So Friday, I had this urge for both finger foods and vegetables. Go figure. As a result I made pigs in blankets, broccoli slaw, and bacon wrapped dates. That was like the best dinner ever. The pigs in blankets were of the crescent roll-lil' smokie variety and the broccoli slaw was a bag of broccoli slaw (yes you can find it in the bag o' salad part of your grocery store), dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts with a nice balsamic vinaigrette. The true kicker was the too easy to be true bacon wrapped dates. Basically, take a few dates and take out the seed which makes a remarkably neat hole for you to fill. I filled in with a 1/4 inch chunk of pecorino romano. then you just wrap the whole shebang in 1/3 of a slice of bacon (cut widthwise), secure with a toothpick and bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes. I found that the bacon needed some time in a hot frying pan to fully render out the fat. The end product was a Jaleo worthy meld of sweet and salty.
The other thing I made this weekend was an amaretto cake. While we were grocery shopping, we looked wistfully at all of the expensive holiday cakes soaked in rum, or frangelico or amaretto. For some reason they were not on sale and therefore, prohibitively expensive. I decided to make my own. I figure I'd find a recipe somewhere. In all of my cookbooks there wasn't really a cake that fit my needs so I made one up. I adapted the Barefoot Contessa lemon cake since it was a cake that required soaking the cake in a lemon syrup. I substituted amaretto everywhere the recipe asked for lemon. It made two cakes. One of which I iced and sliced immediately and the other I put in the freezer. The first was lovely, but the syrup really didn't soak through. I then took the second out of the freezer, poked a zillion holes in hte loaf and made another batch of syrup to soak the cake. We're still finishing the first loaf so I'll report later on whether the second loaf had the requisite soaking.
BTW, the homemade gyoza for New Years turned out PERFECTLY! I made it before the holidays and froze them. They boiled to perfection and none of them exploded in the pot. The key is using round gyoza skins and NOT won ton skins which are much thinner. The gyoza would also be perfect for ravioli.