By Chef Patty Griffey
About a year ago we planted a “Heritage Garden” at the Inn so that guests from other parts of the U.S. (and the rest of the world for that matter) could see first hand how tobacco, cotton, indigo and sugar cane grow. As the new garden and others on the grounds expanded, we decided to add two bee hives to keep everything well pollinated. Our local Latta Beekeeper, Jim Allen, set up the hives and has been maintaining them for us. A wonderful byproduct of having the hives is the honey they produce. Jim recently harvested our first crop of “Wild Flower” honey which resulted in 205, 4 ounce bottles for use in the kitchen and also for our guests.
Honey is an amazing versatile substance. It is an easily digestible carbohydrate which is 1/3 sweeter that sugar. It contains about 15 nutrients (sugar has none) including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Honey enters the bloodstream slowly so, no sugar spike, and helps metabolize undesirable cholesterol and fatty acids. Another benefit is that honey ingested from your surrounding environment can help reduce allergies by introducing small amounts of the pollens that cause reactions into your system.
With the honey bottled, I was inspired to try a few new recipes, which are all quick and easy for this warm summer season. One is an appetizer, one, a salad dressing and finally a dessert. Hope you enjoy them all.
Warm Goat Cheese Toasts with Rosemary, Walnuts and Honey
One 8 ounce French bread baguette
8 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut eighteen 1/4 inch diagonal slices from baguette. Spread goat cheese on each slice. Arrange in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until edges are slightly golden and cheese softens, about 10 minutes. Set aside on sheet. Heat honey in small saucepan over medium heat until warm, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle toasts with walnuts, then rosemary and drizzle with honey.
Honey Garlic Dressing
For 1/2 cup dressing:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 peeled, crushed clove of garlic
For larger quantities, simply increase the amount of each ingredient proportionately. Put all three ingredients in a glass jar with a lid, shake well.
Tear lettuce into bite size piece, slice one red and one green apple (unpeeled), and section one peeled orange. Mix together. Toss dressing with salad right before serving. Dressing will keep in refrigerator for a week to 10 days.
Whipped Ricotta with Honey and Mixed Berries
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups mixed fresh berries
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Blend ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, honey and vanilla in food processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ricotta mixture is slightly set, about 2 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead, keep refrigerated and stir before using.
Combine the berries, lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl and toss to coat. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Divide the ricotta mixture into 6 sherbert, parfait or wine glasses and top with berries.
To view a demonstration of the preparation of these recipes, visit www.abingdonmanor.com and click on the button for “Patty’s Cooking Shows” and view episode 12.