After spending a long winter in the deep freeze, it’s about time to dust off the ol’ Zoku popsicle maker. If like me, you’re not quite ready to go blending up those beautiful strawberries for a taste of spring, there is another flavor that can put you in mind of sunshine and take you right out to the desert. Dates. And in this case, we’re talkin’ about a Banana Date Shake Zoku pop.
Devising a dessert 7-layer dip is no easy feat. Earlier this week in the midst of all the chicken wing and pulled pork sandwich recipes, I wondered out loud on Twitter, “Why have I seen no 7-layer dip with chocolate pudding, caramel, cool whip and M&M’s (ok, you figure out the other 3).” Rebekah at PDXFoodLove chimed in w/ “Pretzels? Samoas? Nutella?” And an idea so evil and yet so delicious was born.
Saturday morning. It’s still dark – moon-is-still-up-dark – at 7 a.m. You check email, Twitter and Facebook while still lying in bed. You get up, brush your teeth, let the dog out and then stumble into the kitchen to make coffee. It’s light by now, and there they are on the counter, shoved off to the side, but staring you in the face — six(!) bananas you bought last weekend that didn’t get eaten. Too far gone for anything but banana bread. But it’s November, it’s red cup season (not a Solo cup, the other one) so why settle for regular banana bread? Let’s do one better. After coffee. Ginger Spice(d) Banana Bread.
This week, I’ve been in overdrive catching up on Mad Men so that I’m up to speed for season 5. And now I’ve got ’60s-era food on the brain. But rather than torture myself with some kind of terrible aspic with vegetables in it, I decided on a date cake. Flipping through some of my vintage cookbooks I discovered we used to eat a lot more date cake and date bread than I realized. It’s even in an episode of Mad Men, one where Don Draper is having a tete-a-tete with Sally’s teacher in season 3. She’s made three loaves of date nut bread for a school bake sale.
If you grew up in Southern California, you’re probably no stranger to Hadley’s. It’s an institution out in the desert, and it’s synonymous with 1 thing — dates. When I was a kid, we’d drive out to Palm Springs, passing the dinosaurs off the 10 freeway, and stop off for a date shake. Medjool dates are wonderfully sweet and sticky and they’re amazing when whirled up with milk and vanilla ice cream in a blender. But my dates were headed to breakfast, in these banana maple date scones.