“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.”
There is little I enjoy more in this life than cooking good food and sharing it with dear people. As we’ve learned in Honey, Part I, honey contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. Though high in sugar, it is a useful, nourishing substance that can be used to fight allergies, infections (it has impressive antimicrobial properties), and even heal burns.
Honey is also super-versatile in the kitchen…don’t limit its use to a topping, or merely as an ingredient in desserts! It can add just the right warm note to savory dishes. With that in mind, I cooked a healthy, all-honey inspired dinner last night. On the menu? Asparagus with honey garlic sauce, honey-dressed quinoa and wheat berry salad, and honey pie! After eating, I loved it all but– the absolute show-stopper was the honey-dressed quinoa and wheat berry salad. Yumm.
Let me prelude this by saying that I don’t really like recipes. I’ll look at them for information and ideas, but I generally go off on whatever trail my whimsy or the contents of my cupboard takes me. So, I’ll provide the link to the original recipe that I modified, and give as close approximations for measurements as I can! Food isn’t meant to be rigid, defined by exact quantities. Food is fluid, delicious, comforting—central to who we are as humans and easily modified based upon what we have.
Here are the recipes! Also, make sure you are using good, raw honey. You can find it (along with a wealth of honey and bee knowledge!) at any farmer’s market. Pasteurized honey loses a lot of the good properties I’ve been writing about!
1 lb. fresh asparagus
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup dark ale or dark beer
1/3 cup honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried thyme leaves
2 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dry dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan, add minced clove of garlic. Then, add asparagus (sliced into thirds) and cook for about a minute on medium heat. Combine mustard, beer, honey, thyme, dill, and salt. Pour over asparagus and sauté until asparagus is appropriately done to taste. (If you think you don’t like asparagus, try cooking it less. I used to hate it because I thought it was slimy and stringy. If you cook it to a point where it is still a bit crunchy, it’s delicious!)
As a vegetarian, I LOVE quinoa. It is high in fiber and has all the essential amino acids, so it’s a complete protein as well!
3/4 cup dry quinoa
1/2 cup dry wheat berries
1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped yellow squash
3 large carrots, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cook quinoa and wheat berries according to package directions, or use a 1:2 ratio. Wheat berries take much longer to cook, so you can cook these the night before or just start them earlier. Also, be sure to rinse the quinoa before you cook it—quinoa has a naturally occurring outer coating (called saponin) that can taste bitter. Meanwhile, sauté onion in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for about two minutes. Add zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots. Cook slightly, but not until soft—you want the carrots to retain some of their crunch! Mix parsley, lemon juice, honey, olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Combine grain mixture with vegetable mixture and garbanzo beans, stir together. Pour dressing on, stir to coat, and chill in the fridge.
Weird, right? I had never had it either, but it’s pretty good! I would recommend eating it with home-whipped whipped cream with some type of delicious berry, neither of which we had
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter
5 tablespoons ice water
Whisk the flours and salt together. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or use a food processor) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle ice water, one tablespoon at a time, stirring the mixture with a fork until the mixture comes together. Gather the particles into a ball—if it is too dry, add more water. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Roll out, and bake in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes. I put parchment paper in the dish and weight it down with dry beans or pie weights to prevent bubbling.
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Warm honey in a saucepan over low heat. Add butter, remove from heat and stir until combined. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Stir into honey mixture. Allow to cool, pour into baked pie crust. Bake until middle is set and the crust is golden, about 35 minutes.
Enjoy! There are hundreds of delicious looking honey-based recipes here. Get to cooking!