Easy Cassoulet With Honey

cassoulet

It’s snowing in Cincinnati and getting colder by the minute. When the weather’s like this, all I want is some hearty cassoulet!  If I can’t wait until tomorrow to have it, this is the recipe I use. It’s SO good!

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 onion, thinly sliced

3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 tomato, chopped, or one 8-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped

3 15-ounce cans of great Northern, cannellini, or navy beans, drained and rinsed

5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup plain breadcrumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Directions

In a Dutch oven (a heavy pot, usually made of cast iron, that you can use on the stovetop and in the oven), heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the sausage until well browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Remove and drain on paper towels; set aside.

Pour out the excess oil from the Dutch oven. Add the chicken broth, vegetables, beans, thyme, honey, salt, pepper, a third of the garlic, and the sausage and return to heat. Mix well, scraping up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour, until thickened and the vegetables are tender.

Heat oven to 400° F. In a bowl, combine the bread-crumbs, parsley, butter, and remaining garlic. Sprinkle evenly over the cassoulet and place in the oven. Bake, uncovered, until the crust is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Cooking With Honey – Roasted Butternut Squash Soup With Honey, Pancetta, and Fried Sage Leaves

butternut soup

There are wonderful butternut squash available in the local markets, and today, cool and sunny, is a perfect day to prepare this tasty soup!

It’s what I’m having tonight!!

Yield:  Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

1 (2 to 3-pound) butternut squash, halved with seeds removed

4 medium shallots, peeled and left whole

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

2 ounces pancetta (about 12 paper-thin slices), diced

1 cup diced leeks, white part only (about 1 large leek)

1/3 cup finely diced carrots (about 1 small carrot)

1/3 cup finely diced celery (about 1 small stalk celery)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon dry white wine, of drinkable quality

2 quarts rich chicken or vegetable stock, plus extra if needed

1 teaspoon honey, or to taste*

Splash of sour cream and/or hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Canola oil for frying

1/4 cup sage leaves

Fine sea salt, to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat the squash and shallots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season generously with salt. Place  the squash and shallots onto the lined baking sheet and roast until the squash and shallots are tender when pierced with a skewer or the tip of a small knife, about 40-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Heat a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat; add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and heat through. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp. Remove from the heat, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside until needed.

Return the pan to the heat and add the leeks, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, but not browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan (deglaze). Cook until the wine has evaporated, then add the stock.

Scrape the squash pulp from the skin and add the pulp, the shallots (scraping up any browned bits) and honey to the pan; bring the stock to the boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup completely. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and honey as desired. Keep the soup warm until service. (This is where you’d add the splash of sour cream to taste, if desired.)

For the Sage: In a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat 1-inch of oil to 365°F; fry the sage in batches, stirring to separate the leaves, until crisp, about 3 to 5 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with fine sea salt while still hot.

For Serving: Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls or cups. Top each serving with some of the crispy pancetta and a few fried sage leaves. Serve immediately.

*The honey doesn’t sweeten up the soup; it just enhances the caramel flavor of the roasted squash.

Cooking With Honey – Clubhouse Turkey Burgers With Honey BBQ Sauce

turkey burgers

Below is my version/modification of Whole Foods’ AMAZING Clubhouse Turkey Burger recipe. Even if you don’t think you like turkey burgers you will love these! They are amazingly tender and juicy. You may never eat beef burgers again!!

Of course, the Honey BBQ Sauce is what makes them even tastier…

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

1lb ground turkey

6 strips bacon (about 1/3lb), cooked & crumbled

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup Honey BBQ sauce (recipe follows) or your favorite BBQ sauce

salt & pepper

Buns

Toppings: red onion, tomato, lettuce, bbq sauce

Directions:

Mix together turkey, bacon, cheese, panko bread crumbs, BBQ sauce, salt and pepper in a large bowl then divide unto 4 parts and form into patties. Brush or mist one side of the burgers with extra virgin olive oil or nonstick spray then cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through, brushing or misting the uncooked side with more oil before flipping. Top with toppings and serve on toasted buns. Serve with extra BBQ sauce.

Honey BBQ Sauce

Yield:  3 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

2 cups ketchup

1 cup water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup honey

1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon ground mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Cooking With Honey – Mixed Greens With Honey Oregano Vinaigrette And Crispy Prosciutto

oregano salad

For the last two months I’ve been traveling the East Coast attending Bee Meetings and visiting adult children. It’s been lots of fun although I feel a bit like a long haul trucker. 🙂

I’ve visited the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, and the beehive/kitchen garden at the White House in Washington DC. I’ll be posting about my trips over the next few weeks.

Of course I’ve been eating and drinking along the way !! One of my favorite meals was at Nonna’s Italian in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where I had one of the best salads I’ve ever tasted. Not surprisingly, the original recipe calls for honey!!

Whether you make this salad as a prelude to a meal or for the meal itself, I guarantee you will enjoy it!!

Yield:  10 servings

Dressing:

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black or red pepper, depending on your taste

3/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

Place all ingredients in lidded jar and shake until combined. Let stand for up to two hours for flavors to blend.

Crispy Prosciutto:

Twelve slices prosciutto.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide prosciutto between baking sheets, laying them flat. Bake until fat turns golden and meat is darker, about 15 minutes (rotating baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking time). Using tongs, carefully transfer prosciutto to paper towels to drain (it will crisp as it cools). Crispy prosciutto can be used like bacon, in whole pieces or crumbled.

Salad:

Twelve cups mixed greens

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion, separated into rings

12 small/cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters

1 tablespoon capers

1/4 cup sliced and pitted kalamata olives

12 slices crispy prosciutto, crumbled fine.

Directions:

Mix well and serve with Italian bread and olive oil.

Spicy Honey-Roasted Leg Of Lamb

200308-r-indian-spiced-lamb

Celebrate Spring with this spicy-sweet leg of lamb!

Ingredients

Marinade

6 large cloves garlic, peeled, and coarsely chopped

1/2 ounce fresh ginger, peeled, and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red chile powder

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons water

Kosher salt

Lamb

1 leg of lamb (about 5 pounds)

Honey rub

3 1/2 ounces blanched almonds

3 1/2 ounces Greek yogurt, plain

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

Directions

For the marinade: Blend together the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, coriander, black pepper, chile powder, lemon juice, vegetable oil, water, and salt, to taste.

For the lamb: Trim the excess fat and membranes from the leg of lamb. Make deep regular cuts all over the flesh with a paring knife. Rub the marinade into the lamb, making sure you get it into the deep cuts. Place the lamb in a plastic food bag with the remaining marinade and leave in the refrigerator, for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours, or ideally for 24 hours.

For the honey rub: Blend together 2 ounces of the almonds, the yogurt, and 1/2 the honey in a blender or food processor. Take the lamb out of the refrigerator and remove from the plastic bag. Rub the honey blend into the lamb, and leave the lamb for at least 30 minutes, or ideally for another 2 hours, covered, in the refrigerator. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the lamb on a rack with a roasting pan placed underneath the lamb on the rack below. Cook for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees F, and cook for another 1 hour 40 minutes, or until the meat juices run fairly pink when pierced, basting every 20 to 30 minutes.

Scatter the remaining almonds and drizzle the remaining honey over the lamb and roast for another 10 minutes. Check if the meat is cooked using a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 130 degrees F for rare to 150 degrees F for well done, depending on the desired degree of doneness.

Remove the lamb from the oven. Loosely cover the lamb with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Pour out the juices, spoon off any excess fat, and serve it on the side.

Honey-Glazed Tofu On Pumpkin Seed Couscous

Honey Tofu

To accompany today’s post about Aimee Mann, I wanted to post a vegan recipe. It is my understanding that vegan = hipster.  I ask you, who is more hip than Aimee?

Unfortunately, I learned that some folks don’t consider honey to be vegan. Something about bees being roughed up during the harvesting process. It’s known as the Great Vegan Honey Debate.

The Debate notwithstanding, I think Aimee would like this recipe. I can assure her I don’t rough up my bees.

Ever.

It’s always the other way around.  🙂

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

2 10-oz. pkgs. extra-firm tofu

2 tsp. cracked black pepper

2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ cup honey

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 medium carrots, chopped (1 cup)

1 cup frozen edamame, thawed

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ cups whole-wheat couscous

½ cup toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds (If you can’t find shelled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas), substitute your favorite chopped nuts.)

Directions

Place tofu between two plates and set heavy pot on top. Drain 10 minutes, and pat dry. Cut tofu into 3/8-inch-thick slices. Combine pepper, thyme, and salt in small bowl. Coat tofu slices with pepper mixture, and set aside.

Bring broth, carrots, edamame, olive oil, and salt to a boil in covered saucepan. Remove from heat, stir in couscous and cover. Let steam 5 minutes, then fluff with fork.

Meanwhile, heat oil and honey in large skillet over medium-high heat until bubbling. Place tofu in pan, and cook 3 minutes. Turn, and cook 3 minutes more, spooning thickening sauce over tofu.

To serve: Stir pumpkin seeds into couscous. Spoon onto plates, and top with Honey-Glazed Tofu.

Julia’s Iconic Recipe For Boeuf Bourguignon – With A Touch Of Honey

Be sure and watch the video. It’s a classic!

This is my favorite of Julia’s recipes, with French Onion Soup a close second. Of course, a touch of honey only makes it better!!

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon

3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 carrot, sliced

1 onion, sliced

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves mashed garlic

1/2 teaspoon thyme

A crumbled bay leaf

2 tablespoons honey

18 to 24 white onions, small

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)

1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Cooking Directions

Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, honey and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

REMEMBER TO LIKE ROMANCING THE BEE ON FACEBOOK TO WIN PRIZES!

Vegetarian Honey Winter Vegetable Soup

vegetarian winter veg soup

Reprinted from Salon.com

There’s never been a better time to be a half-assed vegetarian. Five years ago, the American Dialect Society honored the word flexitarian for its utility in describing a growing demographic—the “vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.” Now there’s evidence that going flexi is good for the environment and good for your health. A study released last October found that a plant-based diet, augmented with a small amount of dairy and meat, maximizes land-use efficiency. In January, Michael Pollan distilled the entire field of nutritional science into three rules for a healthy diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” According to a poll released last week, Americans seem to be listening: Thirteen percent of U.S. adults are “semivegetarian,” meaning they eat meat with fewer than half of all their meals. In comparison, true vegetarians—those who never, ever consume animal flesh—compose just 1 percent.

Yield:  10-12 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

8 ounces crimini mushrooms, halved and sliced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

2 ribs celery, finely diced

1 large onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

One 35-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 quarts water

3 tablespoons soy sauce

One 2-by-2-inch piece Parmesan rind

7 ounces butternut squash, cubed

5 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped

Two 15-ounce cans great Northern beans, undrained

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

Shaved Parmesan, for serving

Directions

Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into an 8-quart stockpot over high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Decrease the heat to low, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the carrots, celery, onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 30 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, sage, rosemary and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to break up the tomatoes. Add the water, soy sauce and Parmesan rind, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, about 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to low, add the squash and kale, cover and cook until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Return the mushrooms to the pot along with the beans, honey and red wine vinegar and cook until all is heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove the cheese rind and serve warm with shaved Parmesan.

Serve with hearty whole grain bread and a green salad.

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 16 – Onion and Garlic Soup For A Snowy Day

onion garlic soup

It’s a cold and snowy day in Cincinnati and everything is quiet outside. I didn’t feel like going out, so I made this lovely soup from what I had on hand. I’m pretty sure it’s good for whatever ails you, and will also keep any Vampires away!

Yield:  1- 2 servings

Ingredients

1  thinly sliced large yellow onion

5 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/3 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus additional to taste

1/4 teaspoon honey (helps the onions to brown)

1  tablespoon almond flour

3 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup  dry white wine

Freshly ground black pepper

2-4 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Directions

Melt the butter and oil together in the bottom of a 2- to 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions and garlic, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to real low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and honey. Cook onions and garlic, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes until they have turned an even, deep golden brown.

After the onions and garlic are fully caramelized, sprinkle them with flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the wine in full, then stock, a little at a time, stirring between additions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes, skimming if needed.

Correct seasonings if needed but go easy on the salt as the cheese will add a bit more saltiness.  Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 15 – Chicken, Hunter Style

MB2B27_Chicken_Hunter_Style_lg

Uhh, some of you may have noticed that there was a long weekend-shaped hole between Day 14 and Day 15 of the Romancing the Bee Diet…

I was visiting my daughter Molly and the adorable Baby Lucy in Chicago, and between the pizza, the macarons and the three course luncheon at the American Girl Doll Store, I kind of fell off the Diet Wagon.

I’m back on it though, without sustaining too much damage.  After all, the RTBD should be a joyous way of life, not an exercise in Food Deprivation. 

This Chicken Cacciatore recipe is fabulous, and made it easy for me to return to low Glycemic Index eating. 

Of course, I’ll be madly working to create a recipe for RTBD  macarons to further enhance the RTBD experience!!  🙂

macarons

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 (5-6 pound) chicken cut into eighths

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered

2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly julienned

4 ounces thick cut bacon, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices

1 tablespoon honey

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar or capers

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Basil sprigs

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper and place in the pan, skin side down and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken to a large plate.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat until almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and bacon and cook until golden brown, season with salt and pepper and remove to a plate.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chili flakes to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and cook until almost completely reduced. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, honey and rosemary and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken, mushrooms and bacon to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a large shallow bowl and tent loosely with foil.

Increase the heat to high and cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the vinegar and basil and pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs. Sprinkle with grated cheese.