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home : news : news
March 4, 2021

1/22/2021 11:41:00 AM
Dates are referred to as the 'food of the desert'

Shall we have a date today? Or in the next week or so? I wouldn’t know how to act on a date, even if I wanted to!

So we’ll have recipes using the fruit from the palm tree.

Dates have been called the “food of the desert.” So common in the Jordan Valley that Jericho was known as the “city of palm trees.” (Deuteronomy 34:3).  The dates supported the merchant caravans on their long hot journeys and the palm tree was a symbol of hope and survival for the desert wanderers. Since the tree grows only in oasis or near springs, travelers knew they would find not only fruit, but water.

Whatever other foods the crowds of people did not have during famines, they probably always had dates, since the average palm produces about 100 pounds of fruit every season and has a life span of 60 years or more. It is said in the Bible, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree... Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish... They shall bring forth fruit in old age.” Psalms 92:12-14.

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UNBAKED DATE-WALNUT SQUARES
2 c. chopped
3/4 c. water
2 T. sugar
2 T. lemon juice
1 c. chopped walnuts, divided
1-1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted
2 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt

In a medium saucepan, combine first four ingredients. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until soft and thick, about five minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 3/4 c. walnuts. Cool, IN a medium bowl, blend remaining ingredients. Press 3/4 crumb mixture on bottom of greased eight inch baking pan. Spoon cool filling evenly over the surface. Blend remaining 1/4 of crumb mixture with remaining 1/4 c. walnuts. Sprinkle evenly over filling. Press entire surface firmly with fingers. Chill about three hours. Makes about 16 bars.

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DATE CHOCOLATE 
CHIP CAKE
1 c. each, chopped dates and hot water
1 c. each, butter and sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1-3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 T. cocoa
1 c. chocolate chips, divided
1/2 c. chopped nuts
Lemon sauce, optional

In a large bowl, cover dates and hot water. In another bowl, cream butter with sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla; add dates and water. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cocoa; add to date mixture. Stir in 1/2 c. chocolate chips. Turn into greased and floured baking pan. Sprinkle remaining chips and nuts over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. When ready to serve, serve plain or with lemon sauce. Makes 12-15 servings. Note: As I’ve mentioned before in this column, the cooking spray with flour included is great when a recipe calls for a greased and floured pan.

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LEMON SAUCE
2 T. corn starch
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
2 c. warm water
1 T. grated lemon zest
3 T. lemon juice
4 T. butter

In a saucepan, combine first three ingredients. Gradually stir in water. Over medium-high heat, cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Boil and stir one minute. Remove from heat; stir in remaining ingredients. Serve plain or with lemon sauce. Makes two cups.
Note: If you don’t have a fresh lemon for the grated zest, add additional teaspoon of lemon juice.

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CHEWY DATE NUT BARS
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
3/4 c. each, packed brown sugar and butter, melted
2 eggs
2 c. each, chopped dates and chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix and brown sugar. Add butter and eggs; beat on medium speed for two minutes. Combine dates and walnuts; stir into batter (the batter will be stiff). Spread into a greased and lightly floured 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around edges to loosen; cool completely before cutting. Makes three dozen. 

Note: Dates are available chopped in eight ounce packages. If you choose to use whole dates, cut them with a sharp knife or scissors, dipping into cold water now and then when they get sticky.

Thought for the Day: It has always seemed to me that hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.



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