The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 4 – Broiled Scallops With Wine Sauce

scallops

Day 4 of the Romancing the Bee diet is going well!  I am continuing to lose, and what is even better is that I feel great!!  I was definitely eating too much of the wrong things!!

This won’t be an all seafood diet, I promise.  It’s just what I’m craving right now.

Yield:  2-4 servings

Ingredients:

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/8 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced shallot

2 tablespoons butter

Olive oil

1/2 pound of scallops

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat, mix chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, honey, shallot and garlic. Cook and stir until the liquid had been reduced to 2 tablespoons. Reduce the heat to low. Whisk in the butter until the liquid combines with it and turns into a creamy sauce. Remove from heat.

Brush scallops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on cooking sheet. Broil about 2 minutes on each side or until opaque.

Serve scallops with wine sauce and steamed non-starchy vegetables.  How about Roasted Pears for dessert??

Honey Braised Short Ribs With Creamy Polenta And Ragout Of Winter Vegetables

short rib ragu

Eating locally in January is not as difficult as one might think. Winter vegetables such as hearty greens and root vegetables are widely available and at their peak. This is a delicious way to make use of winter’s bounty.

Recipe: Root vegetable ragout

Ingredients

2 each sweet carrots, washed and peeled

4 each turnips, washed and peeled

2 each parsnips, washed and peeled

12 each pearl onions, peeled

12 each red pearl onions, peeled

1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon chopped tarragon

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preparation

Cut the carrots, turnips, and parsnips into pieces of about the same size and shape, preferably a medium-sized dice. Blanch the cut carrots, turnips, parsnips, and onions together, in a pot of boiling salted water, until tender, about 5 minutes or less. Carefully remove from the blanching water with a slotted spoon and place into an ice water bath. Allow vegetables to cool; reserve in refrigerator until you are ready to serve them.

To serve, put the vegetables in a small skillet along with sherry vinegar, butter, and chopped tarragon. Place the skillet over a medium-low flame and warm just moments before serving. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe: Creamy polenta

Ingredients

2 cups water

Salt, to taste

1/2 cup organic yellow polenta (can substitute plain cornmeal)

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (can substitute cream cheese)

Preparation

Lightly season 2 cups water with salt and bring to a boil. Quickly whisk in the polenta until it has been fully incorporated. Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Add the butter and allow the polenta to cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and season to taste with salt.

This may be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave just before serving.

Recipe: Zinfandel braised beef short ribs with creamy polenta and a ragout of fall vegetables

Ingredients

4 pounds beef short ribs, bone in, cut into single rib chops

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 cups zinfandel (red wine)

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked

3 ounces canola oil

2 cups small-diced onion

.5 cup small-diced celery

.5 cup small-diced carrots

6 ounces canned chopped tomatoes

2 cups beef broth

2 ounces mushrooms, preferably porcini

2 each bay leaves

Preparation

Generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the zinfandel, honey, garlic, fresh thyme and a pinch of salt. Marinate the short ribs in the wine mixture for 12 hours in the refrigerator.

Pour 3 ounces canola oil into a Dutch oven over high heat. Remove the short ribs from the wine and allow the beef to rest for several minutes and come to room temperature. Reserve marinade.

Once the meat has rested, place in the hot pan. Stir and turn the meat often, carefully allowing each piece to brown on each side before removing from the pan. When browned (will take several minutes per side), remove the beef from the pan and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir constantly and allow the onions to cook until mahogany in color, about 10 minutes; if onions are browning too quickly, reduce to medium heat. Add the short ribs back to the pot along with the reserved wine marinade. Allow the wine to come to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer, skimming foam and fat from the surface of the liquid. After simmering for several minutes, add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer uncovered until the meat is fork tender and nearly falling off the bone, roughly 5 hours.

Once the beef has cooked, transfer short ribs to a dish and cover. Reduce the pan liquids until they coat the back of the spoon, simmering about 30 minutes. Strain the braising liquid and return the short ribs to the liquid. Season the short ribs and braising liquid with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve for later use.

This may all be done up to 3-4 days in advance. Reheat in oven or microwave until meat is at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Assembly: Reheat the three components of the dish separately.

On each of 6 large plates, place a couple of spoonfuls of polenta in the center of the plate.

Carefully remove the bones from the hot ribs and place the beef short ribs over the bed of polenta.

In a pan over medium heat, bring the reserved braising liquid to a simmer. Once the sauce is hot, check for seasoning and, if needed, add a touch of salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce around the beef short ribs and polenta. Carefully place the root vegetable ragout on the beef. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 6

Holidays With Honey – Honey Sweet Potato Souffle

sweet potato souffle

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Souffle:

3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes, from about 2 to 3 small baked potatoes

3/4 cup honey

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, about 1 stick, melted

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, about 1/2 stick, cubed, at room temperature

1/2 cup self-rising cake flour

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Souffle: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, honey, eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Topping: Combine the brown sugar, butter, flour, and pecans in a separate bowl. Crumble the topping over the sweet potato mixture.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Serve hot.

Holidays With Honey – Christmas Morning Casserole

sausage cheese strata

It probably isn’t surprising that cooking is a big part of Christmas in my family. After my children grew older, Christmas breakfast became really special. After we open presents, we sit down for a cozy meal with lots of chat and tea. It’s the best part of the day. 

We’ve had this spicy casserole for the past few years because it can be made ahead and cooked while we are opening presents. This year our darling Lucy will be able to eat some too!

photo (9)

Yield:  serves 4

Ingredients

5 Slices thickly-sliced white bread – crusts and all, buttered & cubed.

1 pound of mild sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained.

3 cups of grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

4 eggs

2 cups of milk

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon of hot sauce.

Directions

Spray a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Place the bread cubes in the casserole. Evenly distribute the sausage over the bread cubes. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Combine the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, honey and hot sauce and mix well. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, remove the casserole from the fridge and allow it to sit on the counter for 15 minutes while you pre-heat the over to 350. Remove the plastic wrap, place the casserole in the over and bake for 1 hour.

Holidays With Honey – Gingerbread Men

Gingy

“Run! run! as fast as you can!
You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Who doesn’t love Gingerbread Men? Especially when they’re made with honey rather than molasses. Have some fun and make these tasty cookies. They’re great for gifts and decorations too!

This recipe makes a light brown Gingerbread Man, like the one above.

Yield:   26 Servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice

Directions

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the honey, egg and water. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. cookie cutter. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, you can make your own templates from paper or cardboard. (I think that’s more fun!)

Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Re-roll scraps.

Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired with icing recipe which follows.

Decorating Buttercream (for piping details)

This makes a LOT of icing. You may want to cut the recipe in half.

Cream until smooth:

6 oz  (1 1/2  sticks) butter (room temperature)

1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar

¼ tsp kosher salt

1 tsp pure vanilla

Add:

1 tbsp evaporated milk (you may need more)

Beat briefly until light and smooth. Color as desired.

After piping on cookies, this icing should set 6-8 hours or overnight. This icing does not dry hard but will “crust” so cookies can be handled.

Go-To Honey Salsa

salsa

This is an accompaniment to the Black Bean Soup posted today, and it is a good all-purpose Salsa recipe. The honey counters the acidity of the tomatoes.

Ingredients

1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes

1- 10 oz can orginal Rotel

1/2 small onion, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded or not (depends on how spicy you like it)

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

small to medium size handful of cilantro, washed

juice of 1 lime

Directions

Put all the ingredients in the base of a food processor or good blender and pulse to combine for 30 seconds or so until all the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve with chips or over tacos.

Honey Red(s) Velvet Fudge

Our beloved Cincinnati Reds are in the Playoffs!  Let’s hope they win tonight. We can celebrate with this fudge.  🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Cup honey
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Red Gel Food Coloring

Directions

  • Using a 5×9 pan (typically same size as banana bread pan, if you want thinner pieces, use 8×8)

  • Line pan with wax parchment paper or wax paper. Make sure you have some extra on all four sides.

  • Combine sugar, honey, cocoa, buttermilk, sweet condensed milk, and food coloring in a non stick pan.  Stir to combine.

  • Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, but do not scrape down the sides. (to avoid getting crystallized sugar in fudge)

  • Using a well calibrated thermometer, make sure the fudge gets up to 238 degrees.

  • Reduce heat and allow fudge to simmer.

  • DO NOT STIR.

  • Allow fudge to cool to 110 degrees and add butter and vanilla.

  • Beat by hand or use electric mixer until fudge loses its sheen.

  • Place in prepared pan and allow to cool, usually 1-2 hours.