Thanksgiving 2013 – Ultimate Macaroni And Cheese

I’ve always assumed that serving macaroni and cheese for Thanksgiving was purely a Southern thing.  Always tasty, mac and cheese is also a thoughtful dish to include for your vegetarian-inclined guests.

It turns out that our Victorian forebears were the originators of this custom, although you might be surprised at what they considered to be the Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese.

Thanksgiving postcard circa 1900 showing turkey and football player. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

In 1883, macaroni was said to be an acquired taste, and was still unfamiliar to many. To make macaroni and cheese, housekeepers were advised to boil the macaroni, then mix in a tablespoon of canned tomatoes, and then add a layer of freshly grated cheese.  On top of this, successive layers of boiled macaroni, canned tomatoes, and grated cheese, were added until the serving dish was filled.  When the resulting meal was delivered to the Thanksgiving table, it might be more familiar to us as a sort of lasagna instead of the macaroni and cheese we know.

Most of us today prefer the cheesy variety on our Thanksgiving table. This recipe is rich and delicious, to be served only a few times a year. That’s the real secret of Southern cooking!!

golden-macaroni-cheese-l

Yield:  12 servings

Ingredients:

1 pound elbow macaroni

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and macaroni and cook for 4 to 5 minutes (until the macaroni is half cooked).

Butter a 3-quart baking dish, add 1/3 of the cooked macaroni and then layer with cheese, salt, and pepper; repeat this until the elbows have all transferred. Pour the milk and heavy cream over the macaroni. Drizzle with honey.

Cover the macaroni and cheese with tinfoil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the macaroni is brown and bubbling on top.

Cooking With Honey – Pumpkin Creme Brulee

pump creme brulee

It’s pumpkin season! It makes me happy to see them on sale everywhere.

It also inspires me to develop new honey recipes. This one is especially tasty!

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup honey

4 teaspoons granulated sugar

8 large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 cup canned pumpkin

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Arrange 8 (1/2-cup) ramekins or custard cups in a large metal baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, combine the cream and honey . Bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the honey. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until frothy and lemon-colored. Slowly add 3/4 cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream, and whisk. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin, and whisk until smooth. Divide among the prepared custard cups.

Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the custards are just set in the center but not stiff, 45 minutes to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Sprinkle each custard with 1/2 teaspoon of the granulated sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar. (Alternately, preheat the broiler, and broil until the sugar melts and caramelizes, watching closely to avoid burning and rotating the cups, about 1 to 2 minutes.)  Garnish with cinnamon and whipped cream.  Enjoy!

Cooking With Honey – It’s Time For Caramel!

caramels 2

Autumn is the time for caramel, whether as candies or caramel apples.  This recipe is easy and delicious. Heck, it probably soothes a sore throat too!!

Yield:   18-24 caramels or 3-5 caramel apples

Ingredients:

1 cup Honey

¾ cups Heavy Cream

1-½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons Butter

Directions:

Combine honey and cream in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally while it cooks. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches soft ball stage. The easiest way to do this is with a candy thermometer (235 to 240ºF), though you can test it with other methods.

Remove pan from the heat and immediately stir in vanilla and butter. Stir until butter is completely melted and combined. Dip apples in the caramel or pour into a generously buttered 8×8 dish or smaller if you want thick large caramels. Having your dish properly buttered is important for easy removal of the caramels once set.

Allow caramels to cool thoroughly in the refrigerator and then slice into squares.  Store in the refrigerator until serving.

Cooking With Honey – Honey Berry Clafoutis

clafoutis

With berry season upon us, an easy and delicious dessert to make is clafoutis. All you need to do is mix and bake to have a fresh and scrumptious French custardy treat!

Yield:   One 8-inch custard

Ingredients

¾ cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

⅓ cup honey

1 tsp orange zest

3 eggs

1 Tbs vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

½ cup flour

2 cups fresh berries of your choice

2 Tbs granulated sugar, plus additional for pan

Powdered sugar for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-inch pie plate or round cake pan and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.

Blend together all ingredients except 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and berries. Pour a ¼-inch layer of batter into pie plate, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, just until a skin forms. Toss berries with sugar while first layer sets.

Once skin forms, remove plate from oven and add berries plus remaining custard batter. Bake until top is golden brown and custard is set (moves as one when jiggled, toothpick comes out clean), about an hour.

Can serve warm, but cool completely before removing whole clafoutis from pan. Store chilled.

Cooking With Honey – Honey Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding - 11

Is there any dessert more satisfying than banana pudding?  Yes!  Banana pudding made with honey!!

Ingredients

1 (14 oz.) can  Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 1/2 cups cold water

2 tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling

1 (4-serving size) package instant vanilla pudding mix

2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream, whipped until stiff peaks form

36 vanilla wafers

3 medium bananas, sliced and dipped in lemon juice

Directions

Whisk sweetened condensed milk and water in large bowl. Add pudding mix and honey. Whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Chill 5 minutes. Fold in whipped cream.

Spoon 1 cup pudding mixture into 2 1/2-quart glass serving bowl. Top with one-third each of the vanilla wafers, bananas and remaining pudding. Repeat layering twice, ending with pudding mixture.

Chill thoroughly. Drizzle honey on top to garnish.

For individual pudding desserts, prepare mixture and layer in dessert dishes.

L.J.’s Honey Hot Fudge Sauce

hot_fudge_sauce_646

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve heard me talk about my mother, L.J.

“L.J”. is short for Lois Jean. I didn’t know what her real name was until I entered grade school.

I adored her.  She was blonde, beautiful, smart, funny, irreverent, and a fantastic cook.

I grew up in Louisville, where cooking is an art form. My mother was legendary. Our friends and relatives still rave about her dinner parties and holiday buffets.

I’ve posted many of her recipes, the most popular ones on my blog. I’ll be posting her Easter Menu in a day or so.

But her Hot Fudge Sauce… She used to tell me it didn’t have any calories. I desperately wanted to believe her. It is so darn good!

I think of her every day and wish she were still around to help me tend my bees, garden and cook.

She lives on through her recipes though. Especially the one for Hot Fudge Sauce.  🙂

Honey Hot Fudge Sauce

Ingredients

1 12 ounce bag of  semisweet chocolate chips . (L.J. used Nestle’s but I like Ghirardelli.)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup honey

Directions

Place the cream into a microwave glass bowl.  Add the chips and microwave for 2 minutes. (L.J. used a double boiler. Feel free to use one too!)

Remove from microwave and stir.

Add honey and stir.

Refrigerate until cold or reheat for hot fudge sauce.

Serve over ice cream.  Whipped cream may be added, but is superfluous. 🙂

Black Tea Cupcakes With Honey Buttercream Frosting

black tea cupcakes

Dr. Eva Crane was a proper Englishwoman, and would have liked these tea-flavored delicacies! Perfect to accompany a “cuppa”!

Yield:  18 cupcakes

Ingredients

1 cup  milk

3 tablespoons black tea (or the contents of 3 tea bags)

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tins.

Warm the milk until near boiling on the stove or in the microwave. Cut open the tea bags and add the tea directly into the milk. Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the tea brewed milk, mixing until batter is uniform and smooth.

Transfer batter to prepared pans and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.

Honey Buttercream

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3 tablespoons honey

2 cups powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and honey until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and salt and continue mixing until the frosting comes together. If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency. Likewise, if the frosting is too stiff, add more honey (or a splash of milk) to thin it out. If the frosting is too sweet, add a pinch more salt until the desired sweetness is achieved.

Spread or pipe the honey buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes and serve.

Madame Marie’s Sensual French Honey Chocolate Mousse

I feel certain that Madame Marie Curie enjoyed this classic, sensual French dessert on more than one occasion.

Yield:  10 servings

Ingredients

1 pound good quality semisweet dark chocolate  (or white chocolate, if you prefer)
16 oz honey
3 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Combine chocolate and honey in a large microwaveable bowl. Microwave 1 minute at a time (or less) stirring after each time (When melting chocolate  in microwave, don’t do until it melts completely. While it is still holding its shape, stir until it’s completely melted). Let cool.

Beat egg whites with a stand mixer, slowly add granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into the chocolate mixture.

Rinse out the mixer bowl, add the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip until stiff. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Chill in bowl or divide into bowls. Top with your choice of berries.

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New Year’s Eve – Potato, Leek and Honey Gratin

This gratin is the perfect accompaniment to roasted rack of lamb. Add a simple salad of greens with a vinaigrette dressing and a luscious dessert for an especially festive New Year’s Eve dinner!

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

Salt

1/1/2 pounds small potatoes (such as red or Yukon gold), sliced 1/8 inch thick

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for buttering dish

1  tablespoon honey

5 medium leeks, washed thoroughly, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large pot of salted boiling water, parboil potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes well and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Sauté leeks and garlic until leeks are tender, about 7 minutes. Set aside.

In a buttered gratin dish, round souffle dish, or lasagna pan arrange half of reserved potatoes in an overlapping pattern. Pour 1/2 cup cream and 1/4 cup milk over top and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tablespoon honey. Top with reserved leeks and arrange remaining potatoes. Pour remaining cream and milk over potatoes and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining honey.

Bake until potatoes are tender, top of gratin is golden brown, and most of cream and milk have been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Potage Parmentier (Potato Leek Soup)

potage parmentier

Another soothing recipe for the eating impaired. I may never eat chocolate again…

It was this time of year that my beloved mother L.J. served Potato Leek Soup. Now I know why.

Yield:  For about 2 ½ quarts, serving 6 or 8

Ingredients

4 cups sliced leeks – the white part and a bit of the tender green

4 cups diced potatoes – old or baking potatoes recommended

6 or 7 cups of water

1 teaspoon honey

1½ to 2 teaspoons of salt, to taste

Optional: ½ cup of more sour cream, heavy cream or crème fraiche

Directions

In a heavy-bottomed, three-quart saucepan, bring the leeks, potatoes and water to a boil, uncovered. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 20 or 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add honey. Taste and correct seasoning.

Serving au Naturel – Ladle out the soup and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream, if you wish.

Pureed Leek and Potato Soup – Puree the soup through a vegetable mill or in a blender or food processor. Serve with optional cream.

Cream of Leek and Potato Soup – Use a cup less liquid when simmering the soup. After pureeing, whisk 2/3 cup or more of sour cream, heavy cream or crème fraiche into the soup, simmering a moment to blend.