Thursday, August 30, 2012

Middle Eastern Style Coconut Date Rolls

The internet can be like the black hole for me.  I check out one youtube clip and the next moment, I find it's been an hour and I really don't know where the time has gone.  Sometimes the journey through the black hole can be rewarding though.  Recently I came across the Mama Natural channel.  On one of her recent videos (click on her name above to view) she mentioned coconut rolled dates.  Now, I don' know if this is the absolute same thing as what is in her video but, I think it's pretty darn healthy all the same.  Coconut date rolls are a middle eastern treat.  Mainly they tend to be served with tea.  Off of this recipe, I made my own out of what I had in the pantry. Now, next time, I think I'll give almonds a try like the original recipe but the walnuts worked out great.  The honey may not be necessary for everyone.  For me, I felt it helped make the mixture adhere more.

5 oz. dates
1/4 cup walnuts
1-2 tsp. honey
unsweetened coconut (maybe 1/4 cup for this recipe)

  1. Place dates and walnuts in the food processor and pulverize them together.  This may take a few minutes. You'll know it's done when the chunks are for the most part gone and you can rolls the "paste" into balls or rolls.  If it's not happening, the honey helped.  Just put a little bit at a time! 
  2. Roll the "dough" or "paste" into rolls or balls.  
  3. Pour coconut onto a dish
  4.  Roll the formed balls or rolls in coconut to coat

Now, mama natural claims these taste like fudge.  I'll leave that up to the taste testers out there in internet world.  For me, it's not completely like fudge. (I don't know if it's humanly possible to duplicate fudge and still be healthy.....) but the texture really is phenomenally close. Honestly, that's what I crave the most when I'm craving brownies or fudge....the texture.  That oooey gooey rich loveliness.  This combined with the sweetness really does the trick.  I can eat a whole bunch of them and not feel totally guilty. With no chocolate or dairy this really could turn into a family (or mommy) favorite! Completely parve (kosher for passover too) and vegan.  Healthy walnut fat for the brain and date sweetness for energy makes these the perfect after school snack (seriously, my eldest loved them).

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Thursday, August 09, 2012

It's a Little Corny (Corn Salad)

The above is sorta a joke and sorta not.  Corn has a bad rap in some circles (and I'm not talkin' crop circles here).  There are a lot of reasons as to why this is but, hey, I'm gonna stick to the "everything in moderation" rule when it comes to corn.  Corn really has a rich history.

"Corn is perhaps the most completely domesticated of all field crops. Its perpetuation forcenturies has depended wholly on the care of man. It could not have existed as a wild plant in its present form." -Lance Gibson and Garren Benson, Iowa State University, Department of Agronomy
Revised January 2002

Where I'm from, we purchase sloughhouse corn during the Summer. White sweet and wonderful strait off the grill.  So sweet it can be eaten raw.

Unfortunately, here in Germany, corn isn't such a smash hit when it comes to consuming it off the cob. It's hard to find fresh corn. I've heard too that the French think America's fascination with eating corn is odd.  It's used for animal feed (or, fish food) in a lot of cases over here.

Because it's so hard to come by fresh corn, I'm using frozen corn in this recipe but it's still really good, light, and easy!

  • 16 oz. bag of frozen corn
  • 1 medium to small red onion  (diced or minced)
  • 1 jalapeno
  • A hefty handful of cilantro (about a cup minced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 limes ( or, about 1/4 cup lime juice)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

  • Place corn in medium size bowl with onion, jalapeno, and garlic.  In a separate bowl, combine lime juice, olive oil, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Chill in the fridge for no more than 24 hours (after that amount of time, we are getting to the "mush" danger zone) Before serving stir in cilantro. 

A couple side notes.  If cilantro is hard to come by or too expensive, coriander spice can be added instead.  It also saves the chef from having to add fresh at the last minute before serving.

This corn salad makes a great side dish with carne asada style steak, on top of a white fish, or even chicken.  For a whole vegetarian meal, add a can of drained rinsed black beans before chilling.  Maybe some sort of cheese can be added as well (cubes of cheddar or hardish queso cheese?).  But, if cheese is added, one may need to add that before serving to avoid slime cheese effect. Place a hefty spoonful on top of lettuce greens.  YUM!

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