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The Sidecar and Stuffed Dates – A Perfect Pairing for Fall!

The Sidecar and Stuffed Dates – A Perfect Pairing for Fall!

Cooler weather and a Friday evening. A welcome excuse to toast the weekend and share a pairing of two great classics to warm the soul and soothe the mood!

Start with The Sidecar. This vintage cocktail begins with a swipe of fresh orange around the rim to create a band of sugar crystals around a sparkling glass.

Inside you’ll find a spirited blend of fine Cognac and Cointreau – that luxurious orange liqueur – brightened with a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Though there is no clear history on the origin of The Sidecar, it appeared on the cocktail scene sometime near the end of World War I. Having been around over a century the basics are still essentially the same and the ingredients shaken until ice cold.

And for a delectable bite to share – pull up another classic – stuffed dates.

This tasty nibble has been making the rounds for decades. I found a recipe of this appetizer in one of my Grandmother’s cookbooks, circa 1938. Stuffed with pecans or walnuts before being rolled in powdered sugar.

This updated version also includes nutmeats – walnuts and pecans. But dates are such sweet morsels – maybe we skip the powdered sugar. Instead let’s wrap this delightful fruit in bacon or prosciutto – a wonderful combination of sweet and savory!

The Sidecar was named for that quirky attachment to a motorcycle – one that allowed you to sit back, be a passenger and enjoy the world around you. So go shake up a batch, stuff those dates then relax and watch the world go by!

The Sidecar

½ cup sugar

1 orange

3 ounces good Cognac or Brandy

1-1/2 ounces Cointreau

1-1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice

Ice for shaking

Place the sugar in a shallow bowl or dish. Using a sharp knife, peel the orange and reserve the peelings. Cut the orange and run a piece around the rim of the cocktail glasses. Roll the juiced edge in the bowl of sugar to thoroughly coat, creating a sugared rim. Set the glasses aside to let the sugar dry and set.

Pour the Cognac into a cocktail shaker along with the Cointreau and the lemon juice.

Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until the drink is well chilled.

Carefully strain the chilled cocktail into the sugar rimmed glasses. Twist a piece of the orange peel into the cocktail, then toss it in for garnish and serve!

Makes 2 cocktails.

Stuffed Dates

Dates with Bacon and Pecans

5 strips of bacon

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

10 pitted dates

10 whole toasted pecans

Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire rack on top and spray lightly with a cooking spray. Place the bacon on the wire rack and season with the black pepper. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until the bacon is starting to cook, but is not crisp. It needs to be flexible so you can wrap it around the dates. Set the pan aside for cooking the dates.

Gently open the dates along the cut line (where they’ve been cut for pitting). Tuck in 1 toasted pecan.

Cut the bacon in half and wrap a piece around the stuffed date. Secure with a toothpick and place them back on the wire rack.

Bake for an additional 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven or until the bacon is crisp.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover dates.

Makes 10 portions.

Dates with Prosciutto and Walnuts

5 thinly sliced strips of prosciutto

10 pitted dates

10 whole toasted walnuts

Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire rack on top and spray lightly with a cooking spray.

Gently open the dates along the cut line (where they’ve been cut for pitting). Tuck in 1 toasted walnut.

Fold the prosciutto in half lengthwise, then cut in half widthwise. Wrap a piece of the folded prosciutto around the stuffed date. Secure with a toothpick and place them on the wire rack.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the prosciutto is crisp on the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Refrigerate any leftover dates. Makes 10 portions.

The Sidecar, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 12, 2018
: 2 cocktails

This vintage cocktail begins with a swipe of fresh orange around the rim creating a band of sugar crystals around a sparkling glass. Inside you’ll find a spirited blend of fine Cognac and Cointreau - that luxurious orange liqueur – brightened with a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

By:

Ingredients
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 3 ounces good Cognac or Brandy
  • 1-1/2 ounces Cointreau
  • 1-1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice for shaking
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the sugar in a shallow bowl or dish. Using a sharp knife, peel the orange and reserve the peelings. Cut the orange and run a piece around the rim of the cocktail glasses. Roll the juiced edge in the bowl of sugar to thoroughly coat, creating a sugared rim. Set the glasses aside to let the sugar dry and set.
  • Step 2 Pour the Cognac into a cocktail shaker along with the Cointreau and the lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until the drink is well chilled.
  • Step 3 Carefully strain the chilled cocktail into the sugar rimmed glasses. Twist a piece of the orange peel into the cocktail, then toss it in for garnish and serve!

Stuffed Dates, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 12, 2018
: 10 portions each

Dates are such sweet morsels! Stuff them with toasted pecans or walnuts then wrap this delightful fruit in bacon or prosciutto - a wonderful combination of sweet and savory!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Dates with Bacon and Pecans:
  • 5 strips of bacon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 10 whole toasted pecans
  • For the Dates with Prosciutto and Walnuts:
  • 5 thinly sliced strips of prosciutto
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 10 whole toasted walnuts
Directions
  • Step 1 For the Dates with Bacon and Pecans:
  • Step 2 Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire rack on top and spray lightly with a cooking spray.
  • Step 3 Place the bacon on the wire rack and season with the black pepper. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until the bacon is starting to cook, but is not crisp. It needs to be flexible so you can wrap it around the dates. Set the pan aside for cooking the dates.
  • Step 4 Gently open the dates along the cut line (where they’ve been cut for pitting). Tuck in 1 toasted pecan.
  • Step 5 Cut the bacon in half and wrap a piece around the stuffed date. Secure with a toothpick and place them back on the wire rack.
  • Step 6 Bake for an additional 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven or until the bacon is crisp.
  • Step 7 Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover dates.
  • Step 8 For the Dates with Prosciutto and Walnuts:
  • Step 9 Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire rack on top and spray lightly with a cooking spray.
  • Step 10 Gently open the dates along the cut line (where they’ve been cut for pitting). Tuck in 1 toasted walnut.
  • Step 11 Fold the prosciutto in half lengthwise, then cut in half widthwise. Wrap a piece of the folded prosciutto around the stuffed date. Secure with a toothpick and place them on the wire rack.
  • Step 12 Bake for 15 minutes or until the prosciutto is crisp on the edges.
  • Step 13 Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover dates.


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