My husband has been bugging me for the longest time to make sopapillas, so he finally got his wish! Well, for Honey Week, this was an obvious choice to me, but I wanted to make it an original, so I added a fruit syrup, and it was so simple, yet incredible!
The Blackberries were calling my name, so I simply simmered them so they'd be soft, meshed out the seeds and added honey. Heavenly! Both flavors, blackberry and honey are so nice.
SOPAPILLAS WITH BLACKBERRIED HONEY SYRUP
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3/4 cup warm water, plus more as needed
Peanut oil, for frying Honey or cinnamon sugar, for serving
Sift the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the shortening and water, work them in with your hands to make a soft, pliable dough. Add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if the dough feels too dry. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Put the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour so it will firm up a bit and be easier to roll and cut. (Dough can be prepared 1 day ahead, refrigerated.)
Unwrap the ball of dough and put on a lightly floured surface, cut in half. With a floured rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a circle, about 1/4-inch thickness. Using a paring knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into triangles as you would a pizza. You should end up with 6 or 8 triangles per circle.
Heat 2-inches of oil to 375 degrees F in a heavy skillet or deep pot over medium-high heat.
Fry a few of the sopapillas at a time, keeping an eye on maintaining the oil temperature. As the sopapillas puff up and rise to the surface, flip them over with a slotted spoon, skimmer, or chopsticks; about 2 minutes on each side. Carefully remove the sopapillas from the oil and drain on several layers of paper towels or a brown paper bag. Cool slightly.
Blackberried Honey Syrup
About 6-8 oz blackberries
1/4 -1/2 cup water
1/4 cup honey
In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer blackberries in water, mashing with a whisk or masher. (I used a whisk) After all berries are broken up and broken from the seeds, run the mix through a strainer into a bowl. Get as much liquid as possible. Get your fingers in there and press on the seeds so they release the juice. Empty the juice back into the saucepan and add honey. Stir continuously until mixture bubbles and boils (you may have to turn up the heat for this). Take off heat and allow to cool while you cook the sopapillas. It will thicken as it cools.
I picked up a copy of Saveur magazine the other day and read a great article about a technique for making super creamy ice cream at home. The recipes they gave came from a book called Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer. Let me just say, I will definitely be buying a copy of this book. The ice cream is indeed super creamy and yummy, and the flavor possibilities they give in the article look fantastic (the Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World is calling my name). I decided to do a honey lavender ice cream. So, I just used the recipe for the ice cream base, substituting honey for the sugar in the recipe and adding lavender. The result: it was good, really good; however, next time, I think I’ll add a little less lavender and maybe a little more honey. Try it today!
HONEY LAVENDER ICE CREAM
2 cups milk
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons lavender
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
In a bowl, stir ¼ cup of the milk and the cornstarch together, set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remaining 1 ¾ cup milk, cream, honey, corn syrup, salt, and lavender. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, return to a boil, and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Put the cream cheese in a bowl and pour in ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth, then whisk in remaining milk mixture. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large plastic bag. Seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer ice cream into a storage container and freeze until set.
NOTES: You can buy edible lavender in the spice aisle. Also, if you don’t have an ice cream maker there are a few methods you can use. (Suggestions courtesy of Saveur magazine.)
1. Put a coffee can filled with the ice cream base into a larger can filled with ice and rock salt. Close both cans with plastic lids and shake for 25 minutes.
2. Fill a bowl with the ice cream base, put in freezer, and mix on medium speed with a hand mixer every 2 hours to break up any ice crystals that may have formed. This will give you a chunkier ice cream.
3. Freeze the ice cream base in ice cube trays and then pop the cubes into a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to make ice cream.
Honey week has been the most challenging week for me so far. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do with honey for an appetizer, and one night, I decided to just play around with some ingredients and see what happened. I have a TON of basil in my garden right now and had just made a big batch of pesto, so I decided to use that. I also needed to use a loaf of Sourdough bread that I had. I glanced in my fridge to see what else I had, and noticed some prosciutto that I had.
I decided to make crostini: I toasted the bread, topped it with some prosciutto, a dollop of pesto, and drizzled it with honey. The result: DELICIOUS!
The combination of the salty prosciutto, the nice basil and garlic bite of the pesto, and the sweetness of the honey was fantastic. So, never be afraid to experiment with ideas and ingredients in the kitchen, and, of course, go make these this weekend…you’ll be glad that you did!
SWEET AND SAVORY CROSTINI
1small loaf sourdough bread
Salt and pepper
Thin slices of prosciutto
Pesto (I used homemade)
Preheat your oven to 375. Slice the bread in thin slices and put on a baking sheet. Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil, then salt and pepper to taste. Toast in the oven until crisp and lightly golden, about 15-20 minutes, making sure you flip them over halfway through. Once the bread is done and cool enough to handle, top the slices with prosciutto and a dollop of pesto. Arrange on a plate and drizzle liberally with honey. Enjoy!!
When you were a kid, did you ever read those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? I loved them, but I always went back to read the other options, to see what the outcome would've been had I chosen those...
This meal was kind of like that. I did it a few different ways, and I came up with two favorites. My husband hates fish, and I hate that. (I intend to make him my AWESOME fish tacos, and I maintain that NO ONE shouldn't like them... we'll see.) And even though I couldn't get enough of this salmon, he didn't like it. Rewind to several years ago when he dated some "Samantha" who thought she could cook (and couldn't). She tried to grill veggies and salmon, and everything ended up mushy and slimy. Needless to say, this turned him off to fish. He wretches every time he thinks about it. All I have to say is, "Thanks a lot, Samantha." Sheesh.
Anywho, for those of you who LOVE salmon, This was LOVELY! I love biting into the ginger as I savor the sweet of the honey. Too, in the second version, the soy sauce actually made it even better!!
HONEY GINGER SALMON POCKETS
2 servings salmon
2 tbsp (Or more) sesame oil (I LOVE THE SMELL!!!)
3-4 tbsp honey
3-4 tbsp water
1 inch ginger, diced
2 tbsp soy sauce (Optional)
pinch of salt
In a skillet, warm the oil and honey a few mins. Add water and ginger and saute ginger over medium high heat a few more mins. Allow to cool a bit.
Form pouches with aluminum foil and pour the mix in the pouch. Place salmon (meat side down in the juice) in the pouch and fold to seal.
Broil for about ten minutes, or until light and flaky. (You can check on it midway if you like). Sprinkle with a pinch of salt before serving.
Incidentally, I steamed some broccoli with this, and it's wonderful when dipped in the salmon sauce!
The appetizer this week was proving a challenge to me. I thought of doing a honey-grilled corn-on-the-cob, or something, but for some reason I wasn't in the mood. So I gazed into the fridge and spotted that poblano pepper and then thought of the shrimp in the freezer. Hmmm... what to do...? So this recipe was a "throw this in, and maybe that... and that, too" experimentation that turned out pretty good!
One change that I strongly suggest: use Panko bread crumbs only, unless you have made your own. I used Progresso Plain Bread Crumbs and was sorely disappointed with the taste they gave the shrimp cake. Even "plain" had a flavor. Panko bread crumbs, on the other hand, have no seasoning at all, not even salt. This is a much better option. You can taste all the ingredients this way, and that is the point!!!
Too, this recipe leaves a little room improvement: you can add your own herbs, such as Tarragon, or Coriander... more butter, or whatever!
HONEYED POBLANO & CORN SHRIMP CAKES WITH HONEY CREAM SAUCE
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, preferably wild-caught
1/2 cup sweet corn
1 large poblano pepper, in small thin slices (about 1 inch long)
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
2 eggs, lightly scrambled
2 cups bread crumbs
Sautee pepper, onions and corn in butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add honey and water about half-way through (about 8-10 minutes). A few minutes later, add shrimp and allow to cook through. Pour off liquid and set aside in a bowl.
Allow shrimp mix to cool, add salt to taste. Add eggs and 1 cup of the bread crumbs. Form into 6-8 cakes. You can either roll and coat the cakes in the remaining bread crumbs or add them to the mix if the cakes are not sticking to each other. Add even more if needed.
Fry about a minute or two in light olive oil or vegetable oil in med-high heat, and drain on paper towels.
Honey Cream Sauce:
1/4 cup sour cream
3-4 tbsp plain yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid poured off from poblano sautee mix
Combine all and refrigerate at least 30-minutes. Even possibly an hour or more.
Pour over shrimp cake or set aside for dipping. Cumin might be a nice addition to this sauce. I'd suggest about 1/2 tsp.
The other night was one of those nights when I didn’t really have anything planned for dinner, and I found myself with a little bit of this and a little bit of that and with no desire to head to the grocery store or to eat out. So, I started looking at what I had and realized that I probably could make a pretty good stir-fry.
Then, I remembered a recipe I’d seen once for a honey peanut chicken, so I tried to look it up online. I found one, but it seemed heavy on soy sauce and light on other seasonings, so I decided to tweak it; I used less soy sauce and added more ingredients.
I was super happy with the way it turned out, and it was a hit with everyone at home too. Best of all, it kept me from having to make a dreaded last minute run to the store just so I could make dinner. Try it tonight!
HONEY PEANUT CHICKEN STIR-FRY
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons natural peanut butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons green curry powder (use regular if you don’t have green)
2 teaspoons Sriracha
2 cups broccoli florets, cut in bite-sized pieces (about 1 small crown of broccoli)
1 carrot, cut into matchstick pieces
4-5 green onions, cut into small pieces on a diagonal
¾ cup Jasmine rice
1 ½ cups water
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
2 handfuls peanuts, chopped (for garnish)
First, make the sauce by combining the soy sauce, teriyaki, lime juice, honey, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, curry powder, and Sriracha in a medium bowl and whisking until well combined. Put the chicken in a large Ziploc bag, and pour half of the sauce into the bag, then seal it and shake it around a bit to coat the chicken well. Set it aside while you chop your veggies, and keep the other half of the sauce for later. After everything is chopped, start the rice. Put a teaspoon or so of sesame oil in a saucepan, heat it, and add the rice; stir and let the rice cook for 2-3 minutes, then pour in the water and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until all of the water is absorbed and rice is fluffy, about 15-20 minues.
While the rice is cooking, heat a couple of teaspoons of sesame oil in a skillet until very hot, then add the chicken and cook, stirring, until the chicken is cooked through, 5-7 minutes. If the sauce starts to burn or stick, add a bit of water while the chicken finishes cooking. Take the chicken out of the skillet and set aside. Heat a little more sesame oil in the skillet, then add the broccoli, and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add the carrots and green onions, and cook, stirring, 3-4 more minutes. Put the chicken back into the skillet with the veggies, then pour in the other half of the sauce that you reserved. Let everything heat through for a minute or two. By this time, your rice should be done. To serve, put the rice on a large platter or in a large bowl, pour the chicken and veggies on top, and garnish with the cilantro and peanuts.
Well, I have never made Baklava before, but I love to eat it at my favorite Greek restaurant for a lovely sweet and nutty dessert! Since this is HONEY WEEK, it's the first thing I thought of for dessert. My husband has been bugging me for sopapillas, something else I've never made. That sounds good, too; I may have to indulge him!
Notes on this recipe: I like to have the nuts crushed into oblivion. Well, maybe not that much, but I suggest pulsing them in a food processor, or banging them really good with a hammer (while still in the bag, of course!). Since it was my first time, they were pretty chunky. Also, I didn't have enough almonds, so I added walnuts. No big deal. Still delicious!
Too, for my taste, there was a LOT of syrup. You could easily leave out 1/2 cup of the prepared syrup and use it for pancakes!! Very tasty, since it has orange zest and amaretto!
ALMOND & CARDAMOM BAKLAVA
2 cups slivered almonds, lightly toasted and chopped
2 cups unsalted pistachios, chopped
1 teaspoon ground green cardamom
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
24 sheets phyllo pastry
½ cup butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup honey
¼ cup amaretto
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
For the filling, combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.
To prepare the pastry, place 1 sheet of phyllo on the prepared baking sheet, keeping the phyllo covered with a damp towel. Brush phyllo lightly with melted butter, top with second sheet of phyllo, and lightly brush it with butter; repeat process with 5 more sheets phyllo.
Top this stack with half of the nut mixture, then layer with 3 sheets of phyllo, each brushed with melted butter. Top with remaining nut mixture, and an additional 6 sheets of phyllo, each brushed with butter.
Using a large pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or large knife, cut baklava in half lengthwise and into 3 strips widthwise to form 6 large squares. Cut each square on the diagonal to form triangles. Lightly sprinkle the top of the pastry with water to prevent curling and bake 35-40 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the
For the syrup, heat 1 ¼ cups water in medium size saucepan over medium-high heat. Combine all syrup ingredients, cook, stirring constantly, until mixture foams up and becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally if sugar crystals form. Remove from heat and spoon syrup over hot pastries. Allow to cool.
Garnish with slivered almonds and allow to rest about 4 hours at room temperature before serving.
"Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be." -- Molly Wizenberg