Posts Tagged ‘dates’

A Feast for Friends

October 28, 2012

Earlier this week, friends and I prepared a first century feast for sixteen friends. It was a perfect combination of food for the cold weather we have been enjoying here in the high country of Colorado. The main course was a stew with barley and beef ribs. This stew would taste good with herbs and spices like cumin and cilantro, but we used our Middle East spice mix and a lot of fresh dill. Along with the stew, we had asparagus with lemon and thyme, a wonderful salad made with cucumbers, onion, and chick peas.
The appetizers were equally appreciated: olives, pistachios, roasted almonds, and a delicious home made hummus. However, the hit of the evening was the lentils. They turned wonderfully, almost creamy, with onions, carrots, and a lot of garlic. Cumin and dry mustard are my favorite flavorings for lentils.
Dessert was pastries stuffed with figs or apricots and dates with cream cheese. We cheated and enjoyed a little coffee — certainly not very first century — but perfect with the pastries.
Homemade bread was served throughout the meal. The bread was made using the Mediterranean Grain Bread recipe from the book. In fact, all the recipes came from The Food and Feasts of Jesus. But do look for the Mediterranean Grain Bread recipe on-line. Patheos book club posted it on their site. It is a tasty grain bread!
But the true highlight of the evening was the sharing of food and wine – yes there was wine, too – with good friends. Feasting with friends is always a wonderful experience; I think it is just about the best possible way to spend an evening.
Prepare your own feast for friends and enjoy.

TEMPTATION!

September 23, 2009

I have been eating first century cuisine for only three week, full time for nine days, and already I have had to fight back temptation. Last Sunday it reached a critical point. First, instead of doughnuts after church, we served ice cream sundaes. I love ice cream. I am especially fond of vanilla with fruit toppings and/or chocolate sauce. A little boy in the congregation, who was wearing a robe and told me he was dressed like Jesus, had chocolate on him from ear to ear. He told me that he was fixing his second bowl. I believed him and began to wonder, “Since this Jesus is eating ice cream, then why shouldn’t I consider it part of my first century cuisine?” I was strong and passed on the sundaes.

Later the same day, after the requisite Sunday afternoon nap, my wife and I went to see Julie & Julia. The movie was wonderfully fun. Julie was absolute correct when she commented that she loved braised cucumbers. I developed a recipe for them several years ago and will eat them as part of this diet (and will then share my recipe). They are wonderful. But back to my point: Sally bought a large bag of popcorn and a Diet Coke and proceeded to consume them both right in front of me! I know for a fact that Jesus did not face this kind of temptation.

Right now I am eating a first century lunch: olives, fresh dates, a small bunch of grapes and a piece of pita bread. Delicious! Even though I am not doing this to lose weight, you might be amused to know that I have already dropped six pounds.

Bon Appetit.

Date Night

September 17, 2009

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!