Chorizo and Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey-Balsamic Drizzle with Andalucia Holiday Cocktail


Ummmm hi I'm Kristina and iminlovewithchorizo. Andfestivedrinks. And especially when they fantastic food is combined with fantastic drinks. Wins to everyone all around. Confused? Keep reading. (Especially because toady's recipe is with Dani, one of my favorite people ever.)

When I moved to New Mexico, I quickly became enamored, ob.sessed. actually, with chorizo. Chorizo perfectly combines flavors usually found in Mexican food, tangy pork, and sublime spiciness. Chorizo is greasy, definitely, but I have yet to find a meat spiced quite as perfectly tasty as chorizo. 


Chorizo is most commonly found as a counterpart to eggs, like in a breakfast burrito, and less occasionally as a topping on flatbreads and pizza. Chorizo isn't wildly common outside of the Southwest; I think this might be because a lot of people are scared of chorizo, they just don't know how to make it so they stick to the most tried and true ways.

Last year, I created my Sweet n' Spicy Bacon Wrapped Dates, and they continue to be one of my most popular recipes on South of Vanilla. They're so loved, that even I have fallen into the habit of making them frequently. Currently, they're my most favorite breakfast (I know, not even a breakfast food...but there is bacon?), when I even bother to eat breakfast, because I can eat them easily while driving. I even made these dates last year for our family's Thanksgiving where they were agreed upon as "divine".

For this Thanksgiving, not only have I given you another variation of dates, but I’ve paired up with Dani from Care to Pair to give you the perfect Thanksgiving drink pairing for this new favorite recipe. Dani and her husband Andrew created an Andalucia Cocktail, which is entirely uncommon and definitely underutilized. This cocktail is made with walnut liquer and sherry, and pretty much screams “holiday” in a cup. Swoon.

And it totally goes great with this recipe.

Bacon wrapped dates definitely were a trendy food of 2014, but I am taking my date game this year to the next level. I know you see where I am going with this next: chorizo combined with dates. And goat cheese, because ummmm, goat cheese.

These Chorizo and Goat Cheese stuffed dates are so. good. Trust me, they won't last long. You might even want to make a double or triple batch. The honey-balsamic drizzle even makes them food channel worthy, but no one needs to know that it took all of 2 minutes to come together.

I am definitely making them this Thanksgiving (and every other week this year), especially since they make for such a gorgeous presentation, ESPECIALLY since these come along with an unusual and festive drink. Enjoy!

Some cook's notes:

  • Goat cheese isn't paleo, but some people tolerate the type of lactose found in goat milk much better than cow's milk.
  • The parsley in this recipe is mainly for garnish, you can omit if you would like.

Chorizo and Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Honey-Balsamic Drizzle with Andalucia Holiday Cocktail

Andalucia Cocktail Recipe here

For the dates:

  • 30 dates, pitted lengthwise
  • 3 oz goat cheese
  • 1/2 lb chorizo
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano

For the drizzle:

  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup balsamic
  • 2 tsp. Olive oil
  • Dash of salt
  1. In a medium sized frying pan, brown your chorizo. Set aside and let cool completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a lipped baking pan with parchment paper.
  3.  In a large bowl, add cooled chorizo, goat cheese, garlic, and oregano. Using a large spoon, mix well until well incorporated. You may want to use your hands.
  4. Fill dates by placing approximately a teaspoon of chorizo goat cheese mixture into each date.
  5. Place filled dates onto baking sheet and bake on middle rack for 25 minutes.
  6. While dates are baking, whisk honey, balsamic, olive oil and salt. Set aside.
  7. Once dates are done baking, assemble on a platter and drizzle with honey-balsamic.
  8. Enjoy immediately and serve with Andalucia Holiday Cocktail.








A Home is not a Home Without a Rhino

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t get anything done in the week. By the time I wake up late (every morning), I am stressfully hurrying from one thing to another until perhaps the hour before my bedtime where I force myself to chill the heck out so I can actually fall asleep:

 

The past few weeks have been so hectic for me (half marathons, visitors, traveling) that I have not updated this blog as much as I wanted to. I was just talking to a friend this past week (over Cinco de Mayo margs after we ditched the gym, naturally) about how we feel tricked about real life. Kathy and I met in grad school, when our lives were consumed with taking 10 hours to write an evaluation, spending late nights/early morning in libraries, and spending the 3 weeks surrounding midterms and finals on a coffee IV. Luckily, we survived, and have moved onto spending time together doing more fun things. Like buying these necessary animal busts for our homes:

Horse bust takes on D.C. 

Horse bust takes on D.C. 

Kathy and I assumed that after we graduated, we would have enormous amounts of free time after our day jobs. We could work out everyday! We could go to happy hour whenever we wanted! We could go on all the trips we've been dying to do! Ha. Hahahaha. No.

We feel tricked by life. Lies. Complete lies! Whoever has a rockin’, balanced life outside of a 40 hour a week workday is one talented soul. I am so non-productive outside of work that I rely on my weekends to do things like food prep, recipe creation, apartment cleaning, and just generally having a social life. I am so dependent on my time off on weekends, that when I need to go into work over a weekend, my following week is filled with baby carrots, avocados, and wine for dinner. Because that’s obviously how you stay Paleo when on a time crunch  ;)

Amidst the workweek chaos, I’ve been trying to up my vegetable intake lately. This has been a challenge. A couple weeks ago I almost broke down at lunch when I remembered that I had packed myself a.n.o.t.h.e.r. s.a.l.a.d. Since then, I’ve realized that I need to trick myself into eating my vegetables in less obvious ways than just downing a plate of leaves. (I’m 26 going on 6 sometimes.) Recently, I’ve realized that I can drink my vegetables in smoothie form. (Ummm duh, I am clearly late on this trend.) Smoothies are perfect because I can make a ton at one time, they freeze well, and I can grab one as a literally am running out the door in the morning. Since the weather is starting to change from spring to summer, here is one of my new favorite creations, and you can’t even taste the vegetables:

Paleo Spinach Pina Colada

Serves 2

  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cup coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cup whole spinach leaves
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple*
  • ¾  cup frozen strawberries*
  • ¼ cup ice cubes

*You can swap out fresh fruit instead of frozen if you have that on hand. Just make sure to increase the ice to ensure that you smoothie is icy and cold.

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender with the ice and fruit at the bottom of the blender.
  2. Pulse until most of the ice and fruit has been broken into small pieces.
  3. Stop blending and stir with a large spoon every few second to ensure that all the spinach leaves incorporate and blend into the drink. Once everything has started to break down a bit more, blend on higher speeds until well blended and frothy.

 


*As you can see, I styled my drink with a lemon wedge, when it absolutely has no lemon in it. Why? Because it looked cute and I used all my strawberries and pineapples before I thought of the necessity of a garnish. I am full of logic, I know.