For no good reason, I hate lunch.
At first I thought it was because I don't like sandwiches. But there are no lunchtime legislative bylaws. Are there?
Then I thought it was because it feels unceremonious, as I'm often eating it alone. But then I realized that I would say no if you invited me to lunch.
Fortunately, you haven't, and now, clearly, won't.
But then--of all things--I get hungry.
A carrot swiped in hummus or an apple wedge dipped in sunbutter typically suffices until dinner, which I eat with equal parts rapture and vengeance.
So, imagine my surprise when a persuasive craving for a toasted slice of chewy whole-wheat date-and-nut levain smeared with a perfectly ripened triple crème cheese hit me at lunchtime yesterday.
I even looked in the refrigerator to see if desire alone was enough to make such ingredients materialize.
I did find dates and Neufchâtel cheese though, so I did what any overzealous, lunchist would do: made a more wholesome version of a date-nut quick bread, spread it with the cream cheese, and called it breakfast #2.
Whole-Wheat Date-Nut Bread
Makes 1 loaf
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Whole Living
- Non-stick baking spray
- 1-1/2 cups hot water
- 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- Neufchâtel cheese, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a medium, heat-safe bowl, pour hot water over dates and allow to sit until slightly softened (about 5 minutes). To the dates and water, add the egg, oil, and vanilla, whisking to combine. This seems weird, I know, but you need to trust me if we're going to take this any further.
In another larger bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, salt, pecans, and brown sugar. Fold the wet mixture into the dry with a spatula, stirring until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
While the bread is baking, fetch the Neufchâtel from the refrigerator to take the chill off, and to practice saying its name to yourself a few times before trying it out loud.
Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and turning it out onto a wire rack.
Slice, liberally spread with Neufchâtel, and call it breakfast, lunch--or dinner.