5 Things I learned at Dinner

5 things I learned at dinner

5 Things I Learned at Dinner    1.We should all be eating Turnip Pods. Maybe you’re like me and don’t regularly have turnip pods on your dinner table. Actually, I didn’t even know turnip pods existed before dinner last night. I never planted turnips because they simply aren’t one of my favorite vegetables. However, after having these delicious little

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perfect tapas on evo grill

Our Tapas sizzle on the EVO grill. The smell of bacon sizzling gathers people like magic!

One of our favorite ways to entertain is with a tapas party. This easy recipe gives you perfect tapas off the EVO grill.  Spicy chorizo is stuffed inside a sweet, chewy date then wrapped inside smoky, crispy, bacon. Grilled on the EVO it is a mouthful of WOW. Spicy, salty, sweet, smoky, and crunchy all in one perfectly balanced bite. Although the combination may sound unusual, it has a classic Spanish pedigree and is a true crowd pleaser. Most people are drawn to the grill by the smell of bacon (even vegetarians seem subject to it’s allure) and after they pop one into their mouth are delighted and happily curious.

“WHAT is that? It’s sooo delicious. Can I have another please? Dates? Huh…”  all while chewing happily and encouraging others to sample one. That’s the kind of party food I love to serve. A little different, yet still approachable. Memorable.  Exciting.  Conversational.  Oh yeah, and it’s pretty simple to prepare ahead. Only 3 ingredients.  And reasonably priced for a large crowd.  Sounds perfect right?  Exactly.

And if you don’t own an EVO, don’t let that stop you from enjoying these. They can also be made on a cookie sheet in an oven in just 15 minutes.  This recipe makes about 30 pieces. How many that serves depends on what else you make. As a part of a tapas menu,  I usually allow for 3 a person.  I like to serve a vegetable tapa, a chicken tapa, and Spanish olives with good bread alongside these stuffed dates. Add a pitcher of Sangria turn on some Flamenco Guitar music and you are set. Tapas parties are perfect for potluck style entertaining as well.  Everyone can bring a tapa or wine to share and you simple grill it up or set it out.

Perfect Tapa off the EVO grill

The party starts when you start cooking these tasty morsels!

Here’s the Recipe.

Chorizo Stuffed Dates with Bacon

  • 15 Medjool pitted dates, cut in half
  • 1 pound ground chorizo, taken from casing and sautéed until brown
  • 10 slices applewood bacon, cut into thirds

Prepare dates by cutting in half and removing pit.  Brown chorizo in pan ( can be done on top of EVO ) and drain excess fat. Cut bacon into thirds and bake for about 8 minutes to partially cook. ( This step is not strictly necessary, but I like how it speeds up the party time cooking and gives off less grease when cooking). You can also just wrap stuffed dates in raw bacon and cook directly on EVO for slightly longer time. I like to skewer the tapas with a toothpick to hold them together. You can make ahead and hold in frig overnight or until party time. With skewers in place, guests can help themselves to a tapa right off the grill. Again , this is optional.

At serving time simply heat the EVO to medium and place in circles around the grill.  Turn occasionally to brown all sides. In about 10 minutes, you will have perfect tapas off the EVO grill. (Warning, we have had people so desperate for another one that they swipe a raw bacon piece right off the grill. The hazard of grill side service!  Keep the most done ones nearest the guests to cut down on this.)

perfect tapas off the evo grill

Here is the plated version.

perfect tapas off the evo grill

The Perfect Tapa

If preparing indoors set oven to 400 and cook 10-15 minutes turning twice.

Sometimes a serve them on top a little Red Pepper puree splashed with a sherry vinegar and arugula.  This is nice  if you are plating them for a fancier event.  But it is definitely gilding a lily.

 

 

We recently did a little grilling demo for the Charleston Home and Design Show on Daniel Island.  The Daniel Island Luxury Home tour had a beautiful home by Jackson Built Custom Builders.

entertaining on the porch

The Back Porch of the Jackson Built Home offered a great place to unwind or entertain.

We showed off what an EVO can do on their beautiful back porch. It was a very luxurious and fun place to entertain. With golf course views,  a curious alligator attracted to bacon,  and about 500 guests gathered around the EVO over 4 hours we had a blast. We sure appreciate how you can serve directly off the EVO when entertaining a crowd like this! The porch itself had some real luxury features anyone would love to have at their home. A beautiful brick outdoor fireplace that lit up with a flip of a switch. Views of water , golfers, and trees dripping with Spanish moss. But my favorite feature was that although the porch seemed to be open air,  it had a ceiling mounted screen that came down with the touch of a remote control.  Instant screen porch, a real party saver in a city where our state bird could be the mosquito! The crowds definitely agreed that these are the perfect tapa off the EVO grill! They were the first thing to run out.

For more information on our EVO grills and how to get one for your next party here’s a link to our grill page.

 

This dish was introduced to me by Chef Blaine Staniford of Grace Restaurant in Fort Worth Texas. He made them for us at the 2014 Telluride Wine Festival on a EVO Procart. If you want to follow his recipe and make your own chorizo here’s a link. He does give oven directions as well.  If you happen to be any where near  Fort Worth, do yourself a favor and dine with Chef Staniford. You will  be very glad you did. http://www.blainestaniford.com/chorizo-stuffed-dates.html

Chef Staniford Chorizo stuffed dates.

Chef Blaine Staniford at the Telluride Wine Festival cooking up Chorizo stuffed dates.

Brunch at Kiawah Resort, SC

Brunch at Kiawah Resort, SC

Have you been to the world class Brunch at Kiawah Resort, SC ? If not, make plans now to treat yourself. Brunch at the Jasmine Porch restaurant of Kiawah resort has been awarded “Best Brunch in South Carolina”.  It is also my personal favorite spot around Charleston for an indulgent brunch outdoors. Ocean views and breezes provide a beautiful

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