As the weather turns, it’s important to eat things that help both your mind and body feel nourished. In my childhood, on test days, my father used to make me eat “brain-foods.” These often included fish, dates, and nuts.
Specifically, dates provide glucose, the type of energy “preferred” by the brain. Walnuts contain protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E which was suggested in a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology to prevent cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly.
Combined, a few dates and walnuts make a light snack that provides sustained energy. Dates provide a spike from sugar while the protein from the nuts kick in slightly later to help to sustain your blood sugar for longer.
In the recipe below, the sweet and nutty flavors of the classic brain-foods, dates and walnuts, are complemented by the creamy profile of feta and the fresh, palate-cleansing properties of mint and cloves.
DATES STUFFED WITH MINT, FETA, WALNUTS & CLOVE AGAVE SYRUP
12 dates (Medjool work well)
12 large washed fresh mint leaves
12 walnuts, lightly toasted
6 oz feta (prefer creamier Bulgarian-style feta)
3 tbsp amber agave syrup
First, make the clove syrup by grinding the cloves, then adding in the agave syrup and mashing the cloves and syrup together with a pestle or other mashing tool.
Next, to prepare the dates, slice them lengthwise, cutting only 3/4 of the way through and remove the pit.
To assemble, place the fresh mint leaf into the crease and press against the insides of the date. Then, add the feta and press it in using half the walnut. Finally, top with a few drops of the clove agave syrup.