Tag Archives: honey

Apple Hand Pies

Whether you and your family stay in the city to see your neighborhood parade and head to the Parkway for Welcome America, or you vacation at the shore to catch some beach time and watch the fireworks, the proud, positive energy of Independence Day is infectious. Everyone is doused in red, white and blue, and the American flag lines streets all over the country. It’s natural to reflect on the true meaning of the Fourth of July and something as natural as sharing time with our family reminds us to be thankful for our freedoms. Whatever your traditions on this patriotic holiday, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’re attending a barbecue at a family member or friend’s house and will be eating some pretty delicious food.

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Bacon Jam

We encounter a variety of fads every day, from the clothes we wear to work, the music we hear on our headphones, or the diet we stick to (Monday to Friday, of course). Like most trends, all of them have no strict permanence, but may be something we turn back to every now and then. This is my logic for holding onto so many things in my now overflowing closet.

Food fad categories are just like fashion. For instance, cupcakes (for some people) are considered “hot” but for others they are just like polyester and platforms: another trendy item that won’t be stylish for long. That group now identifies Macarons or Whoopee Pies as the dessert all the cool people will be eating. My opinion will always be rooted in my senses; how can something be a temporary fad if it tastes good all the time?

The most mind-boggling food fad is, by far, bacon. When was it an epiphany to a group of trendsetters that bacon was one of the most unbelievable meats available? Not only does it get an A+ for breakfast, but joined with lettuce and tomato you have a great lunch sandwich. For dinner, wrap it around asparagus or a pork loin and you’ve just created a fancy dish that will now taste one-hundred times better just because bacon is now in the picture. Analysts, chefs and culinary artists may tell you bacon is “so over”, but use your better judgment and your tastebuds on this one. To pay homage to my favorite pork product I spent a few hours cooking it down with other ingredients to make Bacon Jam. Believe me, I was as skeptical as you are but keep reading; I promise you, this is another recipe that highlights the staying power of bacon. Read More…

Brown Soda Bread with Honey Butter

Planning ahead for Saint Patrick’s Day I did zero research for a recipe, banking on someone in my mom’s family sharing an ancient family dish with me. After all, her maiden name is Brady, so someone had to have a stained, faded, chicken-scratch written Irish recipe hidden in their vault, right? Good food is inevitable at any Brady celebration, and Saint Patrick’s Day is no exception.

My major specifications were: I didn’t want to make a potato dish (because if it serve 6, I’ll eat 3 servings); corned beef and cabbage was out (I have my fair share of each throughout the year); and I wanted to bake. I contacted my Aunt Colleen, thinking if anyone had an original Irish Soda Bread recipe, it would be her. No such luck- though she has many specialties in the kitchen, it seems a Brady family soda bread recipe simply does not exist.

My next inquiry consisted of only Google and persistence; requesting recipes from the popular search engine requires endurance and an open mind. Google’s new “recipe” search function helps a bit, but still, with a return of over 70,000 Irish Soda Bread recipes I didn’t even know where to begin. Before I could develop a list of groceries, or head into the kitchen, I figured I needed to learn the history and tradition of soda bread and why it is important in Irish culinary culture.

According to The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread, the product we see packaged in grocery stores and markets around this time of the year is, most likely, not even bread. Traditional soda bread consists of solely flour, buttermilk, salt and baking soda. Some conventional versions will go as far outside the box as adding butter, but anything with dried fruit, sugar or honey, eggs, or even whiskey sounds more like ingredients for cake. The appeal of soda bread, when it was first created, was that it was inexpensive, practical, and required very little time to make. Additionally, the loaves were baked in bastible pots, or dutch ovens, over a fire. This authentic recipe can be whipped up in less than an hour, including baking time.  Read More…

Honey Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramels

I’ve had a running wish list of interesting ingredients to be added to my cooking cabinet, and I am proud to say I can finally cross one off as it is now nestled away among spices, vinegars and oils. Several weeks ago, I purchased fleur de sel, a hand-harvested, artisanal sea salt that is used in finishing a dish and looks very elegant; the salt appears in a crystallized flake form, reminiscent of a beautiful snow flake. 

Considering fleur de sel (French for flower of salt) is somewhat obscure, I had always planned to make a special trip for the flaky salt when I found time, perhaps to the Reading Terminal or a specialty cooking store. Who would have thought I would have stumbled upon a little tub of it when I was furniture shopping?

Discount stores like Marshalls and Home Good sell specialty food items mixed in with their cooking tools and kitchen appliances. Fine olive oils, flavored coffees, even fancy snacks grace the shelves for a fraction of the prices they are usually sold for; my belief is, as long as the expiration date isn’t a thing of the past, it’s a done deal. When my eyes spotted a container of fleur de sel for $2.99, I was a happy camper.

Since the salt is typically added as a finisher, I wanted to make something that looked and tasted equally elegant. This recipe for salty-sweet caramels can be summed up in one word: addictive. Read More…

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