Cooking With Honey – Ina’s Favorite Holiday Appetizer

Ina Garten’s favorite holiday appetizer is easy and delicious. It has only two ingredients.

Guess what?  One of them is honey!

Baked Brie

This picture and recipe are reprinted from The Food Network.

Serves  5-8

Ingredients

1/4 wheel brie

4 tablespoons honey

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the brie on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper and drizzle with the honey. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it starts to ooze but not melt.

Serve with crackers.

Cooking With Honey – Turkey, Leek, And Mushroom Casserole

turkey leek and mushroom casserole

I had this wonderful casserole minus the turkey and honey over the weekend.  I took my turkey leftovers and made it even better!

Yield:  8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

6 cups (1/2-inch-diced) bread cubes from an Italian or French loaf, crusts removed

2 cups cooked turkey (leftover!)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ounces pancetta, small-diced

4 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts (4 leeks)

1 1/2 pounds small button mushrooms

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves

1/4 cup  dry sherry

2 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 extra-large eggs

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (6 ounces), divided

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, until starting to brown. Stir in the leeks and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Stir in the mushrooms, tarragon, sherry, honey, 1 tablespoon salt and 11/2 teaspoons pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Off the heat, stir in the turkey and parsley.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, chicken stock and 1 cup of the Gruyere. Add the bread cubes and mushroom mixture, stirring well to combine. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid. Stir well and pour into a 2 1/2-to-3-quart gratin dish (13 x 9 x 2 inches). Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Gruyere and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is browned and the custard is set. Serve hot.

Hearst Castle Shortbread Cookies With Honey

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William Randolph Hearst was a big fan of shortbread cookies, and this is an adaptation of a recipe in The Castle Cookbook.

The Castle Cookbook

The Castle Cookbook

The original recipe calls for sugar, but I think honey makes the cookies tastier. I think “The Chief” would have approved!

Santa_s-Shortbread-Cookies-My-Recipes_1.card

Yield:  3-4 dozen

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 lb unsalted butter

1 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

powdered or decorative sugar for sprinkling on top. (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the honey and beat again, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl once or twice as you are mixing. Beat in the vanilla extract. . Add the flour mixture in two additions. Stir until everything comes together into a thick dough.

Wrap dough in plastic and chill completely in the refrigerator – about thirty minutes. When the dough is chilled, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out 1/4-1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters or a knife and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are barely golden.

Sprinkle with powdered or decorative sugar if desired.

Honey French Toast

french toast

It occurs to me that I have sadly neglected posting honey recipes for breakfast and brunch dishes. This is a serious oversight, considering honey has some of its best moments early in the day!

 I’ll begin making amends with this lovely recipe for one of my favorite dishes, Honey French Toast.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup half-and-half

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale French, Italian, brioche or challah bread

4 tablespoons butter

Directions

In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, honey, and salt. You may do this the night before. When ready to cook, pour egg mixture into a pie pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into egg mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.

Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices. Serve immediately with honey, maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit.

Or if you’re really feeling decadent, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with honey. (preferably Graeter’s ice cream!)

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 6 – Warm Duck Salad

duck salad

Day 6 and all is well!  It’s over 60 degrees here, and I’m going to get out on my road bike if it doesn’t rain!

If you made roast duck from Day 5, you can use it in this salad. If not, the directions for preparing duck breast is below. Enjoy!

Yield: 1 to 2 servings

Ingredients

1 boneless duck breast, skin on (about 6 to 7 ounces) (or leftover duck from Day 5)

Kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon minced shallots

1 teaspoon honey

1 1/4 tablespoons good sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 head Belgian endive

1 ounce mache or other delicate baby lettuce

Navel orange, peeled, cut in 1/2, and sliced

1/4 pint fresh raspberries

1/2 cup toasted whole pecan halves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the duck breast on a sheet pan, skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and roast for about 20 minutes, until medium-rare. Remove from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the fat and skin on top (unless you’re making cracklings), slice the duck, and then cut the slices crosswise into julienned pieces.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the shallots, honey, sherry vinegar, orange zest, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Whisk in the olive oil and set aside.

For the salad, trim the bottom half-inch from the endive and cut them diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Separate the leaves and discard the cores. Place the slices in a large salad bowl. Add the mache leaves, oranges, raspberries, and toasted pecans. Toss with enough dressing to moisten. Gently toss in the warm duck meat and serve immediately.

New Year’s Eve Rack Of Lamb

rack-of-lamb-400x400

I always cook for my neighbors on New Year’s Eve, and this is what we’re having this year. I’ll post recipes for the rest of the meal later today!

Yield Serves 4

Ingredients

2 full racks of lamb (about 2 1/2 pounds), frenched

4 teaspoons olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup fine fresh breadcrumbs

3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

3 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with oven rack in center. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Rub lamb with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place in skillet, and sear until golden brown all over (including ends), about 3 minutes per side. Place on a baking sheet. Let stand until cool, about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, rosemary, garlic, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

In another bowl, combine honey and Dijon Mustard.  Brush lamb with honey/mustard mixture, making sure the entire surface is covered.

Pat seasoned breadcrumbs over racks (reserve any remaining breadcrumbs for another use), covering Dijon in an even layer. Return to baking sheet, and roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 130 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before carving into individual chops.

Holidays With Honey – Sausage And Cheese Bread

sausage bread

This is perfect for snacking or an appetizer!

Yield:  1 loaf, about 14 pieces

Ingredients

1 recipe Basic Pizza Dough, recipe follows

2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 pound mild Italian sausage, remove from the casings

1 cup diced yellow onions

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon honey

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 egg plus 2 teaspoons water, beaten together

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degree F, and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal onto a large baking sheet pan.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned and no pink is left, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the honey, basil and parsley, stirring to combine. Cool the sausage mixture completely.

Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of cornmeal onto a lightly floured surface and place the pizza dough on top of the cornmeal. Roll the dough into a 10 by 14-inch rectangle. Spread the cooled sausage mixture over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the sausage. Brush the 1-inch border of the dough with the egg wash. Starting at a long end, roll the dough, jelly roll-style, into a log shape, pinching the edges closed as you roll. Place the bread, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet and brush the top of the bread with the remaining egg wash.

Bake the sausage bread for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Allow bread to stand 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. To serve, slice the bread into 1-inch pieces and serve warm.

Basic Pizza Dough:

1 cup warm (110 degrees F) water

1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups bleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar, and 1 tablespoon oil and stir to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is still slightly sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.

Oil a large mixing bowl with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Use as directed.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Peppermint Truffles

peppermint truffles

This always happens. I think I have days and days before Christmas and all of a sudden there it is, staring me in the face. I hope I get the chance to post all of the recipes, Winter Solstice lore, and ghost stories I have planned before the Big Day. If not, there’s always next year…

Ingredients

9 ounces dark chocolate

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup honey

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup crushed red and white mint candies or candy canes

Directions

Place dark chocolate in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Heat cream, honey and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Then, whisk until smooth. Add in peppermint extract and stir to fully incorporate.

Cover mixture with foil or plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until truffle mixture becomes firm (about 6 hours or overnight).

Place a piece of parchment paper onto a large plate or cookie sheet and set aside.

Place the crushed peppermints on a plate or a cutting board.

Remove truffle mixture from the refrigerator. Using a teaspoon, or a melon baller, scoop out small balls of chocolate. Roll each carefully in your hand until it resembles a misshapen little ball (these should not be perfectly round, they are supposed to resemble real truffles).

Immediately roll each truffle in the crushed peppermint and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover truffles and place them in the refrigerator until firm. Place in fluted paper cases and serve.

Truffles can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Makes about 30 truffles

Holidays With Honey – Clams Casino

casino

Clams are traditionally served at The Feast of the Seven Fishes, and in America they are frequently served as Clams Casino.

According to legend, the recipe for Clams Casino was originally developed in 1917 in the Little Casino in Narragansett, Rhode Island, by a maître d’hôtel for a woman of means wanting something special for her guests. She named the dish after the hotel, and word and popularity of the dish has since spread across the United States.

In the first decades of the 20th century, if a restaurant wanted to be noted, it came up with a dish that involved the baking of shellfish.  Clams Casino and Oysters Rockefeller are the most famous of the dishes created in that era.

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 ounces sliced pancetta or bacon, finely chopped

1 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/3 cup chopped shallots

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/3 cup dry white wine

4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

18 medium (2 1/2-inch) littleneck clams, shucked, bottom shells reserved

Directions

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate. Add the bell pepper, shallots, garlic, and oregano to the same skillet and saute until the shallots are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and cool completely. Stir the honey, the reserved pancetta and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese into the vegetable mixture. Season the mixture, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with foil. Arrange the clams in the reserved shells on the baking sheet. Spoon the vegetable mixture atop the clams, dividing equally and mounding slightly. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Bake until the clams are just cooked through and the topping is golden, about 10 minutes.

Arrange the clams on the platter and serve.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Florentines

Florentines

Contrary to popular belief, Florentines most likely originated in France rather than Italy.  The main ingredients and technique for preparation are typically French, not Tuscan.  The cookies were probably named in honor of Florentine nobility, perhaps France’s Florentine Queen, Catherine de’ Medici, who was an influential gastronome. Queen Catherine was a big fan of spinach, and French dishes containing spinach are also called “Florentine.”

Yield:  5 dozen 3-inch Florentines, or 2 1/2 dozen 6-inch Florentines

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups sliced, blanched almonds (about 5 ounces)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons honey

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Topping:

2 to 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pasty. Stir together the nuts, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.

Put the sugar, cream, honey and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine. Set aside until cool enough to handle, 30 minutes.

Scoop rounded teaspoons (for 3-inch cookies) or rounded tablespoons (for 6-inch cookies) of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3 to 4 inches between each cookie since they spread.

Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and an even golden brown color throughout, rotating pans halfway through baking time, about 10 to 11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Top with chocolate when cookies are cool.

Chocolate topping:

Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very low simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue heat until completely melted, about 1 to 2 minutes more.)

Drizzle melted chocolate over Florentines as desired. Set aside at room temperature until chocolate is set.