This recipe was recently published in the November/December issue of Front Porch Magazine…
Arkansas Women Bloggers held its annual blogger conference in September at Ferncliff Camp just outside Little Rock. Day One on the agenda—a food challenge demanding quick and creative kitchen skills not unlike today’s reality cooking shows made popular by Iron Chef.
Seven teams were provided boxes of identical ingredients along with a pantry stocked with additional basics. With only forty-five minutes to create twenty appetizers, competition was fierce. To make things more interesting, each team was allowed one secret ingredient.
I was part of the winning team led by Kellee Mayfield (Delta Moxie) of Lake Village. Kellee came with a box of tricks including our secret ingredient, Miso Soy, plus decorative napkins and serving platters. Every southern girl knows presentation is an important part of the food equation.
The appetizer our team created was inspired by one of my favorite Southern Living party recipes, Bacon-Wrapped Almond-Stuffed Apricots. Our first stumbling block—the pantry had no apricots. Instead, we substituted dates then put our heads together to create the winning dish using Arkansas Petit Jean Bacon and other locally grown ingredients.
(I can’t go into specifics, but there was even a bit of bartering to secure the feta cheese from another team…)
|Hard at work! (photo courtesy of Julie Kohl of www.eggsandherbs.com)|
According to the slate of foodie judges from Memphis and Little Rock, our dipping sauce made with orange marmalade and Miso Soy would make plywood taste great!
It was that good.
The saltiness of Petit Jean bacon and crumbly feta paired with sweet dates and orange marmalade proved to be a delicious combination and possibly even better than the original inspiration. This recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next holiday gathering.
Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Almonds and Feta
(makes 24 pieces)
12 slices bacon, cut into halves
24 whole almonds
green onions (4-5)
3/4 cup orange marmalade
Miso Soy paste (or 2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice a pocket into each date and stuff with one almond and a small sliver of feta cheese.
Close date and wrap with bacon slice. Secure with wooden toothpick.
Place on wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once to brown each side.
Mix miso soy paste with water (according to package instructions) to make two tablespoons. Add to marmalade and heat in a small, microwave safe bowl at medium 1 minute or until blended.
Arrange appetizers on a serving platter. Drizzle with dipping sauce and top with a sprinkle of chopped green onions. Serve warm with extra sauce for dipping.
Grace Grits and Gardening