Thursday, March 25, 2010

Apiculture….are you familiar with the word “apiculture”? To be honest with you, I don’t think I have ever heard of it. I happened upon the word when I googled the “honey” in preparation for writing this blog. What I learned is this….Beekeeping (or apiculture, from Latin apis, bee) is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect honey and beeswax, to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary. There is an apiary just down the road from the vineyard. The bees love the grape vines!

Now, let’s talk about honey as a natural guard against allergies.

The idea behind eating honey to fight allergies, is kind of like gradually vaccinating the body against allergens, a process called immunotherapy. Honey contains a variety of the same pollen spores that give allergy sufferers so much trouble when flowers and grasses are in bloom. Introducing these spores into the body in small amounts by eating honey should make the body accustomed to their presence and decrease the chance an immune system response like the release of histamine will occur. Since the concentration of pollen spores found in honey is low -- compared to, say, sniffing a flower directly -- then the production of antibodies shouldn't trigger symptoms similar to an allergic reaction. Ideally, the honey-eater won't have any reaction at all.

You just have to make sure you are eating honey that is truly local. Eating honey from bees even 10 miles away may not help you because chances are, their honey does not contain the pollen from the plants that are making you sneeze! So, buy local!

Now, it is time for cooking with honey!

Start your day off with Applesauce Breakfast Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

Cream butter in large bowl. Gradually beat in honey until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl; reserve 2 tablespoons flour mixture. Combine dates, walnuts and reserved 2 tablespoons flour mixture in small bowl; set aside. Add remaining flour mixture and applesauce alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in date mixture. Pour batter into greased 13 × 9 × 2-inch pan. Bake at 325ºF 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.

Serve Mexican Coffee with it!

4 cups hot espresso-style coffee
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sweetened whipped cream
Chocolate shavings

Combine coffee, half-and-half, honey, cocoa and cinnamon in blender and blend 1 minute on high. Pour into mugs; garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

For dinner….Grilled Pork Loin with Honey and Port

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Somerset Ridge Tawny Port
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 cup dried apricots
1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Rub pork loin with olive oil and kosher salt. Place in bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan. Heat to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Pour hot marinade over pork; cover and chill for several hours. Remove pork from marinade, reserving marinade.
Preheat dome-shaped charcoal grill. Sear all sides of pork roast. Place on roasting rack. Cover grill; cook pork to an internal temperature of 150ºF, about 35 minutes. Baste frequently with marinade. Remove from grill. Cover and keep warm for 15 minutes. Reserve all juices.
Heat reserved marinade to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes; add pork juices and simmer a few minutes more. Slice pork loin to serve; arrange on plates. Pour warm sauce over slices.

And for dessert…..Honey Ice Cream!
1 pint Heavy cream
1 pint Light cream
8 Egg yolks
4 ounces Honey

In a nonreactive saucepan, combine the heavy and light cream and heat just to a simmer.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and honey together until pale, slightly thickened and at the ribbon stage. Slowly add the heated cream, whisking continuously, so as not to cook the yolks.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat and cool over an ice bath. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker