Saturday, March 15, 2008

Be Happy, Eat Dates

This post is inspired by my friend, Ruben. He is the first person I ever knew who ate dates, just like that. He is definitely on to something wonderful.

The relationship between good communication and eating dates (the fruit, not the person), may not be readily apparent to all; it does exist. As my mother would say, "It's delicious, nutritious, and it makes you feel ambitious." In the case of dates, she is correct; it was not true for the protein shakes she used to prepare for us.

According to the California Date Growers' website, aptly named, a date has 23 calories and is rich in potassium, calcium, and anti-oxidants. If you live in the great state of North Carolina, Harris Teeter has organic dates that are almost better than dark chocolate, almost. This is no exaggeration.

Eating dates in their natural state, when you have to spit out the pit, allows you to share an experience with great people like Augustine, Dante, Cicero, Aristotle, and Plato, among others. You are in fabulous company.

Eating dates is healthy. Dates are delicious. Eating delicious, healthy food makes you feel good. Feeling good makes your communication soar with positive energy. Eat dates, be happy.

Here's a recipe for divine date nut bars. They make an exceptionally delicious and decadent breakfast.

Mixonian Date Nut Bars

2 cups, or 1 pound dates (chop with greased knife, burn calories)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup heated orange juice
1.5 cups sugar, can mix brown and white
1 cup finely chopped nuts: walnuts or pecans
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 large eggs
zest of one orange
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Line it with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 opposite sides. Butter the foil.

Whisk together flour and salt. Beat together butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add baking soda with o.j. and orange zest. Add the flour mixture, nuts, and dates; mix until just combined.

Spread this thick batter in baking pan and bake until a tester comes out clearn, about 50 minutes to one hour. Cool in pan on a rack 15 minutes. Carefully lift date mixture out of pan using foil overhand and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares and toss in confectioners sugar. Place on a rack to cool completely. Enjoy!