Party Food a la Rogue Valley

Last night we went to a birthday party for our friend Whit.  Kristin from Farm to Fork was the caterer. There is a new movement in this country where most people are trying to eat locally and shop locally to help their communities.  Here in Rogue Valley we have wonderful small farmers and an amazing grower’s market that has just started to really get going for the season.  Kristin has started these great dinners at the local farms complete with local wines (we are in an up-coming wine country here in Southern Oregon).  Even though the electricity went out the party went on because there was a grill and the local produce and cheeses were the star.

I wanted to share with you my two favorite goodies from the party.    My favorite appetizers were the phyllo wrapped spring asparagus with blue cheese and bacon wrapped almond stuffed dates. The advantage of living here in Rogue Valley is we have amazing foods available to us, including the world famous Rogue Creamery that makes the best blue cheese in the world (that is a fact, I’m not just bragging here).

For dessert, one of their friends made a lemon pound cake served with  lemon curd, blueberries in lavender syrup, strawberries in lavender syrup and homemade cardamon ice cream.  The lavender was harvested from Whit’s garden last fall and the strawberries were from a produce stand about 1/4 mile outside of Jacksonville.

Phyllo Wrapped Spring Asparagus

  • 1 Bunch Thin Asparagus spears – shave ends and cut off woody part
  • 1 package Phyllo dough – thawed if frozen, laid out and covered with damp towel
  • 4 ounces Crater Lake Blue cheese
  • 1/2 block cream cheese – room temperature
  • salt and pepper
  1. Mix the blue cheese and cream cheese together until creamy.  Reserve.
  2. Cut the phyllo sheets in 1/2.  Spread small amount of cheese mix on one end.
  3. Place asparagus spear on end with cheese and roll up folding in end with cheese to avoid seeping.
  4. Bake 375F for approximately 10-12 minutes or until phyllo is crispy and brown on outside.

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Marcona Almonds

This was prepared on the grill over foil, but you could make these in the oven under the broiler, just watch carefully.

  • 1 package bacon – cut in 1/2
  • approximately 40 medool dates
  • 40 Marcona almonds
  • toothpicks

Stuff a Marcona almond into the cavity of the date and wrap with 1/2 a slice of bacon.  Use toothpick to keep together.  If dates are very large, cut in 1/2 and use 1/2 a date.

Grill over foil or cook under the broiler until well done.  Serve hot.

Have you been to any good parties lately?   What did they serve?  Got a recipe to share?

Till then, happy cooking!

Chef Constance

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