May 29, 2011

Pistachio and Persian feta stuffed dates

A blog I love to turn to is dinnersanddreams. I enjoy reading Nisrine so much that I purchased her cookbook, Marrakesh Express by Nisrine Merzouki. Her blog is full of fabulous photos, recipes and wonderful stories of how food has influenced her life thus far.

Late last year when I had time to read a lot more blogs than now, I enjoyed seeing what Nisrine was up to and her ideas for pre dinner eats or more commonly known as a mezze platter. Dates seemed like a favourite and something I never really used unless I was baking a sticky date pudding or making a fruit cake. I made a mental note to buy fresh dates and give them a go.

It has only taken me the good part of a year to finally honour this decision and I am now kicking myself as to why I waited so long.
I knew I wanted to stuff the dates with something yummy, so I took myself off to our local Harris Farm store (veggie market) and decided to let my taste buds decide. Harris Farm is full of fruit and veggies, an array of nuts and an even bigger selection of cheeses- my kind of heaven!

I stopped by the nuts and scooped up a bunch of pistachios before thinking of the price and then moved swiftly toward the cheese section to really get my mouth watering, (OK, so nuts aren't my favourite but cheeses are up there among my top 5 ingredients to eat/cook of all time).
Because I wasn't thinking with my hip pocket, my eye quickly and efficiently located the row of marinating Persian fetas and I snatched up a tub marinating in saffron and chili oil so fast, even a chameleon would have been proud.

At home I was like a kid in a candy shop. I decided to let my mind wonder and see what happens....I was excited with the result.

Of course I made way to much feta stuffing; no matter it was so tasty and delicious that I knew I'd find some other way to use it. Take for example our dinner last Wednesday. I was due at yoga within the hour, Nic was late home due to a late class and I really needed dinner at least cooking while I pulled my limbs every which way at yoga. Italian sausages where on the cards but to make it a memorable dinner I needed to make a delicious salad. In the end I made a quick potato and bean salad, cut up some cherry tomatoes and finished the salad with dollops of pistachio and feta!

I was told the boys loved the salad and asked for seconds.
What started out as an idea thanks to a blog I have been scouring for the past year, ended up being a fantastic pre dinner drink bite, and a wonderful cheese spread to have lurking in the fridge when I really needed a little help taking a family meal from OK to fabulous!

Persian feta and pistachio stuffed dates
1/4 cup pistachio nuts out of their shell
1 date
1/4 cup sultanas
1/3 cup Persian feta (flavoured with saffron and chili)
8-10 fresh dates
Put pistachios in a food processor and pulse until chopped evenly (approx. 40 seconds).
Add the date and sultanas. Pulse until evenly chopped (approx. 20 seconds).
Add feta and pulse until just combined. Taste, adjust flavouring with salt and pepper if  needed, remove from processor and place in a small bowl until needed.

Slit dates on one side to remove the seed, do not cut through.
Once all seeds are removed, stuff with cheese spread, clean up the edges and serve.


Bryan said...

I enjouy Nisrine's work too.
What a great dish to work with and I love it on the salad!

Susie said...

Persian Feta????? That sounds delicious...I have never seen anything like that, but I am on the lookout. Yummy post!

Nisrine Merzouki said...

These are my favorite stuffed dates. Your version of them looks fabulous. I'm glad it worked out for you :)

Have a wonderful weekend!!