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.

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??

Holidays With Honey – Honey, Garlic and Rosemary Petite Lamb Chops

chops

I went to the most wonderful holiday party where they served petite lamb chops as appetizers! I begged for the recipe and added a few touches of my own. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Yield:  Serves 2 to 4 as appetizers

Ingredients

8 lamb rib chops (about 2 pounds total)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 medium cloves)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon minced shallots (about 1/2 small)

1/2 cup apple cider

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

Directions

Place the lamb chops in a shallow dish, then season the lamb chops on all sides with salt and pepper. Combine the 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl, then pour over the lamb chops. Marinate the lamb chops in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning the chops over once midway through.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, cook the lamb chops in the pan until brown and crusty, 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer the lamb chops to a large platter and let rest at room temperature.

While lamb rests, add the shallots to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots begin to wilt and soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the apple cider into the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the vinegar and the honey, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Spoon the glaze over the lamb chops and serve immediately.

Winter Salads – Warm Spinach Salad With Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

spinach salad

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

10 ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)

6 ounces button mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup canola oil

3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

Directions

Combine spinach, mushrooms, and almonds in a large serving bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add garlic and shallot and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until garlic is browned, about 2 minutes, then add vinegar and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat and stir in honey until dissolved.

Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Cranberry Week – Wild Rice Pilaf With Honey, Dried Cranberries, and Pecans

Wild Rice is an aquatic cereal grain that grows “wild” in isolated lake and river bed areas located primarily within the continent of North America. It is also native to ecologically similar regions located on the continent of Asia. This evolutionarily ancient grain has been found in layers of the earth dating back some 12,000 years. In addition to its role as an important food staple for ancestral peoples, it has provided a unique habitat for fish and waterfowl for thousands of years.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tb. canola or grapeseed oil
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • 2 cups wild rice or 2 cups short-grain brown
    rice, or a mixture
  • 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1⁄4 tsp. dried thyme,
    crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper, plus
    more, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the stock to a simmer.In a heavy 2-qt. flameproof casserole over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the simmering stock, dried cranberries, honey, bay leaf, thyme, the 1/2 tsp. sea salt and the 1/8 tsp. white pepper. Bring to a simmer, stir and cover. Transfer the casserole to the oven and bake until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, 40 to 45 minutes.Remove from the oven. Remove and discard the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs, if used. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in the pecans and parsley. Serve hot or warm.
Serves 8 to 10.

Haricots Verts Salad With Honey Balsamic Reduction

For the dressing:

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

2 tablespoons honey
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 pounds haricots verts, stem end trimmed
3 ounces prosciutto, julienned
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
6 ounces aged goat cheese or feta, crumbled

Preparation

Combine oil, shallot, garlic and herbs in a small nonreactive pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and cool. Strain and discard the solids. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine the vinegar and mustard. With the motor running, very slowly pour in the oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place the balsamic vinegar and honey in a small stainless-steel pan. Simmer slowly until very syrupy and reduced to 1/3 cup. Set aside.
Parboil the haricots verts in a large pot of salted water until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, refresh in ice water and dry.

Toss beans with the prosciutto and pine nuts and then add enough dressing to coat the ingredients. Transfer to a platter, top with the cheese and drizzle the reduced vinegar over all.

YIELD
6 servings