An Easy Thanksgiving Appetizer

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Certainly my family -- my husband Steve, my boys, Dave and Chris, my daughter-in-law, Lynn, and our new grandchild, baby Tara.

I’m also thankful that I love my work. I have two jobs: blogging for Special Fork and serving as the PR representative for Kerrygold Irish butter and cheeses, made with milk from grass-fed cows raised on Ireland’s small family farms.

Sometimes, my two jobs converge, as when I get to plan and execute events for Kerrygold and in the process, learn new recipes and food ideas that I can share with you.

I just returned from New York City on Thursday after coordinating a Twitter party and food blogger workshop on holiday entertaining. One of the joys of PR is the remarkable talent you get to meet, such as Irish Chef Neven Maguire, who starred at both events.

Neven is a phenomenon in Ireland, where he owns the acclaimed MacNean House and Restaurant, recipient of TripAdvisor’s 2013 Travelers’ Choice Award, as one of the top ten travelers’ favorite fine dining restaurants in Europe.

Neven has become a household name in Ireland, appearing in his own TV cooking shows and producing 11 cookbooks. His nationwide cooking demonstrations are attended by as many as 500 loyal followers. Now Ireland’s rock star chef will be seen in the States when his TV series, Home Chef, debuts in the U.S. on Public Television this January. (Check your local listings for dates and times.)

You might expect someone of this caliber of renown to be so caught up in his own stardom as to be difficult to work with. Instead, you would find him to be the nicest, most gracious of people. He never fails to say thank you, even in the middle of a sentence, as a bowl is handed him from an assistant. Neven lights up an audience – you can tell he loves to teach.

What I thought I'd share with you for Thanksgiving is a simple and delicious appetizer Neven demoed at the blogger party at Sur la Table. Prep the dates and bacon early in the day, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. As soon as the turkey comes out of the oven, crank up the broiler and broil the appetizers to serve while the turkey is resting. Guests can nibble on these delicious morsels to whet their appetite as you carve the turkey.

Here are complete Thanksgiving tips, from when to shop to how to build a menu, to help you with the rest of the meal.

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Cashel Blue Cheese
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
24 pitted dates
4 ounces crumbled Kerrygold Cashel Blue Cheese
12 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
24 wooden toothpicks
Baby arugula, to garnish

  1. To make balsamic-honey syrup, in a small saucepan over low heat, simmer vinegar and honey for 4 to 5 minutes or until syrupy, stirring frequently.
  2. Preheat broiler. With scissors or a small sharp knife, make a lengthwise slit to form a pocket. Stuff each date with about 1 teaspoon cheese. Wrap 1 piece of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick.
  3. Place dates on a foil-lined broiler pan or rimmed baking sheet. Place under the broiler about 3 inches from the heat and broil for 4 minutes. Turn dates over and broil 4 minutes more. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with balsamic-honey syrup. Serve warm. Scatter with a handful of baby arugula to garnish.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Our bloggers blog Monday through Friday to give you cooking inspiration. Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Follow us on Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Related posts:

  1. Thanksgiving Tips from Mom, with Love
  2. Roasted Grapes – Appetizer or Dessert
  3. An Easy Appetizer that’s a Pleaser
  4. Getting Ready for Thanksgiving
  5. A Supreme-ly Easy Thanksgiving Side

Posted: Nov 17th by Sandy_Hu