Homage to fromage
All-cheese menu makes a festive New Year's party
Queso fresco, herb-stuffed dates: A rendition of stuffed dates served warm with a simple balsamic glaze. Medjool dates prove soft and easy to stuff. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune / December 26, 2012)
Coarse salt, optional
1. Cut a slit in each date or apricot so you have a pocket for stuffing. Put one of the cheese pieces into each date along with a few fresh cilantro leaves and a piece of pecan, if using. This can be done several hours in advance.
2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place stuffed dates on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve drizzled with balsamic glaze and sprinkled with chopped cilantro and a little coarse salt.
Per serving: 36 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 7 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 9 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
Wrap each stuffed date in a half-slice of bacon and secure it with a wooden pick. Increase baking time to crisp bacon, about 20 minutes.
Radicchio salad with cider-poached quince and Danish blue
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
Note: Three firm d'Anjou pears can be substituted for the quince; reduce cooking time to 5 to 10 minutes and test often for tenderness.
2 medium quince, about 12 ounces each
2 to 3 cups unfiltered apple cider
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 to 6 strips orange zest with no white pith
½ cup walnut or pecan halves, roughly chopped