Category Archives: dates

Sticky Apple Date Cake

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What is sweet and tangy, moist and sticky and all around delicious? The answer is, this sticky apple date cake from Brooklyn Supper. I love this cake and it is a real treat for the senses. Filled with both dates and apples it is rich and dense. And when you add in a generous amount of fresh ginger, you are rewarded with a surprisingly zippiness in every bite. The ginger takes you by surprise but its warming flavor completes this cake making it a welcome treat. And by all means, don’t skip the caramel sauce. It makes this already great cake extra special. I love to serve the cake slightly warm; it makes the sauce extra drippy and delicious.

STICKY APPLE DATE CAKE

For the cake:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups copped dates

1 cup water

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

6 tablespoons peeled, minced, fresh ginger

1 1/2 cups sweet-tart apples peeled, cored and cut into a 1/4-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)

For the sauce:

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the dates and water to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until dates start to soften, about 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and immediately stir in baking soda. Set aside to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then add the ginger.
  • Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  • Stir in the date mixture and then fold in the apples.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by combining the brown sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter has melted and the sugar’s dissolved – about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the cream, bring mixture to a gentle simmer, and then turn heat to low.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened, 5 – 7 minutes. Set sauce aside to cool slightly.
  • Cool the cake for 15 minutes, then remove sides and set on a serving plate.
  • Use a toothpick to poke holes all over cake. Pour half the warm sauce over the cake.
  • Slice, and serve warm cake with a generous drizzle of sauce.
  • Leftovers will store well wrapped at room temperature for 3 days.

Serves 16

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Creamy Gorgonzola Pasta

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Here is a simple pasta dish that has been adapted from Bake Your Day. Whole wheat pasta makes the dish more nutritious and I’ve switched out the asagio cheese for a milder goat cheese. The goat cheese melts really well making for a creamy sauce. And the surprise addition? Dates. They add a hidden sweetness to the dish which counters the sharpness of the gorgonzola. The results? A surprisingly tasty dish that everyone in the family will love. And best of all it can go from pantry to table in about twenty minutes. Now has is that for fast?

CREAMY GORGONZOLA PASTA

12 ounces whole wheat rotini or other small pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot

4 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

3 ounces gorgonzola cheese

2 ounces soft goat cheese

1/2 cup diced dates

  • Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and season with the red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the shallots are very soft.
  • Add the white wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the wine is slightly reduced.
  • Add the chicken broth, gorgonzola and goat cheeses and dates and stir to combine. Continue cooking and stirring until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is well blended.
  • Add the cooked pasta and enough of the reserved cooking water until the sauce has a consistency that coats all of the pasta. Stir well.

Serves 4

Lamb w/ Dates & Apricots

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The northern African country of Morocco is on my bucket-list for travels.  Every time I hear about or read a new article about the country my wanderlust grows.  And naturally, it is the cuisine that inspires me the most.  I’m sure I would love every bite of food there.  So until I actually make it there, I must satisfy my Moroccan food cravings  out of my own kitchen.  With the right ingredients, however, this is quite easy to do.

This easy hands-off recipe, adapted from an old Cooking Light Magazine, brings together some of my favorite flavors of all time.  The earthy flavors of cumin, coriander, and saffron contrast with the sweetness of the apricots and dates in this Moroccan inspired lamb dish.  You can easily adjust the amount of seasonings to suit your taste buds.  Serve the lamb over a bed of couscous to complete the Moroccan theme.

LAMB w/ DATES & APRICOTS

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound boneless leg of lamb, cubed

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

1 1/2 cups beef broth

1 1/2 cups sliced carrots

1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced

1/2 cup pitted dates, halved

2 tablespoons chopped mint

2 cups cooked couscous (for serving)

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  Saute for 8 minutes or until it is browned on all sides.  Remove from the pan.
  • Add the onion, orange juice, and garlic to the pan; cook until the liquid has evaporated, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits.
  • Stir in the cumin, coriander, and saffron and cook for 15 seconds.
  • Return the lamb to the pan and add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the carrots, apricots, and dates and cook for an additional 18  minutes or until the carrots are tender.
  • Remove from the heat, stir in the mint and adjust the seasonings.
  • Serve over the couscous.

Serves: 4

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