Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Festive Red Cabbage Salad

If you're starting to think about a resolution for healthy eating in 2016, then this salad might be a delicious way to begin the new year.  The recipe, from the BBC Good Food website, combines  red cabbage, beets, apples and oranges with a honey-sweetened dressing, and toasted walnuts for crunch and flavor.  It can be made ahead, though the cabbage will wilt a bit if it sits in the fridge for a few days.  We took this to our Christmas Eve celebration with family and our nephew asked us to leave the leftovers for him.  Can't think of a better endorsement!

Festive Red Cabbage Salad
1/2 small red cabbage, finely shredded
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 tart apples, cored and diced
4-5 small cooked beets, diced
1 large orange 
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons red currant jelly (or other tart jelly)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Toss the cabbage, onion, apples and beets in a large bowl.  Finely grate the zest of the orange over the veggies in the bowl.  Cut the rest of the pith off the orange.  Holding the orange over a smaller bowl to catch the juice (to use in the dressing) cut the orange segments from their membranes, chop them into two or three pieces, and add them to the bowl with the veggies. Squeeze the remaining orange membranes over the smaller bowl to get every bit of juice that you can. Add the vinegar, jelly and honey to the  bowl with the orange juice and whisk until well blended.  Continuing to whisk, dribble the olive oil into the dressing until well emulsified. Pour over the salad, add salt and pepper and toss well.  Check seasoning.   If you're serving right away, then sprinkle the walnuts on top.  If not, then hold off on adding the walnuts until you're ready to serve.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Peanut Butter Dog Treats for All the Good Dogs on Your List

Doesn't this good girl deserve a nice holiday treat?  Yes. Oh yes she does!

I know that Christmas is just a few days away and chances are you have better things to do with your time right now than bake some peanut butter dog biscuits. Ah, but hear me out!  Dogs go crazy for these peanut butter treats and they're very (V-E-R-Y) easy to make! Plus they're for dogs, who don't really care what day it is and will appreciate getting them on December 29 or January 23, or whenever you get around to making them.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup chicken or beef broth (or water)
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional, but nice!)

Preheat oven to 375.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk flour, oats and baking powder together. Stir honey into broth until dissolved.  Add broth and peanut butter to flour mixture and mix until well-combined.  Turn out on to a floured board or counter and knead for half a minute or so.  Pat or roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut with your favorite shapes and place on cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with cheese if using.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Flip the biscuits over and bake for another 20 minutes until well browned on both sides.  Turn the oven off and let them sit in the oven until cool so that they turn nice and crunchy.

Happy holidays to our dog friends and all the people who love them!  From Zorra and Jennie

Treats ready for some of Zorra's dog buddies

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Rosemary Shortbread and (BONUS recipe!) Honey-Lime Salmon with Noodles

Rosemary-flecked shortbread cookies
These delicately sweetened rosemary shortbread cookies come from Melissa Clark at the New York Times. I halved the recipe and made them much thinner, using a spring form pan with a center hole. The hint of rosemary marries well with the sugar, honey and salt to make a not-too-sweet cookie that would make an elegant addition to a holiday cookie plate.  Very nice for an afternoon tea.  Check out Melissa Clark's recipe if you want a thicker, more substantial cookie.

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold butter (don't substitute!)
1 teaspoon dark honey (though any will do)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the flour, sugar, rosemary and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  Cut the butter into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes, add to the food processor and pulse several times until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Pulse a few more times until some of the crumbs begin to come together--but don't over pulse.  The mixture will be very (very!) crumbly.  Place this crumbly mixture into a 9-inch spring form pan with a center hole or a loaf pan.  (If you use a loaf pan, it might be worth using parchment paper to line the short sides and bottom so that you can lift it out easily when finished.) Press the crumb down firmly and evenly all around.  Bake for about 30 minutes until the edges are nicely browned.  Cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cut into cookie-sized pieces.  Be sure to cut the shortbread before it cools completely. These keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.  Makes about 18 cookies.

Honey-Lime Salmon with Noodles

Honey-Lime Salmon with Noodles

This recipe comes from Hattie Ellis's wonderful cookbook, Honey, which I reviewed in a previous post (here's the link!).  This was a hit with Robert's sister, Felicity, who was visiting for dinner (Robert liked it, too!).  The honey-lime glaze for the salmon has an Asian flair to it.  The original recipe calls for sugar snap peas or snow peas.  I didn't have them on hand, so just used some regular, frozen peas.  This is an easy and delicious mid-week meal, which is also fancy enough for company.

4 salmon steaks (we used fillets)
1 package of flat rice noodles (you could also use fettucini or spaghetti if that's what you have)
2 carrots
2 ounces sugar snap peas or snow peas (I used about 1/2 cup frozen peas)
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
squeeze of lime juice
4 wedges of lime to serve

Honey-Lime Glaze
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
juice of one lime
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons honey (the lighter summer honey works well with this)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
pinch of chili flakes (optional, but nice!)

Serves 4.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine all of the glaze ingredients and stir well until the honey completely dissolves.  Line a baking sheet large enough to fit the salmon with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Place the salmon on the sheet and pour the glaze over it.  Place in the oven for 5 minutes, then spoon the glaze over the salmon and return to the oven for 5 more minutes, spooning the thickening glaze over the salmon one more time about a minute before the end of cooking time.

Follow the package directions for cooking the noodles.  Peel the carrots and cut into thin matchsticks.  Steam the carrots for about 3 minutes.  Add the peas and steam for another few minutes until both the carrots and peas are barely cooked--you want the carrots to still have a little crunch.

Toss the cooked noodles with the carrots, peas, cilantro, sesame oil and a squeeze of lime.  Divide the noodles among four bowls and top with the salmon, spooning extra glaze over all.  Serve with lime wedges.  Some might like a little extra soy sauce and chili flakes on the table, too.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Honey Cookbooks: Great Gifts for Beekeepers and Honey Lovers!

'Tis now officially "the season,"  and I thought I'd post some gift ideas for the beekeepers, honey lovers and bee boosters on your lists this year: 

Honey Flavor & Aroma Wheel
This makes a unique gift (and, at $10 each, an inexpensive one, too!).  The folks at the Honey & Pollination Center at the University of California at Davis developed the flavor and aroma wheel to help honey tasters identify the many nuances of different types of honey.  It includes suggestions for how to hold a honey tasting.  Orders can take some time to fill, so don't delay if you want it by the 25th! Click on the link above for more information

Honey Cookbooks
Way back in 2011 when I started this blog, I did a series of honey cookbook reviews for beekeepers looking for honey recipe inspirations.  Most of the honey cookbooks then were, alas, not very inspiring.  I'm happy to report that a spate of new cookbooks have since been published that I'm happy to recommend:

Sue Doeden (2015). Homemade with Honey. (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press). $17.95 paperback.
Sue Doeden hosts a cooking show on Lakeland Public Television and is a beekeeper.  This is a nice little cookbook with black and white photos.  Recipes range from "sips, starters and snacks" to breads, salads, savory entrees and sweets.  It includes a nice recipe for honey simple syrup for cocktails, a stir-fry brown sauce that she uses in many dishes, and a recipe for hot and sweet roasted broccoli that looks like a winner (I'll let you know). 

Hattie Ellis. (2014). Honey:  A Selection of  More than 80 Delicious Savory & Sweet Recipes. (New York: Sterling Epicure). 191 pages.  $19.95 hardback.
Hattie Ellis is the author of Sweetness & Light:  The Mysterious History of the Honeybee (2004) --which would also make a great gift for a beekeeper or bee-lover!  Her cookbook is gorgeously illustrated with color photos and includes guidelines for tasting honey as well as list of 90 different honey varietals.  Her descriptions of the recipes give the impression she's cooked them herself, which is helpful and reassuring.  We tried out her "Honey-Lime Salmon with Noodles" (look for the recipe in a future post!) and it got rave reviews.There's also a recipe for Drambuie fruit cake that I'm hoping to test out for Christmas (I'll report back!).

Laurey Masterson. (2013).  The Fresh Honey Cookbook:  84 Recipes from a Beekeeper's Kitchen. (North Adams, MA:  Storey Publishing). 208 pages.  $14.95 paperback.
Laurey Masterson founded Laurey's Cafe in Asheville, NC and served as a spokesperson for the National Honey Board.  The book is organized by month and identifies a different honey variety for each month, including information about how to get those special varieties (like sourwood, eucalyptus, or avocado honey).  Many--but not all--of the recipes use honey, which was a bit disappointing to learn and makes it my least favorite of this batch of books. The color photos are lovely, she offers a nice guide for how to taste honey, and provides a list of foods pollinated by honeybees.  Her recipe for Russian tea, which is alternative to chai, looks like it will be a cozy drink on a cold afternoon.

Beeswax and Honey Craft Book: Last, but not at all least, here's a great book to help you make your own gifts from beeswax and honey. It's not too late to start!
Leeann Coleman and Jayne Barnes. (2013). Honey Crafting: Projects for Your Home Straight from the Hive. (Avon, MA:  Adams Media). 160 pages. $17.95 paperback
This is a great little book with clear instructions and color photos for a range of projects: making poured, dipped or rolled beeswax candles; a "beeswax lantern," which are impressive and smell great (see photos and shameless bragging of some I made below); castile soaps, a variety of lip balms, hand creams, bath scrubs, vapor salve and cold syrup.  It also has some wonderful recipes that would make nice honey gifts, like cinnamon-, chili-, ginger- or garlic-infused honey.   Leeann Coleman operates Lee's Bees and Silverspring Farm in New Jersey. Jayne Barnes runs Honeyrun Farm in Williamsport, Ohio.