This morning everyone seems to be calming down about Ophiuchus and the supposed new zodiac dates, which it appears aren’t really new at all – depending on which calendar you follow, that is. There are a few out there who appear to be switching teams, others staying where they are.
Amid the hubbub last night, my five year old asked for dates – the kind he thinks of as giant raisins, that is – and we pulled out a bowlful to nibble while watching Toy Story 3. The problem is, I’ve spoiled myself- ruined the pleasure of plain old dates, because most often what I do with them is wrap them in bacon, stuff them with cheese, and bake them until the bacon shrink-wraps the dates and the cheese oozes out. Oh yes.
Of course these dates aren’t actually astrological – they’re Medjool – those big, plump ones you see in the produce section of the grocery store. Buy dates with their pits still intact – pitted dates tend to dry out quickly and are difficult to stuff.
If you have kids around, small fingers are particularly adept at plucking pits out of dates. I’ve started keeping a pair of kitchen tweezers on hand – you’d be amazed at how often they come in handy for food prep.
Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Parmesan: pull the pits out of large Medjool dates and stuff with a small chunk of Parmesan cheese (about the same size as the pit); cut slices of bacon crosswise in thirds and wrap each piece around a stuffed date. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet (no need to use toothpicks) and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked through. Serve warm. (These will bring out the competitive nature of your guests – they may be gone before you get out of the kitchen.)