Saturday, May 26, 2018

Decadent Appetizers and Low-Key Birthdays

I turned another year older yesterday.

I've got to say, while getting older is certainly far superior to the next best option birthdays certainly lack the excitement that accompanied them when I was younger.  This may be the last year that I can say with certainty that I'm in my mid-thirties- possibly next year, but after that I'm certainly in late 30's territory.  Aging is weird.

My husband wanted to take me out for dinner last night, but if there's one thing that we know about me at this point it's that I love a good cheese board.  I told him that all I wanted was cheese and prosecco and he obliged.

So last night we feasted- a multitude of cheese, crackers, a loaf of sourdough bread from the German bakery near my sister-in-law's house that I had been stashing away in the freezer, flavored olive oil, and these guys- Honey Balsamic Bacon Goat Cheese and Pistachio Bites.

Boy, that's a mouthful of a name, isn't it?
Trust me, you want these in your mouth.

My husband came home from work last night to find me in the middle of making these, throwing together pizza for the kids, prepping strawberries for strawberry shortcake, and slicing cheese.  He reminded me he could have just taken me out to dinner since it was my birthday, but I wanted this stuff.  Plus I like to cook, so it was ok.

I've had this recipe from Jamie at A Sassy Spoon saved to one of my Pinterest boards for the longest time and my birthday seemed like the perfect time to give it a whirl.  I'm so glad I did!

While there are several small steps involved in assembling these delicious little appetizers they're all easy steps that could easily be done ahead of time.

You know those little mini fillo cups in the freezer section of the grocery store?
You're going to need a box of those.

Drop in a little chopped fresh basil, garlicky goat cheese, coarsely chopped pistachios, and crumbled bacon and finish them off with a drizzle of balsamic glaze before popping them in the oven.

I can't even begin to tell you how amazing these are.  They're so flavorful and would be super impressive at a party.  Creamy, gooey, crunchy, salty- DELICIOUS.

I have to admit I felt some guilt pangs as I shelled the pistachios...my grocery store only seemed to have the Wonderful brand pistachios and that meant that if I wanted to make these little treats I had to break my little personal boycott of all things Wonderful company after their behavior in my hometown.  Next time I'll plan ahead and seek out a different brand.

Moral dilemmas aside, I can't wait to make these again- every chance I get!  They truly are fantastic- I may have even had one for breakfast this morning.  Hey, I made it another year in life- I've totally earned the splurge.  :-)

1 pkg frozen mini fillo shells
4 slices smoked bacon, chopped
4 oz goat cheese
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 C pistachios, roughly chopped
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp honey

1. Cook chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp; drain on paper towel-lined plate.

2. In a small bowl, mix together goat cheese and minced garlic until well combined.

3. In a small saucepan, mix together balsamic vinegar, white sugar, black pepper, and garlic powder over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, stirring often until mixture is reduced by half.  Set aside to cool.  

4. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Arrange mini fillo shells on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and set aside.  Whisk together balsamic glaze and honey until combined.

5. From bottom to top, in each shell place approximately: 1/4 tsp basil, 1 tsp goat cheese, and 1/2 tsp chopped pistachios.  Top with crumbled bacon and a drizzle of balsamic glaze; reserve remaining glaze.

6. Bake until fillo shells are crisp and flaky, 7-10 minutes.  Top with additional drizzle of balsamic glaze if desired.

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