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Easy Entertaining: Honey

September is National Honey Month, which is as good hook as any for a timely story, but also a good opportunity to remind ourselves of what a remarkable food honey is all year round. Honey sustains bees in their hive, one of the world’s most efficient manufacturing facilities. The 40 to 60,000 bees in a beehive may collectively travel as far as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just one pound of honey.

In shopping for these recipes we easily found an array of locally produced honey which in addition to being delicious is also a healthful food (see sidebar). Give thanks to the bee and get buzzing with these easy and buzz-worthy food and drink recipes made with one of nature’s best natural sweeteners.

Honey Facts

Honey has a high sugar content, but a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It will not spoil on the kitchen shelf–bacteria cannot survive in sugar-rich honey environment. Honey will crystallize over time, but heating the jar gently in a water bath will liquefy it again.

The complex chemistry of honey, which contains smidges of pollen and and a variety of trace elements dependent on the type of flower and its local environment, leads many to believe that locally-sourced honey can help provide immunities to local allergens.

Farmers markets usually sell locally-produced honey, as does The Root Cellar and Louisville Local Market, in the Mellwood Center.

DD2_9157Honey Lime Wings

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large lime, zested, then juiced
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (more, if desired)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds chicken wings
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish
  1. Heat broiler on high and place the rack 6 inches from the heat source.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, garlic, lime zest, lime juice and hot sauce. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, toss the wings with enough oil to coat them lightly, then season with salt and pepper. Place the wings on a broiler pan or sheet pan with a wire rack in a single layer. Cook until golden and slightly browned for 8 to 10 minutes then flip and cook for another 10 minutes or longer depending on the size of the wings. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees.
  4. Toss the wings in the sauce, garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Bite-Size Baklava
Mini Filo dough cups can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Use your favorite nut, or a combination of several types.

  • 1 (15-count) package mini Filo dough cups
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pistachios, walnuts, almonds)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • Squeeze of lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the nuts, honey, butter, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the nut mixture into each Filo cup. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until the nuts are lightly toasted but not burnt.
  3. Serve immediately.

Spinach Salad with Honey-Poppy Seed Dressing

  • For the dressing:
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Add the ingredients in a jar, shake well to combine. Refrigerate until serving. Shake and serve. For a warm dressing, heat slightly on the stovetop or in the microwave oven.

For the salad:

  • 2-10 ounce bags baby spinach leaves
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 6 white mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • Crumbled bacon

Honey BBQ SauceDD2_9050
Try this kicked up BBQ sauce; the honey whiskey adds sweetness and a pleasantly Bourbon-ish under taste. Or, just use plain honey.

  • 1 28-ounce bottle barbeque sauce
  • 1/4 cup Jack Daniels’s Tennessee Honey whiskey
  1. In a medium-size pan, warm the barbeque sauce and add the whiskey. Stir until mixed and heated through. Serve with ribs or your favorite barbecue, but be careful to add only at the end of the cooking process; the extra sugars from the honey have a tendency to char and blacken easily over high heat.

Bee’s Knees
The Bee’s Knees is an adaptation of a classic cocktail which has been around since the 1920s.Honey syrup was used to mask the flavor of homemade “bath tub” gin and other poorly made spirits during prohibition. Using honey syrup with a well-made spirit makes for an absolutely delicious cocktail.

  1. In a shaker with ice, add:
  • 2 ounces Old Forester bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce honey syrup (see recipe to right)
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Shake and strain into a coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or honeycomb.

Honey Syrup:

  • 1 part honey
  • 1 part water
  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine the honey and water. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well combined.

Honey MustardDD2_9158

  • For delicious mustard, add honey to your favorite Dijon to create a richer, sweeter flavor. This mustard is especially good on ham and turkey or even as a dip for potato chips.

Cheese and Honey

  • For an easy appetizer serve blue or goat cheese on a plain cracker with a drizzle of honey. The honey adds a delicious sweetness and depth of flavor to the cheese.

Read the entire Fall 2014 issue of Food & Dining Magazine, here: http://issuu.com/foodanddiningmagazine/docs/f_d_fall14