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TIP OF THE DAY: Hey, Honey! 30 Tasty Uses For Honey

Honey Jars
[1] Depending on the flower pollen, honey is available in many colors, from palest yellow (fireweed honey) to almost black (buckwheat honey) (photo courtesy National Honey Board).

Honey Swirler
[2] The simple solution to messy, drippy honey: a honey swirler (photo Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).

Honey Yogurt & Smoothie
[3] Yogurt and smoothie with honey (photo courtesy National Honey Board).

Salmon With Honey Glaze
[3] Pan-seared salmon with honey glaze (photo courtesy National Honey Board).

Roast Duck With Honey Glaze

[4] Roast duck with honey glaze (photo courtesy National Honey Board).

 

September is National Honey Month. Whether used straight as a sweetener in a cup of tea, or as an ingredient in endless recipes, honey is a hero: an all natural energy booster.

Look for raw or unrefined honey, in varietals: acacia, blueberry, clover, lavender, orange blossom, sage, wildflower—there are hundreds of different varieties around the world.

We avoid generic honey, the type simply labeled “honey” at the supermarket. It is a blend of cheap honeys, often from countries like Argentina and China that specialize in providing cheap honey.

These honeys provide sweetness, but that’s it: none of the nuances of flavor from the different flowers (a varietal honey is one particular variety of flower).

Another reason to buy varietal honey: Honey is one of the most adulterated foods on Earth—many companies mix it with cheaper sweeteners like sugar and corn syrup to cut costs. Look for “pure honey” on the ingredient label—and skip anything that lists “honey blend” as an ingredient.

Use different types to change the taste in recipes. In general, the darker the honey, the stronger the taste and the higher the antioxidant content. If you can find a honey sampler with one- or two-ounce jars, grab it. Then spend some time with a spoon, tasting the honey from the jars and noting the differences.

There are many recipes that use honey, from Honey Glazed Chicken and Honey Glazed Carrots to breakfast breads. You can substitute honey for table sugar and brown sugar in any recipe.

But there’s no cooking required for these tasty uses for honey:
 
BEVERAGES WITH HONEY

Use instead of sugar or simple syrup in:

  • Cocktails.
  • Honey milk. Add a spoon of honey to a glass of milk as an alternative to chocolate milk.
  • Tea: hot and iced.
  • Smoothies.
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    BREAKFAST FOODS WITH HONEY

  • Broiled grapefruit. This oldie is a goodie: Drizzle honey on grapefruit halves. Brown it under the broiler (or eat it without broiling).
  • Cereal. Use instead of sugar to sweeten cereal and porridge.
  • Cut fruit. Drizzle on fruit that lacks natural sweetness.
  • Jam substitute. Honey is a nutritious alternative to jam and preserves.
  • Honey Butter. Delicious on breakfast breads and pancakes, simply blend one stick (4 ounces) of room-temperature butter with 3 to 4 tablespoons of honey.
  • Honey yogurt. Mix into plain yogurt. Add chopped basil, mint or rosemary for more dimension of flavor. You can do the same with cottage cheese and ricotta.
  • Maple syrup substitute. For pancakes, waffles and French toast.
  • Muffins. Brush honey freshly baked muffins for a quick glaze, or brush room temperature muffins and give them 5 seconds in the microwave.
  • Peanut butter or other nut butter on toast or rice crackers, drizzled with honey.
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    DESSERTS WITH HONEY

  • Cake filling. Whipping 2 cups of low-fat ricotta or whipped cream cheese in a food processor with 4 tablespoons of honey and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Stir in ¼ cup of chopped crystallized ginger, mini chocolate chips or 1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest.
  • Custard. Substitute honey for sugar in custard, flan, panna cotta.
  • Light frosting. Blending 12 ounces of room-temperature whipped cream cheese with ? cup of honey, the grated zest of an orange and a pinch of salt.
  • Topping for ice cream.
  • Topping for un-iced cakes.
  •  
     
    SPREADS, SAUCES & DIPS WITH HONEY

    Start with the lower amount of honey, and add more to taste.

  • Barbecue Sauce. Blend= ¼ to ? cup of honey into 1 small can (6 ounces) of tomato paste. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of prepared mustard and season with Worcestershire or soy sauce to taste. Thin with water, if necessary.
  • Honey mustard. Combine Dijon and honey in a 2:1 proportion. Taste and add more honey as desired.
  • Honey mustard mayo spread. Make a sandwich spread with 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup), 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise.
  • Peanut sauce or dip. Thinning peanut butter with a little hot water or broth, sweeten with honey taste, flavor with soy sauce and red chile flakes to taste.
  • Vinaigrette. Combine 2 tablespoons wine vinegar, 6 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard. Option: Add 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic.
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    OTHER FAVORITE USES FOR HONEY

  • Baked beans. Use honey instead of sugar in the recipe; or half honey, half brown sugar. (Tip: Most recipes have too much sweetener. Use half or two-thirds of what is called for.
  • Cheese condiment. With all cheeses, from the mildest ricotta and goat to aged parmesan and Gouda.
  • Energy boost. Have a teaspoon from the jar. Unlike sugar, honey is a nutritious carbohydrate that provides immediate energy. If you don’t want to eat it directly, add it to a cup of warm water mixed with lemon, or a cup of tea (no milk), or on a slice of apple or banana.
  • Peanut butter and honey sandwich. More sophisticated than PB&J.
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    HONEY NUTRITION

    Honey is a nutritional powerhouse.

  • Minerals: calcium, iron, copper, phosphate, sodium chlorine, magnesium, manganese and potassium.
  • Vitamins: B6, niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), thiamin (B1), pantothenic acid (B5).
  • Plus: amino acids and antioxdants.
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    MORE HONEY INFORMATION

  • Certified Organic Honey & Raw Honey
  • Honey Varietals: The Different Types Of Honey
  • Forms Of Honey
  • The History Of Honey
  • Honey Facts
  • Pairing Honey With Foods & Beverages
  • Storing & Using Honey
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chanterelle Mushrooms and Chanterelle Tacos

    Chanterelle mushrooms are found year-round, but their peak season—highest yield, lowest price—is autumn (September is National Mushroom Month).

    Meaty wild mushrooms that range in color from orange to yellow-gold, the unusual color is due to the presence of carotenoids, antioxidant pigments that also give color to bell peppers, cantaloupe, carrots, papaya, mangos, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.

    In addition to their color, it’s easy to recognize chanterelles from their wavy caps with ruffled gills that flare upward along the stem—forming a trumpet shape.

    They’re prized because they’re different, and not just for their looks. They have an aroma resembling apricots or peaches, and a nutty flavor. They can’t be cultivated but must be gathered by hand. This can make them more expensive, but wild mushrooms are invariably more flavorful than cultivated ones.

    Cantharellus cibarius, commonly known as the chanterelle or golden chanterelle, grows wild on the forest floor, in old, deep, “leaf litter.” It grows in quantity along the Pacific Coast of North America, and in temperate forests around the world. (Note: Don’t gather your own in the forest, unless you have had expert training in how to identify them, or can get expert advice prior to consuming them.)

    These meaty mushrooms also contain significant amounts of protein, plus chromium, iron, eight essential amino acids, potassium and vitamins A and D2 (the latter helps the body absorb calcium).
     
     
    USING CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS

    Chanterelles love to be paired with with pasta, risotto, anything with a butter or cream sauce, and in a ragout with other wild mushrooms.

    As with all mushrooms, they shine with garlic and onions, and cow’s milk cheeses like Parmesan (the difference between Parmesan and Parmigiano-Reggiano).

  • Add them to just about any savory course.
  • Sauté or roast them, and serve them as a side with grilled or roasted meats and seafood; or a first course, with grated Parmesan. The simplest preparation: Sauté in butter and garnish with parsley.
  • The latter preparation makes an easy sauce. Don’t hesitate to add a spoonful of Cognac.
  • Roast them and toss with a bit of olive oil, lemon zest, crushed pepper and optional parsley.
  • Have too many chanterelles and not enough time to cook them all? Cook and purée them into soup with a bit of milk, cream or broth; or pickle them.
  •    

    Chanterelle Mushrooms
    [1] Ready to clean and cook (photo courtesy Quinciple).

    Chanterelles

    [2] A simple sauté with salt, pepper and herbs provides a wealth of taste (photo courtesy D’Artagnan).

  • For a first course or brunch, spoon sautéed chanterelles over polenta or eggs (think of Chanterelle Eggs Benedict).
  • For a main course or side, use fresh chanterelles. For soups and sauces, you can reconstitute dry chanterelles.
  •  
    Chanterelles can garnish an elegant protein such as filet mignon or turbot; or it can fill tortillas, as in the Chanterelle Tacos recipe below.
     
     
    CHANTERELLE TIPS

  • Like most vegetables, mushrooms do not ripen further after picking. They’re ready to eat: Use them within a week.
  • Keep the unwashed mushrooms dry in the fridge, in a brown paper bag. If you purchased them in a plastic bag, discard it when you get the ‘shrooms home and place them in a Tupperware-type container on paper towels.
  • Like most mushrooms, chanterelles absorb liquids like a sponge. Be careful to wipe with a damp cloth, but don’t soak them.
  • Chanterelles should only be eaten cooked.
  • All mushrooms should be cooked over low heat.
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    CHANTERELLE TRIVIA

  • The name chanterelle comes from the Greek word kantharos, meaning vase.
  • The Pacific Golden Chanterelle (C. formosus) is the state mushroom of Oregon.
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    Chanterelle Tacos

    [3] Chanterelle tacos (photo courtesy Ten Speed Press | Crown Publishers).

     

    RECIPE: CHANTEARELLE TACOS

    This recipe, sent to us by Good Eggs, is from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen, by Heidi Swanson.

     
    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small serrano or jalapeño chile, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Fine-grain sea salt
  • 12 ounces chanterelles, sliced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano (substitute regular oregano)
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to taste
  • Optional garnishes: sour cream, parsley
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion, chile, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté until the onions are translucent, a few minutes.

    2. INCREASE the heat to high, add the mushrooms, stir well, and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid. Then brown, about 5 minutes more. Stir just a few times along the way; with excessive stirring, the mushrooms won’t brown deeply.

    3. REMOVE from the heat. Rub the oregano between your palms and let it rain down into the mushroom mixture. Taste and add a bit more salt, as desired.

    4. WARM the tortillas. Wrap the stack in a barely damp kitchen towel. Place in a heavy pot over very low heat, cover, and let warm for a few minutes, or until you are ready to use them. If you want char on the tortillas, toast them directly over the flame of the stove.

    5. SPOON the mixture into the warmed tortillas and sprinkle the Parmesan over all of the tacos. Serve with the sour cream and parsley.

      

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    RECIPE: Chopped Fennel & Apple Salad

    This crunchy chopped salad is a smooth transition from summer to heartier winter salads.

    It’s based on what we think is an under-used vegetable, fennel, which is in season from early fall to early spring.

    Crisp fennel and crisp apple combine with crunchy pomegranate arils, which add a festive touch.

    (Don’t like arils? Try this fennel and arugula salad with apple and orange.

    We’re also fond of these fennel pickles.)

    This recipe comes to us from Beth Warren Nutrition. Beth is the author of two books, Living a Real Life with Real Food (2014) and Kosher Girl, due in spring 2018. Her focus is health-conscious kosher meals; but you don’t have to be kosher to enjoy every bite.

    Beth likes this recipe for Rosh Hashanah. It goes splendidly with yesterday’s recipe for Buttermilk Roast Chicken.
     
     
    RECIPE: FALL FENNEL SALAD

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 2 bulbs fennel, chopped
  • ½ thinly sliced green apple
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in glass mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
     
     
    FENNEL FACTS

    Fennel looks like the offspring of a peeled white onion and a bunch of dill. It’s crunchy like celery, with a slight anise taste.

     

    Fennel Apple Salad
    [1] A fall chopped salad: fennel salad, with apples and pomegranate arils (photo courtesy Beth Warren Nutrition).

    Fennel Bulb

    [2] A bulb of fennel. All parts can (and should!) be eaten (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     
    You can use every part of it.

  • If you only want to use the bulb, turn the stalks into pickled fennel, a.k.a. fennel pickles.
  • The fronds make a lovely food or plate garnish for any savory food, and can be dried and used as herbs.
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    The History Of Fennel

    Fennel is highly aromatic and flavorful, with a long history of both culinary and medicinal uses. The bulb and stalks resemble celery, the leaves look like dill (Anethum graveolens, also of the same order and family), and the aroma and flavor resemble sweet licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabraa, a totally different order [Fabales] and family [Fabaceae]).

    A member of the parsley family* (Apiaceae), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and celery (Petroselinum crispum) are botanical cousins, members of the same order* (Apiales) and family* (Apiaceae). Both are believed to be indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, growing wild before they were cultivated thousands of years ago.

    Records of fennel’s use date back to about 1500 B.C.E, although its use far precedes the records.

    Fennel was likely first cultivated in Greece, and was used for both medicinal† and culinary purposes. The ancient Greeks and Romans ate the entire plant: the bulb, the the seeds, blossoms and the fronds.

    Theirs was a more bitter variety. Florence fennel, also called sweet anise and finocchio in Italian, the variety eaten as a vegetable, wasn’t developed until the 17th century, in the area of Florence, Italy [source].

    Although many recipes make reference to fennel “root,” it is actually the stalk, swollen into a bulb-like shape at the plant’s base, which is consumed (the same is true with kohlrabi).

    Uses For Fennel

    Fennel can be substituted for celery in recipes when an additional nuance of flavor is desired. We also enjoy it as part of a crudités plate.

    Fennel seeds are a popular spice, for baking, bean dishes, brines, fish, pork, sausages and much more. We especially like them in cole slaw and cucumber salad.

    Plain and sugar-coated fennel seeds are used as a spice and an after-meal mint in India and Pakistan. If you don’t see a dish of them as you leave, ask for them at restaurants.
    ___________________________________________
     
    *We love this family, which also includes angelica, anise, asafoetida, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, lovage, cow parsley, parsley, parsnip and lesser known edible plants (sea holly, giant hogweed). It also includes the poisonous hemlock.

    In case you don’t remember plant taxonomy from high school biology, here’s a refresher.

    †Pliny The Elder mentions fennel as a treatment for stomachache, the “stings of serpents,” uterus health and other maladies. Those ancient homeopaths got it right: According to Web MD, modern uses include various digestive problems, such as heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite and colic in infants. It is also used for upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, bronchitis, cholera, backache, bedwetting, and visual problems. Some women use fennel for increasing the flow of breast milk, promoting menstruation, easing the birthing process, and increasing sex drive. And yes, fennel powder is used as a poultice for snakebites.

      

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    FOOD 101: Why Onions Make You Cry…And How To Stop It

    Sliced Onion

    Cutting an onion releases the “tear” chemicals (photo Flagstaff Fotos).

     

    An onion is a thing of beauty—until you slice into it and the fumes assault your eyes. But that doesn’t need to be. Here are some tips to minimize the impact of the acrid gas that’s released when you slice into an onion.

    WHY DO ONION VAPORS BURN YOUR EYES?

    Simply peeling an onion does not make your eyes water.

    But once you chop, cut, crush or smash the onion, the onion’s cells break open, creating a chemical reaction. Enzymes called alliinases break down the amino acids (sulfoxides)in the onion and generate sulfenic acids.

    These further react to produce a volatile gas known as the onion lachrymatory factor, or LF. LF diffuses through the air and activates sensory neurons in eye, causing that burning, stinging sensation.

    It’s not dissimilar to the effects of tear gas. Tear glands come to the defense, producing tears to dilute and flush out the irritant. If you slice onions a lot, your eyes will become more tolerant (they may build up a tolerance to the LF).

     
    The amount of LF differs among onion varieties. That’s why some onions are real “burners” and others are milder. Sweet onions, for example, grow in soils that are low in sulphur and don’t produce much alliinase.

    NO-STING & LESS-STING SOLUTIONS

    Our personal technique: For no sting whatsoever, wear swimming goggles (or any goggles). It works like a charm.

    No goggles? These will help:

  • Slice the onion vertically, through the root end. The onion base has a higher concentration of sulphur compounds than the rest of the bulb. Even better, avoid the root altogether. Use only the top 80% of the onion.
  • Slice under running water. Place your cutting board in the sink and cut the onions under running water. The water whisks the fumes away. Submerge the onions in a basin of water, if you have a basin large enough!
  • Refrigerate the onions before cutting. This reduces the enzyme reaction rate.
  • Turn on a fan. Position it to blow the gas away from your eyes.
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    RECIPE: Buttermilk Roast Chicken

    We have roasted chicken on our mind. It’s close to Rosh Hashanah (September 23rd this year), and we’re thinking back to Nana’s roasted chicken.

    Post-Nana, our roast chicken was never as good, even if we followed the same steps. Nana must have had an understanding with chickens.

    Until we tried the recipe below, soaking the chicken in buttermilk. Some chefs prefer to soak the chicken overnight. It creates a tender chicken with an extra punch of flavor.

    Marinating chicken in buttermilk is a time-honored pathway to moister meat, whether roasted or fried. With a bit of advance planning the night before to marinate the chicken, you’re virtually guaranteed a beautifully browned and richly-flavored bird the next day.

    The recipe is from chef/writer Samin Nosrat.

    Samin serves the chicken with a panzanella (bread salad with vegetables). In this case, panzanella comprises the greens and rustic bread cooked in the pan.

    If you’re off bread, simply roast, saute or steam triple the amount of veggies. Samin uses mustard greens. We highly recommend them—they’re a very under-used green. If you don’t like even a hint of mustard flavor, you can substitute collards or kale.

    Thanks to Good Eggs for sending us the recipe.

    Don’t need a while bird? Another of our favorite food writers and photographers, the White On Rice Couple, presents this delicious recipe for Milk Roasted Chicken Thighs, using whole milk.
     
     
    RECIPE: SAMIN’S BUTTERMILK ROAST CHICKEN WITH MUSTARD GREEN PANZANELLA

    With the chicken marinated in buttermilk, you need just 15 minutes of prep time, and 60 minutes to roast the chicken.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 3-4 pound chicken, salted
  • 1 quart buttermilk, well shaken
  • 3 tablespoons table salt or fine sea salt
  • 4 slices of rustic country bread, torn into 2 inch chunks
  • 2 bunches of mustard greens or kale, de-stemmed
  • 4 shallots, sliced or 1 red onion
  • Handful of fresh sage or rosemary leaves
  • 6 ounces king trumpet mushrooms*, cleaned and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ preserved lemon†, sliced thinly
  •  
    Plus

  • Brining bag or other resealable plastic bag
  • Butchers twine
  • ________________

     

    Buttermilk Roast Chicken
    [1] With this buttermilk chicken, technique delivers a remarkable bird.

    Country Loaf
    [2] A country loaf, also known as a rustic loaf.

    Mustard Greens
    Mustard greens. You can substitute kale.

    King Trumpet Mushrooms
    King trumpet mushrooms. All photos courtesy Good Eggs.

    *King trumpet mushrooms, also called king oyster mushrooms and French horn mushroom and eryngii/eringii mushroom and other names, is the largest variety in the oyster mushroom family. It is now being cultivated in the U.S. You can substitute matsutake mushrooms (which may be even harder to find), or any meaty mushroom (perhaps portabella or baby bellas).
     
    †Here’s a recipe for preserved lemons; but you only need a bit in this recipe. Check your food store’s olive bar or a Middle Eastern market: You may be able to buy one already made.
    ________________

    Preparation

    This recipe requires some preparation a day in advance. Beginning the day before you plan to cook the chicken:

    1. SEASON it generously with the salt (more salt than you’d use for ordinary seasoning). Let the salted chicken sit for 30 minutes.

    2. ADD 3 tablespoons of salt into the container container of buttermilk. Seal it and shake to encourage the salt to dissolve. Place the chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag and pour in the buttermilk. Seal it, squish the buttermilk all around the chicken, place the bag on a rimmed plate or in a pan, and refrigerate. If you’re so inclined, over the next 24 hours you can turn the bag so each part of the chicken gets marinated, but it’s not essential.

    3. REMOVE the chicken from the fridge two hours before you plan to start cooking. When you’re ready to roast, preheat the oven to 425°F/218°C. Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and scrape off as much buttermilk as you can without being obsessive (we used a rubber spatula).

    4. TRUSS the chicken by placing a 12-inch length of butcher’s twine with its center at the small of the chicken’s back. Tie the twine around each wing tightly and then flip the chicken over and use the remaining twine to tie the legs together as tight as you can.

    5. PLACE the bird in a big cast iron skillet or a roasting pan with, the legs pointing toward the rear left corner of the oven. Place in the oven and close the door. You should hear the chicken sizzling pretty quickly. After about 15 minutes, when the chicken starts to brown, reduce the heat to 400°F/205°C and continue roasting.

    6. WAIT another 15 minutes, remove the pan and add the shallots/onion, greens, herbs and chanterelles. Using tongs, mix the veggies around in the chicken drippings and place the pan back in the oven, this time with the legs facing the rear right corner of the oven.

    7. CONTINUE cooking for another 35-40 minutes, stirring the veggies with tongs once or twice so they cook evenly. The chicken is done when it’s brown all over and the juices run clear when you insert a knife down to the bone between the leg and the thigh.

    8. REMOVE the bird to a platter and set it on a cutting board on your counter. Add the bread to the skillet or pan and toss with all of the veggies, making sure to coat the bread evenly in the drippings.

    9. RETURN the vegetables to the oven for 10 minutes. When you remove the pan from the oven, add the preserved lemon to the bread and mustard greens. The chicken will be ready to carve and eat immediately.

      

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