Cook in the Moment: Honey

Seared Lamb Chops With Honey Sauce (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

Each week I contribute a column to “Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder” expanding on one of my 10 Ways Tuesday ideas. This week I was inspired by a savory recipe for honey prune sauce found in the October issue of Food & Wine Magazine. Find my recipe for seared lamb chops with garlic and rosemary and the details of the honey sauce by clicking on the Cooking Boulder icon below.

 

10 Ways Tuesday: Honey

YaYa-Apple-Farm-Bee-Hives (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

 

I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with honey in autumn:

 

1.  Goat Cheese with Honey

I’ve written this often, the simplest things are the best. Give me beautiful ingredients, prepared straightforwardly, over a fancy multi-course meal any day. David Tanis’ cooking epitomizes this way of living. In his book, A Platter of Figs, David writes that in Catalonia, goat cheese is served with local honey for a light dessert. It’s important to select a good quality, flavorful honey to pair with the creamy goat cheese. This is a great opportunity to explore the nuances of honey, from chestnut to lavender to orange blossom. A few hazelnuts or walnuts strewn across the plate makes for a lovely end to the meal.

2.  Roasted Root Vegetables

Honey is a fitting partner for slightly sweet, earthy root vegetables of autumn. Carrots, parsnips, turnips, or squash glisten with a caramelized glaze in a hot oven. Mix all the veg together, or simply roast some carrots. I like the heady fragrance of rosemary with honey-glazed root vegetables. Maybe add some spice with a little cayenne or some fresh ginger?

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Ingredient Of The Week: Honey

Ingredient Of The Week: Honey (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

Autumn is the time of year for harvesting honey. The bees have built up their stores for the winter, and we can enjoy the fruits of their labor. I find honey endlessly fascinating. Like wine, it has terroir, or a sense of place. The flavor of honey depends on what plants the bees have gathered pollen from. It ranges from bright and sweet to pungent and bitter. Honey can taste herbal, like lavender, or medicinal, like eucalyptus. Orange blossom honey has the distinct citrusy flavor of orange, lime, and lemon trees. This week at La Domestique we’ll explore the different types of honey. It’s such a pleasure to discover the flavors and nuances of local honeys. You’ve got to pick the right honey for the job, and we’ll discuss cooking with this golden nectar in both sweet and savory dishes. Honey brings moisture as well as sweetness to baked goods, while bringing depth and a soft note  of sugar to savory meat dishes.

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This Past Week at La Domestique: Apples

 

This past week at La Domestique was all about cooking with apples. I visited a local apple orchard, and the difference in taste from supermarket apples was substantial. Freshly harvested apples are crisp and juicy, with a sweet, floral aroma and full, bright flavor. Here at La Domestique we explored the different varieties of apples and how to use them in both savory and sweet cooking.

 

In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap:

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Chicken, Apples, and Cream à la Normande

While searching for a savory apple dish to share with you, I came across a recipe for Chicken, Apples, and Cream à la Normande in Dorie Greenspan’s book, Around My French Table. The history of this dish is classically French. The Taste of France, by Robert Freson, describes Normandy, a region in northwest France as “one of the great gastronomic regions of France…” Normandy has long been famous for cream, eggs, butter, cheese, and cider. The food of Normandy is rich and satisfying, meant to keep you warm and fueled through a chilly, windblown day of hard work. A dish with the title à la Normande makes a reference to the dairy or delicious apples the region is known for.

In Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, boneless skinless chicken breasts are dredged in flour and browned in butter. An apple, onion, and exactly 8 mushrooms are tossed into the pot with a splash of chicken broth and a couple of tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy from Normandy). Once the alcohol burns off the dish is finished with heavy cream. Dorie’s recipe is lovely. It’s put together and precise. Heavy on the cream, light on the apples. My version is rugged and bold rather than sophisticated and serene. I want to taste the Calvados, to get a hit of brandy, so I added more. Of course one apples wasn’t enough, I had to throw in two. Also, I used a mixture of white button and crimini mushrooms for their earthy flavor. The sage from my garden brought a hint of holiday cheer. Lastly, I used more homemade chicken broth and less cream for a savory gravy rather than a creamy sauce. Use tart apples like Granny Smith or Jonathon for this recipe, so the flavor will stand up amongst all the other ingredients. Chicken, Apples, and Cream à la Normande is perfect for a chilly fall day and a big appetite. Serve it with roast Jerusalem artichokes or mashed potatoes. The dish is delicious the next day, so feel free to make it ahead and re-heat later.

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