River Farm

January 31, 2011

Snowbound

Filed under: recipe — Tags: , — admin @ 10:00 am

We sure have had our fair share of snow this winter. But we’ve gathered our friends and lifted our spirits with a belated Christmas & birthday shindig! In keeping with the weather, I’ve made these snow capped cupcakes!

skiier cupcake

I invariably turn to Rose Levy Beranbaum for reliable cake recipes. These cupcakes are made from her all-occasion downy yellow cake and vanilla mousseline buttercream with Oreo rubble.  I am a true champion of European style buttercream, and promise that once you have the technique down, you will see little reason to make any other type of frosting.

The wee tiny skiers and St. Bernards (complete with minuscule barrels, brandy not included), are good old fashioned Micro Machines. Remember those? Thanks, Ebay. If only they made little Maremma figurines…

frosting mountain peak

st. bernard to the rescue

Success! Spirits lifted!

January 6, 2011

Honey Roasted Roots and Endives

Filed under: honey,recipe — Tags: , , , — admin @ 2:42 pm

honey roasted roots and endives

Roasted Roots and Endives

Sweet root vegetables and bitter endives are brought into harmony with an herbed honey reduction. This rich wintertime dish is delicious by itself or alongside pork or lamb. Serves 6 as a side.

½ lb parsnips, turnips, or some of each
½ lb carrots
3-4 Belgian endives
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey, River Farm’s own
sea salt
ground black pepper
1 sprig rosemary
2 sprigs thyme

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel the root vegetables, chop into 3” lengths, and quarter lengthwise into pieces of roughly equal size. Cover with salted water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 8 minutes until just tender; drain vegetables.

Meanwhile, remove the bruised outer leaves of the endives and quarter lengthwise. Cut out as much of the bitter core as possible without displacing the leaves.

Melt the butter in an ovensafe skillet over medium heat. Once the sizzling has quieted add the olive oil, honey, seasonings, and herbs. Bring to a bubbling simmer, and toss the root vegetables and endives in the pan to coat evenly.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelize. Test seasonings and serve.

roasted roots

January 5, 2011

Honied Cider Draught

Filed under: honey,recipe — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 5:57 pm

Honied Cider Draught

Any variety of spices works well to balance the bright flavors of honey and lemon in this comforting hot drink. Consider trying cardamom pods, a knob of fresh ginger, or a bay leaf. Serves 2.

1 C water
1 ½ C apple cider
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until steaming, and enjoy.

December 16, 2010

Spiced Milk

Filed under: honey,recipe — Tags: , , , — admin @ 6:00 pm

This spiced milk is not only a lovely prelude to the proverbial long winter’s nap, it is a divertissment in the land of sweets. A hot or cold accompaniment to most any holiday dessert, or the foundation something richer yet. It makes for a mean cup of Earl Grey. Or rich oatmeal. Or wonderful hot chocolate.

spiced milk

Spiced Milk

slightly adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveler
serves 4

1 quart milk, raw if you like
3 T honey, River Farm’s own
3 strips organic orange zest
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1 cardamom pod, crushed
1 vanilla bean
big pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk, and toss in the pod. Bring to a near boil over medium-high heat, then hold at a simmer for 20 minutes until slightly reduced. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 1 hour. Refrigerate until needed and strain before using.

spiced milk punch

Now, if you are friends with any disreputable southerners as we are, you may appreciate the joy of a nice milk punch. You may prepare the above spiced milk with half-and-half with that decadent purpose in mind.

While we are raising a glass, may I also suggest partaking of holiday cheer with this wonderful Gin Spiked Kashmiri Chai or this amazing Eggnog, which may not be the Colonel’s, but is at least the Major’s as far as I am concerned.

Spiced Milk Punch

for 1

2 jiggers cold spiced milk, made with half-and-half
1 jigger bourbon
ice
freshly grated nutmeg

Shake up the spiced milk, bourbon, and ice in a cocktail shaker (or some such) until very frothy. Strain into a highball glass, sprinkle with nutmeg, and enjoy.

December 14, 2010

Honey & Nut Granola {gluten free}

Filed under: honey,recipe — Tags: , , , — admin @ 5:19 pm

Hark, Christmas! Our family has a tradition of opening our stockings (each of which is testament to the home crafting trend of a different decade, from hand quilting, through the heyday of felt pompoms, and ending with gold lamé) before breakfast on Christmas morning. This is partly because the gold lamé hook won’t bear the excessive weight for long, but mostly because our stockings are brimming with homemade edibles which will join us at the breakfast table. Jam, chutney, and nut butters; homemade cheese, secret spice blends, and lamb sausage; marshmallows and walnut liqueur have all appeared over the years.

One recurring homemade treat is granola, which is so well loved that my mother and I both make it each year and give it to one another. We do not have a family recipe, preferring to always try something new. This version is my favorite just now – spiced with cardamom and ginger, lightly sweetened with honey, and generously studded with toasted nuts.

granola gifts

This recipe is very adaptable, so feel free to use as many or few types of nuts and seeds as you like. If I want to keep it simple, I’ll limit the recipe cashews, sesame, & ginger, or pecan, pumpkin seed, & dried cherry. Because I am currently following a gluten free regimen, I’ve made certain to source gluten free products when making this recipe for myself. If gluten is a not a concern for you, don’t be put off by the title. You can use your favorite brand of oatmeal, and add wheat germ for extra nutrition.

Of course, when I get to the breakfast table I usually put the granola aside in favor of Great-Grandma’s Christmas pastry. I may yet share that recipe with you, but in the meantime I have a few other gift ideas. Check back soon!

honey nut granola

Gluten Free Honey & Nut Granola

makes about 7 cups

3 C Bob’s Red Mill gluten free rolled oats, or other certified gluten free
1 1/2 C mixed raw whole nuts – almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, etc.
1/2 C mixed raw sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds
1 T flaxseed (or wheat germ if if gluten is not a concern)
6 T almond, walnut, or vegetable oil
6 T honey, River Farm’s own
1 t cardamom
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 t sea salt
freshly ground nutmeg
1/3 C dried apricots, pears, or cherries, finely chopped
2-3 T candied ginger, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350º F, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine the oats, nuts, seeds, and flaxseed in a large bowl. Heat the oil and honey over gentle heat in a small saucepan until warm. Stir in the spices and salt; toss the honey mixture with the nut mixture until combined.

Spread evenly in the sheet pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is evenly golden brown and richly fragrant. Remove from the oven and give it a final stir, then let it cool completely before mixing in the dried fruit and candied ginger. Store in a very airtight container (remember honey is hygroscopic!) in the fridge for up to several weeks.


gluten free granola

October 22, 2010

Ricotta Hotcakes with Whipped Honey Butter

Filed under: honey,recipe — Tags: , — admin @ 4:44 pm

These are the tender, fluffy-as-cloud hotcakes you dreamt of just before waking. They are delightful with most any ripe fruit you have on hand.

ricotta hotcakes, honey butter

Whipped Honey Butter

½ C unsalted butter, softened
2 T honey
big pinch salt

Beat the butter with an electric beater or stand mixer until pale and creamy. Add the salt and slowly drizzle in the honey, continuing to beat until uniformly combined and fluffy. Refrigerate until needed (or keep deliciously soft at room temperature).

Ricotta Hotcakes

makes one dozen

8 oz ricotta, the freshest available
½ C nonfat milk
3 eggs, divided, room temperature
¾ C all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
pinch salt
2 t sugar
fresh fruit, optional
honey, to garnish

Whisk together the ricotta, milk, and egg yolks in a large bowl. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the ricotta mixture and stir briefly to combine.

hotcakes coming up!

Whip the egg whites with an electric beater or stand mixer until they hold soft peaks, add the sugar, and continue beating to stiff peaks peaks. Mix one-third of the egg whites into the ricotta batter, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites with a light hand.

Heat a pat of butter in a skillet over medium low heat, then dollop 3 tablespoons of batter for each cake. Cook 1-2 minutes or until the underside is golden, then flip and cook through.

Keep warm in a 200°F oven until the batter is all cooked up, then serve with whipped honey butter, fruit, and a drizzle of honey.

October 2, 2010

Shiitake Pizza with Goat Cheese and Honied Brown Butter

Filed under: honey,recipe,uncategorized — Tags: , , , — admin @ 7:03 pm

In the midst of driving rain and the sort of wind that makes a mockery of umbrellas, I strode to the weekly farmers’ market, as eager for my produce as ever. I was happy to find the owner and staff of Wishing Stone Farm bravely battened down. Hiding behind the eggplants and chard was a basket of mushrooms- shiitakes grown right in Little Compton. Hoping to do them justice, I thought up this pizza with a little help from Sweet Paul and a visit to Farmstead. Something celebratory, as we completed harvesting the honey last week! It is rich with the autumnal flavors of shiitake, goat cheese,  and sage, finished with our own honey.


shiitakes and pizza dough

Follow your own excellent judgment in the selection of goat cheese. Chèvre would give a nice tart contrast, bûcheron I suspect would be wonderful, but I couldn’t resist a slice of Twig Farm’s washed rind wheel. It is a funky and briny semi-soft mixed milk cheese, and it is excellent alongside the honied brown butter.

About this honied brown butter – I’m really onto something. A sweet and nutty and rich something that I could eat by the spoonful. If it starts to separate before the pizzas are ready, gently reheat and stir it smooth once more.

I chose to try baking the pizza on an upturned cast iron skillet in an attempt to maximize my oven’s somewhat feeble heat, preheating the skillet in the oven from the get-go. I didn’t manage it very gracefully, but I did receive a crust that is both substantial and crisp for my efforts. Whether or not you attempt the skillet method, I suggest preheating your cooking surface in the oven, then sliding the prepared pizza onto it from a semolina-dusted baking sheet.

shiitake pizza

Shiitake Pizza with Goat Cheese and Honied Brown Butter

makes two 10″ pizzas or equivalent

Pizza Dough

1 C warm water
1 1/2 t yeast
2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C semolina flour (for a crispy crust, but if there’s none in the pantry substitute all-purpose or cornmeal)
2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt

Combine the tepid water (what happened to the old fashioned term bloodwarm? I’m kind of fond of it), yeast, and flour in large bowl. Add the semolina flour, olive oil, and salt and work the dough around until it holds its shape. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic, adding up to 1/2 C more flour if it becomes sticky. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450ºF at the end of that hour, or at least 30 minutes before baking, with an upside down cast iron skillet inside.

Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 2 parts using a bench scraper or knife. Roll the pieces into balls, cover with a cloth, and let them rest for 20 minutes.

Shiitake, Goat Cheese, and Honied Brown Butter Topping

12 oz. shiitake mushrooms, or a mushroom mixture of your choice
2 shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 T olive or canola oil
6 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
3 T unsalted butter
about 8 sage leaves, chopped
4 t honey, River Farm’s own
sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Brush the shiitakes clean and divest them of their tough stems with a paring knife (reserve the stems for flavoring another dish if you like). Thinly slice the mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, shallot, and garlic with a dash of salt and saute for about 5 minutes, until the moisture they release has cooked off and the mushrooms begin to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Roll and stretch the pizza dough into 2 rounds. Sprinkle semolina flour over a flat baking sheet and lay a round of dough across it. Top with half the mushroom mixture, half the goat cheese, and seasonings if you see fit. Open the oven and quick! slide the first pizza onto the upturned skillet. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

While the first pizza is baking, dress the runner up in the same way on the baking sheet. Slide the first pizza onto a cooling rack, and slide the second pizza onto the skillet to repeat the cooking process.

Melt the butter in a small saute pan over low heat. Watch it carefully until it just begins to brown, then add the chopped sage and swirl it about. Continue cooking over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until the sage is crispy and the butter has earned a nutty fragrance. Remove from heat, spoon the sage out of the browned butter, and set the sage aside.

Add the honey to the hot butter along with 1/8 teaspoon salt and swirl to combine. Drizzle the honied brown butter across the pizzas and sprinkle with the crispy sage. Enjoy!

September 26, 2010

Banana and Honey Pudding Cake

Filed under: honey,recipe — Tags: , , , — admin @ 6:31 pm

I harbor a deep and abiding love of pudding cakes. After the joyous ease of preparation, a pudding cake may not be much to look at, but its magnificence lies in its texture. Both textures, the light cake on top and the rich custard hiding beneath. It is equally comforting when eaten warm with ice cream, or cold with macerated fresh fruit, and is adaptable to any season.

banana honey pudding cake

Pudding cake relies on acid in the batter to bake up with a stable cake layer and a tender custard. This is usually lemon or orange, but I’ve taken a shine to less common flavorings such as grapefruit, buttermilk, or molasses. This version is flavored with the tangy-sweet combination of buttermilk, banana, and honey.

When baking with bananas I follow one cardinal rule to achieve maximum banana flavor, and I’ll pass it along to you. Ready? Roast the banana first, in its skin. I extract the requisite number of fruits from my stash of frozen overripe bananas, sit them as-is on a foil lined tray, and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, until brown, fragrant, and oozing grossly. If I could make this step imperative for every banana bread in the world, I truly would.

Banana and Honey Pudding Cake

4-6 servings from one 8″ square pan, one 9″ round cake pan, six ramekins, or something that hold 1 1/2 quarts

2 very ripe bananas, fresh or frozen
1/4 C honey, River Farm’s own
2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 C flour
1/4 t salt
1 1/4 C buttermilk
3 eggs, separated
1 egg white
2 T sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the pan of your choice, then place inside a larger roasting pan for the hot water bath the cake will bake in.

Roast the bananas in their skins on a foil lined sheet for 8-10 minutes (or about 15 minutes if they’re frozen), until fragrant, brown, and soft. Set aside to cool slightly. Slide them out of their skins ( yes, bizarre) and thoroughly mash in a medium bowl.

Stir the honey and melted butter into the mashed banana, followed by the flour and salt. Combine the buttermilk and egg yolks in a small bowl, then stir into the banana mixture.

Using a stand mixer, handheld mixer, or raw forearm power, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating just to stiff peaks.

Carefully fold in the egg whites into the banana mixture. Ladle the batter into the prepared pan(s), and fill the larger roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the baking pan(s). Bake ramekins for 25 minutes, or a larger pan for 40 minutes, until cake is puffed and springs back when gently touched. Remove from the oven and rest in the hot water bath for 10 minutes. The pudding cake may be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

banana honey pudding cake

September 19, 2010

Roasted Beet Salad with Honied Riesling Vinaigrette

Filed under: honey,recipe — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 10:45 pm

roasted beet salad with honied riesling vinaigrette

I do love beets. Sweetish, yielding, and slightly caramelized in the oven. This is my current favorite salad, because it is both simple and matches charmingly with a cool glass of white wine. As the weather grows colder I will counter the chill with more daring beet recipes, but just now in the very earliest autumn I have this to offer.

Roasted Beet Salad with Honied Riesling Vinaigrette

Serve 6 as a first course, 4 as lunch

3-4 largish beets, any color

1 T minced shallot
2-3 t white wine vinegar
1/2 C Riesling or Gewurztraminer (or a sweet Picpoul de Pinet, as I used this time)
1 T honey, River Farm’s own
¼ t salt
several grinds fresh black pepper
4 T almond oil or your favorite mild oil

6C mixed flavorful greens such as arugula, frisée, or escarole
optional additions:
toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans
torn herbs such as chives, tarragon, parsely, basil
cheese such as chevre, manchego, parmesan, or feta

Roast the beets according to your preference. Typically I trim the stems and roots, wrap the beets altogether in foil, and roast at 350°F for about 45 minutes, until easily pierced through with a knife. You could also salt roast the beets, or as I did, slide them into the still-very-hot oven after baking a loaf of bread, checking for tenderness after 45 minutes. Peel the beets, slice them into rounds, and set aside.

Combine the shallot and vinegar in a medium bowl, set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the wine and honey until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly and combine the reduction with the shallot mixture and seasonings. Gradually add the almond oil while whisking vigorously.

Toss the vinaigrette with the beets and serve over greens. Top with toasted nuts, herbs, or cheese as you please.

beet salad, picpoul de pinet

September 13, 2010

Celeriac & Apple Salad

Filed under: honey,recipe — Tags: , , , — admin @ 9:40 am

The crisp autumnal flavors of celery root and apple are complemented by a piquant dressing in this bright and crunchy salad. My thanks to Wishing Stone Farm for augmenting our garden produce all summer long  – they have such wonderful veggies and inspire new recipes, such as this very salad.

celeriac and apple salad

Celeriac & Apple Salad with Creamy Honey Dijon Dressing

Serves 6 as a side

1 T shallot, minced
1 T cider vinegar
1 t fennel seeds
2 t mustard seeds
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T honey
1 t mayonnaise
½ t salt
several grinds black pepper
3 T vegetable oil
3 T buttermilk

1 medium celeriac, cleaned and peeled
1 tart apple
1 T parsley, chopped fine
2 t tarragon, chopped fine

Place the shallot and vinegar in a small bowl to macerate. Toast the fennel in a dry pan over low heat for a minute, then add the mustard seeds and continue toasting until fragrant. Set aside to cool in a medium bowl.

Whisk the vinegar and shallot, mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and seasonings into the toasted seeds. Continue whisking while very gradually adding the vegetable oil, then stir in the buttermilk.

Coarsely grate the celeriac and apple using a food processor or box grater. Immediately toss with dressing, then stir in the herbs and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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