Sunday, November 13, 2011

Honey and Hazelnuts - November 2011

Diva:  Stacey

Drinks:  Erin
Lychee Martinis

¼ c sugar
¼ c water
1 c drained canned lychees (15 to 20, from a 16- to 20-oz can)
2 T fresh lemon juice
6 oz (¾ cup) vodka (preferably Skyy)
1 ½ oz (3 T) Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur

Heat sugar and water in a 1-quart saucepan over high heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, then pour into a heatproof bowl set in a large bowl of ice and cold water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until syrup is cold, about 3 minutes.
Purée lychees with sugar syrup and lemon juice in a blender until smooth, then force through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids and then discarding them. Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes and add lychee purée, vodka, and Cointreau. Shake 15 seconds and strain into Martini glasses.

Appetizer:  Hallie
Brie and Honeycomb

Serve slices of a baguette with a wheel of brie and oozing hunk of honeycomb.  Allow your inner diva revel in the lusciousness of those flavors combined.  

Soup:  Mary Ellen
Honey Carrot Soup

16 oz baby carrots or 3 ½ c sliced carrots     
1 c chicken broth 
½ medium onion, chopped 
½ c  
2% milk 
1/4 c honey 
ground nutmeg, to taste    

In large saucepan, combine carrots, chicken broth and onion. Cover and  simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender.  Transfer mixture to blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Return  to saucepan. Add milk and honey. Return to simmer. Serve hot or chilled,  sprinkled with nutmeg. 

(From the National Honey Board)
Salad:  Mariah and Sara
Inspired Salad

Organic Greens
Fresh Blackberries
Romano Cheese
White Balsamic
Olive Oil

Mix tbsp of honey with a dash of salt and ¼ tsp cayenne, add water until the mixture softens to a stir pour mixture over 2 cups of hazelnuts, place in over for 20 minutes at 350 (check often).  Set hazelnuts aside and drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on a large cutting board appropriate for serving, salt and pepper the board then place the greens on the slab, using two kitchen knives toss the salad on the cutting board coating the leaves with olive oil, drizzle white balsamic over the greens and coat again using the kitchen knives.  Using a carrot peeler, peel a generous amount of cheese on top of the salad the salad is nearly ready to serve!  To put the finishing touches on this inspired pile the berries and nuts in each on the four corners.  As inspired by Jamie Oliver – serve on the cutting slab!

Side Dish:  Lovina
Twice Baked Bourbon-Hazelnut Sweet Potatoes

2 T. veggie oil
3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 round, not skinny)
½ c crème fraiche or cream cheese
6 T melted butter, divided
2 T. pure maple syrup
2 T bourbon
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg, divided
¼ c chopped hazelnuts (or pecans, walnuts…)
¼ c panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil the sweet potatoes and roast on rimmed baking sheet until very tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. (You can nook them in the microwave to speed the roasting time!)

Cool slightly. Cut each potato in half and place the flesh of the top halves in a bowl—it should just fall out of the skin. Gently scoop the flesh out of the bottom halves and add it to the bowl, leaving a little around the edges for stability. Mix in the crème fraiche, 4 Tbs. butter, syrup, bourbon, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt and pepper to taste. Using a hand mixer (or immersion blender), puree until smooth.

Scoop the potato puree back into the bottom halves. Mix the remaining 2 Tb. of butter and ¼ tsp. nutmeg with the panko and chopped nuts. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the mixture over the tops of the sweet potatoes.
Bake another 15-20 minutes until warmed through and golden on top!

* These can be made 2-3 days in advance. If coming out of the fridge, bake 30-40 minutes–until warmed through or cheat and rewarm in the microwave. *smile* I won’t tell!


Entrée:  Colleen
Polenta with Caramelized Onion, Pear, and Hazelnuts

4 c cornmeal
8 c water
10 cloves garlic
olive oil for sauteing
finely copped rosemary to taste
2-3 T honey
1 c heavy cream

I make polenta in my multi cooker because it is so easy.  I made this in two batches (half of the ingredients per batch).  On brown setting, saute garlic for 1-2 minutes.  Add polenta, water, rosemary, and honey and stir.  Set to rice cook.  When finished with the cycle, stir in cream.  Put polenta in a 9x13 pan in an even layer.  I refrigerated mine overnight.

Caramelized onions
this is a pretty basic recipe - but you can follow a recipe like this one.

 2 pears thinly sliced
8 oz of smoked gruere grated
hazelnuts finely chopped

Bake the polenta at 350 for ~45 minutes or until warmed though and starting to get golden on the top.  Take out of the oven and layer with caramelized onions and pear.  Bake for another 10 minutes.  Layer with cheese and hazelnuts and bake for another 10 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes, cut and serve!

Dessert:  Ashley and Tamara
White Chocolate Mocha Hazelnut Layered Mousse 
(served with Ashley's Hazelnut Honey Brittle, see below)

200g dark chocolate, chopped
200ml soya whipping cream, chilled
3 T icing sugar, sifted after measuring
3 T Kahlua

200g vegan white chocolate
200ml soya whipping cream, chilled
3 T icing sugar, sifted after measuring
3 T Frangelico

First a warning - this needs a lot of load of bowls so get prepared! **Now completely line a standard size loaf tin with cling film so that it overhangs all edges. Melt the dark and the white chocolate separately, I did this placing bowls over pots of simmering water but you could also microwave. Once they have melted scrape them into separate bowls to cool down, they will take too long to cool if you leave them in the bowl you melted them in. Keep giving them a stir to help them cool.

Place the whipping cream into 2 large bowls (200ml in each bowl) and whisk in the icing sugar. Now you have to wait until the chocolates are close to room temperature, if you whisk hot or too warm chocolate into the cold soya cream it will seize up. When ready start with the dark chocolate and scrape it slowly into the whipping cream whisking all the time. When it looks all combined then you can slowly start to whisk in the Kahlua a bit at a time then set it aside.

Repeat the same process with the white chocolate and Frangelico but don't worry if this one seems floppier than the dark chocolate, they set the same.

Now take 1/3 of the dark chocolate mousse and place in another bowl (told you it takes a lot of bowls!) and take 1/3 of the white chocolate mousse and add that and whisk these together well. Now you should have equal bowls of dark chocolate, white chocolate and mixed mousse. Being precise as I am I weighed the mousse to figure out exactly 1/3, but you could just eyeball it of course!

**Spoon the dark chocolate mousse into the loaf tin and level off as best you can. Top with the white chocolate mousse then the mixed mousse levelling off each layer. Now place it in the fridge to fully set, best to leave it overnight but 5 hours should do it.


**I made these in individual ramekins and served with a chunck of Ashley’s brittle.

Ashley’s Hazelnut Honey Brittle

3 c hazelnuts
¾ c honey
¾ c butter

Toast and skin hazelnuts.  Curse alot while spending an inordinate amount of time rubbing the stubborn skins off and chasing after the ones that pop out of your hand and roll across the floor.
In a heavy saucepan, bring honey to a simmer, whisk in butter and cook until saucelike, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in nuts.  Spread on a parchment-lined or generously greased cookie sheet.  Place in freezer for at least 2 hours.  Cut into pieces and wrap in wax paper and store in the freezer.

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