SOURCE: Medjool Dates

November 10, 2011 05:00 ET

A Royal Holiday Feast

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Nov 10, 2011) - (Family Features) Sweet, succulent and with a caramel-like flavor, Medjool dates were once reserved for royalty. But now, you can delight in these luscious fruits any time, giving your holiday and everyday occasions the royal treatment.

Whether you're hosting your own holiday feast, or bringing a special dish to family and friends, Medjools make a regal addition to many recipes. These dishes incorporate Bard Valley Natural Delights, the popular Medjool dates grown by a small group of family farmers in the southwest. They are all-natural, contain no added sugar and are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

For more holiday recipes fit for a king, visit www.naturaldelights.com.

Medjool Date Nut-Stuffed Chicken
Prep Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Serves: 2
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 medium onion, finely diced
6 to 8 Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool Dates,
pitted and chopped
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, sage,
thyme, rosemary, etc.)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
Heat oven to 400°F.

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft -- 5 minutes.

Mix dates, breadcrumbs, nuts, herbs and onion together.

Using a sharp, non-serrated knife, cut a pocket into the thickest part of each chicken breast -- being careful not to cut through. Leave approximately 1/2 inch on all sides.

Fill pockets with date mixture, season with salt and pepper and brush both sides with olive oil. Place in a shallow baking dish and pour in the wine.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.

Medjool Date, Orange and Almond Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3 to 4
4 to 6 Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool Dates
8 ounces iceberg or mixed green lettuce
2 oranges peeled and separated into segments
4 ounces crumbled blue or goat cheese
1/4 cup almonds, sliced or slivered
Orange vinaigrette dressing:
1 orange, juiced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh ground pepper

Remove pits from dates and cut into quarters. Cut each one more time to yield 8 "cubes" per date.

Combine dates with greens, oranges, cheese and orange vinaigrette and toss. Top with sliced almonds, add fresh ground pepper to taste and serve immediately.

To make vinaigrette: Combine the juice of one orange, Dijon mustard, olive oil and freshly ground pepper, and mix until smooth.

Dreamy Medjool Date Pudding Cake with Caramel Infusion
Prep Time: 75 minutes
Serves: 8
Butter and powdered cocoa,
to prepare pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Bard Valley Natural
Delights Medjool Dates,
pitted and chopped
(about 10)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups self-rising flour,
sifted
Caramel sauce:
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 350°F.

To prepare baking pan, brush inside of a Bundt pan thoroughly with melted butter. Liberally sprinkle powdered cocoa over butter, then turn upside down and tap to remove excess cocoa.

In small bowl, sprinkle baking soda over dates. Add water and set aside for 20 minutes.

In large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a large metal spoon, fold in date mixture and flour until well mixed. Batter will be thin.

Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to stand for about one minute, then carefully turn onto a plate.

To make the caramel sauce, set saucepan over medium heat and add sugar, cream, vanilla and butter. Cook, stirring often, until sauce comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 more minutes.

While cake is still warm, use a wooden skewer to make holes all over the top of the cake. Pour half of the warm sauce over the warm cake. Garnish with glace cherries, if desired.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into slices and serve with remaining sauce. Serve immediately.

Mascarpone and Peanut Butter Stuffed Medjool Dates
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 5 to 6
1 pound fresh Bard
Valley Natural
Delights Medjool
Dates
8 ounces softened cream
or mascarpone cheese
Assorted nuts, minced
1/2 cup peanut butter

Split one side of each date lengthwise and remove pits. Arrange dates on serving plate. Stuff half with peanut butter and the other half with cheese. Garnish with minced nuts.

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