Date Night

Dates and Cheese

Dates and Cheese

Last night I ate leftovers: lentils mixed with bulgar, pita bread, and several delicious, locally-grown apricots. And, of course, a glass of red wine. But the night before we had a really nice meal. Our appetizers consisted of raisins and roasted almonds (first century trail mix?). I prepared a chick pea and wheat berry stew that turned out to be very good. We also ate a sliced cucumber with just a touch of salt and a splash of white wine vinegar and had slices of a rustic bread. But the highlight of the meal was dessert … dates stuffed with cheese.

First things first, how many of you have heard of wheat berries? They are the entire kernel of wheat that are usually ground to make whole wheat flour. They are also great cooked. I usually use hard winter berries. When boiled, they are chewy and have a nutty, earthy flavor. They are perfect when cooked with legumes or served with vegetables. Spring wheat berries are paler in color and have a milder flavor. You will probably have to go to a health food store or a market like Whole Foods to find these.

Soak both your dried chick peas and wheat berries over night and then cook them together. After draining the peas and wheat, saute garlic and onion and then add liquid, either chicken stock, beef stock or water. I used cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and a bay leaf as flavorings. Cook for several hours until the chick peas are tender and the berries are swollen and beginning to split. I like to serve dishes like this with a splash of extra olive oil on the top.

The dates were wonderful and simple to prepare. I used the cheese I described several blog entries back. Simply slice the dates lengthwise and remove the pit. Then fill the opening with your cheese. You can use cream cheese or chevre instead of making your own cheese. I thought about mixing honey with the cheese, but the dates were plenty sweet without it. You could add chopped almonds or walnuts and maybe a dash of cinnamon, but the dates were absolutely wonderful with just the cheese.

Enjoy!

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One Response to “Date Night”

  1. Nancy Williams Says:

    thanks Doug for including my lamb ball recipe in your blog..very honored. There are some great recipes that you have shared. You have developed a wonderful and informative blog..a neat way to keep up with you. Keep up the good work!! Nancy

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