Tag Archives: Honey

Bee Hive Challah

drizzle 1Tonight is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Last week I created an apple beehive. It was adorable and very delicious. At around 4 am this morning, a vision of a challah beehive popped into my head. If I could build a beehive made out of apples, why not challah dough? apples and honey and challahI made my regular challah dough and pressed some raisins into it. It’s not a holiday challah without raisins. All you raisin haters can leave them out. poke in the raisins The dough needs to rise to double in size. it will take about 90 minutes. before proofingafter proofing

I decided to make mini beehives so I divided my dough into 3 and then made 6 ropes, each slightly shorter than the one before it, from each piece of dough. ropesThey looked quite pretty before baking, although they were leaning slightly. I let them rise for about an hour and then I gave them a gentle brushing with egg. I decided to leave them plain, without any topping so you could see the definition of the beehive.before bakingI’m not quite sure what happened in the oven, perhaps a hurricane blew through here, but they weren’t quite so beehive shaped after baking. bee hive 2One of them was a bit straighter, but not quite a perfect beehive. Perhaps we shouldn’t mess with Mother Nature.bee hive 1With a drizzle of honey, they were delicious. Wishing you all a Shana Tova. Sweet, Healthy and Happy New Year!challah 1 with honey

 

 

 

 

A Sweet New Year with Honey Sticks

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins next Sunday night. We have 20 coming for lunch next Monday and I have been busy planning my menu. I wanted to do something creative and pretty for the table setting, somehow incorporating honey which we dip apples in to signify our wish for a sweet new year.

There is no shortage of inspiration on Pinterest. I loved these honey dipper place cards and thought these place cards, tied to the cutlery were just adorable. In theory, I really like the idea of place cards. They are a great way to dress up a table. In practice however, in my family at least, no one really sits where they are told. On my husband’s side of the family, they just ignore the place cards and sit where they want. On my side, we at least attempt to be polite about it. Someone, quietly goes into the dining room, before the meal and rearranges the place cards to suit their preferences. (Not mentioning any names here!). So no place cards at my house.

My problem with those spiral wooden honey dippers is the drippy mess they make all over the table. When I did an online search of honey dippers, I discovered these honey sticks. They are the perfect size and I am hoping they will be quite tidy. I ordered 2 varieties, wildflower and blackberry. honey-sticksI created these stickers using the Avery online label design program.  It’s very user friendly and has many design options. I used these 2 inch round glossy labels  and stuck them on some scalloped round cardboard gift tags I found at Michaels craft store. I tied everything up with a bright red ribbon.

I’ll put one at each place setting. Everyone can sit where they want! Wishing you all a sweet and healthy new year.table-setting

 

 

 

Ricotta Peach and Honey Socca Pizza (Socca-Palooza: Chapter 2)

Ricotta peach pizza on blue plateWith perfect late summer peaches, this socca creation is fool proof! The combination of ripe peaches, creamy ricotta and a drizzle of honey is majestic. Fresh mint and a few flakes of fleur de sel take it to the next level of deliciousness.Ricotta Peach socca toppingsIf you have an extra 10 minutes, please make your own ricotta for this. It’s worth it, and really very simple. I love this recipe from epicurious.com. This socca would be perfect to serve for brunch, a light lunch or a not too sweet dessert.

Click here to print recipe for Ricotta, Peach and Honey Socca Pizzas.

Ricotta peach pizza have a slice

 

A Sweet New Year

Tomorrow night marks the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Honey is traditionally served at the Rosh Hashanah table to symbolize our hope for a sweet year ahead.  What you may not know, is that honey is rapidly at risk of becoming a scarce commodity.

What I’m about to share with you may sound a bit far-fetched, like a plot from an episode of CSI-The Animal Kingdom Edition, if there were such a version.

Honeybees are disappearing at an alarming rate.  Apparently, thriving colonies disappear overnight without leaving a trace, the bodies of the buzzing little victims are never found. Seemingly healthy communities fly off never to return. The queen bee and mother of the hive is abandoned to starve and die.

Bees don’t just make honey; they are critical in the pollination of our fruits and vegetables When you stop to consider that honeybees pollinate about one out of every three bites of food we eat, this is a serious matter. This missing bee phenomenon is known as “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD).   What is causing CCD is up for debate.

Some put forth the theory that whenever bees are stressed, a parasite, called nosema, attacks the bees digestive system. Anytime bees are stressed, their immune system takes a hit.  What could honeybees possibly be stressed about, you may ask?  In what’s called “migratory beekeeping”, beehives are often transported long distances to pollinate farms.  Imagine how you’d feel, doing a great job on one farm and then being packed up in a truck, to travel thousands of miles only to have to set up shop in a new location all over again.  That would stress anyone.

According to Richard Schiffman of  blogs.reuters.com

Three new studies point an accusing finger at a culprit that many have suspected all along, a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

In the U.S. alone, these pesticides, produced primarily by the German chemical giant Bayer and known as “neonics” for short, coat a massive 142 million acres of corn, wheat, soy and cotton seeds. They are also a common ingredient in home gardening products.

Research published last month in the prestigious journal Science shows that neonics are absorbed by the plants’ vascular system and contaminate the pollen and nectar that bees encounter on their rounds. They are a nerve poison that disorient their insect victims and appear to damage the homing ability of bees, which may help to account for their mysterious failure to make it back to the hive.

What can we do to help? Here are a few ideas from the “District Domestic” website that you can implement in your garden, to help the plight of the honeybees.

  • Replace some of your lawn with flower beds.
  • Keep your garden as organic as possible! Avoid using pesticides and herbicides.
  • Plant native species, which bees love – for example: mint, daisies, strawberries, raspberries, lavender, salvia, asters, sunflowers and verbena.
  • Choose plants that flower at different stages in the growing season to provide a constant supply of food for the bees.

While honey cake is traditionally served at Rosh Hashanah, I have to admit that I’m not the biggest honey cake fan. My main complaint about honey cakes is that they are very sticky and cloyingly sweet.

To me, honey cake is the Jewish equivalent of fruitcake.  Everyone makes it but no one really wants to eat it.  However, here is a honey cake recipe that I have come upon that has changed my mind.   Honey-Glazed Beehive Cake is light and delicate, as a result of egg whites which are whipped to fluffy peaks and then folded into the batter.

The honey glaze which sandwiches the two halves of the hive together is created by combining brown sugar, honey and butter. The brown sugar and butter work their magic to tame the cloying sweetness of honey. I could not stop myself from licking the bowl.

This recipe comes from the June 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living. I have adapted it slightly and omitted the marzipan honey bees that Martha decorated her cake with. If you have the patience and fine motor skills to make the little marzipan bees, go for it! The hive cake pan is made by Nordicware and I got mine on Amazon.

Egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks and folded into the cake batter to help create a lighter honey cake.

The cake halves must be trimmed in order to sandwich them together to make the hive. The trimmings make a great afternoon snack with tea!

Martha recommends using the honey glaze when it is warm, to glue the halves together. I found that the two sides kept sliding, so I chilled the glaze for about an hour so the butter had a chance to set up a bit. Once firmer, the two halves stuck easily.

The remaining honey glaze can be rewarmed and poured over the cake if you like a “wet-look” sticky cake.

A final sugar glaze is made by mixing icing sugar and water together and poured over the cake.

Click here to print recipe for Beehive Honey Cake.

L’Shana Tova. Wishing you all a sweet, joyous and healthy New Year.

Maple Pecan Salmon

I think it was Albert Einstein who said, that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This could well apply to me. Every year, in mid-late March, we have a few days of warm weather and I put away all the boots, winter coats, hats and mittens. Then inevitably, without fail, it snows the next day. In the ensuing scramble the next morning, everyone curses me for putting it all away and I vow to wait a bit longer next year.

My blogger friend Bobbi, wrote so lyrically about this subject last week. As a matter of fact, she writes lyrically about everything. You should check out her blog. Even though we have never met, she seems like such a lovely person, someone I could be friends with. A few weeks ago, she was travelling and away from her husband. She wrote a beautiful blog titled, Absence and Coconut Chow Mein Butterscotch Cookies. Here is just a little bit of it:

 “I reach for you in the darkness like I always do, a twelve-year habit that I can’t bare the thought of breaking. My hands meet a cold, crisp sheet. Where are you? Where am I? The sleepy haze begins to clear, and I remember that you’re at home in our bed, so far away. I fumble for the light. I miss you less once my day has started; the light holds so many distractions. But in the dark, awake, all I feel is your absence.”

See what I mean? She is so poetic and lyrical. When I’m away from  my husband, I’m just grateful to have control of the T.V. clicker! I guess maybe I’ve been married a bit longer than Bobbi.

While we’re on the subject of virtual friends, in my mind, Kelly Rippa and I are the best of friends. It annoys my daughter to no end, when we are having a conversation and I say, “Well, Kelly told me …” She reminds me that Kelly and I are not friends, nor are we ever likely to be. But I believe, that if she met me, we would be great friends. We have so much in common. We both have 2 sons and a daughter, with our daughters being the middle child. We both love to stay at home and as I discovered this week, we both suffer from Misophonia.

Literally translated, it means, “hatred of sounds.”  It is a form of decreased sound tolerance. People who have misophonia are most commonly annoyed, or even enraged, by such ordinary sounds as other people eating, breathing, or coughing; certain consonants; or repetitive sounds. Both Kelly and I can not stand to hear other people chewing. If my husband is eating an apple or grapes in the other room, and I hear him chewing, it makes me crazy. I have to get up and close the door. I am also extremely irritated by the sound of coffee being poured from a silver coffee pot. I know this sounds totally bizarre, but it’s true.

Sorry, got a little sidetracked there. I apologize if now you know way too much about me. But perhaps, maybe now you think we could be friends? I would make an excellent virtual friend.

In the spirit of it almost, but not quite yet, being spring (don’t put away the winter boots just yet), I bring to you a lovely salmon dish, featuring maple syrup and salmon. This recipe was originally created by Rose Reisman. I have adapted it, using a new cooking method I learned from Michael Symon (and no, I do not imagine that we are friends, but wouldn’t he be so much fun to hang out with?) Michael suggests cooking the salmon in a very low oven (200°F) for about 15-20 minutes. At this low temperature, the salmon stays very moist and it quite flavourful.

At first, it seems like the sauce ingredients will never come together. But keep the faith, eventually they boil into one sweet and sticky sauce.

When you check on the fish after about 20 minutes, it will not seem like very much has happened since the colour will be almost exactly the same as when it went in. Use a fork to see if the fish will flake. If it does, it’s done. I ended up cooking mine for about 30 minutes, as no one here likes it rare in the center. It was so moist. The sweetness from the maple and honey balanced the richness of the salmon. The crunch from the pecans provided some wonderful texture. I served it with an apple and cabbage slaw.

Click here to print the recipe for Maple Pecan Salmon.