date night

July 15, 2013

date night“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” Thank you William Shakespeare! What a perfect line – at least for this post. 

It’s so true. In Canada – summer is over all too fast. In Ontario, we’re in the middle of a heat-wave. And despite weeks of wet weather leading up to this, everything is already looking parched and lawns are turning brown. After grumbling about the cold, and then the incessant wet, everyone is now complaining about it being too hot. Next we’ll be complaining because autumn is coming and we all know what comes after that. Since I complain for most of the winter, I feel I am not entitled to complain about summer. And actually, I love summer and love the heat.

I try not to cook in summer – switching up the menu to include a lot of meal-in-a-salad type dinners, sushi, and the occasional barbecue. And for desserts – fresh fruit, Tiramisu, or the odd bowl of ice cream. This weekend I made these dates as an appetizer.

The truth is, fresh dates are fabulous all by themselves and don’t really need dressing up. But for an appetizer – they work really well done with a simple cheese filling.  I’ve done them here with a bit of cream cheese mashed with feta and chèvre, just because I had all three cheeses on hand. Then I topped them three different ways using blue cheese, jalapeño pepper, and walnuts.

I used Medjool dates which come from the Bard Valley in the South of the USA. They are great big huge plump sweet dates. So good and such a treat. You don’t really need a recipe for this – but here’s how I made mine….

medjool dates

Stuffed Dates

18 large fresh dates (if they have pits – slash them and remove the pits)
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup feta
1/4 cup chèvre
1/2 tsp honey
For topping:
blue cheese crumbles, walnuts, jalapeños or whatever else you like – almonds, olives, pimento, etc.

Mash the cheese and honey together. Cut a slit in the dates and stuff with about one teaspoon of filling. Top however you like. Refrigerate if serving later – but let the dates stand on the counter for a few minutes before serving – they should be around room temperature for optimum flavour.

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  • Reply apuginthekitchen July 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Love stuffed dates and Medjool are the best. After having one you never go back to any other kind. You are so right, a creamy cheese stuffing is delicious with them. Stay cool, we are experiencing the same here in NYC, for over 2 weeks now, hate to say it but I am really looking forward to Autumn.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      I think you’re right – it will be hard to eat any others now – I’m spoilt! 😉
      I’m not ready for autumn – I love August – the cooler nights – the lovely warm days – the lack of humidity. But autumn is the most beautiful time of the year in Ontario. Perfect for hiking.

  • Reply Darya July 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I love dates and cheese! Your version(s) all sound delicious!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      Yes – it’s hard to go far wrong with dates and cheese isn’t it?! I’ve never had such beautiful dates before. They melt in your mouth – like butter and honey….

  • Reply Fae's Twist & Tango July 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Plain or stuffed dates are very commonly served with tea in Iranian homes… and it can get very creative. Better the dates, the better the creation. I craved for tea to have with your stuffed dates! 😛

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 15, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      Fae – that sounds just delightful – I can just imagine your beautiful china and a cup of perfectly steeped tea. How civilized!

  • Reply Food and Forage Hebrides July 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I haven’t had dates for so long and what a lovely way to eat them with a trio of cheeses, maybe topped with jalapeno as you suggest. Your weather sounds as erratic as ours – rom winter to summer omitting spring, 3 days of good weather then a blanket of mist and low cloud for literally weeks now. If I hadn’t been away last week, I would have forgotten how the warmth of the sun on my face feels! I had a jumper and waterproofs on yesterday.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 15, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      So happy to hear from you Tracey. Somehow the low cloud of mist over the Hebrides sounds kind of romantic although I expect three weeks of it is a bit much. Hope the sun shines on you soon.

  • Reply Tasty Eats Ronit Penso July 15, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    I make something similar a lot, with chopped salted pistachios on top. Always a favorite 🙂

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 15, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      The chopped salted pistachios would be perfect. I’ll give that a try. Thank you!

  • Reply Green Door Hospitality July 16, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Oh I love stuffed dates! Usually use pecans, but the walnuts sound great too! Love the idea of having the three different options, Lindy! 🙂

  • Reply gotasté July 19, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Lindy, these dates are looking so good. I have not tried dates with cheese but I can imagine how they will compliment each other. So nice 🙂

  • Reply johnnysenough hepburn July 24, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Don’t know how I missed this post. I’ll blame the UK version of Yahoo, that I don’t like much. Can’t seem to get the other version back.
    – Dates with cheese and chillies?? This I’ve got to try. There’s a large pack of delicious dates in my cupboard right now, and for the life of me I can’t remember why I bought them. Hah, I do love ’em. Will definitely try them with cream cheese tomorrow as I have that in. And maybe a slice of freshly baked organic spelt bread – with a strong coffee. Now I know what’s for breakfast!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 24, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      That sounds SO good. I’d like a slice of that freshly baked organic spelt bread of yours. Or a slice of any of those fabulous breads you make. Actually anything you make….

      • Reply johnnysenough hepburn July 25, 2013 at 8:22 pm

        Thought I’d let you know that I tried this earlier tonight with garlic and herbs cream cheese spread generously on the spelt bread and big fat delicious dates on top – ridiculously tasty! Would never have thought of that combination. It’s so good I’m hoping to get more photos tomorrow, to update the existing post for the bread, as a serving suggestion. If the photos come out okay I’d love to link to this post, if that’s okay with you.

        • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen July 25, 2013 at 11:22 pm

          Yay!! So glad you liked them. So easy and so fabulous. And yes, of course, I’d be honoured if you linked to my post. Thank you! 🙂

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