Cooking With Honey – Ina’s Favorite Holiday Appetizer

Ina Garten’s favorite holiday appetizer is easy and delicious. It has only two ingredients.

Guess what?  One of them is honey!

Baked Brie

This picture and recipe are reprinted from The Food Network.

Serves  5-8

Ingredients

1/4 wheel brie

4 tablespoons honey

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the brie on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper and drizzle with the honey. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it starts to ooze but not melt.

Serve with crackers.

Cooking With Honey – “Crack” Dip

crack dip

My next door neighbor introduced me to this recipe. It’s so good it’s addictive!

In this dip honey is used as a flavor enhancer rather than a sweetener. It’s a scientific fact that the gluconic acid in honey makes every recipe taste better!

Yield:  about 3 cups of dip

Ingredients:

1 cup finely diced Vidalia onion

1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise

1 cup Mexican blend cheese

1 4 ounce can diced chiles, drained but not rinsed

Honey for drizzling on top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the first four ingredients together and place into a casserole dish. Drizzle honey on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and top is golden brown. Serve with chips, vegetables or slices of French bread.

Holidays With Honey – Sausage And Cheese Bread

sausage bread

This is perfect for snacking or an appetizer!

Yield:  1 loaf, about 14 pieces

Ingredients

1 recipe Basic Pizza Dough, recipe follows

2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 pound mild Italian sausage, remove from the casings

1 cup diced yellow onions

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon honey

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 egg plus 2 teaspoons water, beaten together

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degree F, and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal onto a large baking sheet pan.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned and no pink is left, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the honey, basil and parsley, stirring to combine. Cool the sausage mixture completely.

Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of cornmeal onto a lightly floured surface and place the pizza dough on top of the cornmeal. Roll the dough into a 10 by 14-inch rectangle. Spread the cooled sausage mixture over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the sausage. Brush the 1-inch border of the dough with the egg wash. Starting at a long end, roll the dough, jelly roll-style, into a log shape, pinching the edges closed as you roll. Place the bread, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet and brush the top of the bread with the remaining egg wash.

Bake the sausage bread for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Allow bread to stand 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. To serve, slice the bread into 1-inch pieces and serve warm.

Basic Pizza Dough:

1 cup warm (110 degrees F) water

1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups bleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar, and 1 tablespoon oil and stir to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is still slightly sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.

Oil a large mixing bowl with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Use as directed.

Holidays With Honey – Winter Veggie Potstickers With Honey Asian Dipping Sauce

winter veggie potstickers

Winter veggies are at their best right now, and this is a wonderful way to enjoy them!

Yield:  24 potstickers

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, pressed

1 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 medium carrot, grated on finest holes of a box grater

24 wonton wrappers

Honey Asian Dipping Sauce, recipe follows

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook until leeks begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cabbage, vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger and cook, stirring, until cabbage is soft, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the carrot. Allow the filling to cool.

Transfer cabbage mixture to a mixing bowl and work together until fully incorporated. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

To make the potstickers, lay a wonton wrapper on the work surface and put about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center. Dip your finger in a little water and wet the edges of the wonton wrapper; this will help the potsticker seal when cooking. Bring the outside edges of the wonton wrapper together over the filling and press it together to form a pouch. Continue with the remaining wrappers and filling.

To cook the potstickers, heat the remaining oil in a very large skillet over high heat. Place all of the potstickers upright in the pan and cook, without disturbing them, until browned on the bottom, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan and immediately cover. Allow the potstickers to steam for about 3 minutes, then remove the skillet lid. Continue cooking until the water is completely evaporated.

Transfer to a platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

Honey Asian Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup light soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 lemon, zested

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl until honey is dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: about 1/3 cup

Holidays With Honey – Smoked Salmon Seven Grain Bruschetta With Honey Mustard, Tomato And Dill

CCBAB111L_Smoked-Salmon-Toasts_s4x3_al

Smoked salmon is another good Winter Solstice dish.  Serve these bruschetta with the Winter Solstice cocktail!

Yield:  4-6 servings

Ingredients

1 loaf seven grain bread, sliced on diagonal into 1/4-inch thick slices

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Canola oil, to brush bread

Extra-virgin olive oil,  for drizzling

3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard

2 tablespoons honey

2 to 3  tomatoes, thinly sliced

8 ounces smoked salmon, sliced paper thin

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Juice of 1 lemon

Dill fronds, for garnish

Directions

Preheat a grill pan over high heat. Brush the bread with canola oil, salt and pepper. Grill the bread until slightly charred on each side, about 30 seconds per side.

Remove the bread to a cutting board and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Combine honey and mustard in a small bowl.

Spread the bread with honey mustard and put sliced tomato on each slice of bread. Drizzle with honey mustard and top with a few slices of smoked salmon. Add another drizzle of honey mustard and top with black pepper and a sprig of dill.

Whisk together a few tablespoons of lemon juice and a few tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil and drizzle over the tops. Garnish with dill fronds.

Holidays With Honey – Honey, Garlic and Rosemary Petite Lamb Chops

chops

I went to the most wonderful holiday party where they served petite lamb chops as appetizers! I begged for the recipe and added a few touches of my own. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Yield:  Serves 2 to 4 as appetizers

Ingredients

8 lamb rib chops (about 2 pounds total)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 medium cloves)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon minced shallots (about 1/2 small)

1/2 cup apple cider

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

Directions

Place the lamb chops in a shallow dish, then season the lamb chops on all sides with salt and pepper. Combine the 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl, then pour over the lamb chops. Marinate the lamb chops in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning the chops over once midway through.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, cook the lamb chops in the pan until brown and crusty, 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer the lamb chops to a large platter and let rest at room temperature.

While lamb rests, add the shallots to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots begin to wilt and soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the apple cider into the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the vinegar and the honey, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Spoon the glaze over the lamb chops and serve immediately.

Holidays With Honey – Clams Casino

casino

Clams are traditionally served at The Feast of the Seven Fishes, and in America they are frequently served as Clams Casino.

According to legend, the recipe for Clams Casino was originally developed in 1917 in the Little Casino in Narragansett, Rhode Island, by a maître d’hôtel for a woman of means wanting something special for her guests. She named the dish after the hotel, and word and popularity of the dish has since spread across the United States.

In the first decades of the 20th century, if a restaurant wanted to be noted, it came up with a dish that involved the baking of shellfish.  Clams Casino and Oysters Rockefeller are the most famous of the dishes created in that era.

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 ounces sliced pancetta or bacon, finely chopped

1 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/3 cup chopped shallots

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/3 cup dry white wine

4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

18 medium (2 1/2-inch) littleneck clams, shucked, bottom shells reserved

Directions

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate. Add the bell pepper, shallots, garlic, and oregano to the same skillet and saute until the shallots are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and cool completely. Stir the honey, the reserved pancetta and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese into the vegetable mixture. Season the mixture, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with foil. Arrange the clams in the reserved shells on the baking sheet. Spoon the vegetable mixture atop the clams, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Bake until the clams are just cooked through and the topping is golden, about 10 minutes.

Arrange the clams on the platter and serve.

Holidays With Honey – Tuna Tartare

tuna tartare

This will be another part of my contribution to The Feast of the Seven Fishes in Chicago. I like the fact that it’s red and green, and the Asian flavors will be a refreshing prelude to the traditional Italian pasta dishes.

Yield:  25 servings

Ingredients

1 3/4 pounds sushi grade tuna

2/3 cup olive oil

3 limes, zest grated

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 1/4 teaspoons wasabi powder

1 1/4 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce

1 1/4 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon honey

2/3 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (6 scallions)

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno pepper, seeds removed

3 ripe Haas avocados

Directions

Cut the tuna into 1/4-inch dice and place it in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, wasabi, soy sauce, hot red pepper sauce, honey, salt, and pepper. Stir until honey is dissolved. Pour over the tuna, add the scallions and jalapeno, and mix well. Cut the avocados in half, remove the seed, and peel. Cut the avocados into 1/4-inch dice. Layer the tuna mixture over the diced avocados in a 9″x13″ glass dish.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour for the flavors to blend. Serve on crackers.

Holidays With Honey – Smoked Salmon And Caviar Roll Ups

salmon roll ups

I’m spending the holidays with my extended family in Chicago.  My daughter Molly’s father-in-law Vince is Italian, and we will be observing The Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a traditional Italian Christmas Eve meal consisting of seven different seafood dishes. It was originally a period of abstinence to commemorate the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus.

This will be part of my contribution to the Feast.

Yield:  12 to 18 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup fresh cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped lemon zest

Salt

Freshly ground white pepper

6 large slices smoked salmon

36 toasted bread rounds or squares

8 ounces caviar

Garnish: 36 sprigs fresh dill, sour cream

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese, honey, dill, chives, and lemon zest. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the slice of salmon on a piece of plastic wrap, with the small end closest to you, on a flat surface. Season the slices of salmon with the pepper. Spread some of the cheese mixture evenly over each slice of salmon. Trim ends to make even. Then, beginning at the bottom, roll up the salmon, jelly roll style, securely, pressing to close. Wrap each salmon roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.

About 30 minutes before serving, place the salmon rolls in the freezer; this will make slicing easy.

To serve, using a chef’s knife, slice the salmon into 1/2-inch slices. Remove the plastic wrap and discard. Place the salmon on the toasted bread slices. Place some caviar on top of the salmon. Garnish with a sprig of dill and sour cream.

Holidays With Honey – Potato Zucchini Croquettes With Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

potato zucchini croquettes

Few things are more satisfying than fried potato and zucchini.  An awesome holiday appetizer!

Yield:  20 to 24 pieces

Ingredients

2 russet potatoes (about 1 pound)

1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar

1 medium zucchini

1/4 bunch chives

Salt

Fresh ground pepper

1 egg

Vegetable oil for shallow frying

2 cups fresh or dry bread crumbs

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:

1 cup whole grain-style Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

Directions

Place potatoes, in their skins, in cool water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until they can be pierced with a skewer, offer no resistance, and slides off easily. Remove from the water and cool completely.

With a table knife, remove the skin from the potatoes and grate on the large holes of a box grater, into a bowl. Also, through the small holes, grate the zucchini. Chop or slice the chives finely and add to the bowl. Add the salt and pepper, to taste, along with the egg. Combine mixture well and form into patties or a log shape.  If making a log, cut into 2-inch oval pieces. Dredge in the bread crumbs. Place on a plate until ready to cook.

In a saute pan, heat 1/4 to 1/2-inch of vegetable oil, add the croquettes, a few at a time. Don’t crowd them. Fry until the bread crumb crust begins to brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate when cooked, to drain. Repeat process with the remaining croquettes. Serve warm.

Combine the mustard and honey and serve as a dipping sauce for the croquettes.