Saturday, October 16, 2010

More Fall Cooking with Honey Recipes

Of all my cooking, everyone loves the farm eggs and toast with honey the best.

Back by popular demand! More fall cooking with honey ideas from yours truly.

I love cooking.  My grandma is actually the one who taught me to cook.  She was a grade school cafeteria cook, and this was back in the day when the lunches coming out of the cafeteria were really homemade, unlike the meals now that come already processed, frozen in large bags, and then just heated up when they hit the school. I remember begging my grandma to teach me how to make a chocolate cake when I was maybe 8 years old, and she did.  I can not make fried chicken like she did though.

 My waist doesn't love it or need it, but there are just some foods you can not live without in the fall.  I love mulled apple cider with honey added to it, or have you tried hot cocoa with honey stirred into it? Pumpkin pie made with honey instead of sugar is delicious.  We got the most wonderful peaches from Georgia this year and here is the simplest peach pie:

Pie shell in dish, extra for top
4 - 6 c sliced peaches (it's up to you to peel or not peel)
5 tsp quick cooking tapioca (remember, it's the quick kind, the old fashioned kind takes forever and a day to make)
1/2 c honey
Mix peaches with tapioca and put into pie shell.  Pour honey over top.  Cover decoratively with additional crust for top.  Can be brushed with 1 egg which has been beaten and then brushed over crust.  Optional is to sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes.

How simple was that?

Honey glazed vegetables are wonderful.  You get to eat the vegetables, which you all need, but you can smother them with butter and honey.  I think the butter and honey actually cancels out anything good you get from the vegetables, but that's all right.

1 pkg or unit of any cooked vegetable (such as 4 c of carrots, 2 c of peas, several ears of corn cut from the cob)
1/4 c butter
1/4 honey
Whip the honey and butter together until light and fluffy. Serve over the hot vegetables.

It's almost Thanksgiving, and it wouldn't be the same without a honey glaze for your ham:
1 c honey
2 c brown sugar
1 c pineapple juice
Bake a clove studded ham in slow oven at 300 degrees, 20 min per pound. Baste ham frequently with the above mixture.  Serve ham with pineapple slices.

Check back again and I'll list more recipes as time goes on.  Meanwhile, enjoy!

Monday, October 4, 2010

How To Eat A Chicken

I know what you are thinking.  You are looking at this picture of the chicken, going "how could you?" :-)  And to be honest, the first chicken we butchered and ate, I couldn't hardly eat it.  But after that I was okay.  Now I just bask in the joy of getting good, fresh, homegrown chicken to eat without worrying about all the modern-day problems that arise with chickens being raised in those big factory processing plants.

Here's how I see it.  That chicken could be raised in a big factory barn with no exercise because they are packed in there so tight there's no room to do anything but stand around in their poo all day, no sunshine, no fresh grass and a very short life span.  Or that chicken could be in the wild, roaming free, yes, but living very little life because the coyote ate it within a few days of it's first breath.  Or it could live at my house where it can wander through the grass or fields, roost in the trees, eat bugs out of my garden (along with an unnecessary amount of garden produce), enjoy all the sunshine it could possibly want and live a much longer life span than it would in either the factory or the wild.  I figure I am doing it a huge favor by raising it and eating it! :-)

There's lots of ways to eat a chicken.  You can get layers and then have gorgeous, big, brown eggs with the orange-est yolks you have seen.  These things are so good.  I didn't know for a long time how good they were until I was at a church potluck and had some regular store bought deviled eggs and those eggs were tasteless.  One of my customers told me that she had had to resort to store bought eggs one day when I was too short to get her any and her husband immediately said to her at the breakfast table, "what is wrong with these eggs? They taste funny." So I know my opinion is not just in my head. Layers are only good for about 2 years when they slow down too much in laying to make it worthwhile to keep buying feed.  At that time you have several options: keep them as pets, sell them to someone else, or slaughter for "stewing hens" (good, but necessary to slow cook for the best eat).

Or you can get meat birds, which typically are the white cornish commercial strains.  You could buy heritage breeds, which many prefer, but for me, they grow too slowly and don't covert feed well enough to make it cost effective. You grow these babies for about 8 weeks tops and then slaughter them.  I have found that you need to age the meat, which is either 24-48 hours in the frig, or about 1 month in the freezer.

If you can't do these yourself, there are many people who sell eggs and will sell you fresh birds they slaughter themselves.  There are folks who do totally "organic" (a word that I don't put much stock into, especially with big time producers) and those who do "humanely raised" chickens (typically meaning their birds can free range, be outside, etc., but eat the cheaper store bought grain instead of organic grain.) You can do an internet search for those farms close to you.  I, personally, wouldn't do this for anyone else--way too much work, but there are many dedicated farmers who will.

And the absolute best thing to do with chicken is chicken and noodles!!

Noodle recipe:
2 eggs
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
Mix ingredients and knead.  If dough is too stiff, add more egg. Roll out and either put through noodle machine or cut long strips with a pizza wheel cutter.  Let dry if not using right away, but if you are using immediately, you can throw them right in your chicken broth.
Chicken broth for noodles:
Boil one whole chicken in water (usually takes an easy hour).  Take out chicken and after cooling, pull meat from bones.  Add chicken meat back into broth, adding salt and pepper to taste.  If necessary, add chicken cube, or tablespoon of chicken paste.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Liquid Gold

It's honey harvest time!!!

Each year, about this time, we get to harvest our honey.  Since  we raise and breed queens, we don't have as much honey as other beekeepers (you'll have to read "The Master's" blog to find out why: so we get excited at even the littlest bit we get.

We started out with a huge problem this year though.  Someone earlier in the week had used the extracting equipment a few days prior, and made the honest, but crucial mistake of keeping doors open, and having dripped honey everywhere so that a bazillion bees got into the honey extracting room.  It took days to get the bees out of the honey room so that we could get in there and extract for ourselves. (Note to all beekeepers getting ready to extract: keep lids on your supers, keep lids on your buckets, get in and out quick, and keep windows and doors shut behind you.) It was one hilarious mess.

But we finally extracted our own liquid gold.  I love to see it in the bottles, all lined up on the shelves.  It sells itself.  When people look at it, they start drooling and will pay (almost) any amount of money for the stuff.

Here's but a few of the 100's of my favorite things to do with honey:
Wheat Bread
1 egg ( of course, mine from my own chickens)
1/4 c honey
1 cup milk
1/2 stick butter
1/2 tsp salt
into the bottom of the bread machine ~
then add:
2 cups wheat flour (freshly ground)
2 cups white flour
2 tsp yeast

Steak marinade:
1 cup honey
1 juice of lemon
1/2 cup each of vinegar, oil or bottled dressing
1/2 cup ketchup
Mix in baggie, add meat and let marinade up to 24 hours  before grilling

Chicken Seasoning:
Take chicken breast and dredge in honey (instead of traditional egg/milk)
Then roll in breading mixture (boxed or homemade).
Fry or bake as usual