WE WANT CLEAN FOOD!!!!: Have a date with me

WE WANT CLEAN FOOD!!!!: Have a date with me: Have a Date ( or two) with Ric Orlando Winter is Date season and it is on the way. The chill in the air kinds sucks for some thing...

Have a date with me


Have a Date ( or two) with Ric Orlando
 Winter is Date season and it is on the way. The chill in the air kinds sucks for some things, but for winter fruit it rocks!
When I consulted for HITS in the California dessert, the date palms were everywhere, dropping dates like turds from a trotting pony. Once I realized what they were, I began gathering, washing and consuming them with abandon. If you haven't experienced date lust, you should. They are richly textured with a sweet, meaty fruit. Along with figs and apricots, they are the offal of fruit. Deeper flavored, more exotically textured and more mysterious than any plain old winter fruit.
 Dates lend themselves to savory applications well because of their inherent meatiness.
Cook some dates for  the holidays!


Devils on Horseback, my way

Serves 4 as an appetizer

16 large pitted dates
¼ cup soft goat cheese
8 strips smokey bacon, cut in half legnthwise
1tsp ground coriander
4 tbls honey
4 tbsl Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
12 toothpicks or stiff rosemary sprigs, soaked in water to prevent burning

Whisk the cheese until soft, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Put in pastry bag with small tip
Carefully pipe the goat cheese into each date from the end to fill, but not overfill.
Wrap bacon around each date twice and secure with a toothpick or spring.
Cook under broiler or on griddle pan slowly on both sides until bacon is caramelized and crisp.
Whisk together any accumulated bacon drippings, the coriander, honey and mustard. Serve on the side as a dip.

Marinated Dates Tapas
Serves 4 as an appetizer
16 large dates, pitted or not, your choice
1/2 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp crushed red pepper or to taste
juice of ½ lemon
Put dates in a jar.
Add lemon, herbs and spices.
Cover with oil. Shake well and let stand at room temperature at least one hour before serving. Serve with grilled toast.

Andaluz Date and Garlic “Butter”
Makes 2 cups.
Great smeared on English muffins, as a side to grilled pork or as a spread with salty cold cuts like prosciutto or westphalian ham
2 cups packed pitted dates,
2 cup amontillado sherry
1/2 cup water
¼ cup sherry vinegar
4 cloves garlic, smashed
pinch salt

In a non reactive pot, simmer everything together for 45 minutes to one hour until it is all very soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Puree in a food processor until smooth.  Store refrigerated or can in sterilized jars according to manufacturer’s instructions






Cold Weather is here...

Neapolitan Style Meatballs



(good story about my Grandmother Millie and my Mother Ro will follow soon)



I am giving the ingredients and ratios here, but the seasoning should be to your personal taste.

(Make it, taste it and add what you want.)

It is the bread soaking technique which makes these soft and fluffy!

NOTE: You are going to be mixing raw meat with your hands here.

If you are squeamish, use rubber gloves or someone else’s hands.

I do recommend having a dish towel and a bowl of warm water at the ready for dipping

and wiping your hands. I also suggest, er, insist that you mix your meat with one hand.

That way, if you nose itches, or the phone rings, or a $100 bill blows by, you will always

have a clean hand at the ready.

Makes 16 -20 golf ball sized balls.

2 lbs ground meat mix ( Just ask at the meat counter--I like a mix of 50 % beef chuck, 25% pork and 25% veal)

about a cup of old-ish Italian or French bread, having a little crust is ok but your

balls will be silkier without it.

milk or red wine

(Milk will give you a softer flavor, wine will give your balls a little tang.)



¼ cup Romano cheese

3 eggs



Seasoning

¼ cup chopped parsley

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp crushed pepper or to taste

1 tablespoon salt or to taste

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic or to taste



Put the meat in a work bowl with plenty of room to mix.

Add the seasoning. Mix well.



Put the bread in another bowl and pour milk or red wine over it to cover it completely.

Let it soak until it s is fully spongy and the liquid soaked up. Add more milk if it is totally not saturated.



Once the bread is soaked through, squeeze it out with your hands, tear and mush it up and add it to the meat. Mix it in well. You will see little white streaks from the bread. That is cool.

Whisk the Romano cheese with the eggs well.

Add that to the meat and mix well.



Make a little slider sized patty and brown it in some hot oil to taste for seasoning.

How do you like it? Need more salt or crushed pepper? How about garlic?

Remember, if you cook them in sauce, the seasoning will mellow, so they should be assertive.

When you are satisfied with the seasoning, roll your balls. I like them a little bigger than a golf ball, but we all have our family traditions. Roll them well, making then smooth and round.



In a heavy skillet in vegetable oil, brown the balls on all sides.



You can now either dump them into your sauce or bake the in the oven and eat them brown., sliced on salad or foccacia.