Cooking With Honey – Turkey, Leek, And Mushroom Casserole

turkey leek and mushroom casserole

I had this wonderful casserole minus the turkey and honey over the weekend.  I took my turkey leftovers and made it even better!

Yield:  8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

6 cups (1/2-inch-diced) bread cubes from an Italian or French loaf, crusts removed

2 cups cooked turkey (leftover!)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ounces pancetta, small-diced

4 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts (4 leeks)

1 1/2 pounds small button mushrooms

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves

1/4 cup  dry sherry

2 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 extra-large eggs

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (6 ounces), divided

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, until starting to brown. Stir in the leeks and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Stir in the mushrooms, tarragon, sherry, honey, 1 tablespoon salt and 11/2 teaspoons pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Off the heat, stir in the turkey and parsley.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, chicken stock and 1 cup of the Gruyere. Add the bread cubes and mushroom mixture, stirring well to combine. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid. Stir well and pour into a 2 1/2-to-3-quart gratin dish (13 x 9 x 2 inches). Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Gruyere and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is browned and the custard is set. Serve hot.

Vegetarian Honey Winter Vegetable Soup

vegetarian winter veg soup

Reprinted from Salon.com

There’s never been a better time to be a half-assed vegetarian. Five years ago, the American Dialect Society honored the word flexitarian for its utility in describing a growing demographic—the “vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.” Now there’s evidence that going flexi is good for the environment and good for your health. A study released last October found that a plant-based diet, augmented with a small amount of dairy and meat, maximizes land-use efficiency. In January, Michael Pollan distilled the entire field of nutritional science into three rules for a healthy diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” According to a poll released last week, Americans seem to be listening: Thirteen percent of U.S. adults are “semivegetarian,” meaning they eat meat with fewer than half of all their meals. In comparison, true vegetarians—those who never, ever consume animal flesh—compose just 1 percent.

Yield:  10-12 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

8 ounces crimini mushrooms, halved and sliced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

2 ribs celery, finely diced

1 large onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

One 35-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 quarts water

3 tablespoons soy sauce

One 2-by-2-inch piece Parmesan rind

7 ounces butternut squash, cubed

5 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped

Two 15-ounce cans great Northern beans, undrained

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

Shaved Parmesan, for serving

Directions

Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into an 8-quart stockpot over high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Decrease the heat to low, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the carrots, celery, onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 30 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, sage, rosemary and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to break up the tomatoes. Add the water, soy sauce and Parmesan rind, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, about 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to low, add the squash and kale, cover and cook until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Return the mushrooms to the pot along with the beans, honey and red wine vinegar and cook until all is heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove the cheese rind and serve warm with shaved Parmesan.

Serve with hearty whole grain bread and a green salad.

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.

Winter Salads – Warm Spinach Salad With Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

spinach salad

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

10 ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)

6 ounces button mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup canola oil

3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

Directions

Combine spinach, mushrooms, and almonds in a large serving bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add garlic and shallot and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until garlic is browned, about 2 minutes, then add vinegar and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat and stir in honey until dissolved.

Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Beef Wellington With Honey

wellington

Beef Wellington is one of the best holiday meals. It looks fancy, but is actually easy to prepare. It also pairs well with yesterday’s Honey Roasted Root Vegetable and Arugula Salad.

No one is sure where the dish’s name came from. Some sources insist it isn’t named after the Duke of Wellington himself, but rather because the finished filet resembled one of the brown shiny military boots which were named after him.

I like my beef like I like my boots – Welly.  🙂

Yield : Serves 6-8

Ingredients

½ oz dried porcini

2-3-lb center-cut tenderloin roast, trimmed

Salt and pepper

3 Tbs butter

2 shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

8 oz cremini mushrooms, finely chopped

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

6 oz chicken liver pate

6 oz prosciutto, sliced

2 tablespoons honey

All-purpose flour for dusting

1 package puff pastry, about 1 lb

1 egg, beaten

Directions

Put the dried porcini in a heatproof bowl and cover with ½ cup boiling water. Let soak for 30 minutes, then drain, reserving the liquid. Chop the porcini, and set them and the liquid aside.

Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Melt half the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When foaming, put the beef in the pan and brown all over for 4-5 minutes, taking care not to burn the butter. Put the beef on a plate and set aside to cool.

Melt the remaining butter in a separate frying pan. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add the porcini and garlic, then the reserved porcini liquid and the cremini mushrooms. Increase the heat and cook until the mushroom mixture is dry. Season with salt and pepper and add the thyme, then set aside to cool.

Put the pate in a bowl and beat until smooth. Add the mushroom mixture and stir well. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Use a metal spatula to spread half the mushroom mixture evenly over one side of the beef. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the work surface and arrange half of the prosciutto on it so that the slices overlap. Place the beef mushroom-side down on the prosciutto. Spread the remaining mushroom mixture over the beef. Wrap the rest of the prosciutto slices, overlapped, over the top. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of honey. Wrap the whole thing in the plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Take about one-third of the puff pastry from the package and roll it out to a rectangle 1/8 inch thick and 1 inch larger than the base of the roast. Transfer to a baking sheet. Prick well with a fork and bake until brown and crisp, 12-15 minutes. Let the pastry cool, then trim it to the size of the roast.

Take the beef from the refrigerator and unwrap it. Brush the beef all over with some of the beaten egg, then place it on the pastry base.

Roll out the remaining pastry to a rectangle about 12 by 14 inches. Use this to cover the beef, tucking the sides under the base and sealing the edges. Brush with the rest of the beaten egg. Place the Wellington on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes for rare to medium rare beef, and 45 minutes for medium.

Remove the Wellington from the oven and let it stand for about 10 minutes before slicing. .

Best Thanksgiving Leftovers – Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

In England a popular short joke regarding shepherd’s pie is a recipe which starts like this: “to make shepherd’s pie, do the following — get two shepherds and mince them”.

This recipe is shepherd-free…

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onions

2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon crushed red peppers

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 ounces mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean, and sliced

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 to 2 1/2 cups chopped or shredded roast turkey (white and/or dark meat)

1 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth

1/2 cup green peas

4 cups leftover mashed potatoes or Basic Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows

3/4 cup grated sharp or medium Cheddar

Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square or 2.2 quart baking dish with the butter and set aside.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, red peppers, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the flour and cook, stirring, until thick, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the meat and stir well to combine. Gradually add the stock, honey, and then the peas, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Carefully transfer to the prepared dish and spoon the potatoes over the meat mixture, spreading to the edges. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the potatoes are crisp around the edges, 22 to 25 minutes.

Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Basic Mashed Potatoes:

2 pounds potatoes, peeled, quartered, cut into 1-inch wedges

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a medium, heavy saucepan with enough salted water to cover by 1-inch. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 25 minutes.

Drain in a colander and return to the saucepan. Over medium-low heat, cook the potatoes for 1 minute to dry. Add the milk, butter, cream, honey, salt and pepper and mash until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Best Thanksgiving Leftovers – Turkey Tetrazzini

“Cooking Tip: Wrap turkey leftovers in aluminum foil and throw them out.” – Nicole Hollander

Ms. Hollander has obviously never tasted my Turkey Tetrazzini.  🙂

 Ingredients:

16 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin (about 4 cups)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup flour (I like to use Wondra…)

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon honey

16 ounces spaghetti (I use DeCecco)

3 cups coarsely chopped cooked turkey, including cooked giblets if desired

1 cup frozen English peas

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs

Directions:

In a large heavy saucepan cook the mushrooms in 1/4 cup of the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until most of the liquid they give off has evaporated, stir in the flour, and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add in a stream the milk, the broth, and the wine, stirring, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes. In a pot of boiling salted water cook the spaghetti until it is al dente and drain it well.

In a large bowl combine well the spaghetti, the mushroom sauce, the turkey, the peas, the honey, and salt and pepper to taste, stir in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, and transfer the mixture to a buttered shallow 3-quart casserole. In a small bowl combine well the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan, the bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle the mixture evenly over the Tetrazzini, and dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits. The Tetrazzini may be prepared up to this point 1 month in advance and kept frozen, covered. Bake the Tetrazzini in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the top is golden.

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

One year I got extra fancy and started out Thanksgiving dinner with this wonderful soup! It’s a delicious and satisfying winter meal in itself.

Yields 8-10 first course servings

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked wild rice

2 tablespoons butter

2 leeks, diced (about 2-1/2 cups)

2 plum tomatoes, diced (1 cup)

4 celery stalks, diced (1 cup)

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (2 cups)

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup flour

6 cups chicken broth

2-3 bone-in chicken breasts, cooked, removed from skin and bone, and diced (1 1/2 cups)

1 cup cream

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook the wild rice according to the directions on the package. Wild rice generally takes 55-60 minutes to cook.

In a large soup pot, melt the butter and sauté the leeks, tomatoes, celery, mushrooms, and garlic on medium high heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally.

Add the flour and stir until blended into the vegetables. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the wild rice and chicken. Stir in the cream, honey and sherry. Cook until thoroughly heated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot!

Stuffed Mushrooms With Honey

I love stuffed mushrooms!  These are good hot or cold.

Ingredients:

Large mushrooms for stuffing 5-6
1 anchovy fillet in oil (optional)
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper
parmesan reggiano

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to clean them. Remove the stems and reserve.
Chop the mushroom stems, anchovy and garlic. Place in a bowl with the bread mixture, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushroom stems and bread mixture and saute for 5 minutes.
Lay the mushroom caps on an oiled tray, hollowed side up. Lightly salt and fill with the bread mixture. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle each with honey and olive oil.
You can sprinkle with a little parmesan reggiano if you like. Bake about 15 minutes until soft and they are ready to serve.