Cooking With Honey – Spicy Honey Barbecue Pulled Pork And Coleslaw On Homemade Buns

pulled pork

Among my friends and family I’m renowned for this dish. It’s good all year around!!

It’s a scientific fact that honey makes food taste better.  Honey is largely composed of gluconic acid, a completely safe and natural flavor enhancer. According to the National Honey Board, a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight, honey “balances and enhances the flavor profiles of other ingredients used in a recipe.”

The use of honey as a healthy and flavorful alternative to refined sugars has exploded in popularity in recent years. Raw honey is organic, easily digested, adapts to all cooking processes and lasts virtually forever.

Raw honey is also an integral part of the local food or “locavore” movement. Nationwide, small farms, farmers markets and specialty food makers are popping up and thriving as more people seek locally produced, seasonal foods. More than half of consumers now say it is more important to buy local than organic, according to market research firm Mintel.  Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan called the local food movement “the biggest retail food trend in my adult lifetime.”

Enjoy this recipe and feel good about it!!

Spicy Honey Barbecue Pulled Pork

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:

1 Boston Butt roast, about 5-6 pounds

Wet Rub:

1 cup honey

1/2 cup garlic, granulated

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup paprika

2 tablespoons onion, granulated

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground red pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Sauce:

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 cup chili sauce

2 tablespoons onion, chopped

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Dash ground red pepper

Directions:

Stir together all rub ingredients in a bowl. If needed, trim the fat back to about 1/8 inch thick on shoulder. Smear meat generously with rub, massaging it into the meat. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Stir together all ingredients for the sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, 40 minutes.

Divide sauce into separate containers for basting and serving at the table. Refrigerate table sauce and reheat for serving.

Heat oven to 200 degrees Farenheit. Place meat in a Dutch Oven and add 1 cup water. Baste with 1/2 of the barbecue sauce. Cover tightly and cook for 4-5 hours or until pork is very tender.

Remove pork to a large cutting board or platter, cover with sauce from pan and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Pull, slice or chop to serve. Serve in buns with barbecue sauce and coleslaw.

Coleslaw

Yield:  12 servings

Ingredients

6 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrot

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 cup honey

Salt and pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, combine cabbage and carrots. In a smaller bowl, make dressing by combining mayonnaise, vinegar, celery seed, honey, salt and pepper. Toss dressing into cabbage mixture and let chill.

Homemade Buns

Yield: Makes 28 buns

Ingredients

1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)

1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 3/4 cups milk

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup honey

3 teaspoons salt

6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, bread flour or whole wheat flour, divided (I use King Arthur’s)

Directions

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl, and let stand 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles.

Meanwhile, heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until 100° to 110°.

Stir together warm milk, eggs, and next 3 ingredients in bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, blending well. Add yeast mixture, stirring to combine. Gradually add 5 cups flour, beating at medium speed, using paddle attachment. Beat 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 1 hour.

Uncover dough, and add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, beating at medium speed 5 minutes. (Dough will be sticky.) Transfer to a lightly greased large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough. Turn dough out on a well-floured surface, and roll into 28 (2 1/2-inch) balls (about 1/4 cup dough per ball). Place balls in 4 lightly greased 9-inch pans (7 balls per pan). Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Bake rolls at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter.

Note: To freeze, place baked buns in zip-top plastic freezer bags, and freeze up to two months. Let thaw at room temperature. Reheat, if desired.

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.

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.

Black Bean Soup With Honey

black bean soup

The inspiration for this recipe was one that appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine on January 4, 1987.  The recipe looked so good that by the time I made it to the grocery store, all the black beans had been sold out!

Ingredients

1/2 pound smoked slab bacon with rind

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions

1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery

1 1/2 cups finely diced carrots

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled

3 tablespoons tomato paste

16 cups rich chicken broth, preferably homemade and concentrated, or canned broth may be substituted

1 pound black turtle beans or other black beans, about 3 cups (soaked and drained)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt to taste, if desired

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Salsa for garnish (recipe follows today)

Sour cream for garnish

Directions

To soak beans quickly, cover them with generous amount of water, cover pot, bring water to boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove cover and allow beans to sit in the liquid for one hour. Drain.

Slice off and reserve the rind of the bacon. Cut the bacon into quarter-inch cubes. There should be about one and one-half cups.

Put the bacon cubes and the rind into a heavy kettle or casserole and cook, stirring often, until rendered of fat. When ready, the bacon cubes should be well-browned and crisp.

Add the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaf, garlic, thyme, three tablespoons of the cumin, black pepper and oregano. Stir to blend and cover the kettle or casserole closely. Cook about five minutes over moderately low heat. Do not allow the mixture to burn.

Add the tomato paste and stir briefly. Add the chicken broth and bring to the boil.

Add the soaked beans to the soup. Cook, uncovered, over relatively high heat about two and one-half hours, skimming the surface occasionally to remove foam, scum and fat as it rises to the top. The soup is ready when the beans are soft and some of them have disintegrated because of the cooking heat and stirring.

Stir in the lime juice, honey, cayenne pepper, salt, coriander leaves and remaining cumin. Remove and discard the bacon rind and bay leaf.

Puree soup a bit with an immersion blender.

Ladle the soup into individual soup bowls. Serve the salsa and sour cream on the side, to be added at will. This soup is best served with jalapeno honey corn-bread muffins as an accompaniment (recipe follows today).

Yield:   Eight to 12 servings

It Wouldn’t Be Thanksgiving Without Southern Green Beans

This is the real thing!

2-3 lbs. fresh green beans

5 cups water

4-5 oz. smoked hog jowl

1 teaspoon salt (more or less, depending on saltiness of the seasoning meat)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon (or more) honey

A red-pepper pod or red-pepper flakes

1 onion, quartered

Directions:

Put the water, smoked hog jowl, honey, onion, red pepper, salt, and pepper in a 5-quart Dutch oven and bring to a boil on high heat. Place the lid on the pot, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 30 minutes or more.

While the hog jowl is simmering, you’ll have time to prepare the green beans. Remove the ends and strings, and snap into pieces of desired length, discarding any beans that are blemished or wilted. Wash the beans in cold water and drain.

When the hog jowl has simmered for at least 30 minutes, remove any scum from the surface of the water. Add the green beans to the pot, turn up the heat, and bring back to a boil.

Once the water has reached a good boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the beans — partially covered — for 3 full hours. It’s important to simmer the beans with the pot only partially covered. Between the pot and the edge of the lid, leave an opening of at least a quarter of an inch on one side, so that the steam can easily escape.

Once an hour or so, gently turn the beans so that those on the bottom are brought to the top and vice versa. The reason: the beans on the top will not be in contact with the water, and it’s important that all the beans in the pot get some time on top, out of the water.

In determining the heat setting on which to simmer the beans, the goal is to simmer them for 3 hours such that the water and the 3 hours run out at pretty much the same time. If you’ve simmered the beans for 3 hours and there is still water in the pot, just turn up the heat a tad and keep simmering until the water is gone. Of course, if you’ve used too much heat, you may have to add a little water before the end to keep the pot from boiling dry — just don’t cook the beans any less than 3 hours. You’ll probably find, however, that in a 5-quart Dutch oven 5 cups of water will just about be gone if you’ve simmered on low heat, with the lid 1/4 inch open, for 3 hours.

When done, the beans will be a good bit darker green than before being cooked. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove the beans from the pot and put them in a serving bowl.

Cranberry Week – Roast Pork Tenderloin With Honey Cranberry Stuffing

Pretty colors aside, cranberries have long been regarded as a wonder berry with numerous health benefits.

These mighty berries are bursting with vitamin C as well as having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Their health benefits can be seen from head to toe, inside and out. 

•  Higher levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) help your heart beat healthy. 

•  They will keep you sparky too. High levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties could protect the brain from memory and coordination loss caused by aging.

•  Cranberry consumption is especially beneficial to your ocular health – symptoms of sight degeneration and cataracts are proven to be significantly reduced.

Stuffed Tenderloin:

  • 1 1/2 cups sun-dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1(1 1/2 to 2 pound) pork tenderloin, butterflied
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Sauce, recipe follows

Directions:

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the cranberries, remove from the heat and let rest 1 hour, drain, reserving the soaking liquid and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the pine nuts, cinnamon, cloves, honey, and a few tablespoons of the soaking liquid. Pulse until coarsely chopped, remove to a bowl and stir in the cilantro.

Place the tenderloin on a work surface and season on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Spread a thin layer of the stuffing down the center, fold each side over the filling, and tie with a butcher’s twine and dredge lightly in the flour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a oven proof saute pan until smoking. Saute the tenderloin on all sides until golden brown. Place in the oven and roast until almost cooked through about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and let rest 10 minutes. Slice into 1 inch pieces.

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle puree
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • Salt

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, carrot and celery and cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock, juice concentrate, honey, chipotle puree and peppercorns, increase the heat to high and cook the sauce until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Strain the sauce into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Perfect Butter Beans With Ham Hocks And Honey

Butter beans aka lima beans are both tasty and full of health benefits.

Like many other legumes, they are a good source of dietary fiber, and a virtually fat-free source of high quality protein.

They contain both soluble fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol, and insoluble fiber, which aids in the prevention of constipation, digestive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis

The high fiber content in lima beans prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after eating them.

They can therefore help balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy, which makes them a good choice for people with diabetes suffering with insulin resistance.

The magnesium content of lima beans is a calcium channel blocker. When enough magnesium is present veins and arteries relax, which reduces resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

This recipe is a tasty addition to any fall menu!

Perfect Butter Beans with Ham Hocks and Honey

2 c dry butter beans
1/2 lb lean smoked ham hocks
2 fat cloves of garlic, smashed
3-4 T honey

The night before you plan to serve the beans, put the beans in a non-reactive bowl cover with cold water. Leave uncovered. Let soak for 12-18 hours.

Discard soaking water. Add ham hocks to a dutch oven, garlic cloves, and pour in soaked beans. Then cover with fresh water only until the beans are barely covered. Bring to a full rolling boil, then cover the dutch oven and turn down to medium-low. Simmer for 4 hours.

Check beans to make sure they’re done all the way through and creamy. Cover and cook for another 30 minutes to an hour if necessary.  Lift the hocks out with tongs and let cool slightly. Strip the meat off the bones, remove any chunks of fat or skin, and flake the meat back into the beans. Stir, taste for salt, and serve with with a big dollop of honey on top.

Adapted from an awesome recipe at smallworldsupperclub.wordpress.com