Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tea, honey?

Hello, there, this is Moon Rani with a quick report on honey. Usually I comment on honey for tea, but I'd like to add a word or two about broader uses of honey.
Tea and honey are like David and Jonathan, longterm, dear companions. A variety which is new to me is black locust honey. I got it from the local grocer, and it's tops! I like it best in an assertive black tea such as PG Tips or Twining's Irish Breakfast, but it would make delightful friends with milder tea such as Republic of Tea's Vanilla Almond. Black locust is my current choice as I knock back many hot cuppas to see me through another nasty cold. I think it would make excellent tea toddies (as per directions in a winter post). In fact, I think I'll find out about that tonight. I can never sleep when I am flattened by a head cold, and a tea toddy may be just the thing for comfort.
Not long ago, I tried cranberry blossom honey. By itself, it was good. But as the sole sweetener in cranberry pear breakfast muffins, it was nonpareil! Add a lovely, hot cuppa likewise sweetened by cranberry blossom honey and then, as some folks down South say, then you have something.
I love having muffins for breakfast. Since early spring I have experimented with making muffins using honey as the sweetener, and I am very pleased with the results. In fact, I recommend it.
I'd love to share my muffin recipes with you so you could turn out a golden-brown batch for your next tea time, but I am, for the most part, an extemporaneous cook and baker. I can tell you that I once cooked pork loin in a tea-based liquid, but I can't recall exactly how I did it. But here's what I recommend: experiment! Once you find a honey you like, see what else you can pair it with. I am about to try a salad dressing that uses tea. Maybe it will be good, or maybe it will be fit only for, um, flushing, but the experiment will be of interest. Perhaps I'll find a variation I prefer.
Cook with honey! But be advised: consider where your recipe originated. Not long ago, I did something uncharacteristic and used a recipe. It was for spicy chicken with peanut sauce. I had only half the large amount of honey the recipe specified. When my housemate and I dined that evening, we were almost crying from honey overload! The recipe came from a honey company. What does a honey company want to do more than anything? Sell honey. Hence we ended up with chicken that swam in honey. As Housemate said, "Imagine if you'd had all the honey it called for. We'd have passed out!" Later, on a peanut butter jar lid, I found a tasty and affordable recipe for peanut sauce which called for no more than a modicum of honey. Have fun experimenting, but do be careful about your recipe sources.

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