Thursday, October 27, 2011

Honey Corn Chowder

A delicious, slightly sweet soup that makes good use of late summer corn.
6 ears of corn (or about 3 cups of frozen corn)
4-6 Yukon gold potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 hot red pepper (like cayenne) or 1/2 teaspoon dried cayenne flakes (optional)
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water from cooking the corn
Water from cooking potatoes, if needed
1/2 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons summer honey
salt and pepper to taste
If using corn on the cob, cut kernels from the cob over a 2 quart sauce pan and scrape to be sure you get all of the lovely corn milk.  Cover with water and bring to a boil,, then simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving water.
Place potatoes in a large pot (this will be the soup pot) and cover with water.  Add about 1 teaspoon of salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are just done, about 10 minutes.  Drain, reserving potato water.
While potatoes are cooking, sauté pepper(s), onions and garlic until softened.  Add HALF of the corn and continue cooking until onions and corn begin to brown.  Puree this mixture in a food processor.
Add corn puree to the potatoes along with the vegetable broth and reserved corn.  Add reserved corn water and, if needed, potato water for a thinner soup.  You want it to be substantial, but still "soupy" (not like a stew).  Heat to just under a boil.  Stir in 1/2 cup half and half and the honey.  Slowly heat (but do not boil).  Check seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.  This makes about 8 cups of soup.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Local Apple Salad

During the fall, I make this just about every day to pack in my lunch.  This recipe is easily adapted to anything you might have on hand. I've added 1/2 cup of sliced grapes, a handful of raisins, a sprinkle of cinnamon. If I don't have walnuts, I'll use almonds.  For me, the key ingredients are the apples, vinegar and ginger.  The vinegar keeps the apples from turning brown, so you can make this salad ahead. It's easily doubled if you're making the salad for more than one person.

1 local, tart eating apples (McConnell's Farm Jonagolds are particularly good with this!). Core the apples (but don't peel) and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1  rib celery, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 tablespoons of honey (I use fall honey for this)
Toss the vinegar with the chopped apple.  Toss in the celery and walnuts, add the ginger, salt and olive oil and mix to combine.  Drizzle the honey over and mix to combine.This makes about 1 cup of salad and is easily doubled if you're making it for two.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Honey-n-Halloween Popcorn Treats!

Here's a bevy of honey popcorn snacks--some sweeter than others!

HONEYED POPCORN (with variations!)
Of the three recipes in this post, this one is the least sweet, has the fewest calories, and is easiest to make.  It's a little like kettle corn--just a kiss of sweet saltiness, which makes it a great snack.  The finished product can be a bit sticky, so it's wise to serve this with lots of napkins (or even individual bowls for each nosher).  If this is the only snack you're serving, this recipe makes enough for about two people.  If you're serving other snacks, this amount should satisfy four eaters. The recipe is easily doubled.

8 cups air-popped pop corn, freshly popped (about 1/2 cup unpopped)
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons honey (amber summer honey works well here)
kosher salt for sprinkling on top

Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the honey, mixing well.  As soon as the popcorn finishes popping, pour on the butter/honey mixture and toss well.  Sprinkle on kosher salt to taste.  Serve immediately!


  • To emphasize the sweetness, add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract when you melt the butter.
  • For a more savory dish, sprinkle on 1/4 teaspoon cumin or paprika when you add the salt.
  • Add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese when you add the salt.
  • Try toasting 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds and sprinkling them on when you add the salt.

This recipe requires a candy thermometer; you want the honey/molasses mixture to reach the "hard crack" stage so that will harden and keep the popcorn ball together.
8 cups freshly popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup unpopped)
1/2 cup amber summer honey
1/2 cup molasses)
1 1/2 cups butter (three sticks)
Salt to taste
Place the honey and molasses in a pan and cook until it reaches 270 degrees.  Stir in the butter and stir until it melts entirely.  Add a pinch of salt.  Slowly pour the syrup over the popcorn, stirring with a wooden spoon and being sure that all of the popcorn is coated.  Grease your hands and lightly shape the popcorn into balls and set on wax paper to harden.  Should make about 16 popcorn balls, depending on how large you make them.  

I picked this recipe up at the Western Pennsylvania Herb Society's recent bees and blooms event, held at the Fern Hollow Nature Center in Sewickley.  It's very sweet (and very good!)--much like caramel corn.

3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup honey (fall honey is particularly good with this)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 quarts popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Melt the butter and stir in the honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Put popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl or pan.  Pour syrup over all and toss to mix well. Turn out on to two greased 15 x 10 baking pans (line them with aluminum foil for easier clean up).  Bake about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cool completely and then break into bite-sized pieces.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jennie's Honey Blueberry Cake (with photos!)

Jennie's Honey Blueberry Cake
I adapted this recipe from one that uses white sugar.  It makes a very delicate cake when it first comes out of the oven, which ripens into almost a pound cake consistency after a day or two. This is not a very sweet cake, though the flavors intensify a bit if you wait for a day. This cake can be baked in a  9x5 loaf pan, but I find when baking with honey that a spring form tube pan works especially well.  The center hole reduces the baking time needed and lessens the chance that the honey in the recipe will scorch and burn the crust. The recipe in a more printable form follows the photos along with some variations to try.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream 1/2 softened unsalted butter with 1/2 cup summer (amber) honey.

Add two eggs, combining well after each addition.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a separate bowl, whisk 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Add 1/3 of the flour to the butter mixture and combine well.  Add 1/4 cup milk and combine well. Add another 1/3 of the flour, then another 1/4 cup of milk and the final 1/3 flour, combining well after each addition.
fold in 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Spoon batter into greased spring form tube pan

Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes

Cake is done when it's golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean

Oven:  325 degrees; grease a 9 inch spring form tube pan*

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup summer (amber) honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Cream butter and honey until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.  In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.  Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Stir well after each addition.  Fold in blueberries.  Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake about 45 minutes, until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool, remove from pan and slice.  Cake keeps if well wrapped. The flavors strengthen after a day. *If you don't have a spring form tube pan, you can use a 9x5 loaf pan instead.  Hope you enjoy!

MUCHO Blueberry Honey Blueberry Cake:  You can up the amount of blueberries to 2 cups, though the cake will need to be eaten with a fork! :)

Lemon Honey Blueberry Cake:  Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind.  You can also ditch the vanilla extract for 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.  If you want a sweeter cake, make a glaze of 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 4 tablespoons honey.  Right when the cake comes out of the oven, prick in several times with a toothpick and pour the glaze over the cake.  Let cool.  This will be a bit sticky, so it's also best eaten with a fork!

Honey Blueberry Nut Cake: Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds when you add the blueberries.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"A Bee's Experience" Art Show in Lawrenceville

WildCard in Lawrenceville is hosting a group art show featuring the paper cut work of Kathryn Carr, Bec Young, and Stacey Malasky.  The opening is Friday, October 7 from 6 to 9 and the show runs until Nov. 13. For more info, check out the Pittsburgh Art Blog.