Besides formal and informal dinners, what about parties with friends and colleagues where all is required is a few cocktails or wine and some small plates.
Today: Orange Zest Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Zest and juice of 1 orange
3 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
20 to 24 large Medjool dates, pits removed, slit open
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, orange zest and juice, pecans, and powdered sugar. With a pastry bag or with a small spoon, fill each date with about 1 teaspoon cream cheese filling. Place on serving platter and chill until ready to serve. This can be made several hours ahead. Sprinkle with grated zest and chopped pecans.
Makes 20 to 24.
(From “Small Parties” by Marguerite Marceau Henderson. Reprinted with permission of Gibbs Smith, Photograph by Kirsten Shultz)