Blue Cheese and Date Spread on Endive

You know how sometimes, you throw a party and plan for certain types of food, and something inevitably goes wrong?

I had bacon-wrapped dates on the brain, but sometimes, things don’t turn out as planned. But I had all these dates, and needed to figure out something to do with them. After digging through my fridge, I decided on my favorite back-up plan.

Throw shit in a pan and hope it turns out.

I’m nothing if not resourceful. In all reality, this is a magical life skill that I learned as a catering manager. Make do with what you have on hand and improvise. Quickly.

Blue Cheese and date spread on endive

So I came up with this recipe. I had bought endive with the intent of doing something experimental…I just wasn’t sure what. As it turned out, my blue cheese and dates spread was magical and delicious – if you like blue cheese. Which I do. Brian, unfortunately, does not. So he hated it. Other blue cheese lovers enjoyed it, plus it looked kinda pretty on the plate, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. If you try this, let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz Trader Joe’s Medjool dates
  • 4 oz Amish blue cheese
  • 4 oz apple cinnamon goat cheese
  • 8-12 heads of Belgian endive
  • 1 cup blueberries or other garnish of choice

Method:

  1. Dice dates into small pieces
  2. In a medium crock pot, heat dates for 15-20 minutes
  3. Crumble blue and goat cheeses into a separate bowl
  4. Clean and prepare endive by cutting off the bottoms and peeling the leaves off in layers
  5. After about 15 minutes, add cheese and cook until the cheese is melted, stirring occasionally
  6. Turn off heat and spoon mixture into endive leaves
  7. Chill overnight
  8. Serve plated in a circle with a colorful garnish in the center

I love how endive is pretty much the ideal vessel for snacky treats like this one. The bitterness of the endive (pronounced “n – dive” when I’m around normal people and “on deeve” when I’m trying to sound fancy.) was minimal and definitely offset by the sweetness of the dates.

Are you a blue cheese fan? Would you have added or changed ingredients? What’s your favorite hors d’oeuvre?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Tasty Tuesday: Asparagus and Brussels Sprout Salad

While I’m still in the process of getting my foodie section up and running, I figure that now is as good a time as any to give you a teaser post! My friend Valerie started a Tasty Tuesday weekly, so I thought I’d join her today.

Last year, I discovered Brussels sprouts. I know what you’re thinking… Seriously, Chrissy? Last year? How old are you? 10?

Until last year, I had only ever had frozen Green Giant Brussels sprouts (OK, maybe that should be sprout-singular) and I thought it was gross. Cue Brian’s mom, the best roast-maker ever, who would cook lamb roast with all sorts of delicious veggies. And the Brussels sprouts from her garden were delightful. And I wanted Brussels sprouts all the time.

Similarly with asparagus (as I had only ever had nasty overcooked stringy foul-smelling beasts of asparagus), I tasted a fresh al dente asparagus a few years ago when a chef friend of mine made me try it. Also delightful.

So I was hungry for some veggies one night and Googled (as I tend to do) to see if other people combine asparagus and Brussels sprouts into one dish. As it turns out, yes…they do.

I stumbled upon a Warm Asparagus and Brussels Sprout Salad recipe at Lauren’s Latest and modified it to suit what I had in my cabinet.

I subbed out the pomegranate seeds with dried Craisins, the bacon with ham, the white onion with a red onion, and added a little olive oil because there was no bacon grease. I also added crumbled goat cheese, because everything tastes better with cheese.

I’ve made this salad several times since, and I actually think that I prefer it served chilled. Here’s what I did the last time I made it. You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 lb  Brussels sprouts (shredded)
  • 1 lb fresh asparagus (cut)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb turkey bacon (OK if you’re missing 2 slices)
  • 8 oz Craisins
  • 8 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Start with a 1/2 cup of sliced almonds.

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Toast the almonds in a skillet (I didn’t use any oil here).

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

After removing the almonds, fry the turkey bacon with a little cooking spray. (Also okay if you accidentally tear the bacon in half when you’re pulling it out of the container.) I’m not a big turkey bacon fan, but Trader Joe’s makes a pretty good one. And my mom doesn’t eat red meat or pork, so I had to be accommodating.

Microwaved turkey bacon

It’s not okay to microwave turkey bacon when you realize you want to cook all of it instead of just half a package… This is the result. These two lonely slices made their way into the mouth of the garbage bag (because we still didn’t have a garbage can yet…)

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

I wasted a lot of little containers taking pictures for you. I hope you’re impressed.

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

After removing the turkey bacon to let it cool, saute the onions in the oil until they are translucent.

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Chopped asparagus (no icky bottoms, thankyouverymuch).

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Add the asparagus to the onions

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

I could lie and say that I shredded the Brussels sprouts myself…but really… would I do that to you?

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Bagged Brussels Sprouts from Trader Joe’s. Making my life easier one plastic bag at a time.

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Add the chopped Brussels sprouts to the asparagus/onions

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

After you chop the turkey bacon, add to the pan

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Add the almonds back into the pan

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Craisins are super pretty 🙂 Mix them into a slightly cooled salad

Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Onions, Almonds, Turkey Bacon, Craisins, Goat Cheese

Finish the whole thing with the goat cheese. *Drool*

There you have it. One of my favorite side dishes. I made it for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. Except for the goat cheese with my sister. Apparently, she hates goat cheese. Apparently she didn’t know that until Thanksgiving. It was actually hilarious watching her expression.

What’s your favorite veggie side dish?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!