The Science Of Cooking

what-einstein-told-his-cook

I love the fact that cooking is science!  The above is next on my list of books to read!!

I was reminded of kitchen science yesterday when I made an extra-healthy vegan vegetable stew. It was inexplicably sour.

I fixed it by adding a little honey and a little salt .”Just the scientific facts, Ma’am!”

Here is a handy guide to scientifically “correcting for taste.”

The four (five??) senses of taste are sour, sweet, salty and bitter and way too hot and spicy.

When you increase one taste to counter another, it changes the way your taste buds perceive the flavor.

If you alter one of the tastes, it will affect the others.

If it is too sour, add something sweet or add a little salt (or both!), depending on what you’re preparing.

If it’s too sweet, add something sour,  like lemon juice or vinegar.

If it is too salty, increase the amounts of sweet and sour and it will reduce the saltiness.

If it tastes bitter, increasing the sweet, sour and salty tastes will reduce  the bitter taste.

If it is too hot, adding a dairy product (such as sour cream) will help calm the heat.

 

Cooking With Honey – Honeycomb Pull Apart Cake

Reblogged from Chronicles of a Beekeeper Wife

Honeycomb Pull Apart Cake

Honeycomb cake image

Do you have some special people coming over, a birthday celebration, or maybe you are going to your annual beekeepers’ potluck? You’ll do no wrong by serving this conversational piece. It is easy to make and fun to serve. The honey lemon glaze is especially tasty, and on a hot summer day, I suggest serving alongside a scoop of lemon sorbet or Italian ice. Either way, serving up this honeycomb cake is going to be a hit at your next gathering!

Prep
You’ll need to purchase this Honeycomb novelty pan. It is made by Nordic Ware (very high quality heavy cast aluminum construction). HONEYCOMB PAN AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FROM ROMANCING THE BEE – $45 plus shipping and handling.

honeycomb cake pan image
Front side
honeycomb cake pan image
Batter side

You’ll need to pick up several ingredients if you don’t already have them in your pantry.

honeycomb cake ingredients image
Love using local ingredients whenever possible!

Below is the recipe that came with the cake pan.*

Honey Lemon Cake
3 cups cake flour (I used King Arthur Cake Flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened (I used Cabot)
4 eggs
2 Tbsp finely grated lemon rind (I needed 2 large lemons)
1 cup sour cream (I used Cabot)

1 1/2 cups sugar

Glaze
3 Tbsp Honey (I used Heavenly Honey Apiary)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice (I only needed 1 lemon to get this)

Directions
Heat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour pan; set aside.

Tip:  Really get into each cell and side of pan. I used a pastry brush with liquid vegetable oil and floured liberally and tapped it all around and then tapped the excess into the sink.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar on low speed until blended. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Creamed butter and sugar

Add eggs and beat until well blended.

Honeycomb cake batter image
beating honeycomb cake batter image

Add fl0ur mixture, sour cream and lemon rind; blend on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl often. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.

Grater and lemons with zest
Honeycomb cake batter image

Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Tip: I folded a kitchen hand towel in half and placed it on the kitchen counter. I then gently tapped the cake pan with the batter in it, to make sure that the batter settled into the crevice of each honeycomb cell.

Honeycomb cake going into oven image
See the over rack above pan? It’s too low. Raise it or take out.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan.

Tip: Don’t over bake, although I kept a very close eye on the baking, and I took it out as soon as the toothpick came out clean, I thought the outer edge pieces resembled a plain donut texture and the middle pieces were moister. 

Meanwhile, make glaze: in small saucepan, combine all glaze ingredients and heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves and glaze is warm.

Honey Lemon Glaze image
Honey lemon glaze
Honeycomb cake out of oven image
Gently run knife around edge
honeycomb cake thickness image
Bakes to high volume. Be mindful of oven rack placement.

Invert cake onto cooling rack and brush with honey glaze.

honeycomb pull apart cake cooling on rack image
Placed wax paper underneath in preparation for glaze.
glazing honeycomb pull apart cake image
I gingerly brushed ample glaze on each honeycomb cell.
dirty honeycomb cake pan image
This was the pan after inverting — Cleanup a cinch!
Tip: After glazing, I let the cake thoroughly cool for about 2 hours before I plated it, because the underside of the cake was still really warm to the touch. 

Place on a decorative plate and serve!

finished Honeycomb pull apart cake image

*I don’t see a copyright notice on the packaging so I’m sharing.

Spice-Brined Honey Lemon Chicken

pepper-chicken-oh-l

Yes, I practice Zen and yes, I eat meat.

I’ve tried being a vegetarian. Heck, I was even a vegan for a few weeks. I didn’t gain clarity. Instead, my hair starting falling out.

I went to my Teacher with my plight. He told me it’s all about intention and gratitude and that even the Dalai Lama eats chicken. So I’ve got that going for me.

I think the Dalai Lama would like this recipe.

Yield:  4 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

3 teaspoons coriander seeds

8 cups water

1 cup Kosher salt

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup honey

Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 cup water

One 4- to 5-pound roasting chicken

Directions

To brine the chicken: Put the 1 tablespoon black peppercorns and 2 teaspoons coriander seeds into a saucepan and toast over medium-low heat, swirling the pan, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the water and the salt, raise the heat to medium-high, and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 6 cups water and the red pepper flakes. Let cool to room temperature.

Rinse the chicken well under cold water. Transfer to a large sturdy plastic bag or pan just large enough to hold it. Pour the brine over the chicken, making sure it is completely immersed. Refrigerate overnight.

Mix honey, lemon zest and juice until combined. Melt butter and whisk in until smooth. Cover and refrigerate if not using right away.

Position a rack in a roasting pan. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels and set it on the rack in the pan. Let the chicken come to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Coarsely crush the remaining black peppercorns and coriander seeds and add to honey lemon mixture. Stir in the rosemary and sage.

Pat the chicken again with paper towels to make sure it is completely dry. Brush the honey/lemon/pepper/ spice mixture evenly over the surface of the chicken, coating the whole bird. Return to the rack in the pan and pour 1 cup of water into the pan.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325°F and continue roasting until the chicken is golden brown and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Add water 1/2 cup at a time to the pan if it starts to dry out. Let the chicken stand for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Serve with steamed broccoli and wild rice.

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Honey-Glazed Roasted Pears

roasted pears

Even though I’m on a diet, I still have a sweet tooth.  This is for dessert tonight and breakfast tomorrow morning!

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 lemon

2 medium ripe pears (Anjou, Comice, Bartlett or Bosc)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons honey

Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Set the rack on the top shelf of the oven. Peel the lemon’s zest into 4 long strips. Peel the pears and leave the stems on if they have not already fallen off. Cut a slice 1 inch in diameter and one-third-inch thick off the bottom of each pear so it will stand up in the roasting pan. Place the pears in the roasting pan and add the lemon zest, butter, honey and 2 1/2 cup water. You do not need to mix the ingredients ahead of time because they will all melt together into a syrup in the oven.

2. Place the roasting pan on a cookie tray just in case the juices boil over. Bake until all the honey has dissolved and the tops of the pears are beginning to brown, about 30 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the oven. Using a rubber spatula, push the pears over so they are lying on their sides. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pears to the opposite side and bake another 20 minutes. The pears will continue to take on color. Do not be alarmed if the tops of the pears become a very dark brown. You want them to caramelize.

4. The pears are poached when a knife inserted into the center slides in easily and the pear is somewhat soft to the touch. If the pears seem hard and uncooked, bake them lying down for up to 20 minutes longer.

5. Once the pears are poached, stand them back up and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and baste the pears with the caramelized juices (which will continue to reduce into a syrup). Return the pears to the oven and repeat this process three more times for a total of 45 more minutes. The pears are done when the tops are almost black and the flesh is a shiny, deep caramel color. You might need to roast the pears for another 10 to 20 minutes to get this beautiful caramel shine. Remove the pears from the oven and baste one last time. The basting liquid should by now have become a syrupy caramel.

6. Carefully remove the pears from the roasting pan and place them on a tray or plate to cool. Save the caramel sauce, discarding the lemon zest. Once the pears have cooled, remove the core from the bottom with a small melon baller or paring knife. You need to carve out a cone shape from the bottom to remove the pear’s seeds. To serve, reheat the pears in the oven.

7. Place each pear on a plate with a drizzle of the pear caramel sauce.

St. Cecilia Society Punch With Honey

st cecilia

St. Cecilia Society Punch is named for a famously private and exclusive social organization founded in Charleston, South Carolina, in the 18th century. My Oldest Friend Mary Ann makes this punch for New Year’s Day.

It doesn’t have the firepower of Chatham Artillery Punch, but that may be a good thing. It’s every bit as delicious though!

Ingredients

2 medium lemons, thinly sliced

3/4 cup brandy

3/4 cup honey

2 tea bags green tea

3/4 cup dark rum

1/2 small pineapple, peeled, cored, sliced 1/2 inch thick, and cut into small wedges

1 750-ml bottle Champagne

6 cups sparkling water, chilled

Directions

Put the lemon slices in a large bowl and pour the brandy over them. Let macerate at room temperature overnight.

In a small saucepan, combine the honey with 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the honey dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, and steep for 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the tea bags and let the syrup cool.

At least 3 hours and up to 6 hours before serving, combine the lemons, brandy, syrup, rum, and pineapple in a large pitcher or bowl. Chill in the refrigerator.

Just before serving, pour the punch into a large chilled punch bowl with a block of ice. Add the Champagne and sparkling water, and gently

Honey Roasted Turkey

This is an English recipe that I love! The honey butter glaze gives the skin a crispy, tasty flavor. Be sure to use a smaller turkey for best results.

Ingredients

1 (10 pound) whole turkey – thawed, neck and giblets removed

1 lemon, cut in half

salt and black pepper to taste

1 small apple, peeled

1 small onion, peeled

1 small potato, peeled

3 ounces butter

6 ounces honey

1 cup chicken stock

Directions

Pat the turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Rub the cut lemon halves lightly over the skin of the turkey. Season inside and out with salt and pepper to taste. Place the lemon halves, apple, onion, and potato into the cavity of the turkey. Place into a close-fitting roasting pan.

Stir the butter and honey together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is evenly blended. Spoon the honey mixture over the turkey, coating the entire outer surface. Allow to stand 30 minutes, reapplying the honey mixture several times.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake the turkey in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, basting two or three times with the drippings and honey mixture. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cook 30 minutes more, basting frequently. Use a cup of chicken stock to keep the pan juices from drying out.

Cover the turkey with aluminum foil, and continue roasting until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove the foil during the last 15 minutes and baste one last time.

Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area 15 minutes before slicing.

Green Tea And Honey Cupcakes With Honey Buttercream Icing

Another opportunity to practice your cupcake technique!

Makes 12-14 cupcakes.

Ingredients

1 green tea bag
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Zest and juice (1/4 cup) of one lemon
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup honey
2 large eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour boiling water over tea bag and steep for 3 minutes. Remove tea bag and allow tea to cool.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a liquid measure, combine green tea, lemon zest and juice, and buttermilk; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add honey; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time. Add half of the reserved dry ingredients to the butter mixture; mix on low until just combined. With mixer running on low, slowly add the lemon tea mixture. Add remaining dry ingredients until just combined. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove to wire rack; cool completely before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING

1/2 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 pound (about 2 cups) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon  freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon  heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in half of the sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla and honey. Beat in the remaining sugar. Add the heavy cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest, whisk on high for 6 minutes.