What’s the Buzz on Honey? (Hint–It’s Sweet!)

WinnieThePooh.Disney.com

WinnieThePooh.Disney.com

When it comes to honey, my family is a bunch of willy, nilly, silly old bears. As a kid, I remember Dad happily tending to his bee hives (a hobby I still believe got started so he could wear the bee-keepers suit). Mom kept busy bottling the bounty of golden honey from the hives and niece Hannah’s best bud was a plush Pooh bear found at the Disney store after an exhaustive search for the most huggable bear in Dallas.

Though Dad’s bee-keeping days are done and Hannah’s married with a baby on the way, we’re all still sweet on honey. As are many of you. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, we, as a nation, consume approximately 410 million pounds of honey. That’s alot of sweet nectar (about 1.3 pounds of honey per person). With over 300 varieties now available in the U.S. alone, and with artisanal versions on the rise, honey has gone haute. So can you. Here’s how.

JohnDerian.com

JohnDerian.com

Handmade in Paris of glazed terracotta, John Derian’s Beehive mug transforms tea time into a stylish sip with its 19th-century inspired imagery.

WorldMarket.com

WorldMarket.com

Four individual Beehive Measuring Cups stylish stack up to form this beehive.

Meg Smith, AndrewsMcMeel.com

Meg Smith, AndrewsMcMeel.com

“Taste of Honey: The Definitive Guide to Tasting and Cooking with 40 Varietals” by Marie Simmons is more than a cookbook. This is a must-have for anyone who wants to learn about honey and which variety is best for different types of cooking There are over 60 sweet and savory recipes, each with a detailed guide for the type of honey that works best with it. Although I’ve liked every recipe I’ve tried so far, I’m especially sweet on the Feta Cheese and Honey omelet. Here’s the recipe so you can try it, too.

Meg Smith, AndrewsMcMeel.com

Meg Smith, AndrewsMcMeel.com

Feta Cheese and Honey Omelet

Makes 1 serving

Honey in my Sunday morning cheese omelet was a spontaneous reaction when I eyed a jar of crystallized star thistle honey (see more about crystallized honey on page 12) on the kitchen counter. I knew putting crystallized honey into the omelet would be less messy than using liquid honey. The crystals of honey melted gently in the warmth of the cooked egg and cheese. The result was a delicious omelet with just the right balance from the mild tang of sheep’s milk feta and the sweetness and distinctive herbaceous flavor notes in pale yellow star thistle honey. Look for a mild, creamy feta (I love Israeli feta), but I also have made this omelet successfully with crumbled goat cheese.

 Type of Honey–Almost any honey that is crystallized or creamed can be used. Some examples are star thistle, goldenrod, thyme and clover.

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons cold, crumbled mild feta or goat cheese

2 teaspoons crystallized honey

Olive oil or butter, for pan

Directions:

1. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk until well blended. Have the cheese and honey measured and ready.

2. Heat a small heavy skillet over medium heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle. Add a drop of olive oil or a sliver of butter and tilt the pan to cover the surface.

3. Pour the eggs into the pan. The pan should be hot enough to sizzle and start setting the eggs immediately. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Pull the eggs away from the edges of the pan and tilt the pan so that uncooked eggs in the center run to the edges.

4. Sprinkle a layer of the cheese over half of the circle of partially cooked egg. Top with the crystallized honey. Using a small rubber spatula, fold the half of the omelet without the filling over the filled half. Cook on low for about 30 seconds, or until the eggs are set.

5. Slide the omelet onto a plate and serve.

Recipe courtesy of “Taste of Honey: The Definitive Guide to Tasting and Cooking with 40 Varietals” by Marie Simmons, AndrewsMcMeel.com

What’s your favorite way to cook with honey and/or decorate with beehive-inspired furnishings?  I’d love to know and, face it, now’s the time to buzz about it!

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