Cooking With Honey – Honey Berry Clafoutis

clafoutis

With berry season upon us, an easy and delicious dessert to make is clafoutis. All you need to do is mix and bake to have a fresh and scrumptious French custardy treat!

Yield:   One 8-inch custard

Ingredients

¾ cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

⅓ cup honey

1 tsp orange zest

3 eggs

1 Tbs vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

½ cup flour

2 cups fresh berries of your choice

2 Tbs granulated sugar, plus additional for pan

Powdered sugar for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-inch pie plate or round cake pan and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar.

Blend together all ingredients except 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and berries. Pour a ¼-inch layer of batter into pie plate, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, just until a skin forms. Toss berries with sugar while first layer sets.

Once skin forms, remove plate from oven and add berries plus remaining custard batter. Bake until top is golden brown and custard is set (moves as one when jiggled, toothpick comes out clean), about an hour.

Can serve warm, but cool completely before removing whole clafoutis from pan. Store chilled.

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 – 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.

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.

Holidays With Honey – Smoked Salmon And Caviar Roll Ups

salmon roll ups

I’m spending the holidays with my extended family in Chicago.  My daughter Molly’s father-in-law Vince is Italian, and we will be observing The Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a traditional Italian Christmas Eve meal consisting of seven different seafood dishes. It was originally a period of abstinence to commemorate the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus.

This will be part of my contribution to the Feast.

Yield:  12 to 18 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup fresh cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped lemon zest

Salt

Freshly ground white pepper

6 large slices smoked salmon

36 toasted bread rounds or squares

8 ounces caviar

Garnish: 36 sprigs fresh dill, sour cream

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese, honey, dill, chives, and lemon zest. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the slice of salmon on a piece of plastic wrap, with the small end closest to you, on a flat surface. Season the slices of salmon with the pepper. Spread some of the cheese mixture evenly over each slice of salmon. Trim ends to make even. Then, beginning at the bottom, roll up the salmon, jelly roll style, securely, pressing to close. Wrap each salmon roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.

About 30 minutes before serving, place the salmon rolls in the freezer; this will make slicing easy.

To serve, using a chef’s knife, slice the salmon into 1/2-inch slices. Remove the plastic wrap and discard. Place the salmon on the toasted bread slices. Place some caviar on top of the salmon. Garnish with a sprig of dill and sour cream.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

Cranberries were probably a part of the original Thanksgiving feast, although not in sauce form. The Native Americans used them for food, medicine, and even dye. Most importantly, cranberries were used as a preservative because they contain benzoic acid, so they added the fruit to meats and grains to extend their shelf life. General Ulysses S. Grant ordered cranberry sauce to be served to his troops in 1864, probably to prevent scurvy during the winter. It was first put into cans in 1912 by a company that eventually came to be known as Ocean Spray. 

Ingredients:

6 ounces of white chocolate chips

3/4 cup of softened butter

1 cup of honey

4 eggs

1/2 cup of cake flour

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon of orange zest

2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 1/4 cup of fresh cranberries

Cream  butter and honey until light and fluffy, at least five minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in orange zest, juice and baking powder. Slowly add flours, scraping the sides after each addition. Lastly add cranberries and white chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-21 minutes. Cool before frosting.

Frosting and Cranberry Drizzle:

1/2 can of whole cranberry jelly

1/4 cup of cranberry juice

2 tablespoons of honey

8 ounces of white chocolate

1 cup of butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla

2 tablespoons of milk

3-4 cups of powdered sugar (or until desired consistency)

Melt white chocolate on a double broiler and set aside, cool completely before using.

In a clean pan add cranberry juice, honey and whole cranberry jelly and heat. Whisk and stir until smooth and blended. Set aside and let it cool completely before using as a drizzle.

In a mixing bowl cream butter until light and fluffy, at least five minutes. Beat in white chocolate until smooth and blended. Add vanilla and milk and mix thoroughly. Lastly add powdered sugar, one cup at a time scraping the sides of your bowl. Add powdered sugar until you reach the consistency you like. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before frosting.

Frost cool cupcakes and drizzle with cranberry syrup.

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Bread Pudding With Honey Bourbon Spiced Cream

Did you know that cranberries contain more antioxidant phenols than 19 commonly eaten fruits? Antioxidants help protect our bodies by stabilizing free radicals we are exposed to everyday.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Cranberry Compote or Sauce (see recipe)
  • 1 cup pecan pieces, toasted and rough chopped
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 slices day-old brioche, French bread or other white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • Honey Bourbon Spiced Cream, recipe follows
  • Shaker confectioners’ sugar
  • Sprigs fresh mint

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 6-cup (9 1/4 by 5 1/4 by 2 3/4-inch) loaf pan with butter.

Whisk together eggs, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and cranberry sauce until very smooth. Stir in half-and-half. bread and pecans. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the pudding is set in the center, about 55 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

To serve, cut the pudding into 1-inch thick slices. Top with the Honey Bourbon Spiced cream. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar and mint.

FRESH CRANBERRY COMPOTE:

  • 1/2 pound fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Put the cranberries, orange and lemon zest, orange and lemon juice, honey, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups of the water in a medium-size nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Yield: 2 cups

HONEY BOURBON SPICED CREAM:

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beat the cream and bourbon with an electric mixer on high speed in a large mixing bowl for about 2 minutes. Add the honey and cinnamon, and beat again until the mixture thickens and forms stiff peaks, another 1 to 2 minutes. Yield: 4 cups