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Monday, September 12, 2011

Never forget the date!

I remember getting to school one morning and greeting my friend Karla as any other day. She said hi with a funny smile, as if hiding something or like a child caught in the middle of mischief. Very suspicious... and after chasing me around with the weird expression for a while, I had enough and asked what was wrong with her. As it turned out, there wasn't anything wrong with her but with me. It was her birthday and I had completely ignored her. We were 17 at the time, so I couldn't blame motherhood--as I do now--for my stupidity. I guess forgetting dates is in my nature, as I accidentally keep overlooking everyone's birthday. It was devastating to apologize to my adored grandmother after her 85th one.
However, in cooking, there's the date I hope I never forget. Almost no one remembers it, but I believe it's completely underestimated. Yes, the date, that ugly-looking brown oval (someone once told me they look like roaches, bon appetite!!!) can do magic in the kitchen. Dates are so amazingly sweet, that I use them to substitute sugar bringing in sweetness, moisture and fudginess into recipes without empty calories. 

This fruit, that comes from the date palm is mostly found in its dried form, therefore, keeps really well and it is as nutritious as it is unattractive.
Dates are rich in fiber, contain a nice variety of antioxidants, as well as potassium, sodium, manganese, copper, vitamin K, vitamin A, folates, niacin and 20 different amino acids, phosphorus, calcium iron and zinc.
For the following recipe I was inspired by the British technique to make toffee pudding, where they boil dates it in water with baking soda, and my Three Tablespoons recipe for chickpea icing.
Nowadays, I always keep home-made date paste in my freezer, and use it as a sweetener in lots of preparations.
I prepare the paste by bringing plain water to a boil (enough to cover whatever amount of dates I'm using). I remove the pot from the heat, add in whole pitted dates, cover the pot and let the dates rehydrate for 10 minutes. Then I puree them in the food processor with a bit (just a little, as you don't want to make a soup!) of the water they were soaked in. I place the puree in small containers, let it cool, cover it with a tight fitting lid and then into the freezer they go. I just thaw the puree (it takes about 5 minutes at room temperature) as I need it.

As I mentioned, the Three Tablespoons product line includes a chickpea puree, kind of a sweet hummus. I had been wanting to make a chocolate version for a long time, but I hadn't been happy with the results. Finally, yesterday I got it right. My daughter ate it by the spoonfuls.
It can be spread on whole grain toast, graham crackers, fruit or eaten straight from the container. It can be enjoyed frozen, at room temperature, or warmed up.

The combination of the legumes (chickpeas) in the icing with a whole grain product, turns such as snack into a complete protein source.

CHOCOLATE HUMMUS
  • Super ingredients: chickpeas, dates, mesquite flour, lucuma powder
  • Vegan
  • Gluten, soy, nut, dairy, wheat, and egg free
INGREDIENTS

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like "enjoy life")
5 Tablespoons expeller-pressed sunflower oil
91/2 ounces cooked chickpeas (canned are fine, I use EDEN brand, which is BPA-free)
1/4 cup date puree
1 Tablespoon mesquite flour
1 Tablespoon lucuma powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

METHOD
Melt chocolate chips and oil over a double-boiler.

In a food processor, puree chickpeas, date puree, mesquite, lucuma, vanilla and salt. Add in the melted chocolate-oil mix and continue processing until completely smooth. If it's too hard, just add some drops of water until the desired consistency.

Makes awesome cookie sandwich filling!!!

1 comment:

Beyond Prenatals said...

CANNOT wait to try this. You know we love the chickpea frosting! Do you have any recipes with carob powder?