Thursday , 21 September 2017

Kyra’s Kitchen: My Favorite Things – Part 2… Food Group B

By Kyra Effren, TSB Food Writer

And now, the conclusion of My Favorite Things Food….

HONEY
Did you know that we humans were hunting for honey more than 8,000 years ago?
Did you know that honey was used to embalm people?
Did you know that the Egyptians used honey to sweeten their cakes and cookies?
Did you know that honey is an excellent remedy for a cough?  {I know because a South African doctor told me so!}
Did you know that if you consume local honey it helps with allergies?
Did you know all this when you called your sweetheart ‘honey’?

Here is a recipe that shows off honey’s best attributes – adding both flavor and sweetness to a ubiquitous Vegetable Dip.

SPICED HONEY SAUCE
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon curry powder (or 1 tablespoon chili sauce or 1 teaspoon mustard] 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Combine the ingredients and blend until smooth.
You can use it as a vegetable dip – or as a sauce for fish or meat.

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LEMONS
My mother once tartly remarked, after watching my profligate use of lemons, ‘You are going to have to marry either a farmer or a millionaire.’
I remember that remark every time I fork out a ransom for a bag of lemons.  But as I have said before – lemons are the magicians of the food world – they enhance and balance flavors – and many a cook can boast a reputation on the secret use of lemon juice!

GINGER
There are six siblings in my family and if we agree on nothing else, we agree on Ginger!  No meal is complete without ginger being present in one of the dishes. 
Ginger also has, thankfully – recuperative properties – and has been used for centuries for nausea, upset stomach and heartburn. 

Here is a recipe that includes both lemon and ginger – demonstrating the wonderful qualities of both.

DOREEN’S GINGER SQUARES
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons dry powdered ginger
1 egg, lightly whisked
6 pieces preserved ginger, drained, chopped fine
2 tablespoons ginger syrup from the preserved ginger jar
12 glace cherries, finely chopped

GLAZE
2 cups confectioners sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Heat oven to 375.
Melt the butter in a large – 2 qt. sauce pan over medium heat and stir in the sugar and flour together with the baking powder and ginger.
Continue stirring until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat, cool for one minute then stir in the egg, chopped ginger, chopped cherries and ginger syrup.  The mixture will be pretty gooey but don’t panic – this is what it is supposed to look like.
Pat the mixture into a greased 10×15 jelly roll pan.  [Hint: I use empty butter wrappers to press the dough evenly in the pan.] Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until set, dry and very lightly browned.
In the meantime stir the lemon juice into the confectioners sugar and mix to make a thick but spreadable glaze.  If the mixture is too thick stir in a couple of drops of warm water, a drop at a time, until you get the right spreading consistency.
Remove the pan from the oven and immediately spread the glaze evenly and thinly over the dough.  It will look clear.
Allow to cool then cut into 2” squares.
Yield approx: 3 dozen squares.

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CHOCOLATE AND NUTS
Isn’t it great that all the foods we already love are now also GOOD for one?
Both DARK Chocolate and NUTS have become nutritional powerhouses and we can happily indulge as long as we do not OVER-indulge!

Here is a simple recipe that highlights the flavors of both.  It is also gluten free so may be used by anyone who cannot eat wheat products.

ALMOND MACAROONS
1 cup ground almonds [available at better food markets and health stores] 2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh orange zest
2 egg yolks
¼ cup potato starch or cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
6 oz. dark chocolate chips 

Pre heat oven to 400.
Combine the almonds, sugar, orange zest, yolks, cornstarch [or potato starch] and orange juice in the bowl of a processor and process until the dough comes together.  [Note: You may add a little more orange juice if necessary.] On a surface sprinkled with the cornstarch or potato starch, roll out the dough to ¼” thick.
Cut into desired shapes.
Set on a baking parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake for about 5-7 minutes – or until the cookies are lightly browned.  WATCH them!!
Cool on a rack.
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for one minute and stir until smooth.
Dip each cookie halfway into the chocolate – set back on baking paper-lined tray and allow to set.
                                     
About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?
 

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