I would like to start this column by saying it’s only kinda going to be about The Muppets. Yes, they have a new show coming out. I guess maybe you should watch it? I don’t know. I have mixed emotions about it. I think maybe The Muppets should never do anything again unless Jason Segel is doing it … but that’s neither here nor there.
What this column is actually about is cooking with another human being.
A little under a year ago, I moved to Ohio. I don’t have a whole lot of existing friends here and those that I do have are either not close to Cleveland or falling prey to the evils of my social anxiety. Meeting people is anything but easy. I work from home and when I’m not working, I’m coming up with recipes for all of you fools. Right? So as of right now, I can confidently say I have made two friends since moving here.
When I was considering doing this column, I didn’t brainstorm. I just had one idea. To reflect Miss Piggy’s new single relationship status in the television show, I wanted to create a dish called “A Date With Miss Piggy.” It was going to be a date … wrapped in Miss Piggy.
Lucky for me, one of my (two) friends and I have discussed (in-length) bacon-wrapped dates and I know for a fact she has made them and made them well. So I invited her over for a cooking date. (No, I’m not calling her Miss Piggy.)
Erica provided the stuffed date expertise, I provided the fake pig noses. And fun was had.
Having a friend to cook with was great. I’ve gotten to a point in my friendship with her where I feel comfortable having her around and I super enjoy her company. It only makes sense that I invite her into my kitchen to cook.
But here’s the catch – I never do this. I cook alone. It’s part of my life as a hermit. Even when I was growing up, I did the cooking while my mom went off and did something else productive. That carried over to my marriage. I do the cooking, my husband goes off to be smart about something. I don’t have people in my kitchen unless I’m feeding them.
What I’m discovering through this process is that I need to give up control a little more. Erica came in and sliced dates and told me what to do and it was fabulous. Actually nothing to fear. Who knew? Whatever, I’m a work in progress. It might seem like a normal human interaction to you, but I think I’m closer to muppet than human.
Regardless, it was super successful and fun. This column is a big fat thank you to a good friend for providing you all with her recipe and for letting me practice being human.
Also, The Muppets premieres on September 22nd. Check it out. Also, grab a friend, eat some Miss Piggy in solidarity with Kermit. I don’t know what shit went down there, but I have no doubt that she was to blame.
Slice dates open length-wise and stuff with a small spoonful of goat cheese.
Wrap each date in a third of a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes. (You can turn the sheet halfway through if your oven does not cook evenly.)
Turn the oven to broil and cook for another 5 minutes, or until bacon is crispy.
While the dates are cooking, simmer balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan for 5-10 minutes or until reduced by about half.
Serve hot dates with balsamic reduction.
Fontina Turner, a food blogger and graphic designer from Philadelphia, makes classy-as-fuck comfort food and consumes an unhealthy amount of cheeses and craft beers. She can be found in the kitchen, at the bar, on Twitter or trying to make H. Jon Benjamin love her. Contact her at email@example.com.