Dim Sum and Doped Up Date Nut Balls

1 May

After indulging my salt tooth post-race yesterday with WAY too much delicious dim sum at China Pavilion in the Flamingo Pines Shopping Center, I decided today had to involve a trip to Whole Foods, yoga and copious amounts of H2O.

Don’t get me wrong, CP was totally worth the 35 minute drive north to Pembroke Pines–it is vastly superior to any Chinese I’ve had here in Miami proper–and totally worth the extra intake of salt, sugar and fats. Possibly a little MSG too, thus the lingering headache all day today. Still: worth it. Below is a shot of MOST of the entire spread:

There was more but I couldn’t fit it all into the frame of my camera. I LOVE dim sum. Love love love. In fact, I love any meal that involves eating lots and lots of little things. I also love tapas. And I love Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink. I like my indulgent meals to last for hours. And I like to taste as much as possible. I like it when waiters just keep bringing me stuff. I like it when I think the waiters are done bringing me stuff and then, surprise! They bring me more stuff!

I liked this glistening platter of beef chow fun because it reminded me of the drunken noodles I used to get at Zaab Thai in Jackson Heights. Before Zaab went to the dogs (maybe literally).

I liked these adorable, perfectly round steamed custard buns despite and because of the fact that they looked like boobs. Also, they reminded me of my walks around Chinatown when I was doing time as a grand jury participant back in the summer of 1997.

I liked the steamed roast pork buns (steamer basket left bottom corner) for the same reason I liked the custard buns–not the boob part (dear God), just the grand jury memory– and because they were delicious. I liked the custard puffs (large plate center) because they had custard in them too and reminded me of the sfogliatele I ate in Naples when I was there in December of 2005. I liked the sesame ball and pan fried taro cake (small plate top right) because they were both chewy and sweet and salty.

As much as I try to get behind this whole food as fuel thing, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fully embrace that philosophy. Because food is so much more than just the gas that keeps this motor running. It is memories of vacations, family dinners, crazy adventures and…well, food. Some of my fondest memories in life are food related. From my first bowl of carrot soup to my first experience with scuppernongs to the first time I ever set foot in a Logan’s.

Oh God. Logan’s.

It’s funny. We ordered way way way too many things at CP yesterday and couldn’t finish most of what we ordered. After the meal, we were stuffed beyond belief and feeling kind of gross but looking at these pictures now makes me want to jump into my car and drive back up to Pembroke Pines for a quickie MRI, a pedicure and more Dim Sum. You can get all of those things and more at the Flamingo Pines mall!

But alas, meals such as that one must now be reserved for days when I run 13.1 miles. I’m no spring chick. More like a sassy hen who’s clucked and scratched her way around the coop a few times. If this hen stops clucking and scratching, she will start to resemble those adorable little custard buns shown above and nobody wants a hen shaped like a basketball. So today, I was back on track with my egg whites, lean ground turkey, black beans, lots of berries, Kashi, protein powder, etc…

I did do a little no-bake experimenting with my favorite rediscovered super fruit–the date–and my latest Whole Foods bulk purchase–hemp seeds.

I used this recipe from Good Girl Gone Green as a starting point and created my own variation, the Doped Up Date Nut Ball. Almond butter is on the way out for me. The last few times I’ve eaten it, I’ve sorta felt headachy afterwards. So I’m switching to sunflower seed butter for the moment because I know sunflowers are fine.

Still, I had about four tablespoons of almond butter left and I hate wasting food. I decided I’d make this batch of balls with what little AB I had left and then be done with the stuff. I also had a few figs lying around (also a migraine trigger) and didn’t want to waste those so I used them in the recipe as well. I just figured that if the balls make me super sick, I’ll give them away to some starving vegan street urchin or something.

They’re really tasty and not terribly bad for you. 1 ball is about 87 calories, has 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein and is full of healthy fats. The hemp also gives them texture and a nice amino acid boost–if you care about such things. I rolled them in a little cocoa powder but that’s optional. These things are gonna be great on the super long bike I have planned for this weekend.

Doped Up Date Nut Balls

5-7 Pitted Dates
5-7 Figs
4 Tbsp Almond Butter
2 Tbsp Sunflower Butter
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
3 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

Place dates and figs in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse until the fruit becomes a soft, sticky paste. Add the nut/seed butters, extract, cinnamon and ginger and pulse to fully combine. Move mixture into a small bowl and add hemp seeds. Work the seeds through the mixture with your hands. Make balls of the mixture about 1″ diameter either with an ice cream scoop or your hands. Roll the balls in cocoa powder and place on a cookie sheet. Freeze for a few hours and enjoy.

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2 Responses to “Dim Sum and Doped Up Date Nut Balls”

  1. Rona May 1, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Zaab has changed hands a couple of times in the last couple of years. I heard that it now holds “worth going back to” status, with a new menu. I also just got tips on what to order at Arunee, which I haven’t been to a few years now. As you can tell, I wish I was Thai.

    • mymultipersonality May 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      My experiences at Arunee were limited to a couple lunch time quickies. My former roommate lived in JH for a few yrs before I moved out and he thought Arunee had the best Massaman in town but was otherwise just OK. By the time I got out there, Rice Ave had just opened and we made that the go-to spot because it was better overall than Arunee and not as far as Sripraphai. Then Zaab opened across the street and we had their Tom Yum for the first time and just about freakin fell over. We started going there regularly and made friends with the only waitress who ever seemed to be working. So many fond memories of walking in there with a bottle (or two) of riesling and chowing down with friends on kee mao and this tamarind pork dish they made that I can’t even think about without my mouth starting to water. John has been back since they changed menu and ownership and said it’s better than it was after the first change-over but not nearly as good as it was in the glory days. I understand the wish to be Thai–or at least to eat Thai ALL THE TIME. I have yet to find any SE Asian down here that even holds a candle to NYC. I’ll be home the first week of June so let’s find a night to make our Sripraphai party happen.

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