Kristina’s Bookshelf

The California Date Cookbook

A Collaboration Between Just Date Syrup and Rancho Meladuco Date Farm,

2019

Maybe you’ve noticed the squeeze bottles of Just Date Syrup alongside the sugar and cream at coffee and tea shops around town? The chocolate-brown liquid tastes just as you might imagine: all warm with dark sugar and caramel, plus the brightness of dried fruit. High in potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants, but with a low glycemic index, the single-ingredient syrup can replace refined sugar, maple syrup, and honey in coffee and tea, as well as in many dishes.

For inspiration, The California Date Cookbook includes recipes for sweet and savory dishes, from drinks through all three meals of the day. A collaboration between San Francisco–based physician Sylvie Charles, creator of Just Date Syrup, and Joan Smith, owner of Rancho Meladuco Date Farm (located in the Coachella Valley, near Palm Springs), the book includes 55 recipes from 11 California food bloggers, authors, and photographers including Edible East Bay contributor Rezel Kealoha.

One dish, Roasted Squash Hummus, gets a sweet boost from sumac and date syrup. Another, Chewy Quinoa Date Tahini Energy Balls, features textures of sesame and flaxseeds with warm winter spices. Fresh lumpia are made with cashew date sauce rather than refined sugar as recipes typically require. Other delicious, refined sugar–free combinations include Teff, Tahini, and Date Cookies; spicy Chinese Chickpea Salad; a Nutty Chocolate Date Shake; and Bourbon-Date BBQ Sauce. You might find you’re ready to freehand it, and stir the syrup into oatmeal or over ice cream or yogurt.

Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers.