Thanksgiving 2013 – Sweet Potato Souffle With Honey And Egg Nog

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I’ve been looking for the perfect Thanksgiving sweet potato souffle recipe for years. I think this is it!

This recipe substitutes eggnog for condensed milk and honey for the brown sugar, maple syrup and tiny marshmallows. It’s just as sweet and tasty, but a bit more sophisticated. (Not that I have anything against tiny marshmallows!!)

This souffle is something your guests will actually LIKE to eat!!

Yield:  4 large or 8-10 small servings

Ingredients:

2 Large or 3 Medium Sweet Potatoes

Granulated Sugar for dusting the souffle dish

Powdered Sugar for dusting the top

3/4 cup Eggnog

3 Large Eggs, separated and room temperature

1 cup Honey

2 tablespoons Butter plus more for greasing the souffle dish

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Allspice

1 ounce Brandy (optional)

1/2 Lemon (juiced)

1/2 teaspoon Salt

Directions:

Place sweet potatoes in a stock pot and cover with water by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes or until very tender. Drain and allow to cool before handling. Peel and discard skins.

Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl and break up and mash using a spoon.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2-quart souffle dish; dust with sugar.

In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add flour, and cook, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in eggnog; simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; mix in sweet potatoes and egg yolks. Stir in honey, vanilla, brandy  (if using), lemon juice, salt, and spices and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Whisk 1/4 of whites into sweet potato mixture; using a rubber spatula, gently fold in remaining whites. Pour mixture into prepared dish; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until puffed, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.

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Gertrude Jekyll’s Honey and Lavender Tea Cakes

tea cake

This isn’t really Miss Jekyll’s recipe, although I think she would like it. She adored lavender!

Yield:  6-18 tea cakes, depending upon size of the cake tin

Ingredients

For cakes

Two sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

Three large eggs at room temperature

Two cups minus one tablespoon all-purpose flour

One teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon dried food grade lavender, crushed/chopped up

1/3 cup buttermilk

For glaze

Juice of one lemon

Two teaspoons honey

1/2 cup confectioners’/powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit  Grease choice of tin very well with melted butter.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, honey, and butter until fluffy and creamy. In a small bowl, beat the eggs until blended and pour them into the creamed honey, butter, and sugar, until just blended.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the crushed lavender.

Pour in a third of the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk. Stir through the bottom of bowl, repeat with the flour, remaining milk, stir, and then the final amount of flour. Continue folding butter and flour mixtures together until a batter is formed and no large clumps of flour remain.

Pour the batter into the buttered tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes for small cakes, or for 25-30 minutes for larger ones.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by juicing one lemon into a small bowl. Pour in two teaspoons honey and stir together with the powdered sugar until a fairly thick liquid is formed. Set aside.

Once the cakes are finished baking, let cool for a minute or so, then unmold the cakes onto a cooling rack or plate. Immediately drizzle over the glaze. Enjoy warm or completely cooled. Excellent with tea.

Spice-Brined Honey Lemon Chicken

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Yes, I practice Zen and yes, I eat meat.

I’ve tried being a vegetarian. Heck, I was even a vegan for a few weeks. I didn’t gain clarity. Instead, my hair starting falling out.

I went to my Teacher with my plight. He told me it’s all about intention and gratitude and that even the Dalai Lama eats chicken. So I’ve got that going for me.

I think the Dalai Lama would like this recipe.

Yield:  4 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

3 teaspoons coriander seeds

8 cups water

1 cup Kosher salt

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup honey

Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 cup water

One 4- to 5-pound roasting chicken

Directions

To brine the chicken: Put the 1 tablespoon black peppercorns and 2 teaspoons coriander seeds into a saucepan and toast over medium-low heat, swirling the pan, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the water and the salt, raise the heat to medium-high, and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 6 cups water and the red pepper flakes. Let cool to room temperature.

Rinse the chicken well under cold water. Transfer to a large sturdy plastic bag or pan just large enough to hold it. Pour the brine over the chicken, making sure it is completely immersed. Refrigerate overnight.

Mix honey, lemon zest and juice until combined. Melt butter and whisk in until smooth. Cover and refrigerate if not using right away.

Position a rack in a roasting pan. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels and set it on the rack in the pan. Let the chicken come to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Coarsely crush the remaining black peppercorns and coriander seeds and add to honey lemon mixture. Stir in the rosemary and sage.

Pat the chicken again with paper towels to make sure it is completely dry. Brush the honey/lemon/pepper/ spice mixture evenly over the surface of the chicken, coating the whole bird. Return to the rack in the pan and pour 1 cup of water into the pan.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325°F and continue roasting until the chicken is golden brown and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Add water 1/2 cup at a time to the pan if it starts to dry out. Let the chicken stand for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Serve with steamed broccoli and wild rice.

The Black Bee Cocktail

Reprinted from Esquire Magazine:

Cocktail of the Week: The Black Bee

“The Gold Rush is a pretty popular neoclassic drink (bourbon, lemon, honey), which comes from a Bee’s Knees (gin, lemon, and honey). I took the Gold Rush format, and I brought down the honey slightly in order to keep the refreshing nature of the drink as forward as possible. Especially because I was pairing with stout, which definitely has more residual sweetness than a lager or a brighter, paler beer like a witte. We use all tap beers — we have twenty-one taps of LA local beers — and originally I used the stout that I had brought on board there. That’s an imperial oatmeal coffee stout. It’s got a rich viscosity to it, and it’s fairly heavy, so it just overpowered the drink. We have a fantastic porter on tap, which is related very closely to stout, but it tends to be a little lighter, so I blended the two in the drink (an ounce and a half of each), and it worked quite well. That said, if people want to make it at home, they can use a pretty standard stout like Sam Smith.

“Don’t go overboard on the beer. Also, try to pour the beer down into the drink so that it mixes thoroughly. Some people make beer cocktails and try to float the foam on top for an attractive layering effect. I think they perceive the foam on top as resembling egg white, but I personally think that’s a bad way to approach it. Here, you’re not just separating texture, but also taking away from a unified flavor profile. You’ll end up getting all beer on top and all cocktail on bottom.” —John Coltharp, The Parish, Los Angeles

Black Bee

  • 2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout
  • 1/2 oz honey*

Combine ingredients (excluding beer) with ice and shake. Pour into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Chill with single spear ice cube if possible. Top with 2-3 oz. Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout (available in grocery stores nationwide). Add lemon twist on top.

*Mixed 4:1 with a little bit of water; cold-packed — Coltharp recommends Honey Pacifica Cold-Packed Wildflower Honey.

Read more: Black Bee Cocktail of the Week – Esquire http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/black-bee-cocktail-101512#ixzz2LV1Ztc6p

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Honey-Glazed Roasted Pears

roasted pears

Even though I’m on a diet, I still have a sweet tooth.  This is for dessert tonight and breakfast tomorrow morning!

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 lemon

2 medium ripe pears (Anjou, Comice, Bartlett or Bosc)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons honey

Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Set the rack on the top shelf of the oven. Peel the lemon’s zest into 4 long strips. Peel the pears and leave the stems on if they have not already fallen off. Cut a slice 1 inch in diameter and one-third-inch thick off the bottom of each pear so it will stand up in the roasting pan. Place the pears in the roasting pan and add the lemon zest, butter, honey and 2 1/2 cup water. You do not need to mix the ingredients ahead of time because they will all melt together into a syrup in the oven.

2. Place the roasting pan on a cookie tray just in case the juices boil over. Bake until all the honey has dissolved and the tops of the pears are beginning to brown, about 30 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the oven. Using a rubber spatula, push the pears over so they are lying on their sides. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pears to the opposite side and bake another 20 minutes. The pears will continue to take on color. Do not be alarmed if the tops of the pears become a very dark brown. You want them to caramelize.

4. The pears are poached when a knife inserted into the center slides in easily and the pear is somewhat soft to the touch. If the pears seem hard and uncooked, bake them lying down for up to 20 minutes longer.

5. Once the pears are poached, stand them back up and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and baste the pears with the caramelized juices (which will continue to reduce into a syrup). Return the pears to the oven and repeat this process three more times for a total of 45 more minutes. The pears are done when the tops are almost black and the flesh is a shiny, deep caramel color. You might need to roast the pears for another 10 to 20 minutes to get this beautiful caramel shine. Remove the pears from the oven and baste one last time. The basting liquid should by now have become a syrupy caramel.

6. Carefully remove the pears from the roasting pan and place them on a tray or plate to cool. Save the caramel sauce, discarding the lemon zest. Once the pears have cooled, remove the core from the bottom with a small melon baller or paring knife. You need to carve out a cone shape from the bottom to remove the pear’s seeds. To serve, reheat the pears in the oven.

7. Place each pear on a plate with a drizzle of the pear caramel sauce.

The Romancing The Bee Diet – The Essentials

Fat bee

Okay, here is the diet I made up.  I’m no expert, but I’ve been on just about every diet there is with varying levels of success. I know what works for me and what doesn’t.

All of the foods allowed on the Romancing The Bee Diet (“RTBD”) are low (below 55) on the Glycemic Index (GI).

The GI is a numerical system of measuring how much of a rise in circulating blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers–the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. So a low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. A GI of 70 or more is high, a GI of 56 to 69 inclusive is medium, and a GI of 55 or less is low.

For me, a food with a low GI keeps me satisfied longer and naturally suppresses my appetite. The variety of foods allowed enables me to still cook creatively!

Foods allowed on the RTBD are listed below. If it’s not on the list, I’m not going to eat it!!

Lean meats such as beef, skinless chicken, lamb, pork loin and veal – 8 ounces per day, OR

Any type of seafood without breading or batter – 8 ounces per day, OR

Three eggs per day (3 ounces), OR

Any combination of the above, not to exceed a total of 8 ounces of protein per day.

One grapefruit per day

One lemon per day

Apples or pears – two per day, total.

Non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, cabbage, salad greens, winter greens, onions, and garlic. (unlimited)

1 avocado per day

2 tablespoons raw honey

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter (not light) or mayonnaise made with olive oil (not light), or a combination of these, not to exceed two tablespoons total.

2 tablespoons bleu cheese or parmesan cheese

Unlimited – Tea, diet soda, water, Vinegar, Tabasco, salt, pepper, fresh and dried spices and Dijon Mustard.

1 five ounce glass of wine per day, preferably red. (May be used in cooking)

EATING BREAKFAST IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED!

That’s it.  No counting of calories or carbs or points.  I’m hopeful that the small amounts of “naughty” foods will keep me from feeling deprived, while still allowing me to lose 2-3 pounds per week.

St. Cecilia Society Punch With Honey

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St. Cecilia Society Punch is named for a famously private and exclusive social organization founded in Charleston, South Carolina, in the 18th century. My Oldest Friend Mary Ann makes this punch for New Year’s Day.

It doesn’t have the firepower of Chatham Artillery Punch, but that may be a good thing. It’s every bit as delicious though!

Ingredients

2 medium lemons, thinly sliced

3/4 cup brandy

3/4 cup honey

2 tea bags green tea

3/4 cup dark rum

1/2 small pineapple, peeled, cored, sliced 1/2 inch thick, and cut into small wedges

1 750-ml bottle Champagne

6 cups sparkling water, chilled

Directions

Put the lemon slices in a large bowl and pour the brandy over them. Let macerate at room temperature overnight.

In a small saucepan, combine the honey with 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the honey dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, and steep for 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the tea bags and let the syrup cool.

At least 3 hours and up to 6 hours before serving, combine the lemons, brandy, syrup, rum, and pineapple in a large pitcher or bowl. Chill in the refrigerator.

Just before serving, pour the punch into a large chilled punch bowl with a block of ice. Add the Champagne and sparkling water, and gently

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

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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 – The Winter Solstice Cocktail

winter-solstice

The pomegranate has been used throughout history and in almost every religion as a symbol of humanity’s most fundamental beliefs and desires, including life and death, rebirth and eternal life, fertility and marriage, abundance and prosperity. Almost every aspect of the pomegranate has come to symbolize something . . . its shape, color, seeds, juice.

It’s very fitting that the Winter Solstice cocktail should feature pomegranate juice.

Ingredients

2 oz vodka

3/4 oz fresh lemon juice

1/2 oz pomegranate juice

1 oz honey

Orange wedge

Directions

Add vodka, lemon juice, pomegranate juice, and honey to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a short or highball glass with ice. Garnish with an orange wedge. Drink up and repeat!

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.