Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Honey Recipes from The National Honey Board

Giving Thanks!
Thanksgiving has snuck up on us once again this year and since it is next week, we thought a honey-inspired holiday menu was appropriate.

You see, one-thirds of our food is made possible by insect pollinated crops and these hard-working ladies are responsible for about 80 percent of that pollination. And if that isn’t enough, honey bees travel more than 55,000 miles just to bring one pound of honey to consumers. Now that hard work is something to be thankful for!

From the ham to the pecan pie, the honey bees and their scrumptious honey have you covered! Enjoy this time with your friends and family, and reflect on the fact that sometimes, it’s the littlest things we are thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving from the National Honey Board!

Fallen Butternut Squash Gratin

  • 3 cups (6 medium) - butternut squash, cooked
  • 1/2 cup - honey
  • 3 Tablespoons - flour
  • 1 teaspoon - salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon - nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon - cinnamon
  • 3 large - eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup - chopped pecans
Combine squash, honey, flour, salt, spices and egg yolks; blend well. Beat egg whites until they reach stiff peaks; sold into squash mixture until no streaks of white remain. Pour into 6 buttered ramekins; sprinkle nuts over top. Place ramekins in hot water bath; bake at 350°F until golden, about 30 minutes.

 Wild Rice & Mushroom Stiffing  

  • 1 cup - wild rice
  • 4 cups - water, salted to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon - oil
  • 1/2 cup - minced onion
  • 1/2 cup - chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon - minced garlic
  • 2 cups - sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup - chopped dried apricots
  • 2 Tablespoons - minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup - honey
In small saucepan, combine wild rice with salted water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until tender, approximately 45 minutes. While rice is cooking, heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in onions, celery and garlic; sauté until onion is translucent and celery is soft, about 7 minutes. Add mushrooms; sauté until mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. When rice is cooked, drain in a colander. In large bowl, combine rice and mushroom-onion mixture. Add apricots, parsley and honey, stirring until mixed well. Serve warm as a side dish or use to stuff poultry.

Cranberry Pecan Pie

  • 2 cups - fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup - orange juice
  • 1/2 cup - honey
  • 2 Tablespoons - cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons - cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon - orange extract
  • 1 - 9-inch baked pie shell
  • 1/2 cup - honey
  • 3 Tablespoons - butter or margarine
  • 1-3/4 cups - pecan halves
In medium saucepan, combine cranberries, juice and honey. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for 15 minutes if using fresh cranberries or 20 minutes if using frozen berries. Cool. Puree cranberry mixture in blender; return to saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water. Stir into cranberry mixture. Bring to boil and cook until thickened. Stir in orange extract. Cool; then pour into pie shell. Spoon topping evenly over cranberry mixture. Bake at 350°F 20 minutes or until top is bubbly. Cool on wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Topping: In medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup honey and 3 Tablespoons butter or margarine; cook and stir 2 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Stir in 1-3/4 cups pecan halves until well coated.

Honey Whiskey Clove-Glazed Ham

  • 3/4 cup - honey
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons - bourbon whiskey*
  • 1/2 teaspoon - ground cloves
  • 1 (5-lb.) - bone-in fully cooked ham, spiral sliced

Combine honey, bourbon and cloves in small bowl until well blended. Place ham, cut-side down, in roasting pan; brush with honey mixture. Cover pan with foil and bake at 275°F about 1 hour or until heated through. Remove foil from ham and increase oven temperature to 425°F Brush with honey mixture. Bake about 10 minutes more or until ham is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on serving platter. Pour juices over ham.
*2 teaspoons vanilla can be substituted for bourbon.

 Honey Pot Cider

  • 1-1/4 cup - apple cider
  • 1 Tablespoon - Orange Blossom honey
  • 1 pinch - cinnamon
  • 1-3/4 oz. - Apple Jack brandy
  • 1 - cinnamon stick
  • 2 - apple slices
Combine the apple cider, honey and cinnamon in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until heated through. Stir in the Apple Jack brandy and pour the cider into a mug.
With the tip of a small knife, pierce small holes in the apples and string them onto a cinnamon stick. Place the garnish across or in the cider.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Apple Strudel made with Honey

Supermarkets sell great Phyllo Dough in the freezer section so it's easy to do this without all the fuss of making your own pastry and the results are fantastic!

Makes 2 strudel rolls
Preheat oven to 375

6 apples peeled and cut into small bits
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. dried cranberries or raisins
1/4 c. chopped nuts, walnut, almond, or pecan
1 box of Phyllo Dough (about 10 sheets)
1/2  c. melted butter
2 Tbsp blended sugar and cinnamon for topping
1 cookie sheet with Silpat Mat or parchment paper on it

Combine the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, dried fruit, chopped nuts together in a bowl. Then roll out the phyllo dough on the counter. Starting with on sheet brush melted butter on it and layer 5 sheets brushing the melted butter between sheets. Then take 1/2 of the apple mixture and place on the lengthwise end of the dough. Roll each side up over the end of the apples, brush on more butter and loosely roll up the dough to create a log of strudel. Repeat with the rest of the phyllo dough to create a second log. Brush more butter on top and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. You may want to turn down the oven to 350 after a few minutes. Cool and slice. Serve with honey flavored whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!

As the weather gets towards the lower digits it feels wonderful to be cooking some fall apples. I love making apple pies but if you want an easy variation which is truly delicious and super easy with store bought phyllo dough. It's a great opportunity to use some honey you may have on hand. Quite Delicious!

Happy Fall,
Happy Cooking with Honey!
Melissa Abbott

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Have You Been Naughty or Nice? Christmas Honey bottled and labeled! A wonderful Fall pollen rich Cape Ann Wildflower Honey just for my Christmas List!

I was afraid we had waiting to long to process a few last minute Fall Frames we took off the hives recently. Because of the cold we had to move the whole processing operation from the Honey Shed to the kitchen. We de capped, spun the frames, filtered the honey once, and then bottles and labeled it especially for our friends and family this Christmas. 
The First of the
Honey Draining
 into the Filter
after the frames
 have been spun.
De-Capping the Honey Frames
with a Heated
Sharp Knife on the
Kitchen Table
Moved the DE-Capping Tank
and Honey Spinner into
the Kitchen!
Really Amazing
White Wax Capped
Wildflower Honey
from my backyard
Cape Ann Hives!

Let's get Every
 last bit out of
the Spinner
into the Filter!

Charlie Spinning
the Honey in
the Kitchen!
A First!

I actually liked doing the honey processing in the kitchen rather than the honey shed. There was a lot more room to work and decaying was easier because there was more elbow room. We only had a few frames to process but even so it was practically an all day project. 

So the hives are all buttoned up for the winter. I am feeding the bees a little honey water right now and they seem active on warm days but will be hibernating soon as it gets colder. I will have more honey to sell next summer. Until then, Have You Been Naughty or Nice?

Kind Regards, Melissa Abbott

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Beeswax Block and Candle Project

I rendered some of my beeswax from the backyard hives last week using the boiling the wax in water method and then straining the wax into old soap molds I had in a closet upstairs. I later poured some pure beeswax tea lights too!

Wax blocks "curing". The brown stuff is the bits and pieces you don't want and they settle on the bottom of the mold. You then let them dry for a day or two and you can scrape off the part you don't want.

You can see in the above photo that after you scrape off the icky bits you are left with pure beeswax. I use beeswax on my Pine Needle  Baskets and I look forward to using some of these blocks for exactly that purpose. I also plan on using some propolis I collected in the varnish of my Nantucket Baskets in the future. I had always heard that violin makes used propolis in their varnishes and if it worked for that it is probably great for Nantucket Baskets. Anyway, the soap mold worked pretty well and I got some nice little blocks of wax out of it.

Making the Candles was a bit of an afterthought and I sort of pulled it together from a package of wicks I scrounged up in the same closet I found my soap making supplies and I had a few empty glass taillights kicking around. The glow from these candles was beautiful and they didn't smoke or smell funny. They were truly beautiful.

Homemade Pure Beeswax Tealights