The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 6 – Warm Duck Salad

duck salad

Day 6 and all is well!  It’s over 60 degrees here, and I’m going to get out on my road bike if it doesn’t rain!

If you made roast duck from Day 5, you can use it in this salad. If not, the directions for preparing duck breast is below. Enjoy!

Yield: 1 to 2 servings

Ingredients

1 boneless duck breast, skin on (about 6 to 7 ounces) (or leftover duck from Day 5)

Kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon minced shallots

1 teaspoon honey

1 1/4 tablespoons good sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 head Belgian endive

1 ounce mache or other delicate baby lettuce

Navel orange, peeled, cut in 1/2, and sliced

1/4 pint fresh raspberries

1/2 cup toasted whole pecan halves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the duck breast on a sheet pan, skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and roast for about 20 minutes, until medium-rare. Remove from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the fat and skin on top (unless you’re making cracklings), slice the duck, and then cut the slices crosswise into julienned pieces.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the shallots, honey, sherry vinegar, orange zest, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Whisk in the olive oil and set aside.

For the salad, trim the bottom half-inch from the endive and cut them diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Separate the leaves and discard the cores. Place the slices in a large salad bowl. Add the mache leaves, oranges, raspberries, and toasted pecans. Toss with enough dressing to moisten. Gently toss in the warm duck meat and serve immediately.

Honey Coca Cola Cake

coca cola cake

Coke is one of my guilty pleasures.  Kicking the “Real Coke” habit is one of my greatest victories.

I’m now a Coke Zero fiend, thanks to my skinny, yoga-toned daughter Molly. Thank you, Dear!!

But this cake is a different story. It was introduced to me by my beloved mother L.J.  My Oldest Friend Mary Ann and I actually laughed when she told us about it. That was until we tasted it….

It’s one of the best we’ve ever tasted.  And even better with honey…

Ingredients

1 cup Coca-Cola

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup honey

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Coca-Cola Frosting (recipe follows)

Garnish: 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions

Combine Coca-Cola and buttermilk; set aside.

Beat butter at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and honey; beat until blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat at low speed until blended.

Combine flour, cocoa, and soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with cola mixture; begin and end with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended.

Stir in marshmallows. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Spread Coca-Cola Frosting over warm cake; garnish, if desired.

Coca Cola Frosting

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup Coca-Cola

3 tablespoons cocoa

1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; Beat in sugar and vanilla until consistency of firm frosting.

Holidays With Honey – Kentucky Bourbon Balls With Honey

bourbon balls

In 1936, Ruth Hanly Booe, a candy entrepreneur in Frankfort, Kentucky, invented the Bourbon Ball.  Simply and deliciously, it is a whiskey-spiked cream center covered with dark chocolate and topped with a pecan. Over time, it became a regional favorite,  especially popular during the holidays. My version contains honey as well as the finest Kentucky Bourbon.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

5 Tablespoons top quality Kentucky Bourbon

1 Tablespoon honey

Directions

Combine softened butter and powdered sugar until smooth.

Add bourbon and honey.  Mix until incorporated.

Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour.

Form the buttercream into 1 inch balls and place on waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm.

Transfer buttercream centers to a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for several hours or overnight.

Dip in chocolate coating. (See Below)

Chocolate Coating

4 to 6 ounces semisweet chocolate

30 -50 whole pecan halves, for garnish

Place a toothpick in each bourbon ball, sticking the toothpick into the center.

Melt chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave or a double boiler. Mix and heat until smooth.

Working quickly, dip the bourbon ball centers into the chocolate one at a time. Tap the toothpick against the side of the bowl to shake off excess chocolate. Set the coated bourbon ball on waxed paper covering a baking sheet or pizza pan. With another toothpick push the bourbon ball gently from the toothpick and cover the spot where it was with a pecan half.

When all bourbon balls have been dipped allow them to rest until set. (To speed the process the pan of bourbon balls can be placed in the refrigerator.) When set, transfer the candies to a holiday tin or other storage container.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Turtles

turtle

This is probably my favorite candy!  Make lots because unlike real turtles, they are sure to go fast!!

Ingredients:

12 ounces of soft caramels, recipe follows

6 oz (about 1.5 cups) toasted pecan halves

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with aluminum foil and spraying it with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Arrange the pecans in clusters of 4 with each pecan pointing in a different direction (like turtle legs).

3. Place the caramel in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds.

4. Allow the caramel to cool slightly, then use a spoon to drop a spoonful of caramel over the pecan clusters. They are meant to be a rustic candy, so don’t worry about keeping the turtles round or about having some of the pecans poking through.

5. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler. Spoon the melted chocolate over the caramel layer.

6. Allow the turtle candies to set fully, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week, but bring them to room temperature before serving so the caramel can soften.

Honey Caramels

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup honey (mild honey works best here)
1 cup raw sugar (or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Special Equipment: 8×8 pan, candy thermometer (optional)

Directions:

  1. Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil, letting the edges of the foil hang over the side of the pan, and spray with cooking spray, or butter generously.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan.
  3. Add the honey, sugar, and heavy cream. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has mostly dissolved.
  4. Turn the heat to medium low. Clip your candy thermometer onto the side of the pan….carefully.
  5. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches firm ball stage, which you can determine in one of two ways: a. the mixture reaches 248ºF (give or take a degree or two) on a candy thermometer (it will be marked with “FB” or “firm ball”) or b. Drop a bit of the mixture into a small bowl filled with ice water. It should immediately form a ball that you can squeeze together with your fingers without it dissipating.
  6. Immediately remove from the heat, quickly stir in the vanilla (it will bubble slightly) and pour the mixture into your greased pan.
  7. Let cool, lift out of the pan using the foil, then cut into squares and wrap in squares of parchment paper or cellophane.

Note: If you happen to accidentally take your caramels past the firm ball stage (i.e., if the caramel mixture gets a little too hard after it has cooled), remelt the candy over low heat with 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Stir until the mixture is totally combined, then do the ice water test to check the consistency of the mixture (dropping the mixture into cold water is a reliable indicator of what the texture/consistency of the caramels will be when cool). Immediately pour into a newly-foil lined and greased pan, and cool completely.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Chicken Pecan Tea Sandwiches

This is the perfect sandwich filling to keep on hand during the holidays. You can whip up an elegant tea in minutes!

  • 2 c. diced cooked chicken
  • ½ c. cranberries, sliced or dried
  • ¼ c. cup pecans, chopped
  • t tablespoon honey
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • Mayonnaise, homemade or Hellmann’s
  • White or wheat bread slices
  • Butter
  • Parsley for decoration

In a large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. Add just enough mayonnaise to moisten.  Cover and chill to blend flavors.

Butter 2 slices of bread.  Spread enough chicken salad mixture on one of the buttered slices to make a thick sandwich. Cover with remaining top slice. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.

For best tea sandwich results, chill for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Trim off bread crusts and cut into triangles or squares.  Keep covered with a moist paper towel or in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Cranberry Week – Wild Rice Pilaf With Honey, Dried Cranberries, and Pecans

Wild Rice is an aquatic cereal grain that grows “wild” in isolated lake and river bed areas located primarily within the continent of North America. It is also native to ecologically similar regions located on the continent of Asia. This evolutionarily ancient grain has been found in layers of the earth dating back some 12,000 years. In addition to its role as an important food staple for ancestral peoples, it has provided a unique habitat for fish and waterfowl for thousands of years.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tb. canola or grapeseed oil
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • 2 cups wild rice or 2 cups short-grain brown
    rice, or a mixture
  • 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1⁄4 tsp. dried thyme,
    crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper, plus
    more, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the stock to a simmer.In a heavy 2-qt. flameproof casserole over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the simmering stock, dried cranberries, honey, bay leaf, thyme, the 1/2 tsp. sea salt and the 1/8 tsp. white pepper. Bring to a simmer, stir and cover. Transfer the casserole to the oven and bake until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, 40 to 45 minutes.Remove from the oven. Remove and discard the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs, if used. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in the pecans and parsley. Serve hot or warm.
Serves 8 to 10.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Pedigree of Honey

by: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

The pedigree of honey

Does not concern the bee;

A clover, any time, to him

Is aristocracy.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

Preheat to 375 degrees

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well dispersed.
2. Cream the sugar, honey, and butter together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat the mixture until light and creamy. Add the extract.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients, mixing until combined. Add the cranberries, chips, and nuts.
4. Drop heaping teaspoons two inches apart on an ungreased sheet. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Bread Pudding With Honey Bourbon Spiced Cream

Did you know that cranberries contain more antioxidant phenols than 19 commonly eaten fruits? Antioxidants help protect our bodies by stabilizing free radicals we are exposed to everyday.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Cranberry Compote or Sauce (see recipe)
  • 1 cup pecan pieces, toasted and rough chopped
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 slices day-old brioche, French bread or other white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • Honey Bourbon Spiced Cream, recipe follows
  • Shaker confectioners’ sugar
  • Sprigs fresh mint

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 6-cup (9 1/4 by 5 1/4 by 2 3/4-inch) loaf pan with butter.

Whisk together eggs, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and cranberry sauce until very smooth. Stir in half-and-half. bread and pecans. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the pudding is set in the center, about 55 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

To serve, cut the pudding into 1-inch thick slices. Top with the Honey Bourbon Spiced cream. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar and mint.

FRESH CRANBERRY COMPOTE:

  • 1/2 pound fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Put the cranberries, orange and lemon zest, orange and lemon juice, honey, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups of the water in a medium-size nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Yield: 2 cups

HONEY BOURBON SPICED CREAM:

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beat the cream and bourbon with an electric mixer on high speed in a large mixing bowl for about 2 minutes. Add the honey and cinnamon, and beat again until the mixture thickens and forms stiff peaks, another 1 to 2 minutes. Yield: 4 cups

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Fudge Pie

Did you know that cranberries have anti-adhesion properties that reduce the number of oral bacteria that cause cavities and dental plaque?  They also help reverse periodontal (gum) disease.

Crust

1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate (also good with white chocolate!!)
2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) heavy cream
3/4 cup diced walnuts or pecans

Topping*

1 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup dried cranberries
12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, a generous 3 cups
*You’ll need about 15 ounces (a scant 1 1/2 cups) topping for the pie. Enjoy the remainder on its own.

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2) To make the crust: Process the crackers, sugar, and melted butter in a food processor until crumbly and well combined.

3) Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie pan.

4) Bake the crust for about 7 to 8 minutes, until it’s set, but not brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

5) To make the filling: Put the chips (or chopped chocolate) and cream in a microwave-safe container, and heat for about 90 seconds.

6) Remove from the microwave, and stir until the mixture becomes smooth and dark brown; you’re simply making a basic ganache.

7) Spoon the hot ganache into the cooled crust, and sprinkle the nuts on top.

8) Refrigerate the pie for at least 1 hour, probably 2, until the ganache has firmed up.

9) While the pie is chilling, make the topping. Bring the honey, salt, and cranberry juice to a boil.

10) Stir in the dried cranberries, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

11) Add the fresh or frozen cranberries, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until some of the berries have burst.

12) Remove the cranberries from the heat, spoon into a bowl, and chill.

13) To finish assembling the pie: Spoon 1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce atop the fudge/nut filling. Chill until ready to serve.

Yield: 9″ pie, 8 to 10 rich servings.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Spinach Salad With Bacon, Blue Cheese and Pecans

 

Did you know that cranberries promote heart health?  Cranberries are high in flavonoids that reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis which reduces blood flow within the arteries. Ongoing research continues to suggest that cranberries may offer a natural defense against arteriosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks, angina and blood clots.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound hickory smoked bacon slices, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 (6-ounce) containers baby spinach
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup Danish blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Fry chopped bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined 1/4-sheet tray to drain.

Toast pecans in the oven on a 1/4-sheet tray until lightly golden and fragrant, about 6 minutes.

In a medium bowl mash the blue cheese with a fork. Mix in the buttermilk, sour cream, honey, salt and pepper, to taste.

Combine baby spinach, red onion, pecans, dried cranberries and bacon in large bowl. Toss with the dressing immediately before serving.

Serves 4.