July 12, 2024
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You Know It’s All About the Honey, ‘Bout the Honey

Food-wise, Rosh Hashana is practically synonymous with honey. All right, at least for this article it will be.

Have you ever actually given thought to the honey? Or do you just grab the biggest jug at Costco? Do you give thought to its origins, its color, its taste? If you have, you are amazing. I think I’m just happy to find a little plastic bear on sale.

This past week I was lucky to get schooled in a little honey education at the Red Bee apiary. It’s located in Weston, Connecticut, not too far from my home in New Rochelle. Organized by Liz Reuven, author of the blog “Kosher Like Me,” the event was attended by many notable food personalities/bloggers.

After a history about honey bees, hives, the making of honey and a tour of the apiary, which was swarming with busy bees, I was amazed that no one got stung. We all stood there, maintaining our composure, some better than others. Apparently you are supposed to just walk away from the bee, and not swat. Um, ok. (You know that when you will be sitting in the succah in a few weeks from now and a bee flies in everyone will go bananas!) When a bee landed on me, I gasped and got the attention of the beekeeper, as I wouldn’t dare try to hurt a bee! I was pretty proud of myself until she walked over and claimed “that’s not a honey bee, that’s a yellow jack. It’s dangerous.” Despite this information, I walked away, as instructed. I did not get stung.

The highlight of the morning of course was when we were seated at farmhouse tables in a rustic lofted room, upstairs from the beautiful gift shop. The tables were set with four different tasting cups of honey and a plate of cheeses, expertly paired by the Italian trained honey sommelier, author and beekeeper, Marina Marchese.

Each honey had a distinctive color, smell and taste. It was truly remarkable to take the time to discover this, and realize how well different honey types complement different food—even chocolate! My favorite was the darkly rich buckwheat honey paired with a pecorino wrapped in arugula! Specialty cheeses were supplied courtesy of Brent “The Cheese Guy” for the tasting. The honey even made the goat cheese taste good to me!

At the conclusion of the event, the attendees were given a packet of recipes, all utilizing honey, which is, of course, ideal for a Rosh Hashanah menu!

Incorporating honey into your holiday menu is easy, as drizzling it on just about anything, from chicken, to green beans to cookies and cakes will add a delicious sticky sweetness. There is no end to recipes I found incorporating honey, and many variations of chicken with pomegranates (another food synonymous with Rosh Hashana) I adapted the recipe below, which originally appeared on “The Nosher,” by simplifying the preparation, and doubling most of the ingredients to allow for serving a crowd. It has a delicious flavor and will no doubt enhance your festive yom tov meal! Wishing you all a sweet new year!

Pomegranate and Honey Glazed Chicken

(Adapted from Liz Reuven, “Kosher Like Me”)

  • 2 chickens, cut into eighths
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup broth
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For garnish:
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim chicken of excess fat and skin, pat dry, and place in large roasting pan in a single layer. Heat skillet on a medium high flame, and add oil. Add onions and stir for 2-3 minutes, and then add garlic. After another minute or two, when onions and garlic are softened, add pomegranate molasses, juice, honey, broth, cumin, ginger, allspice, turmeric. Bring mixture to a boil, and reduce until slightly thickened. Pour sauce over chicken, and place roasting pan in oven for an hour and a half. Depending on how big the pieces are they may cook faster or slower, so check. Baste the chicken twice while it is cooking. When chicken is done, remove from oven and allow to rest. Garnish with the pomegranate arils and parsley. Enjoy!

By Rachel Berger

Rachel is a recovering Real Estate attorney, currently drizzling honey on everything! Check out her blog at thekosherdinnerlady.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram @TheKosherDinnerLady. You can contact her at [email protected].

 

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