Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chorizo Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates

My favorite things to make for friends are simple delicious, party-tizers that taste like you were forced to slave over them, when in reality...they take a matter of minutes. These are perfect for any occassion and even those that "think" they aren't a fan of dates will RAVE over them (By the way, I was one of those people at one point). You can make this recipe with or without the chorizo and it's amazing. I just LOVE chorizo and was blown away by Park Cafe in Nashville's Chorizo Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates (that's a mouthful to say) this summer when I visited with some friends. I have been meaning to make them and just hadn't gotten around to it, not that I have anything else going on in my life right now to keep me busy ::cough cough:: radio tour ::cough cough:: But, I recently went to movie night at a sweet friends house, who also happens to love a little gourmet-inspired cooking and she whipped these up for us and it reminded me that I have yet to get you guys this recipe! Let me know what you think.

50-60 pitted dates 
12 oz Bacon (should be 18-20 pieces of bacon) cut into 3 pieces 
Spanish Chorizo - removed from casing, cut into rectangles small enough to fit into the dates
Blaze Balsamic Glaze (I find this at Target)
60 wooden toothpicks 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Make a small cut to allow you to stuff the dates with the chorizo. Stuff the dates with the chorizo and press shut. Now take a piece of bacon and wrap around the body of the date and secure with a toothpick. Place the stuffed bacon wrapped dates on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until top of bacon starts to crisp, turn the dates over and roast for another 7-8 minutes. Bacon should be cooked through and crisp, especially on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze and serve warm. 

Enjoy! XOXO~

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Buttercream Icing

I told you guys I'd be busy. Sorry I haven't posted anything in a week....I know I'm bad. However, I hope you have been following my radio tour journey through my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We have been having way too much fun and meeting a lot of amazing people in radio. I have successfully made my way from San Diego, CA all the way up to San Jose, CA. From Kansas City, MO down to San Antonio, TX and all the way over the Baton Rouge, LA. This week We started in Chattanooga, TN and are gonna wind our way up through North Carolina and end in Atlanta, GA! Are you as tired from reading all of that as I am from traveling through it? Whew! Anyway....on to the food. Back in the Spring time I made the above cake (and another one that you can find on my instagram) for my niece and nephews birthday party. I'm not by any means a baking connoisseur and don't claim to be but I had a great time making these sweet creations for the little lights of my life. The recipe below (and the technique that follows) are both courtesy of my sister Shelley, who is, in her own right, a great cook and a FAR better baker than me....Let's just say we make a killer team in the kitchen! Once she gave me this recipe, it was a piece of cake from there.....see what I did there? (I'm a nerd, I know). Enjoy and let me know what you think and don't forget to send pictures and I may feature you and your dish on The Barnyard Bistro!

1 lb confectioners sugar
1 lb unsalted butter, roughly cubed
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla (or vanilla bean paste)
food color if desired (I like the color gels)

Cream butter in a bowl with stand mixer (or with hand mixer). Slowly add in powdered sugar (be sure to keep your speed on low to avoid a white cloud puff in your kitchen). Incorporate vanilla and milk. Add food coloring if desired. Put in the fridge until you are ready to use. Stir well before using if refrigerated. Simple right?

Here is a helpful tip! To smooth icing on the cake, heat a large angled blade spatula (like this one ) over a gas stovetop fire. BE CAREFUL! Or if you don't have a gas stove top, you can dip the blade in a pot of boiling water then wipe on a towel to remove water. Use the surface of the spatula to smooth the icing. It will melt the buttercream just enough to smooth it out. Refrigerate cake until you are ready to eat/serve it!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Cannoli Cups

So I'm officially out on my radio tour! This past week was my California leg of the tour and I had an absolute blast!! We performed for 11 stations starting in San Diego and trekking our way all the way up to San Jose. You can check out my instagram page for photos of all of that craziness. With all that craziness comes less time to cook, therefore....fewer recipe postings for a few weeks. I'll be back in full force right after the promotional tour is over. Now, on to the food...This is one of the quickest party-tizers that you can whip up! (Thank goodness for that with my schedule right now!). I love a good old-fashioned Italian cannoli, but never have the time to make them. For one of our girls nights recently, I had about a 30 minute window to throw a "party-tizer" together for the gathering, snap a few pictures for you guys to see and then head out the door. This yummy little dessert is super simple and easy, but really tasty! 

24 wonton wrappers
12 oz cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
cinnamon and extra powdered sugar for dusting

In a mini muffin tin press wonton wrappers into each opening. Ensure that the corners do not fold inward. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes or until corners turn a golden brown. Remove from the oven and remove the wonton "cups" from the tin to cool.  In a stand mixer beat the cream cheese until it softens a little. With your mixer on the low setting, slowly add in the powdered sugar a little at a time until all of it is incorporated. Add in the vanilla, mix well. Pop in the fridge for 5 minutes just to help it set up a little (freezer is even better). Using a rubber spatula, spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a large star tip. Pipe the mixture into each wonton cup. Using a sifter (or anything that will mimic a sifter) dust powdered sugar over the cannoli cups. Now dust just a bit of cinnamon over the cups and Viola! 

*Note: You can use pastry dough, puff pastry, etc, and they would be even tastier but again, the convenience of wonton wrappers can't be beat - and I didn't have any pastry dough or puff pastry on hand. Keep in mind that if you are using another form of dough to make these cups, the cooking time will vary. Just bake until golden brown.