Five Ways to Use Honeycomb

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I think the old saying is true that you find things when you least expect to. Or, put another way, they find you when you least expect them. That’s what happened with me and honeycomb.

I spent years looking for it but for some reason, I could never find it. Maybe I didn’t look in the right places, or maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. But last week, I got some local honeycomb from a colleague who is a beekeeper. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was love at first sight (with the honeycomb).

For those of you unfamiliar with honeycomb, it’s basically a step before what you purchase in the little plastic or glass jars. Wax holds the honey together in a compact brick. You can cut into it with a sharp knife and break it into pieces, but then the honey will leak out. Overall though, the structure itself is pretty impressive. I like to think of the comb as little honey bricks that explode with sweetness in your mouth.

Honeycomb is different than most foods texturally. It has chewy, crumbly wax and sweet, liquid honey. I had a comment from a woman on social media this week asking me if you can eat honeycomb. You certainly can, but just know that it’s an acquired taste. Once you get used to it, you might even prefer it to regular honey.

Below is a list of a few ways you can use up honeycomb. I know not everyone works next door to a beekeeper so it might be hard for you to find some. I hope you prevail, though. When you do, give one of these recipes a try:

1.) Honeycomb Cheese Board

I had a lot of fun putting together the cheese board pictured at the top of this blog post. Generally, a cheese board should contain a mix of sweet, salty, and savory things. For mine, I used a wedge of Brie, goat cheese, salami from Salume Beddu, sea salt crackers, green apple slices, and fresh honeycomb. I would highly recommend this combination.

2.) Honeycomb Pancakes

One of the best parts about honeycomb is that is dissolves easily into a mix. I would recommend using it with pancakes or waffles. I made some lemon ricotta honeycomb pancakes over the weekend and I’m still thinking about them days later. Get the recipe in one of my latest blog posts.758D3A07-84BF-483B-A395-7D0CB68C6E78 2

3.) Honeycomb in a Salad

You might be thinking, ew, why would I put honeycomb in a salad? This is where you’re terribly, terribly wrong. Putting honeycomb in a salad is one of the best things you can do, especially if you’re not an avid salad eater. Honeycomb’s unique texture works to its advantage here, where you want a mix of textures, flavors, and ingredients. I made a salad with arugula from the farmers’ market, cinnamon glazed walnuts, honeycomb pieces, goat cheese, and Aleppo chiles. I squeezed some lemon juice on top and it ended up mixing with the honey to make a dressing. 3FF27045-6BF1-40B4-96E2-8C03CF7B8E4C

4.) Honeycomb in Oatmeal

Honeycomb in oatmeal is a fun, simple way to incorporate the ingredient into breakfast. Make your traditional oatmeal recipe and top it with some pieces of honeycomb. Or, if you want, you can mix it into the oatmeal right before you take it off the stove. I like to pair my honeycomb oatmeal with fresh berries.

5.) Honeycomb in Yogurt

Honeycomb in yogurt makes a great breakfast or dessert. I like it especially because yogurt is so smooth, and honeycomb is a little more crumbly, so you have two textures that complement one another. I made a yogurt bowl the other morning with banana, chia seeds, granola, blackberries, and chunks of honeycomb.113CEAE6-DCA6-4A3A-ACAB-30615B36E7F5

There are plenty of other ways you can use honeycomb, too. I still have some left so I’m thinking about making a pizza or tart with it this weekend. Until then, I’ll leave you with these ideas and an inspirational song.

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Lemon Ricotta Honeycomb Pancakes

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A couple weeks ago, I was joking around with a coworker that I would accept food-related bribes. This particular coworker happens to be a beekeeper and I’ve bought honey from him a couple times. He told me he had leftover honeycomb and I asked if he could bring me some. He brought it into work late last week and I spent the whole weekend using it in different recipes.

I’m going to do a roundup of all the ways to use honeycomb later this week on the blog but I thought I’d start with this recipe for lemon ricotta honeycomb pancakes. They’re light, fluffy, tart, and sweet from the honeycomb. They’re the perfect treat yourself breakfast, or one that you can break out for guests on special occasions. They kind of remind me of eating a ray of sunshine, which feels weird to write and sounds even weirder read aloud, but it’s true. They’re very bright and warming.

Some of you might be wary of using honeycomb in a recipe. Don’t panic. It’s similar to actual honey, except the texture is more crumbly. However, it dissolves in a mix or with added heat, so you don’t end up tasting that crumbly texture in the finished product.

I topped my pancakes with a little broken honeycomb, which I’d highly recommend doing. You can even put some small slices between the warm pancakes so it melts and becomes syrupy.

I essentially used my standard lemon ricotta pancake recipe to make these cakes and subbed in honeycomb for white sugar. The original pancakes with sugar are a bit sweeter, but I found that I preferred these pancakes. They’re not as sweet but it means you can put more sweet ingredients on top, including honeycomb, maple syrup, or even stewed berries. I might repeat this recipe over the summer and throw on some fresh berries from the farmers’ market.

Here’s a song to get you started on your lemon ricotta honeycomb pancake journey.

Lemon Ricotta Honeycomb Pancakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (214 g) all-purpose flour
3 1/2 Tbsp (46 g) honeycomb
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (236 ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (180 g) whole milk ricotta
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 – 2 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp (14 g) butter, melted, for frying

Directions

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, honeycomb, ricotta, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth. Mix in the lemon zest and lemon juice. It’s okay if the milk mixture curdles a little.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the milk mixture into the hole. Mix together until the batter is mostly smooth with a few lumps.

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once it’s melted, ladle 1/3 cup of batter onto the skillet. Cook the pancakes until bubbles form on the tops. Flip them and cook for another minute or so until golden brown on both sides. Serve with extra honeycomb. Enjoy!

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Dimanche (That Means Sunday)

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Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.

I was sitting at home earlier this week working at my kitchen table when I saw on Twitter that Notre Dame Cathedral was burning. I immediately started checking trustworthy news sources to get information. I was horrified as I watched the roof go up in flames, with smoke puffing and billowing into the sky. I looked at photos of people in Paris watching the same sight from the streets. The mixture of horror, shock, sadness, and disbelief on their faces registered strongly with me.

My mind immediately went to the first time I visited Notre Dame in 2008. I was studying abroad in central France and I went to Paris for the first time with a group of friends in my program. The two girls I was traveling with didn’t want to go see Notre Dame because they’d already been before, but I convinced them to make a repeat trip. I wanted to see the magnificent structure for myself.

I vividly remember walking through Notre Dame. Even though I was surrounded by throngs of tourists, peace pervaded almost every corner of the cathedral. The lights were dim and somber but light flooded through stained glass windows. Flames from candles flickered in the darkness. I’m not a religious person now and I wasn’t at the time, but I remember feeling something deeply spiritual. I was moved almost to the point of tears.

I also felt deeply entrenched in history. The 850-year-old cathedral has weathered so many chapters in French history. The past is sometimes difficult to define and even more difficult to reckon with, but in the cathedral more than 10 years ago, I felt like it converged peacefully in one room. Perhaps the cathedral is impermeable to the past. It stands, wise and grandiose, watching as life changes around it.

The fire destroyed parts of the cathedral but luckily, it’s still standing. Of course, this doesn’t preclude future damage. Work needs to be redone to rebuild the cathedral and try to prevent a similar episode. But I can breathe a little easier knowing that Notre Dame is safe, watching over Paris in its altered state.

Without further ado, here is Dimanche:

As I mentioned before, I was horrified when I saw the fire at Notre Dame earlier this week. I followed coverage about the incident and I’ve chosen a few articles that do a good job summarizing the news, history, and reactions. The always erudite Pauline Bock from New Statesman wrote this piece about Notre Dame as a symbol of French identity. This title of this story from The New York Times, “Why Notre-Dame Was a Tinderbox,” felt insensitive and jarring but the interactive graphic that follows is impressive. A Condé Nast Traveler piece from a Parisian food blogger resonated with me. It includes quotes from locals about their reactions to the fire. Finally, this Washington Post article gives more information about the fire and plans for rebuilding the cathedral.

On a happier note… It’s almost strawberry season and I’m pretty excited about it. I can’t wait to make these cornbread pancakes with strawberry compote. I’m going to devote one day this spring to canning strawberry compote and jam. Stay tuned. Get the pancake recipe from The Kitchn.

I’d highly recommend making a personal cheeseboard at least once in your adult life. I did last night and it was so satisfying. Mine had salami from Salume Beddu, local honeycomb that a colleague of mine who is a beekeeper gave me, Brie, goat cheese, crackers, and apples. I got the cheeseboard itself on sale here54636C01-7306-4E35-9212-ACB4A47AD6FF

Speaking of honeycomb… I used some to make these lemon ricotta honeycomb pancakes this morning. Stay tuned for the recipe later this week on the blog!758D3A07-84BF-483B-A395-7D0CB68C6E78

I get very defensive when people insult Jane Austen. I’ve been rereading some of her books recently and I read Northanger Abbey for the first time earlier this month. I enjoyed this article about her subtly subversive language. Read more about Austen and her writing in this JSTOR Daily blog post.

Personalized shampoo is a thing now, apparently. In an age where more and more products are being customized, personalized shampoo is available to customers who want products to cater to their individual desires. The part in the article about the custom makeup is insane. Read more about it in this Wall Street Journal piece.

I enjoyed these tips for aspiring bakers. A food writer talks about how her time working at a local bakery made her a better baker. Check out her tips in this Food52 story.

French Chef Ludo Lefebvre serves about 216 escargots daily at both his restaurants in Los Angeles. That’s a lot of snails. The escargots are imported from Lefebvre’s native Burgundy. Read more about it in this Los Angeles Times article.

Last but certainly not least, Yotam Ottolenghi has a new hip hop song about him. British artist Loyle Carner, a food lover and Ottolenghi fan, wrote the song about the TV chef and cookbook author after an interaction he had while reading Ottolenghi’s cookbook Jerusalem on a train. Get more information in this Eater story.

Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started.

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Buttermilk Buckwheat Waffles

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I made these buttermilk buckwheat waffles for breakfast last weekend and I’m still thinking about them a week later. Light and fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, hearty and slightly sweet, they’re perfect for weekend breakfast or brunch.

I decided to make the waffles because I found a bag of buckwheat flour in my fridge from a few months ago. I also hadn’t used my waffle maker in a while so I figured, why not break it out of the closet? I slept late on Sunday and then motivated myself enough to get up and make the waffles.

It’s important to note that these waffles aren’t super sweet on their own. They’re basically a good canvas for whatever you want to put on top. I poured on lots of maple syrup and added banana slices, but you could also get creative and put almond butter or peanut butter and jam, or even stewed or fresh berries. Next time I might make a berry compote to put on top.

A key to making the waffles crisp on the outside is cooking them longer than the waffle maker suggests. Once the green light goes on indicating that they’re done, wait a couple minutes until almost all the steam subsides. Then you can take them out.

You can keep the waffles warm and crispy by preheating the oven to 200 degrees F beforehand and putting the waffles in once they’re done. Make sure they’re in a single layer though. If they overlap, they might get a little soggy.

Also, the word “buckwheat” might freak a lot of people out. The flour is actually pretty subtle. When you pair it with the buttermilk it creates a batter that’s tangy and slightly tart. That’s why it’s important to put lots of sweet toppings on the waffle to balance the flavors in the dish.

Here’s a song to get you started on your buckwheat waffle journey.

Buttermilk Buckwheat Waffles

Ingredients

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cardamom
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, shaken
1/4 cup melted butter
1 large egg
banana slices and maple syrup for serving

Directions

Preheat your waffle iron. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F and stick a baking sheet inside. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom in a medium bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg in another medium bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth with a few small lumps.

Let the batter sit for 10 minutes (if you can). Five minutes is also fine but the longer the batter sits, the better your waffles will turn out. Pour the batter into your waffle iron and cook a little longer than the iron indicates. You want almost no steam coming out of the iron before you remove the waffle. Lift the waffle out of the iron and place on the baking sheet in the oven. Repeat this process until you use up all the batter.

Serve with banana slices and maple syrup. Enjoy!

 

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Golden Coconut Broth Bowls from The First Mess

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When I saw this recipe for golden coconut broth bowls on The First Mess the other day, I knew I had to make it.

In the blog post, Laura from The First Mess talks about how she made the soup on a cold spring day. As it happened, Sunday was very cold and rainy (and apparently, snowy?) in St. Louis, so this soup was the perfect thing to make. I lounged around most of the day and summoned my energy to get up and make soup later.

This soup centers on the coconut milk broth, which is tangy, slightly sweet, and spicy from turmeric. It’s light and filling all at once, it’s warming, and the ginger will temporarily cure any spring allergy or cold symptoms you’re experiencing. I hesitate to call it a magic elixir, but it is.

It’s also a good vehicle for anything you want to put on top. Laura puts quinoa in the bowls in her blog post, but I realized at the last minute that I was out of quinoa so I used cooked farro instead. I followed her recommendation and used roasted broccoli, though, which was a good addition. I’d recommend preparing your toppings ahead of time to make the soup cooking process as stress-free as possible. I was trying to juggle everything at once and it worked, but just barely.

The best part about this soup is the tofu. I almost can’t believe I’m writing those words because normally, tofu is my least favorite ingredient in a vegetarian or vegan soup. In this case, though, it really shines. It’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and it packs a lot of flavor because you season it generously with salt and pepper. Now that I have this tofu recipe, I’m going to use it again and again to prepare tofu for other dishes.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. It’s perfect for chilly spring days or nights, or whenever you need something warming and healthful.

Here’s a song to get you started on your golden coconut broth bowl journey.

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Dimanche (That Means Sunday)

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Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.

This week was the first one that really felt like spring in St. Louis. I enjoyed it by getting outside more, hiking, and going to the first farmers’ market of the season. Then today, it devolved into winter again. I had to turn my heater on and as I write this post, I’m curled up in a blanket on my chair with a cup of tea, watching my windows fog up.

Spring in the Midwest can be an infuriating thing. You can’t depend on the weather to be warm so you have to dress for two, or sometimes three seasons at once, and every now and again, you’re hit with snow or freezing rain. You want to believe that the first day above 70 degrees means an end to winter, but year after year, you realize that this will never happen.

Still, there are a lot of things to love about a Midwestern spring. The season unfolds slowly so you have more time to appreciate everything that’s blossoming and growing. There’s a palpable excitement and relief when most of the cold days are over and you have warm ones again. You might even feel more inclined to treat yourself because you’ve survived a Midwestern winter, so you deserve an extra ice cream cone, a tall glass of lemonade, or whatever else beckons spring. I’ve been trying to focus on these simple pleasures instead of getting irritated at back-and-forth weather.

I hope wherever you are, you can find ways to enjoy spring. I’m not going to lie: I feel bad for you if you’re in Maine and stuck in the snow, but maybe you’ve also found ways to enjoy that. I think we can all agree that the best part about spring, or “spring” as many would call it, is that eventually, it will come.

Without further ado, here is Dimanche:

As I mentioned before, I went to Tower Grove Farmers’ Market for the first time this season on Saturday and I had a great time. The market is one of my favorite places in the city to get fresh produce and artisanal goods. If you’re in St. Louis and you stop by on Saturday morning, I’d highly recommend getting a pastry from Prioritized Pastries and a bouquet of flowers from Urban Buds3D46D624-0232-428F-85D1-F919CF2F37199827DF1D-852A-4645-8326-34CA9E6EA060

I love this Q&A with Priya Krishna, author of a new cookbook, “Indian-ish.” Reading the interview makes me want to get back into Indian cooking. I like what Krishna said about using whole spices and slowly adding layers to Indian food as you cook. Read more about her cookbook and cooking tips in this Food & Wine article.

This old but good April Fool’s story deserves some attention. I meant to post it last week but I wrote about my friend’s new restaurant, Bulrush, instead. I respect the LA Times for its satire and I hope that New Yorkers will be humbled by it. Realistically, they probably won’t be. Still, beyond the joke it’s important to note that New York isn’t the best food city in the country. Check out the story in the LA Times.

Speaking of Bulrush… I have it on good authority that Bulrush, a new foraging-focused restaurant from Chef Rob Connoley, will open this week in St. Louis. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant in one of my latest blog posts.

I made buckwheat waffles this morning for breakfast to soothe myself during this cold spell. It worked. I’d highly recommend making a bunch of them and freezing whatever you don’t eat so you can quickly toast them in the morning for breakfast. Stay tuned for the recipe on the blog later this week!EAA6C57E-AF1B-41A9-8AF9-BDC0577E153C

Ultra-premium ice cream is getting more and more expensive, and it’s taking over grocery stores’ frozen aisles. I perpetuate this trend by buying $8 pints of ice cream because I think it tastes really good, but I can see why some people would find this unreasonable. Still, this Eater story gives a good rundown of the situation and what goes into making “super-artisanal” ice cream. Read the article for more information.

In case you missed it, St. Louis is a food lover’s dream. The food scene in town has been growing steadily for the past decade and has reached a high point in recent years. Check out this blog post from HEC-TV for more about the city’s burgeoning food scene.

Last but certainly not least, I really want to try a Nanaimo bar. I’d never heard of the treat until I read this New York Times‘ story. I’m not sure how I feel about it being called the “Kardashian of Canadian desserts,” but it sounds good enough to try anyway. Read more about Nanaimo bars in this NYT piece.

Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started.

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Herbed Tomato Tart

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One of my best party tricks is buying frozen puff pastry, letting it thaw, and organizing cut fruit or vegetables on top. It looks impressive like you spent hours working on it, but it couldn’t be easier to make.

In the case of this herbed tomato tart, I decided to top it with mozzarella and feta cheese, tomatoes, chopped rosemary and basil, and garlic. The latter was a surprise because I usually reduce or omit garlic in recipes. I’m very sensitive to it. But in this case, it hides under the cheese and it’s subtle, so garlic lovers could even add another clove or two.

A word to the wise about baking puff pastry for this tart: It takes two steps. First, you have to bake the crust in the oven until it gets slightly golden brown and puffy. You’ll take it out of the oven and panic because it will be extremely puffed, and you need it to collapse to put the cheese and toppings on it. Don’t panic, though, because it will deflate after a few minutes. Don’t rush the process. Once the crust is more or less level, you can add the garlic, cheese, tomatoes, and herbs.

This tart is a good vehicle for anything you want to put on top. If you’re not a tomato fan, or you can’t find any good ones this time of year, you could always switch up the cheese and put mushrooms or roasted broccoli on top. The same is true with the herbs. I used rosemary and basil because those are two of my favorite herbs, but thyme would work well, too. You could even do a smoked salmon, crème fraîche version with dill.

Make this tart as soon as possible. It’s easy, delicious, and the leftovers taste great for days.

Here’s a song to get you started on your herbed tomato tart journey.

Herbed Tomato Tart

Ingredients

2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 pint assorted grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 14-oz package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed (I used Dufour)
1 8-oz package shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped assorted fresh herbs (I used rosemary and basil)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place your sliced tomatoes in a single layer over paper towels. Sprinkle with half a teaspoon of salt and let them sit for at least 30 minutes. Pat them dry.

Roll out your puff pastry into a 14-inch square. Fold in the edges to form a border. Carefully place your puff pastry on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Wait for the puff pastry to deflate and then top with the cheese, garlic, and tomatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese melts and is bubbly. Enjoy!

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