut Cream Dipping Sauce

Gnocchi isn’t just for Italian food anymore, kids. Apparently you can make it into a misshapen little gargoyle of a Thai appetizer too. Feel free to make an entire batch, turn on netflix, and pop them in your mouth like potato chips.

Making gnocchi is hard. There are easier renditions, my favorite is Kenji Lopezs’ ricotta gnocchi, mainly because its a lot harder to jack up than its potatoee… cousin. Don’t believe those people that say its really simple. Their beautiful photos, with pristine unfloured hands, gently shaping ridges into the sides with a fork are all a great big lie. Its gooey. Even when you bake the potatoes instead of boiling them (Hint: DON’T boil them). If you add too much flour it changes the flavor and texture, too little and you are covered in the worlds stickiest potato and flour paste. Then, if you feel like making your little dumplings a bit more lovely you better place their little friends in a pile of flour, otherwise they’ll melt to your counter/baking mat/each other/what ever surface you’re using. Once you get the hang of it though, like everything else in life, it becomes simple, because you know what to expect.

For the Gnocchi

2 sweet potatoes baked (1 hour) or microwaved 8 minutes)

1 1/2+ cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tbs curry powder

1 egg

Coconut oil for frying

Remove the potato from their skins after baking or microwaving them, and run them through a ricer, or mash them until all of the lumps are gone. Add in the salt, brown sugar and curry powder. Fold in your flour. The consistency that you are looking for is still slightly sticky but still easy to cut and separate into sections. Cut it into 4 sections, and roll them into worms approximately 3/4″ thick, and chop those into 1 inch pieces. Bring water and a pinch of salt to a boil and toss in your gnocchi in batches for about 3 minutes at a time While the others are waiting to cook, you should have them resting on a light bed of flour, so they don’t stick to everything. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon allow the excess water to drain off and pop them into a frying pan with coconut oil. Lightly brown both sides and serve.

Dipping sauce

1 can coconut cream

1 chicken bullion cube

1 tbs red curry paste

1 stock chopped lemon grass

1 shallot minced

4 garlic cloves minced

1/4 cup thai basil chopped

1/4 cup cilantro chopped

juice of 1 lime

5 red chili peppers

salt and pepper

Put your coconut cream in a sauce pan, and add in all of the above ingredients. turn the heat to medium low, and let it simmer, occasionally stirring it, while you make your gnocchi. Once you have simmered it down a tad, pour it into a blender and puree (or use a hand blender). And there you have it.

Note: This is equally as tasty with sriracha mayo. Buy it or make your own with half a cup of mayo and two tablespoons of sriracha

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Filed under Appetizers, Pasta

Seafood Eggs in Purgatory. Its Monday. I Feel Like One of Those Eggs.

I feel like I have a literal and figurative cloud over me right now. Its a typical drizzly, rainy, wet Monday here in Seattle. I’m pretty sure the first world is plotting against me. My device I ordered isn’t functioning right, the Seahawks lost, my rennet and citric acid said it was delivered, but no package is in site, and I bought a $7 gallon of milk to make some beautiful home made mozzarella, that  I’m almost certain its passive aggressively going bad to add a little singe to the burn of not having any cheese making supplies.

Something has become apparently obvious though, after 5 years of being out of the military, judging by that last paragraph, I’ve turned into a whiny little bitch of a hipster. Will one of my good friends, pretty please, drive over here and back hand some sense into me.

This isn’t a tale of innovation, rather, its a tale of up-cycling my leftover marinara. Last night, my super bowl dish was diablo seafood marinara with pecorino crustini. Its absolutely one of the easiest things I make It requires no skill. Huzzah!

Diablo Seafood Marinara with Crustini

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1 jar of your favorite marinara

1 onion chopped

4 cloves of garlic minced

Olive oil

1/4 cup white wine

the juice of 1 lemon

1 lb clams

1 lb shrimp

1 tsp chili pepper flakes

1 sourdough baguette

1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

Parsley for garnish

salt and pepper to taste

Slice of a baguette, and give a light coating of olive oil to each side, and set them on a cookie sheet. Gently sprinkle a tad of cheese onto each slice, and pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Saute the garlic and onions in a tsp of olive oil until blanched, Add in your marinara, wine and lemon juice. Bring that to a high simmer and throw in your seafood. Once your shrimp has curled and your clams have opened remove it from the heat, sprinkle with a little pecorino, garnish with some parsley and Viola! You’re done. Eat like half and save the rest for the morning.

For your Eggs in Purgatory

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3 cups of left over Diablo Seafood marinara

4 eggs

1/2 a leftover sourdough baguette

1/2 tsp+ cayenne pepper

Slice up the rest of your baguette and stick it in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes. For the marinara, remove the seafood. and set it aside. You don’t want to over cook the seafood.  Bring the marinara to a simmer, add in the eggs and let them cook. Heat up the seafood for 30 seconds in the microwave, and gently scoop out the eggs onto a plate add the seafood, and your baguette slices, and serve. Now, pardon me while I head off to the range to blow off some much needed steam.

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Asian chicken nuggets. They taste like the inside of a pot sticker. YUM

I love guilty pleasure foods. If you hand me a plate dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets and some ranch I will be your best friend for several hours.I really wanted these to be far more glamorous than they are. They aren’t quite meatballs, and they are a little more healthy than a chicken nugget, but they still look like something I enjoy eating while watching cartoons and drinking scotch (That is not a drink pairing FYI).  I tried breading and frying these bad boys and it was good, but not as good as making them into non breaded nuggets. Just beware this recipe makes about 40 of these. They were perfect to go into my lunch all week!

2 lb ground chicken or chicken tenderloins chopped into small pieces

1 white onion finely chopped

6 cloves of garlic finely chopped

a thumb sized nub of finely chopped ginger

1 egg

1/4 cup soy sauce

a splash of mirin

1/4 cup flour

salt and pepper

Sesame oil and vegetable oil for frying

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together. Once everything is well combined, use a small ice cream scoop, or a couple of teaspoons to scoop them into walnut sized  balls. Place them in a frying pan, and cook them on both sides for about 5 minutes each, or until they are cooked through.

For the sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup water

2 tbs mirin

the juice of half a lemon or lime

2  tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cornstarch

2 tbs green onion

Mix the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, garlic and onion powder together. Pour the mixture into a small sauce pan, bring it to a simmer, and add in the green onion. Mix the cornstarch with  a bit of water until there are no lumps, and add it to the simmering water. Whisk it for a few minutes until it it thickens, and serve it with your nuggets.

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Rabbit Croquettes. Give this nugget a try!

I was feeling a little peckish, and slightly sinister recently, and thought, what better way to quell my demons, than to eat something adorable. Rabbit is a delightfully lean meat. Its got just enough game in the flavor it make it have a slight zip, but not so much so that it takes away your breath. There are so many different things to do with rabbit, and since it is a notoriously tough meat, most of them involve brazing or stewing, but what about turning this puppy into the the baddest little meat nugget in the land? I made these rabbit croquettes with a tarragon and mustard aioli. The flavors are added in a small amount to compliment and not distract from our delicious little bunny.

1 rabbit, deboned and minced, or if you can find it ground

4 cloves of minced garlic

1 small chopped white or yellow onion

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground sage

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup of flour. Plus more for frying

pepper

1 whisked egg

1/2 cup panko 1/2 cup flour mixed

oil for frying

Saute your rabbit on medium with the salt, pepper, sage, garlic, onions, lemon juice, and a little butter or olive oil until the meat is cooked.  Drop the heat to low, and add in the flour. Make sure the meat is well coated and remove from the heat. Place in a bowl and set in the in refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes.  Once you have removed the rabbit from the fridge,  add in the whisked egg, and form it into small rabbit nuggets, about 1/2 an inch thick. Roll the nuggets in the panko mixture and set aside on a floured plate. Put  1/4 an inch of oil in a frying pan, and heat it up to medium high. Add in the rabbit croquettes spaced approximately 1 inch apart. Let them fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown.

For the aioli

2 egg yokes

1/2 cup chilled olive oil

1/2 cup chilled vegetable oil

1 clove garlic finely minced and ground into a paste

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp ground mustard. Not the shitty stuff.

1/2 tsp minced fresh tarragon

1 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Make this about an hour to 1 day a head so that he flavors can meld together. Whisk up your egg yokes until they begin to thicken, and slowly begin adding in olive oil a little at a time, allowing the aioli to thicken back up after each addition. Once you have added in your olive oil, and you have a nice thick mayo, whisk in the vinegar, garlic mustard, tarragon, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pro tip for people who hate whisking, use your hand blender with a whisk attachment to make life faster, and easier.

Serve it up with your delightful rabbit croquettes, and be happy that adorable things are so tasty….you monster.

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Filed under Appetizers, Exotic meats

One year of blogging, and a Deliciously Simple Marrow Recipe

Well kids, Thanks for following me over the past year as I blog my zany cooking adventures. Its been a fun experience, that has led me down some odd culinary passage ways, from making a haggis, to creative abominations using squid ink in a little cake baking. Sorry friend, you didn’t know, but you really liked it! Heh. I love my little blog and have given serious consideration to buying my domain name (any thoughts on this will be greatly appreciated.)

On to the goods. I made marrow! I had this at a little bar in capitol hill. On a hot summer day this dish is a little heavy, but as our wonderfully crappy winter and fall descends upon us, its the perfect mixture of fat and carbs that will nourish your body on particularly bleak days. I’ve made this for a few people, and gotten the typical response of, “really dude? You choose to feed me that?!”. Rest assured, they shut the hell up, after sticking it in their judgmental, finicky pie holes. Its the bodies butter. And although its normally used in making soup stock, Sopping it up with a thinly sliced baguette is seriously the way to go. I tried crustini, but once you get down to the dregs of marrow, your really need something that pulls in all of that magical marrow flavor.

For this delightful treat I use cow femur, sawed in half lengthwise by my local butcher. I suggest that, because its easier to get at the marrow. I personally can and will eat an entire bone by myself, (both sides) and this is not just because I’m a fat kid. Its because a large portion of this is cancellous bone. Meaning instead of being the central, tubular portion of the bone that contains the marrow, the ends are a matrix of tiny bones that don’t really have much sustenance in them. Sorry, they are just there to look cool.

Marrow for 2

2 cow femurs split lengthwise

a splash of olive oil

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

a sparse sprinkling Gruyere cheese (optional

a generous pinch or two of salt and pepper (I use truffle salt, regular salt is more than acceptable)

1 thinly sliced baguette

Preheat your oven to 425, rub the marrow portion of the bone down with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme, cheese and pop it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the blood running out is no longer red. Serve with the bread slices.

Too easy right??!

marrow

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You don’t have to eat meat! I brought enough gazpacho for everyone!!

Gazpacho is a wonderful thing. It takes that whole idea of turning on burners, and ovens and throws it straight into the trash. I made Gazpacho Verde. Its like Regular gazpacho’s’ bitchin’ cousin. It takes the tyranny of a hot day and makes it a non issue. With easy (and cheaper) substitutions. One thing that you might want to take heed on, is the jalapenos. 3 adds a tasty zing to the flavor . 6 adds makes it into a small oral inferno. However, letting those additional jalapenos think about their behavior in the fridge overnight, really mellows them out into a a considerate level of spice that most people (meaning me, the spicy weenie) can handle.

The gazpacho verde has spawned something though. I have a pension for adding alcohol to things. I thought that adding vodka would make an excellent drink. I call it a Vulcan Mary. Its got spice, a touch of sweet, a little sour, and has a wonderful combination of refreshing and please make the hangover go away.

1 lb tomatillos

1 honey dew melon

1 cucumber

1 green pepper

1 white onion

4 cloves of garlic

6 Jalapenos

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup vinegar

1/2 cup sparkling water

1 cup chopped parsley

1 tsp salt

Take all of these lovely ingredients, chop them up into small pieces, and place them into a blender to puree. The smaller you make the pieces, the more you can fit into your blender. Pour the puree into a mesh sieve, and allow it to sit over a bowl for 30 minutes to an hour. (overnight if you’re letting the ingredients settle).

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I feel like gazpacho is a personal food. Its like eggs, or mash potatoes, or spaghetti. No one can make it just the way you like it. some people like it thick, some like it thin. Others like it rich and creamy or even chunky. I always save about 1 cup of the blended ingredients to add to the gazpacho. The other thing I do, is set aside some greek yogurt. A tablespoon thickens and adds a very rich flavor to the gazpacho.

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Now, onto the the Star trek themed drink. For those of you who aren’t super awesome, Vulcans bleed green … as long as you make an arterial cut…. Hence the extra special name, the vulcan bloody mary. Simply take the gazpacho sans any pulp or greek yogurt, add that to a shot or 2 of vodka and some sparkling water, with a celery and a lime wedge to garnish, and enjoy.

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Filed under Appetizers, Soups

Caprese salad. My go to summer day dinner

Sometimes when its hotter than hell out, the idea of turning on the oven makes you have serious reservations about your own sanity, I turn to my simple favorite, caprese salad. It has 5 main ingredients, and I’ve never had someone turn me down once that put that flavor combination in their mouth, and it takes about 2 minutes to make.

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2 tomatoes

1 log of fresh mozzarella ( I get mine pre-cut because I’m lazy)

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Fresh herbs (I usually do parsley oregano and thyme, but it changes almost every time I make it.)

salt, pepper

Cut your mozzarella up into bite sized pieces.  Thinly slice up your tomatoes, and remove your basil leaves from the stems, and gingerly arrange them on a plate and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Lastly finely chop up your herbs and place them in a bowl with your oil and vinegar, then pour them over you salad. Fin.

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Simple Falafel to Make your Guests Grovel

A few times a year I have Mediterranean night at my place. It usually consists of Raiders of the lost ark,  something lamby, some Greek olives, feta cheese, maybe some curry, the ever important pita bread, and of course, falafel. I then serve all that up with a little Tzatziki.

2 cans of garbanzo beans

4 cloves of garlic minced

1 scallion chopped

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

1 tsp salt

1/4-1/2 cup flour + more for rolling it

1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs

Enough vegetable oil to cover the pan 1/4in thick

For the Tzaziki

1 cup Greek or regular yogurt

1/4 cup Very thinly sliced cucumber

1 finely minced clove of garlic

1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

Toss your garbanzo beans into a pot and bring them to a boil for 10 minutes. Drain the water and give them about a half hour to cool. Take your spices, parsley and garbanzo beans in a food processor  and  your ingredients together until they are a lovely paste. Remove your paste from the processor, put it into a bowl and add the minced garlic and onions, the flour. mix them together, put some flour on your hands,  grab a cookie dough amount and roll it into a ball. Roll that ball in the bread crumbs and give it a little squish till its approximately 1/2 inch thick. Turn the fry pan on medium high and cook them on each side for about 3-5 minutes until they are lightly browned.

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Tzaziki

Seriously folks, when you buy this stuff at the store, and communists win. Put all of your ingredients for the tzaziki into a bowl and stir. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and serve it up with your falafels.

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Sausage rolls with Guinness gravy

With the most holy of drinking holidays quickly approaching, its time to prepare your party menu. Step aside green eggs and ham. You’re gross, you taste like disappointment and bad hangovers. Sausage rolls are far better for your party, and people won’t think that they are back in the first grade. These flaky sausage rolls are an easy addition, and the sauce compliments them perfectly.

2 pounds ground pork sausage

1 chopped onion

3 cloves minced garlic

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp ground sage

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

chopped fresh oregano

salt, and pepper to taste

1/2 cup flour

2 sheets of puff pastry dough

1 egg

Brown your sausage with garlic and onions over medium heat. Add the fresh herbs, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Let that simmer for a few minutes and add in the flour until your mixture is coated. Remove it from the heat, save approximately 1/4 cup of the mixture for the gravy, and set the rest aside to cool (about a half hour).

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Roll out your puff pastry into a thin square and place two long mounds of the sausage mixture on it. Fold the pastry over the top of the sausage and seal it with a bit of water. Brush the top of the pastry with a whisked egg, and bake it at 375 for 30 minutes or until the top is brown and flaky.

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For the gravy

1/4 cup sausage mixure

1 cup au jus

a splash or two of Guinness

Salt to taste (optional)

1 tsp flour for thickening (if necessary

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Using the meat for this makes it a cinch, because all the necessary flavors, and thickeners are already in place to get it going. Bring your au jus and Guinness to a  light simmer until the alcohol cooks off. Add in your sausage mixture and stir, until it reaches your desired thickness. Slice up your rolls at 3 to 4 inches in length and serve it with your gravy.

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Goat cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates with Maple greek yogurt sauce

Over the last month or so people have been mentioning bacon wrapped dates to me. I’ve attempted to find them in the Seattle happy hour scene with no luck, so the next best thing was to make them my self. These little gems were super easy to make. And the yogurt sauce provided a clean sweet and sour taste that brought out the flavor of  both the date and the bacon. The only bad part about them is the repetitive motion injury you get from stuffing your gob with them. This little abomination to one of the East’s most wonderful fruits, will surely become one of the west’s favorite new treats. 

One packet of dates 

12 oz thin cut bacon

2 oz goat cheese

for the sauce

6 oz Fage greek yogurt

2 tablespoons of high quality maple syrup. 

1 tsp Brown sugar

I had half a pack of pitted dates, and half a pack of non pitted dates when I started this little project. Dates with pits are far easier to work with and have more space for goat cheese. Following that advice, slice open and remove the pit from your dates. Place a small amount of goat cheese in each date, wrap each date with bacon only one layer thick, and secure them in place with a tooth pick. Next fry them over medium high heat for approximately 3 minutes each side and serve them with maple yogurt sauce.

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For the sauce

Mix together Greek yogurt, brown sugar, and maple syrup until its completely combined together and there are no lumps remaining, and begin liberally dipping your dates in them.

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