Monday, August 27, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Almonds

Bacon lovers, unite!
Anything tastes better when wrapped in bacon, and dates are no exception. This is a quick and delicious appetizer that will make your guests swoon!

This treat is a simple combination of three ingredients that can be created in a snap.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Almonds
12 whole, moist dates (Medjool work well)
6 slices thin-cut bacon
24 whole almonds (raw or roasted)

Pit dates. (I like to use my needle-nosed pliers I reserve for kitchen duty.)
Stuff each date carefully with two almonds.
Cut bacon slices in half and wrap one piece around each stuffed date.
Place wrapped dates onto foil-lined cookie sheet, about an inch apart.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until bacon is crisp. Turn once or twice during cooking for even crispiness. You can also grill these over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until bacon is crisp.

Serve to adoring guests and enjoy!

Option: If you can enjoy dairy, try stuffing these with blue cheese instead of almonds.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Grilled Proscuitto-Wrapped Figs

Have you ever had a fig?
No, not a Newton or a candy-like dried fig, but a real, fresh fig?
Neither had I, until a box of five fresh figs called my name from the organic produce shelf last month. I searched the deli for a complimentary ingredient, and a few slices of prosciutto seemed to be a good fit. 

These three simple ingredients create an appetizer of stunning elegance.
When the figs are grilled, they take on a luscious, buttery texture that is a perfect compliment to the thin, salty, crisp, grilled prosciutto. A drizzle of balsamic puts this dish over the top.

Find a few figs near you, and prepare to be amazed!

Grilled Proscuitto-Wrapped Figs
5 fresh figs
5-7 thin slices prosciutto
1 T. balsamic vinegar

Wash, dry and quarter figs. Wrap each fig quarter in a piece of prosciutto so the fruit is wrapped once or twice. Don't be exact. Do wrap artfully.

Grill figs over medium-high heat for about five minutes, until the prosciutto is crisp, but the figs aren't overlooked.

Serve immediately with a glass of wine and friends.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Homemade Sausage

I have been feeling immensely grateful lately.

This is the time of year that our peach tree is effortlessly pouring out dozens of fruits every day for the taking. I can barely keep up with my garden's production of kale, chard and beets, we recently received our 1/2 hog order from a local natural pork producer, Cole Ranch (find them at the Durango Farmer's Market) and our annual grain-fed beef order is being processed by James Ranch. Our freezer is anxiously anticipating a full house once all the local fruit, veggies, and meats of the season are carefully sealed and wrapped for the upcoming year. I feel blessed.

Eating healthy, organic fruits, vegetables and meats is immensely important. It's essential for our health and for the strength of your community to support local farmers and producers. Please support your local farmers market and your local natural meat and vegetable producers to encourage healthy economic growth and optimal personal health.

This simple sausage recipe is the ultimate breakfast treat. You'll find that it's truly superior to any store-bought sausage you've tried. Find some local ground pork and create some soon.

Homemade Sausage
1 pound ground pork
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 T. finely chopped sage (or 1 t. dried)
1 t. dried, minced onion
2 T. real maple syrup

Combine all ingredients and shape into patties. If you have the time, letting the sausage meat and its ingredients marainate overnight creates a more flavorful patty.

I think a 2-tablespoon measure creates the perfect sized patty for breakfast sausage. Fry the sausage patties in a large fry pan until browned on each side and no longer pink in the middle. Drain on a paper-towel covered plate and enjoy immediately with eggs and gluten-free toast or sauteed kale.

Count your blessings today.

Monday, August 6, 2012

German Sweet Potato Salad

Craving something sweet? Salty? Tangy? Satisfying?
Try this tasty twist on a traditional picnic favorite.

Lately, I have been avoiding flours and white potatoes. Although this dietary change makes me feel vibrant and healthy, I sometimes find my self longing for a traditional side dish. This substantial, flaorful recipe won't leave you feeling a bit deprived.

Enjoy with a hamburger, salad and a tall, icy glass of lemonade on a sunny summer afternoon!

German Sweet Potato Salad
2 sweet potatoes or yams (about 1-1/2 - 2 pounds)
5 slices of bacon, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3 T. olive oil
1 T. cider vinegar
1 t. agave nectar
1 t. dijon mustard
1 t. lemon juice
1/4 c. chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Peel yams and cut in quarters lengthwise. Slice into 1/8" to 1/4" quarter-moons. Boil in salted water for 10 - 15 minutes, or until desired tenderness is reached. Drain and set aside.

Cook bacon slices until crisp. Drain and let cool on a paper-towel lined plate.

Saute onions over medium heat in a tablespoon of olive oil until translucent.

Combine the remaining ingredients and toss with yams, bacon and onions. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for a couple hours to let marinate a bit until serving. If not serving immediately, add the bacon just before serving so it stays crisp. Makes about 4 cups.