Monday, August 31, 2015

Fresh Fruit, Walnut and Arugula Salad with Spicy Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette

Summertime is salad season around our household. We love the delicious varieties of fresh fruit that are available. I love to include apricots, as they have been a favorite since childhood when my grandmother introduced me to them. I love to stuff them with goat cheese and roast them to include in our salads.

Another way I elevate the flavors in my salads is by including several products from Honey Ridge Farms. This salad recipe includes both their Clover Honey Crème and Balsamic Honey Vinegar. They provide the perfect kiss of sweetness.

Since we are in an area of the country where it gets very hot and humid during the summer months, I like to prepare my salads early in the morning when it is cool and place them in the refrigerator until dinner time. Ball One Quart Wide Mouth Jars are great vessels to use to store your salads in until you are ready to use them. They will keep your salads fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I store my vinaigrette separately in a small jar with a lid.
I think you will enjoy this salad, especially the sweet and spicy combination of flavors on the walnuts and in the vinaigrette.

Fresh Fruit, Walnut and Arugula Salad with Spicy Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette
by Linda

4 apricots
2 cups strawberries
1 cup blueberries
2-3 cups of arugula
4 Tablespoons of creamy goat cheese
1 cup walnut halves
2 teaspoons Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Crème
1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (I used Slap Ya Mama Hot Blend Spicy Seasoning)

1) Wash all fruit and thoroughly pat dry with paper towel.
2) Wash arugula and pat dry between two paper towels. Make sure it's completely dry.
3) Cut apricots in half and remove pits.
4) Place 1 Tablespoon of goat cheese on each apricot half, then top with one blueberry.
5) Place goat cheese stuffed apricots under broiler on high heat for 4-5 minutes, until cheese bubbles and is slightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
6) In a bowl, toss walnuts with 2 teaspoons Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Crème and 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.
7) Place on foil lined cookie sheet. Bake in 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
8) Cut strawberries in half.
9) Layer ingredients between 2 one-quart ball jars. Start with a hand full of arugula in each jar, divide strawberries between two jars, add another hand full of arugula in each, divide blueberries between two jars, divide walnuts between two jars and then last nestle two of the stuffed apricots on top or each jar.
10) Add lids and place in refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

1/2 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar
1/2-1 teaspoon* Cajun seasoning (I used Slap Ya Mama Hot Blend Spicy Seasoning)
1 clove of garlic, mashed into a paste

Combine all the ingredients in a jar with lid, shake well. Refrigerate until ready to use. (*if you like spicy, you should use the full teaspoon of Cajun seasoning).

To serve salads:
Remove apricots from jar and place on serving plate. Empty the rest of the salad on serving plate and lightly toss. Vigorously shake jar of vinaigrette, then drizzle a generous amount on salad.

Each jar is one large dinner-sized serving, or two small side salads/servings.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cinnamon Ice Cream with Salted Honey-Caramel Shell

This delicate, delectable ice cream is restaurant quality. Whether you say it tastes of fresh sopapillas or a cinnamon flan, it will knock your socks right off! The secret is the smooth honey of Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Crème - whose leftovers can be poured over any of your favorite desserts!

Cinnamon Ice Cream with Salted Honey-Caramel Shell
by Kate J.

For the ice cream:
2 cups ​whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1​-2​ medium ​cinnamon sticks​, broken into pieces (not crushed)
​3/4 teaspoon vanilla
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup ​sugar
1/​4​ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

​For the honey-caramel shell:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Crème
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste

Special Equipment:
Ice cream maker, mesh colander

Add the milk and cream to a medium saucepan along with the cinnamon-stick pieces​ and vanilla. On medium-high, heat the mixture until steaming, but not boiling, and remove from heat. Allow the milks and spice to steep for about 60 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks in a bowl along with the sugar.

After steeping, return the milk mixture to medium-high until steaming again. Then add a small amount of the warm mixture to the yolks, mixing constantly, to temper the yolks. Repeat several times until all the milk has been incorporated.

Pour the custard base back into the saucepan. On medium, cook - stirring constantly - until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.

Strain the custard through a mesh colander, add the ground cinnamon and salt and place in a covered container. Cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to all night.

When cold, place into your ice cream maker and use according to your machine's instructions. Once churned, return the custard to a covered container and freeze until set, at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the honey-caramel shell.

​Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the honey and salt, stirring constantly, and continue to heat until the mixture bubbles and thickens slightly. It may turn a mildly toasted color, but should be allowed to caramelize no further. Pour mixture into a sealable container and allow to cool at room temperature.

​To serve: If too cool to pour, heat the honey-caramel for 15-20 seconds in the microwave - but not hot enough to melt the ice cream. Drizzle the caramel in the serving ​dish, then scoop in the ice cream. Top with more caramel, which should harden to a delicious, chewy consistency. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Honey Chipotle Glazed Pork

The Balsamic Honey Vinegar and Clover Honey Crème from Honey Ridge Farms bring a rich, earthy sweetness to this flavorful recipe. Perfect for your indoor or outdoor grilling, the combination of honey, chipotle, soy and mustard create the perfect marinade for pork, chicken or beef.

Honey Chipotle Glazed Pork
by Gary Gee
Serves 6

4 pounds pork country style ribs
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons peanut oil
2 Tablespoons Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

1 Tablespoon Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Crème
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from the can of chipotle in adobo)
1 pinch coarse salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place pork pieces in a large baking dish. Sprinkle liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. Whisk together marinade ingredients and pour over pork. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for one hour, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat ovenproof indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Whisk together glaze ingredients and set aside.

Remove pork from marinade and pat dry, discarding marinade. Brush grill pan lightly with oil. Grill pork over medium-high heat until browned, 3-4 minutes per side, turning once to create hatch marks (if desired), taking care not to burn. Place pan of pork into oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Baste pork liberally with glaze, then bake for 15-20 minutes more, or until internal temperature reaches 140°F. Rest pork for 10 minutes before serving.

Cook’s note: You may also grill over a charcoal or gas grill, basting and finishing over indirect heat.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Honey-Thyme Profiteroles

My mom used to make cream puffs all the time when I was little (I think it was a 70’s thing). She would fill them with vanilla or chocolate pudding and top with chocolate ganache. Many years after moving away from home, I asked her about them and her response was “oh they are SO easy to make!” As a kid, I guess I always thought they looked fancy, so they must be hard to make. But Mom (as always) was right - they are easy to make, good for making ahead, and they really do look fancy!

I wanted to make a filling lighter than pudding, but not just plain whipped cream. I settled on a combination of cream cheese, honey crème, and whipped cream. The filling is light, has a great honey flavor, a hint of cream cheese flavor and is not overly sweet, but completely delicious!

Honey-Thyme Profiteroles
by Jennifer Scantlin
Adapted from Alton Brown's Sweet or Savory Pate a Choux and Chef in Training's Homemade Cream Puffs

1 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup of eggs (4 whole eggs plus egg whites to fill to one cup, if needed)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Pinch of cream of tartar
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 Tablespoons Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Crème, plus additional for drizzling on top
Fresh thyme leaves

Heat oven to 400°F.

To make the shells, combine water, butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add flour, all at once. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is completely incorporated and forms a ball of dough. Remove from heat and let cool in pan 5 minutes. Still off the heat, stir in eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next.

Place golf-ball sized portions of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat (you should have about 12 balls of dough). You can use a small ice cream scoop for this, or a piping bag if you have one. Smooth out the tops of dough using a little water and your finger or a spoon.

Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and use a paring knife to cut a small slit into the side of each shell to let the steam escape. Let cool completely. These can be made a day ahead and kept in an airtight container, or made up to a month ahead and frozen. Re-crisp in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes and let cool completely before filling.

While the shells are cooking and cooling, pour heavy cream into a cold stainless steel bowl and add the cream of tartar. Using an electric mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks form and refrigerate. Using same beaters, whip cream cheese in a separate bowl for a few minutes until fluffy. Add honey crème and whip for a few more minutes, making sure all honey crème is incorporated.

When you are ready to assemble the profiteroles, fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese/honey mixture. Again, you can use a piping bag or just a spoon to fill the shells. Cut the shells in half horizontally, and pipe or spoon the filling into the bottom half of the shells. Sprinkle some thyme leaves onto the filling and place the top of the shell onto the filling.

When ready to serve, drizzle the tops of the profiteroles with more honey crème. Enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tomato Salad with Honey and Thyme

When I was a kid, my mom made a salad that was incredibly simple: Sliced ripe summer tomatoes, salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar.

It almost sounds too simple, right? But, summer tomatoes don't need a whole lot. And with that salad, every single ingredient served to enhance the tomatoes rather than cover them up.

I usually make that same salad at least once over the summer, sometimes making it more sweet, and other times edging towards the puckery-tart. But this time, I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of using sugar, I decided to use honey. And not just any honey - I used Clover Honey Creme from Honey Ridge Farms.

I wanted to find a way to use the honey in its purest form, not cooked into something. Short of eating it with a spoon (which I might or might not have done - it's really good!) I was stumped.

Well, I could have drizzled it on ice cream or English muffins. Despite those being delicious ideas, they wouldn't have been a very good recipe. But, when I brought tomatoes home from the farmer's market, I had the idea of using the honey with the tomatoes.

Well, then. Salad.

Tomato Salad with Honey and Thyme
By Donna Currie, Cookistry

1/2 large red tomato (beefsteak, if you can find them)
1/2 large green or yellow tomato
Pinch of salt
Several grinds of black pepper
Leaves stripped from 1 spring fresh thyme
Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme, as needed
Red wine vinegar, as needed

Remove the core from the tomato and slice into thin wedges. Arrange the slices on a plate - I alternated the red and green, but you could put all red on one side of a the plate and all green on the other.

And, of course, you could use just one large tomato. Or use several tomatoes to make a whole platter for a party.

Sprinkle on salt and grind on the pepper, then strew the thyme leaves on top. Drizzle on the honey cream in thin strands. I used a fork to portion the honey.

Drizzle on just a little bit of vinegar. I know you've seen this on TV, where you put your thumb over most of the opening of the bottle and just shake on a small amount here and there.


You can refrigerate the leftovers, but the tomatoes tend to get a little soft. They still taste good, but the presentation isn't as nice.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Retro Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Roasted Figs and Honey Vinaigrette

I was chatting with a friend recently about his upcoming move to North Carolina when he mentioned that he once lived there "way back in the 90's." This immediately sparked a mental mini conversation with myself. "Were the 90's really that long ago? I mean I know the 80's are retro, but do we have to throw the 90's in there now too? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was doing the Macarena and checking the TV guide for when the next episode of The Cosby Show was on!" Noticing the mental struggle I was having by the puzzled look on my face, my friend chuckled and reminded me that time really has flown by. So, I conceded to the idea that the 90's were far enough in the past to now celebrate them and some of its trends as vintage style. Therefore, I pulled this warm goat cheese salad recipe out of the 90's vault and gave it a dash of current foodie flair with some roasted figs and sweetened the deal with a couple of Honey Ridge Farms amazing products. Thanks to living out a third of the 90's in Belgium as an expat, I have many fond memories of this dish. In fact, after discovering this French creation in our French speaking city of Brussels, I am sure I ate every version that existed across Europe during those few years. When you love something enough to know how to order it in French, you just go with it. A combination of crisp warm tangy cheese atop delicate greens tossed in perfect vinaigrette and a drizzle of honey to top it all off became my European comfort food that smoothed out the rough edges of moving to a place much more drastic than North Carolina.

Retro Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Roasted Figs and Honey Vinaigrette
by Krisi

Goat Cheese Rounds:
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme choppe
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 large egg whites
8 ounces fresh goat cheese logs, cut into 8 rounds

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar
1 teaspoon Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Roasted Figs:
6-8 fresh (or dried and rehydrated) mission figs, halved
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt

Salad Greens:
8 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 yellow sweet pepper, julienned
2 teaspoons Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme for drizzling

Prepare goat cheese: Place panko, thyme, salt and pepper in shallow dish. Beat egg whites until foamy in a separate shallow dish. Press each goat cheese round into 1/4-inch disk. Dip goat cheese rounds, one at a time, into egg whites then into panko mixture, pressing crumbs slightly into goat cheese. Place all goat cheese rounds onto a tray and chill for at least one hour.

Prepare honey vinaigrette: In a small mason jar with a tight fitting lid, add all vinaigrette ingredients, except the oil, and shake to mix well. Next add the olive oil and shake to incorporate. Chill until ready to use.

Prepare figs: Preheat oven to 400°F. Put figs, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once melted, whisk in honey creme, cinnamon and salt. Drizzle the honey butter over the figs and roast 10 to 15 minutes until figs are soft and gooey. Set aside.

Turn oven temperature to 375°F. Remove chilled goat cheese rounds from refrigerator. Using a spatula, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until warm throughout, then finish of under the broiler for 2 - 3 minutes until golden brown. Set aside for several minutes while preparing the greens.

Remove vinaigrette from the refrigerator and shake well. Toss dressing with greens and sweet pepper. Divide greens among four individual serving plates. Top each pile of greens with figs and two warm goat cheese rounds. Drizzle some more Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme on top of the warm goat cheese rounds. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sous Vide Double Honey Turkey Legs

Sous Vide Double Honey Turkey Legs
by Willie

4 Turkey drumsticks
4 ounces Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh finely chopped thyme
2 Tablespoons Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme

Mix the balsamic and the thyme and put into a meat injector. Inject on opposite sides of the drumsticks. Vacuum seal in appropriate bags for sous vide.

Set temperature to 149°F for 6 hours. Place sealed bags in water and forget them.

Remove drumsticks from sous vide bag(s) and baste with Honey Creme. Place on hot grill until honey carmelizes, about 5-10 minutes.

Serve with roasted corn brushed with Honey Creme and you will be amazed!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sweet Honey Creme Crêpes

Ah, crêpes! Those sweet (or savory) super thin French delights that most of us adore. Over the years I have made many. And over the years I have failed so many times that I almost gave up. But then...I came across this recipe with the adaptation of the honey creme for the sugar and voila - perfection! It also helps that I have a good non-stick pan, nothing super pricey but one without a bunch of scratches and imperfections in it.

Heat and timing are also key here. Do not try and cook it too quickly or you'll burn the butter (and thus the crêpe.) On that note, do not walk away from the stove or you'll have burnt crêpes. It's ok to peek at the underside if you're not sure if it's cooked enough or not. And to be honest, I've even flipped a few back over to get that desired crisp, but delicate, texture.

Most importantly: Make a bunch of them. These are a crowd pleaser and will be gobbled up before you know it. Bon Appétit!

Sweet Honey Creme Crêpes
by Holly K
Adapted from Crepes in Betty Crocker's New Cookbook

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Fresh fruit

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk, Clover Honey Creme, butter, vanilla and eggs and blend until smooth. Let sit 5-10 minutes.

Heat a small non-stick 6" skillet on medium-high heat. Lightly butter the pan and pour 1/4 cup of batter inside. Rotate the pan so that the batter forms a thin, uniform layer. Cook 2-3 minutes until the underside is lightly browned. Gently flip the crêpe and cook another minute or so and golden on the underside. Remove crêpe to a plate. Repeat process with remaining batter.

In a medium chilled bowl, beat the whipping cream with a hand mixer until soft peaks form.

To serve crêpes, top with your favorite fruit and a spoonful of the fresh cream.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Honey-Orange Fried Bananas

I have never used honey cream before, so I got really excited and I was really pleased with what I saw when I opened my jar of Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme. It's whipped and has a nice smooth consistency that is really easy to spoon out and use. Very luxurious, in my opinion. It is perfect for this quick and simple dish.

Honey-Orange Fried Bananas
by Linda

1 banana
2 teaspoons Ghee
1 Tablespoon Clover Honey Creme
1 teaspoon Orange Peel Zest (I use Spice House)
Sea salt

1) Slice your banana into 1/2-inch rounds.

2) Melt Ghee in large non-stick skillet on medium heat.

3) Place banana rounds in skillet and fry 4-5 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

4) Remove banana rounds from skillet and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.

5) Clean skillet, removing all remaining Ghee from pan.

6) Return skillet to low heat and add the Clover Honey Creme, gently swirl around.

7) Turn skillet off and place bananas back into skillet. Spoon Clover Honey Creme over the bananas to coat evenly.

8) Sprinkle Orange Peel Zest over bananas, along with a pinch of sea salt.

9) Serve warm.

These are great on ice cream, steel-cut oatmeal or even toast.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Honey Blossoms with Candied Orange Peel

When Honey Ridge Farms sent me a jar of uncooked honey creme, I knew I could make something wonderful. I wanted to highlight the flavor and texture. My kitchen buddy, Tiffany Lamb, suggested I tinker with her sensuous Mascarpone Flowers, and this is the splendid result. I used creme made from clover honey for these simple blossoms; other flavors of the creme are blackberry, blood orange and lemon/lavender. Any of them would work well in this recipe.

Honey Blossoms with Candied Orange Peel
by Maurita
Makes 24 flowers

24 wonton wrappers
6 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Creme
1 teaspoon dried orange peel OR 1 Tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
Pinch salt
1 egg
1/3 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray mini-muffin tin, or grease it. Press one wonton wrapper into each of the 24 wells of the prepared tin, letting the points stick out.

In a medium bowl, beat the mascarpone, honey creme, orange peel/zest and salt until thoroughly blended.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg with the heavy cream, then pour that mixture into the cheese/honey and stir to combine.

Put a spoonful of the filling into each of the wontons; there should be just enough to fill each one.

Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and let stand,
undisturbed, at least 10 minutes. Carefully remove from the tin and let the blossoms cool on a rack.

Garnish as desired - I used candied orange peel (recipe below.)

To make candied orange peel:

Peel of 1 orange
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup water

Peel the orange and remove the white pith from the inside of the peel. Cut the peel into thin strips.

Put 1 cup sugar and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the orange peel, return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until peel is very soft, then drain.

Toss the peel and the reserved sugar on a plate, separating the strips.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Texas Potato Salad with Balsamic Honey Vinegar

I love honey. I like baking with it and using it in drinks in place of sugar. I've never tried honey vinegar though, so I was anxious to try the Balsamic Honey Vinegar from Honey Ridge Farms. “Award-winning Balsamic Honey Vinegar is truly unique and delicious aged balsamic-style vinegar made entirely from honey.” I feel a kinship with Honey Ridge Farms since they are from my home state of Washington. I work in the garden center industry and bees are essential to our industry.

There are so many versions of potato salad roaming around, but I've never made one like this. With all the fresh ingredients, I was sure it would be a winner, and it was. Serve warm in the fall or cold in summer. Enjoy!

Texas Potato Salad with Balsamic Honey Vinegar
by Sharyl
Adapted from She Wears Many Hats Texas Style New Potato Salad

3 pounds red potatoes
3 slices bacon
1 large red onion, sliced
2 Serrano peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (my favorite way is to put a bunch of leaves into a mug and then use scissors to cut the cilantro. Also works well with parsley. For those who aren't fans of cilantro, fresh parsley may be substituted.)
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar

Cut potatoes in half, long ways, and add to boiling salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. They should be fork tender, but somewhat firm. Drain and cool. Cut potatoes into chunks and set aside. Cook bacon until crispy. Chop into pieces when cool. Grill sliced onions in the bacon fat, over high heat, until they are caramelized. In a large bowl, add the cooled potatoes, salt, pepper, minced Serrano peppers, bacon and chopped cilantro. Combine olive oil and Balsamic Honey Vinegar in a measuring cup and stir. (I started with 1/4 cup of Balsamic and 1/8 cup of olive oil because Mark’s taste buds are not too adventuresome!) Taste and add more salt, pepper or Balsamic Honey Vinegar/olive oil, as needed. Stir well to combine.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Italian Sausage Sandwiches with Honey Balsamic Glazed Onions

As an ex-Chicagoan, I've got a special love for Italian Sausage sandwiches. This isn't quite the traditional version - I've added a secret special ingredient - the Honey Balsamic Glazed Onions.

The onions cook down a lot during cooking, so you'll have enough to top the sandwiches - but probably not much more. I suggest that you just go right ahead and make a double batch - you'll want these for burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, panini, and pizza.

And maybe just for eating. a lot of the onions before they ever made it onto sandwiches.

Italian Sausage Sandwiches 
with Honey Balsamic Glazed Onions
By Donna

For the onions:
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced into half-moons
Pinch of salt
Several grinds of black pepper
2 tablespoons Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar

For the peppers and sauce:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced into strips
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced into strips
1 Tablespoon dry oregano
Generous pinch of salt
Several grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

For the sandwiches:
6 Sweet Italian sausages, grilled or pan-cooked
6 Buns

To make the onions:
Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, salt and pepper. Cook on medium, stirring as needed, until the onions begin to soften. If they start browning, turn the heat down.

Add the balsamic honey vinegar and continue cooking, stirring once in a while, until the liquid is gone.

To make the peppers and sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan on medium heat. Add the peppers, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or two, then add the wine. Let it come to a simmer, then add the tomato sauce.

Cook, stirring as needed, until the peppers are fork tender, but not mushy - or until they're cooked to your liking. If the sauce reduces too much, add water to keep it saucy.

To make the sandwich:
Put the sausage in the bun. Add the peppers and as much sauce as you like. Top with onions.

You should have enough toppings for at least six sandwiches, but it depends on how much you like the toppings. I've been known to make a sandwich with just the toppings, and maybe a bit of melted cheese inside the bun. Yes, I'm serious.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Honey Ridge Farms Challenge

How sweet it is!

The cooks were all abuzz about our sponsor, Honey Ridge Farms, a company that is all about the bees. The company was founded in 2004 by Leeanne Goetz, just part of a beekeeping family.

Leeanne's oldest son, Ryan, is fifth-generation beekeeper who worked alongside his grandfather Edmund Varney as a teenager to learn his craft. Ryan is now the caretaker of 4,000 colonies that pollinate a variety of crops throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California.

Leeanne said, "We believe honey is nature's best and most delicious sweetener. All of our honey is sourced from family and a small circle of Pacific Northwest beekeepers, all of whom we know personally and professionally. We're proud to offer only superior, local USA honey products."

The cooks who participated in this sweet challenge received Honey Ridge Farms Clover Honey Crème and Balsamic Honey Vinegar, made entirely from honey mead and made a huge variety of both sweet and savory dishes.

We hope you enjoy them.

For more about Honey Ridge Farms, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Mediterranean Burgers

I live in Indianapolis and I was trying to track down some really good feta. My search took me to a shop that advertised itself online as specializing in Greek and Mediterranean items. I meandered around the shop, a little overwhelmed by the array of spices, cheeses (6 brands of feta!), pickles, contraptions. I took the shop owner’s recommendation and brought home a Bulgarian feta. I know. Bulgarian feta? What? But I’m really glad I put my faith in the shop owner. This feta is so creamy, slightly tangy and just enough brine. It slices and cubes beautifully for OCD people and yet crumbles just as easily.

Sorry, this is a long tangential story to say that I’m really into the wide array of flavors coming from the countries surrounding the Mediterranean and its lesser seas. All too often, when I think of Mediterranean flavors, I think “Greece” or “Italy” maybe “Spain” and kinda stop, but of course there are the North African countries (hello, Morocco!), Middle Eastern countries, and then the landmass loops back around to the East European countries. When I look at the food and dominant flavors, I don't see distinct borders. I see the Mediterranean flowing into the Aegean or the Ionian into the Adriatic. I see more commonality and fewer differences. I’m not getting into the politics of the varying conflicts in our world and I’m not naïve enough to think that having one giant dinner party would solve our world’s problems (though that would be kinda awesome), but I do think it’s important to remember our commonality across cultures and borders and how it all flows.

With that in mind, I developed this recipe while on a Greek food kick and happened to shop at a Mediterranean store which opened my eyes to the wide range of flavors and condiments of the region while noting the similarities from one culture to the next. If I’ve inspired you to explore the flavors that I’m writing about, then I’ve accomplished something today.

Mediterranean Burgers
by Woo

1 small zucchini, grated, sprinkled with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
10 large mint leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon harissa (substitute sambal olek or other chili paste, but try to find the harissa)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 pounds of Cluck 'n Moo Ground
2 ounces of feta, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

The grated and salted zucchini will release some water. Squeeze the excess water from the zucchini wrapped in paper towels or a cloth. Add to a large mixing bowl along with the onion, parsley, mint, and harissa. Toss gently to distribute the harissa. Sprinkle the dried spices evenly over all. Toss to combine. Add the Cluck 'n Moo Ground and crumbled feta and combine gently using both hands. I know, it’s raw meat, but I think you get the best results from mixing by hand. Try not to over work the mixture. Form 6 patties and keep covered in refrigerator until ready to cook. Season with a bit of salt and pepper before cooking.

Preheat a large heavy-bottom skillet, swirl a bit of oil and add the burgers. Do not crowd the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on medium/medium-high, flip, cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes on medium. Remove the lid for the last two minutes of cooking. Adjust the heat and times as needed to cook through (internal temperature should be 165°F.)

Serve with tomato and cucumber salad, garnish with crumbled feta, tzatziki, with or without buns (we went the lettuce wrap route, good, but messy!) and more harissa!