Arsip Tag: date

date spice loaf – smitten kitchen

Shh, the baby is sleeping.

First of all, thank you so much for so warmly welcoming little Jacob to the Smitten Kitchen! Such love! I must officially be a mom because I have read all 2,500-plus comments, twice, and it turns out that hearing how objectively cute your newborn son is doesn’t ever get old.

And he is, that is, insanely cute. Did I mention that he punches his left fist in the air in his sleep? That he has so much hair, we had to buy him a little baby comb and brush set? Gah, do not even get me started.

top of the rock

So, while we’re catching up and stuff, it seems worth mentioning — you know, now, after the fact — that we were given a week’s notice that they wanted to induce little Jacob, just to play it safe. A whole week! So much time! I asked people what they would do if they knew they were having a baby, say, the very next day and I used everyone’s suggestions as an activity schedule of sorts for our last week before becoming parents. I got a manicure, pedicure and a haircut. We went out for long, luxurious meals, watched movies, finally got to Top of the Rock, came home and nearly sent myself into labor and delivery days early cracking up over Bill Cosby: Himself (this should so be a must-watch for all almost-parents) especially the part where he wants to give the baby back because it looks like a lizard that needs at least another two, three months to cook but the hospital makes them take it home. Right so, where was I? Basically, we did so much lazy, indulgent stuff that I was bored of all of that indulgence and ready to get on with it by the time his eviction date rolled around.

datesorange zestmisepecans

spice batterready to bake

I also baked and baked and baked, things like those snickerdoodles I sneakily autoposted to trick y’all into thinking that I was not, say, in the midst of 51 hours of labor (your spoiler was sporadically right here, by the way). They were a hit, by the way, as were the cheesecake-marbled brownies; I had no idea they’d go over that well, not that any of that was neccessary given the ridiculously awesome nurses I saw. Heck, the only thing I didn’t think of was — whoops! — how many shifts I might need to bribe in a week’s* hospital stay. My sister swooped in with some zucchini muffins, however, and I don’t think I had to ask twice for anything all week.

date spice loaf

Also, there was this date spice loaf. You see, as part of Baby Prep Week, we determined it essential that we clear out our DVR queue to make room for all of those new shows we’d surely miss first runs of in the coming weeks, and what was in my queue? Lots and lots of Barefoot Contessa. She made this cake. I made this cake. Heck, I even wrapped it up and brought it to the hospital with me (oh, how sweet my room smelled) thinking that at some point, they’d give me a tray of something involving Jell-O, and I’d much rather we all feast on this. Can’t say it worked out that way (four days without anything but clear liquids, my friends, but as good of a cause as any, right?) but this is still a fine, fine cake, so deliciously fall and I bet a perfect addition to any High Holiday meal.

You know, should you not be subsisting on infant feet instead.

* When you combine the longest induction ever and recovery from an emergency section. I feel awesome, by the way; a zillion times better than I’d have expected all things considered. Must be that yummy morphine they put in my drip!

One year ago: Bread Without a Timetable, Black and White Cookies, Summer Panzanella, Balsamic-Glazed Sweet and Sour Cipollini and Majestic and Moist Honey Cake
Two years ago: Cream Cheese Noodle Kugel, Spaghetti with Chorizo and Almonds and Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers
Three years ago: Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake and Fougasse and Rustic White Breads

Date Spice Loaf
Adapted, barely, from Ina Garten

2 cups coarsely chopped dates (10 ounces or 285 grams pitted)
1/3 cup orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Triple Sec
4 tablespoons (2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (145 grams) light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3 oranges)
3/4 cup (3 ounces or 85 grams) coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom of an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pan.

Combine the dates and orange liqueur in a small bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for one minute. Scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. With the mixer still on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the orange juice to the creamed mixture, beating only until combined. By hand, stir in the dates with their liquid, and the pecans.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Serving: Ina suggests you serve this bread with an orange cream cheese spread, which you can make by creaming 6 ounces of room temperature cream cheese with 1/3 cup sugar and one tablespoon orange zest in an electric mixer until just combined.

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date, feta and red cabbage salad – smitten kitchen

Sara Jenkins is famous for making the Italian roasted pork street food known as porchetta trendy in New York. She’s also known for her way with pasta (and has a new book out with her famed food writer mom celebrating it). She’s had turns at a handful of great Italian restaurants in New York, earning them stars and accolades and has written at length for The Atlantic about Italian food. And almost all I ever want to talk about here? Her salads.


what we'll use
very thinly sliced red cabbage

I can’t help it — they’re riveting, and while I will forever love roasted pork and pasta, in my life, nothing fills the inspiration deficit that accumulates from the daily repetition of cooking that real life requires like chefs that have a way with vegetables — ways we can take back home and eat food we’re more excited about. It began the first time we went to Porsena nearly 5 years ago, when I fell in love with a green bean salad busy with pickled onions, fried almonds, thinly sliced fennel and celery, which I’m of the opinion never gets enough praise. Crunchy and bright, I became obsessed and made it again and again at home. Last week, we were back for an early Sunday night dinner with our menagerie of mini-humans (fine, just two, but it feels like a lot!) and the giant shells with kale pesto were excellent, my son’s thousand-layer deeply broiled duck lasagna was otherworldly, my husband has nothing but good things to say about the linguine with clams, but the only thing I spent the next week babbling on about was the salad I had with dates, feta and radicchio.

bulgarian feta, our favorite

I also spent the next week telling myself it was too basic, too boring to warrant mention, which is kind of a shame when these simple ingredients that I already had in the kitchen are so spectacularly good together, the perfect balancing act of sweet and salty on crunchy salad. At the restaurant, they use an heirloom radicchio with tender pink leaves that is absolutely nothing like the bitter-as-lemon-peel heads we get at the store, so I replaced it with red cabbage, which is cheap, hearty and holds up well if you’re trying to plan ahead for that big holiday this month. Everything else was guesswork: I detected a lot of olive oil, a bit of lime juice and Aleppo pepper at the restaurant, but couldn’t resist adding two more things at home, very well toasted sesame seeds and a handful of parsley to finish. You could add even more stuff, I don’t think thinly shaved red onion, a splash of pomegranate molasses or even chickpeas would be unwelcome here, but the good news is that you don’t need them to make a really gorgeous November salad that I’m angling to put on the Thanksgiving table this year, and uh, in my belly at lunchtime today.

date, feta and red cabbage salad

One year ago: Pickled Cabbage Salad
Two years ago: Perfect Uncluttered Chicken Stock
Three years ago: Granola-Crusted Nuts
Four years ago: Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings
Five years ago: Upside-Down Cranberry Cake
Six years ago: Raisin-Studded Apple Bread Pudding
Seven years ago: Cottage Cheese Pancakes, Cauliflower Salad with Green Olives and Capers and Onion Tart with Mustard and Fennel
Eight years ago: Roasted Stuffed Onions, Simplest Apple Tart and Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
Nine years ago: Indian-Spiced Vegetable Fritters, Dreamy Cream Scones and Shrimp Cocktail

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Mushrooms and Greens with Toast
1.5 Years Ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars
2.5 Years Ago: Japanese Vegetable Pancakes
3.5 Years Ago: Warm, Crisp and A Little Melty Salad Croutons
4.5 Years Ago: Leek Toasts with Blue Cheese

Date, Feta and Red Cabbage Salad

If you don’t like your cabbage too crunchy, dressing it as directed and letting it rest in the salad bowl for a while before adding the other ingredients will soften and wilt it a bit.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side

1 to 1 1/4 pounds red cabbage (1 small head or half of a large one), sliced very thin
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice (I use lime)
Salt and red pepper flakes (I used the mild Aleppo variety) to taste
About 1/2 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped or sliced
4 ounces feta, crumbled into chunks
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons well-toasted sesame seeds

Toss cabbage with olive oil and first tablespoons of lime juice, plus salt and pepper, coating leaves evenly. Taste and add more lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. I do this a few times, making sure I really get this base well seasoned because it will be hard to do it as well later.

Toss dressed cabbage gently with half of dates and feta. Sprinkle with remaining dates, then feta, then parsley and sesame seeds. Dig in.

Do ahead: The whole salad can sit assembled for at least an hour, if not longer in the fridge. Mine is going strong on the second day. You can also prepare the parts separately (feta, chopped dates, sliced cabbage) to assemble right before serving, if you’re planning ahead for Thanksgiving or a dinner party.

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date breakfast squares – smitten kitchen

Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday, I may look forward to stuffing, green bean casserole and all the pie the way normal people might anticipate Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, but there is definitely a point — let’s call it right now — when I’m about at capacity with fresh fun ideas for soft orange vegetables and clever new ways to swim foods in puddles of rich sauces. Also, I still need to eat.


pit/stone them
cook the dates to soften

Thus, when I was supposed to be pondering turkey this week, I instead went down a date bar rabbit hole. Date squares, aka matrimonial bars, slices or cakes, are one of these old-school cookies that I imagine at some point were so ubiquitous, everyone forgot to mention them because you barely hear about them anymore. I get that they don’t summon the kind of fervor of salted chocolate chunks cookies, three-ingredient peanut butter domes and brown butter cereal treats but I have a deep affection for — how can I put this politely — Grandma Cuisine, you know, the kinds of food steeped in nostalgia for the 70-plus set, and I believe there’s a time and place for all cookies, even the hopelessly old-fashioned ones.

making the wholegrain crumbs
press in the crumb base
date filling

Currently, I’ve decided that place should be breakfast. Hear me out: there are oats and there is a lot of fruit, i.e. my breakfast minimums have been met. Plus, with a little tweaking, there’s less sugar, you can use a slightly more wholesome fat instead of butter, whole wheat flour instead of white and then, because the season requires it, I really enjoyed adding some orange zest and winter spices to make this feel especially of the moment.

ready to slice

Because that moment — the busiest cooking season of the year — is great fun but can also be exhausting. I’m going to assume that as you’re the kind of person who ends up reading a site like this, you’re likely to be cooking for people this week as well and you, my friend, have to take care of yourself. Treat yo self! as the under-70 set says. This is a good place to start; make a double batch of these, put half in the freezer for a few weeks from now, half in the fridge for the week to come to ensure you eat more than stuffing scraps this week and maybe have a quiet little grandma moment with them too — a fancy plate, a cup of tea, a seat by the window, a sweet view — because as far as I’m concerned, it’s no celebration unless you get to enjoy it too.

date breakfast squares

Date Breakfast Squares

We cut these into 12 bars.

For the filling
1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) pitted dates, chopped
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon finely grated orange (or mandarin or clementine) zest

For the crumbs
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup raw or turbinado sugar
1/2 cup olive oil, coconut oil, melted butter or a mix of the above
3/4 cups rolled oats, I used quick-cooking but old-fashioned should work just fine
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour, or a wholegrain flour mix of your choice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg
A pinch or two of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Either grease bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch pan or line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, combine dates, water and zest over low heat, simmering for 5 to 10 minutes, until liquid has absorbed and mixture has thickened. Set aside while you make the crumbs.

In a large bowl, mix the sugars and oil or butter together. Add the oats, flour, spices, baking soda and salt and stir to combine; the mixture should form a coarse rubble.

Press half into the bottom of your prepared pan. Dollop the date mixture over it and use a small offset spatula (or whatever you have on hand) to spread the mixture smoothly over the crumbs. Don’t worry if the crumbs move around a little underneath; these bars don’t require perfection. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over date layer and press lightly to cover.

Bake bars for 25 minutes, or until light brown at the edges. Cool in pan. Cut into squares. They’ll keep just fine at room temperature but will last up to a week in the fridge and longer in the freezer.

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palm springs date shake + monkey flip – smitten kitchen

It’s been two months since I told you I was California dreaming and I fear it hasn’t passed. I thought maybe I just longed for warmer weather, but spring has more or less arrived and I no less crave avocados that don’t require a week of hovering to capture their narrow window of edibility. I thought maybe I just needed a vacation, but we took a short one and I still found myself looking at photos from a certain large music festival in the Coachella Valley and thinking it looked kind of fun. (WHO AM I.) And last month, I went down a date shake rabbit hole and I haven’t come out since. At least these we can easily make at home.

what you'll need, mostly
professionally styled blender photo ;)

Date palms were planted in the desert between Palm Springs and the Salton Sea as early at the 1890s, but they suffered a popularity problem — mostly people considered them obscure curiosities. As the old people say, necessity is the mother of invention, or in modern terms, all that was needed with the right marketing campaign, and Russ Nichol, a date farmer, landed on the perfect one in 1928, building a roadside shack making milkshakes and malts blended with his oversupply of dates. It wasn’t long before it became one of the iconic symbols of Palm Springs.

just pretend you can see the ingredients in there

I’m sorry if this comes as bad news if you were imagining your new breakfast cleanse, but the Palm Springs Date Shake long predates California as an bastion of healthy cuisine. The date shake is two scoops of vanilla ice cream, a glug of milk and blended dates “without folderol,” a description from Jane Stern that might also be my new favorite word. But you knew I’d manage to find some, didn’t you? It was in my research that I learned about the Monkey Flip also popular at these shake shacks — this version with banana, peanut butter and chocolate syrup. Why choose when you can make both? was my husband’s suggestion, and really, he’s never wrong.

the palm springs date shakes
palm springs date shake + monkey flip

One year ago: Salted Chocolate CHunk Cookies
Two years ago: Lamb Meatballs with Feta and Lemon
Three years ago: Spring Vegetable Potstickers
Four years ago: Cinnamon Toast French Toast
Five years ago: Sour Cream Cornbread with Aleppo
Six years ago: Lime Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce
Seven years ago: Cinnamon Swirl Buns
Eight years ago: Almond Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote and Cauliflower, Kidney Bean and Feta Salad
Nine years ago: Black Bean Confetti Salad and Margarita Cookies

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Twinkie Bundt and Oven Fries
1.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower Cheese and Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Cider Vinegar
2.5 Years Ago: Potato and Broccolini Frittata
3.5 Years Ago: Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Pepitas and Roasted Pear with Chocolate Chunk Scones
4.5 Years Ago: Pear Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble

Palm Springs Date Shake

Notes:

  • Considering this is one of the simplest recipes, I was surprised by the trouble blending dates gave my blender — a Vitamix, seriously. They just rattled around, grinding more finely but never really blending. This is just fine but if you desire a smoother blend, do as we would for sticky toffee pudding and soak them first in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes (longer if you have time, I never do, however) and blending them with their water to form a puree that is your shake’s base.
  • There are two varieties of dates, the medjool and the deglet noor. The former are preferred for shakes, as they have thinner skins, but with the soaking process below, you should be fine with either.
  • My best shake tip: Keep everything spectacularly cold for the thickest, and least ice cream-melting, shake. I’ll let my glass of milk rest in the freezer, as well as any additional ingredients like the banana, until right before blending them, but taking them out before they freeze solid, of course.

Yield: Makes 2 quite large (pint-sized) shakes or 4 (as shown) 8-ounce shakes. I used these glasses.

1 cup boiling water (optional, see note up top)
1 cup pitted dates (about 120 grams), roughly chopped
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg
2/3 cup milk
2 cups (410 grams) vanilla ice cream
Whipped cream and maraschino cherry, to serve

If you’d like the smoothest date shake: Pour boiling water over dates in a medium bowl, cover with a lid and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes (longer if you have time). Blend both water and dates in blender until smooth — it will seem like too much water at first but will eventually become a thickish puree. Transfer to freezer for a few minutes to cool it, if it’s not cold enough already. Add date puree back to blender bowl, if they’re not there already.

If you don’t mind some nubby bits of dates in your shake: Blend dates with a splash or two of the milk until they’re finely ground.

Both methods: Add nutmeg, milk and ice cream and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, top with whipped cream and a cherry.

To Make A Monkey Flip

Use all the ingredients above, plus 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter, 1/4 cup chocolate syrup and 2 medium bananas and blend until smooth. You’ll end up with 5 small (8-ounce) shakes instead of 4, but that last one can be your little secret.

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