Have you ever planned a holiday dinner around a unifying idea or ingredient? We’ve seen it done before, in articles, on TV, and at friends houses, with mixed results. Anyhow, somehow, we, here at More Bees, got to thinking about what a table full of holiday food might look like if honey was the unifying ingredient.
And then it struck us how appropriate it is to pay homage to the humble honey bees this way, when you realize that much of the bounty on the holiday table is due to the tireless work of these little creatures, as well as other natural pollinators. And when we thought about it like that, we just had to do it.
At our house holiday dinners are usually big. These are the types of things that usually find their way onto the table. Included are some tasty ways to incorporate honey into these foods:
Turkey- Figure out how long your turkey should be baked (consult information provided by turkey grower). Bake as instructed until last two hours of baking time remains. While your turkey is in the oven, make a glaze by combining ½ C Honey, ⅓ C dijon mustard or brown mustard, 3-4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme, 2 tablespoons softened butter, ½ teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and smoked paprika, and ¼ teaspoon finely ground pepper. When 2 hours cooking time remains, remove your turkey from the oven and glaze generously. Place the glazed turkey back in the oven and continue to baking, basting with pan drippings every 20-30 minutes. Bake until your turkey is done (consult information provided by turkey grower). Remove the turkey from the oven, and let rest 15 minutes before cutting.
Gravy – Use your pan dripping from your honey glazed turkey to make gravy, as you usually would.
Veggie – Cook 1 pound pared, cut up veggies until they are just tender. Remove from heat, and drain any liquids. Mix 1 tablespoon butter/oil, 2 tablespoon honey, and the juice of ½ lemon or ½ orange in a saute pan. Mix on medium heat until bubbly. Add warm veggies back in, stir to coat. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper if desired, and serve. This works really well with snow peas, sugar snap peas, carrots, beets, baby corn, pearl onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, or a combination.
Rolls – Serve warm rolls with whipped honey and butter. To make honey butter, allow one cup (2 sticks) of butter to soften to room temperature. Whip with ¼ C of your favorite honey until light and fluffy. A whisk attachment works best. Add ½ teaspoon cinnamon and/or ½ teaspoon vanilla if desired. Refrigerate any leftover honey butter.
Fruit Salad – Whisk together 4-6 ounces of flavored yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 tablespoon honey in a 2 quart bowl or container. Add 6 cups of assorted chopped, bite-sized pieces of fruit. We like 1 banana (peeled and chopped up), 1 apple (cored and chopped up), 1 cups strawberries (hulled and halved), 1 C grapes (halved), 1 small can well drained mandarin oranges, ½ can well drained pineapple chunks. If desired, add 1-2 C mini marshmallows. Mix well with the yogurt dressing. Make at least 4 hours in advance if you want the marshmallows to soften. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve, stirring once or twice until serving time. Stir before serving. And if you desire, fold in 1 C walnut or pecans just before serving if desired.
Spinach salad – Make a honey mustard dressing by combining ½ C plain yogurt or sour cream with ¼ C oil and 1 clove crushed garlic. Add 2 tablespoons each honey, spicy brown mustard, Dijon Mustard, Lemon juice, cider vinegar, and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste then set aside. Place ½ lb clean, dry, raw spinach (torn up into bite size pieces) onto a dinner plate or small platter. Top with 2 tablespoons each nuts (walnuts, pine puts, and sliced almonds work well. Toast and cool the nuts completely before adding to the salad if desired), dried cranberries, thinly sliced sweet onion, bacon bits, and crumbled cheese (feta, gorgonzola, or blue). Thinly drizzle with the dressing, and/or serve with the dressing on the side. Don’t care for spinach? That’s OK. Just use your favorite salad greens instead. Refrigerate any unused portions.
Candied Yams – replace part or all of the brown sugar in your yam recipe with honey, for a yummy change.
We don’t really know any good recipes for mashed potatoes, stuffing, relish tray (pickles and olives), or deviled eggs that use honey. If you have any, please share with us. We would love to see what you all have added honey to. You know we love hearing back and seeing what you all have done for an even more delicious meal time. Happy Thanksgiving and be safe if you are going to do some Black Friday shopping.