Your Cheat Sheet to a Local Thanksgiving

However you define eating locally, whether it’s strictly food from within a 100 mile radius, simply domestically grown or made foods, or somewhere in between, one of the best times to be conscious of where your food comes from is during Thanksgiving. It may seem complicated at first, so we thought we’d provide a little help to get you started with some resources that can show you where to get locally produced foods in your area.

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Let’s all give thanks to the great local producers who give us tasty foods from our own neighborhoods.

Here are the places to start your investigation:

 


LogoColorTextBelowGourmet Food Websites – there are a few websites that offer locally produced gourmet foods such as cheeses, cured meats, pickles, preserves and more, including our own www.aLocalTable.com (sorry for the shameless plug). These sites not only offer great food, but also convenience since they will typically ship or deliver the food right to you door.


English: Henley-on-Thames, french farmers' market.

Winter Farmers Markets – in some parts of the country, farmers markets are still running. There can be a lot of different producers at these markets, but make sure you ask them where their farm is located. Sometimes booths are set up with produce that is just bought from a national distributor and sold under the guise that it’s local. Here’s a link to help you find winter farmers markets in your area - http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/default.aspx


Local Food Bloggers – do a quick Internet search for food bloggers in your area. They typically write about great local sources for food (just like this guy). And if you don’t see anything written about local sources I’m sure the blogger won’t mind if you send them a message asking if they have any recommendations. Food bloggers are a social bunch so I’m sure you’ll get a warm response. www.google.com


SFPC LogoLocal Slow Food Chapter – The Slow Food organization spans across this country, with chapters in most states. It’s mission is to get people to think more about the food they eat and support the local food producers around the country. Reach out to your local chapter either via their website or Facebook page and inquire about recommended sources for local foods. You’ll probably get more information than you need. You can search here for a local chapter near you – www.slowfoodusa.org/local-chapters


edible communitiesPublishers/Magazines – don’t forget about the obvious places, such as culinary magazines, including Edible Communities Publications (and their website), which has many regional editions that write at great length about the local food scene in your area. They have 80 editions across the country all with localized editorial. Here is a link to their website – www.ediblecommunities.com


Local Supermarket – when all else fails, most supermarkets now have local food sections that may feature local produce, meat or gourmet foods, such as cheeses and cured meats. If you don’t see anything, be sure to ask the store manager. If they don’t have it on hand, they may be able to get something in before the holiday.


So now you have a starting point, begin planning and shopping. Make it a fun experience…and maybe if you reach out to some of the organizations mentioned above, you might learn something new, get new ideas or make new friends.

And of course, if you have any questions about local eating, you can always reach out to me at ken.kullack@alocaltable.com.

Happy local Thanksgiving!

Corn on the Cob: the essential summer memory

Corncobs and meat on grillThere aren’t many foods that can conjure up a more pleasant image of summertime than corn on the cob (at least in the United States). Many people have grown up eating it alongside hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad and watermelon. A “barbeque” (as people outside the South would call it) wouldn’t be complete without an ear of corn slathered in butter with a generous grind of black pepper and sprinkle of kosher salt.

With one humble ear of corn we can travel back to a time of pool parties, lightning bugs and casual games of badminton, horseshoes or whatever your family’s game of choice. It’s hard not to smile, thinking about that simpler time.

English: Jack Johnson performing at the 2008 B...

For those who relate to emotions through music like I do, Jack Johnson said it best when he wrote, “and there were so many fewer questions when stars were still just the holes to heaven.” Corn on the cob brings us back to that much-needed youthful reminiscence as we live in this 24-hour age of over-communication and overcrowding.

As we get along in life, we realize that those moments are essential. We need to continue to share them with future generations so we as a society don’t forget about what should important to us.

That being said, I encourage you to go to your local farmers market this week, say hello to your local farmers and buy some corn.  Invite some friends over and sip some wine or beer as you chat over a luscious ear of corn and make new memories.

To help get you started, I thought I’d share a few of the ways I like to eat corn on the cob. I’m sure there aren’t any new recipes here, but maybe this list will inspire you to try something different.

  • Roasted CornTraditional – you know this one well, butter, salt and pepper. The twist on this one is to buy small farm, handmade butter. You’ll notice the difference.
  •  Smoked – this one is for those smoker-afficiandos:  par-boil corn, then rub with olive oil and green onions and smoke for  an hour at 225 degrees.
  •  Mexican-inspired – this one is all about adding flavor, which includes slathering the grilled cob with a mixture of crema and cilantro, a spritz of lime juice and a dusting of chili powder and cotija cheese.
  • Greek-inspired – brush a luscious mixture of melted butter, feta cheese, lemon juice and mint onto grilled cobs.

If you’d like to share any of your favorite recipes, please include them in the comments below. We love new food experiences.

Happy summertime memories.

 

It’s Springtime and I’m on the Lam(b)

Ok, so maybe the title is a pretty lame pun, but this time of year always gets me craving one of most underrated meats in this country…lamb. It doesn’t hurt that I’m also betrothed to an Aussie who considers lamb it’s own food group and will eat it any chance she gets.

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I read an interesting statistic that I haven’t been able to confirm, but according to this one article, about 70% of people in this country have never tried lamb. Even if the actual percentage is half that amount, it’s ridiculously low.

At one time in the US, lamb was raised mainly for Passover and Easter. Even though lamb is now being raised for year round consumption, the average person usually only thinks about eating it during the spring. In my opinion, there’s no reason it couldn’t and shouldn’t be eaten year round.

But There is hope!

Even though consumption is much lower than other meats, US consumption of lamb is actually on the rise. There are a few reasons:

  • Open-minded chefs who have trained in or visited lamb-loving countries have been including lamb (and mutton for that matter) on their menus
  • People who are migrating from the Middle East and parts of Europe and Australia into the United States are demanding their favorite meat

Pet Lambs

And There is Supply!

The quality of lamb raised in this country is better than people believe. Most of the local farms are raising grass-fed lamb that creates meat that has a more refined taste and texture. States such as Colorado and Washington are known for raising lamb, but there are many other states that have small farmers raising some great lamb, including Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Texas and California. Even in Utah, we have producers of some fine lamb, including Snowy Mountain Sheep Creamery  and Morgan Valley Lamb.

There is Variety!

Aside from the perception that lamb tastes gamey, part of the resistance to eating lamb is the mystery behind how to cook it correctly. Since it’s versatile and flavorful there are many ways it can be prepared. And if you buy grass-fed lamb and pair it with complementary flavors, you won’t think there is any of that barnyard funkiness.

Here are the most popular ways to prepare lamb:

  • Roasted and stuffed leg
  • Stewed shoulder with vegetables
  • Grilled loin chops
  • Broiled rack of lamb
  • Braised lamb shanks

However, recently dishes such as braised lamb ribs and slow-roasted lamb belly are appearing on menus across the country along with other rediscovered cuts. Sign me up, please.

And There is Flavor!

Now, there are a lot of classic flavor combinations with lamb, such as mint, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and lemon.  These are stronger flavors that can stand up to the taste of lamb and you can’t go wrong with them. However, there are a number of other flavors you may not have thought about pairing with lamb. Here are a few suggestions:

almonds, anchovies, blue cheese, cherries, eggplant, lavender, oranges, pistachios, prunes, tamarind, vermouth, zucchini

OK, so I’ve probably said enough about lamb. After you’ve read this post, I hope you think differently about it. The next time you’re at the butcher or grocery store, consider buying lamb – and if you’re feeling adventurous, buy something other than lamb chops.

Thanks for your time and happy eating!

Do You Crave Sugar?

There are two ways to approach sugar cravings:

1- Restrict the craving from your diet
2- Crowd the craving out of your diet.

When you restrict anything, the natural human reaction is to have a stronger desire for what ever is not allowed.  Think about a toddler wanting to draw on your wall with a marker.  Each time you tell him/her “No,” they will want to do it even more.  It is just simply human nature.  What we can do is apply that same idea to how we approach food.  What generally happens when we restrict something from our diet?  Usually, if you are me, it ends with shameless wolfing down of away too many cookies.

The other way to approach your cravings is to literally crowd them out with foods that are naturally sweet. Some good examples of naturally sweet foods are:

1- sweet potato
2- carrots
3- beets
4- fruit (dried or fresh) and berries

The reason you are experiencing cravings is because it is 100% completely natural for your body to want sugar.  Your body and brain need sugar (glucose) to function.  When we were hunter/gatherers we gathered fruits, berries, and sweet vegetables to fulfill the need for sugar in our diets.  So when you crave something sweet, try not to beat yourself up and remember that cravings are natural.  But, of course, how you satiate yourself is of the utmost importance.  Instead of reaching for cookies, ice cream, or chocolate every time you crave sugar, try to nip your craving in the bud and make meals that contain veggies and fruits with naturally occurring sugars.

I made a DELICIOUS lunch today for me and Jeff after our first bike ride and run (called a brick in triathlon terms) of the season.  We were starving but this very satisfying salad, accompanied by a sweet potato did the trick.  Having the sweet potato there with the salad both made the meal more filling and satisfied my admittedly strong sweet tooth!  No chocolate craving after this meal!

Ò

Ingredients:
Mixed greens
1 avocado
Handful cherry tomatoes- halved
Quinoa and buckwheat -cooked or soaked overnight
Goat cheese
Walnuts
Pepitas
Carrots and beets (grated in food processor)
Radishes and their greens
Fresh basil
Kelp flakes
Nutritional yeast

One sweet potato or yam- Wash and wrap with tin foil.  Put in oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until soft to touch.

Dressing:
Lemon juice, olive oil, Braggs Amino Acids, pepper

One last note:  Allow yourself a treat every now and then.  Life is short, after all!  I like to try to live by a 90/10 philosophy.  90% of the time I try to eat well and the other 10% is dedicated to cookies, cakes, pizza, and wine.

A Scorned Foodie Picks The NCAA Tournament

Gonzaga

Every year I catch the fever that is called March Madness. I watch the selection show, scour the Internet and eaves drop on conversations around the water cooler, all to inform my NCAA tourney brackets.

Every year I sit back and watch as somebody else surpasses me in braketology and ask myself where it all went wrong.  Maybe I’m just not suited for predicting college basketball games in March.

Every year I hear that the person who won the pool picked their brackets based on team mascot or team colors or some other extraneous criteria. Then I feel even worse. How could somebody who knows nothing about the sport beat me?

A picture of a lightbulb is often used to repr...

I have an Idea!

This year will be different. I’ve decided to use a unique selection process to choose my brackets. I thought long and hard about it and came to the conclusion –

Why not choose the teams based on their food pedigree. That sounds so ridiculous it just may work.

So here’s the criteria I used:

Teams that are in regions that have a strong food culture supersede a team from an area that is a culinary wasteland.

  • Is there a strong farming community that thrives on sustainable, artisan foods?
  • Do they make all natural, handmade foods in the region?
  • Is there a strong restaurant scene near the school?
  • Is the area known for a specific food that is unique and delicious?

My Picks

By using these new criteria, I worked through my bracket and came to the following final four teams:

BBQ ribsMidwest – From a food standpoint, probably the weakest collection of schools. However, there are a few standouts, including St. Louis, Oregon, Memphis and Duke.  Based on their BBQ and whiskey, I’m giving this region to Memphis (6), though Oregon is a close second.

Category:Stub-Class Cheeses articlesWest – This is a tough region. You have Southern University, Wisconsin and Gonzaga from parts of the country that feature great food. These three are all legitimate choices, but because cheese is one of my favorite foods, I’m going to have to choose Wisconsin (5).

A female Atlantic Blue Crab (Callinectes sapid...

South – I wouldn’t say this region features the obvious areas one would associate with a thriving food scene, but there are a few to note. North Carolina, UCLASan Diego State and Georgetown are the best. I’ll have to pick Georgetown (2) because DC has such a great restaurant scene, it’s close to Maryland which has some of the best seafood on the east coast and not far from the pig farms in Virginia. Hard to argue with that one.

Deutsch: Bratwürste.

East – There are a number of contenders in this region. You have Cal in northern California, Marquette in Milwaukee, University of Miami, and Pacific (offering northern Oregon produce, hops for beer and wine grapes). So my heart says Pacific, but Cal is also a major consideration being close to farms, cheese makers and of course, Napa. This is too close to call and any of these teams could be a legitimate choice, but I have to go with Marquette (3) since it is in Milwaukee, which stands for brats, beer and cheese – some of my favorite food vices.

Georgetown Hoyas athletic logo

Of those 4 teams, I’ll have to award the NCAA Championship to…Georgetown (2). It offers great restaurants, fresh seafood and reasonable proximity to a great agriculture scene.

So there you have it. A few expected picks and a few surprises. Maybe I wouldn’t be that far off from these selections by choosing based on basketball ability, but I certainly had more fun in the process.

Have any opinions about my selections, please kindly respond below and let me know what you think.

Beating Inflammation

People who live in Park City know inflammation.  A twisted ankle swells after rolling on a rock during a trail run, pain in the lower back becomes persistent after a few crashes on the mountain bike or skis, and maybe your hips start speaking up after hours of XC skiing.

The reality is that our bodies naturally produce pro-inflammatory responses.  For example, when you twist your ankle, cut your foot, or are fighting a sore throat, the body responds immediately by swelling, which delivers more blood and therefore nourishment to the affected area.  While this pro-inflammatory phase can be painful, it is usually naturally followed and counteracted by an anti-inflammatory phase that is necessary for cellular repair and regeneration. This acute inflammation is normal, short lived, and usually beneficial.  But sometimes the balance between pro and anti-inflammatory processes gets out of whack and inflammation continues for too long at a low, but persistent level.

Chronic, low-grade, internal inflammation is often called, “silent.”  Even though you may not feel it, chronic inflammation makes itself known through the symptoms of illness and disease it causes.

We now know that internal, chronic inflammation is at the root of many different types of illness, from cardiovascular disease to Alzheimer’s.  This is the type of inflammation that is killing the majority of our US population.

High risk factors for inflammation are:  bad habits (like smoking, drinking excessively), poor sleep, chronic stress, obesity, and poor diet.

A great place to start is with your diet.  Well-known and highly acclaimed Dr. Andrew Weil suggests the following diet guidelines to ease chronic inflammation:

1- Eat more healthy fats especially those high in Omega 3s.  Chia seeds, ground flax seeds, avocados, walnuts, sardines, and wild-caught salmon are just a few great options.

2- Eliminate the wrong fats such as polyunsaturated vegetable oils: safflower, sunflower, corn, and soy oil are a few.

3- Eat more fruits and vegetables!!  Especially in a nice array of colors

4- Limit “white” carbohydrates.  White flours and sugars cause drastic spikes in blood sugar which contributes to inflammation in the body.

5- Cut back on animal products

6- Season food with healing spices such as turmeric, ginger, and red pepper.  Turmeric is perhaps the most potent anti-inflammatory herb studied so far.  Studies have shown that turmeric may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.  In animal studies, turmeric appears to help prevent cancer.  Personally, I have been using turmeric daily, with great results, as a means to manage my lower back pain due to a bulging disk.

7- Drink pure water or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, or sparkling water with lemon) throughout the day.

Remember that our bodies are like well-oiled machines when given the correct tools.  Our bodies have an innate ability to heal themselves. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management goes a long, long way.

Show those Pancakes some Love

Show those Pancakes some Love

I have a deep and profound love for blueberry pancakes.  This is old news for those who know me well.  The aromas of blueberry pancakes cooking on the griddle evoke feelings of contentment, joy, and warmth.   They bring me back to my childhood.  They remind me of innocence and existential happiness.

Having said that, new light has been shed on my favorite breakfast.   Being a recent graduate of a holistic nutrition school, I can see that my blueberry pancake breakfast may not be the most healthy breakfast option.

As Jeff so dutifully prepared my most favorite meal in the world this morning I had a few ideas to make our pancakes healthier.

1- Cook quinoa and add about ½ cup to the batter

2- Add a tablespoon or two of Mila (The highest quality of chia seed on the market) to the batter.

3- Use a batter made with whole grains or even a gluten-free option.  We LOVE “Pamela’s” pancake batter.  It is gluten free but it tastes fantastic!

And Voila! My favorite meal just became that much healthier.

Quinoa is an extraordinary “grain” with a complete amino acid profile, which means it is a complete protein, and is high in fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

Mila is a brand of chia seed that is highly regarded for its outstanding quality next to other sources of chia.  Like quinoa, Mila is a complete protein.  Mila is also a rich source of phosphorous, magnesium, and iron.  It is also a balanced plant-based source for the perfect ratio of 3:1 (Three omega-3s to one omega-6).

Bread and cheese, meet heat.

Red Sea (Aug. 21, 2006) - Culinary Specialist ...

In anticipation of National Grilled Cheese Month in April, I figured I’d write a little about the history of such cheesy, gooeyness. Now, I’m no professional chef, but I do have a long history with grilled cheese. I’ve experimented with many different cheese and bread combinations. I’ve found that I love whatever I’m in the mood for at that moment. Over those years, I never really thought about the history of the beloved sandwich, so now is the perfect time to reflect on one of our most famous sandwiches.

Русский: Бюст Юлия Цезаря, Летний сад, Санкт-П...

In some form or other, grilled cheese sandwiches have been made since Roman times. Go figure, another food recipe popularized by Romans (for another bit of food history, do a search on garum, the Roman precursor to modern-day ketchup).

However, the modern-day version of the grilled cheese sandwich, of which we all know so well, originated around the 1920s. It was a single piece of bread with melted cheese on top, which was called a “cheese dream.” The second slice of bread came decades later, sometime in the 1960s.

Culturally and psychologically, it was an important creation because it let people during the Great Depression enjoy a tasty, inexpensive meal that didn’t break the bank. It was so popular it was even served at dinner parties.

Can anyone guess why it happened around this time?

Sliced bread

Well, it’s the best thing since sliced…ah, but of course, that’s when affordable sliced bread became available to the masses. And it also came at a time when inexpensive American cheese hit the market (probably the best use of individually wrapped grocery store cheese).

The bread and meat stars were aligned and the rest is cheesy history.

It became so common that grilled cheese sandwiches were even made by Navy cooks during the Big One (World War II for those who don’t watch All in the Family).

Today grilled cheese has experienced a revival. It has gained top billing in restaurants and food trucks and remains the popular choice among families in the home kitchen. It has even evolved into a replacement for bread, becoming the top and bottom halves for cheeseburgers (certainly a decadent treat best left to that once-a-year indulgence).

So this is only our humble history of the grilled cheese sandwich. It is worth noting that most other countries have their version of a grilled cheese sandwich, though it is a little more elaborate than our humble sandwich. Just a few include the luscious Croque Monsieur from France (add a fried egg for a Croque Madame) and the tangy and dripping Welsh Rarebit (or aka Rabbit) from the UK.

On that note, I bid adieu and encourage you to try to make your own version of this classic sandwich. I’m partial to a bit of Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve or Thistle Hill Farm Tarentaise, a complex cheddar (maybe Gold Creek Farms Smoked White Cheddar) and a thin swipe of Dijon mustard on hearty whole grain bread.

Feel free to share your favorite combinations below. Thank you and happy experimenting.

Arousing the Senses with a Nice Pair

Hands down, two of my most favorite foods are beer and cheese. I will be so bold as to say that my very existence relies upon a perpetual supply of both. If I didn’t have either, I expect I would shrivel up and blow away into the crisp Rocky Mountain wind.

It’s not by accident that I love these two foods. They are actually perfect bedfellows…and I personally believe an even better pairing than wine and cheese. (I can almost hear the wine enthusiasts shouting, Blasphemer!)

At least listen to my reasoning behind this outrageous claim.

Firstly, both foods rely upon microbial activity and when made well, can reflect the terroir (sorry for using that word again) of the area in which it is made.

Secondly, cheese is earthy, pungent and intense, usually with a creamy finish that can overwhelm the flavor of other libations. Beer has similar flavor profiles as that of many cheeses, but also has carbonation, bitterness and roasted flavors that can handle the richness and creaminess of most cheeses.

I probably haven’t convinced you yet, but I’ve always felt the best way to persuade somebody is to have them experience it for themselves. Therefore, I will list for you some of the best pairings of cheese and beer and you can decide for yourself if I’m accurate in my statement above.

On a final note, here are some fundamentals behind pairing beer and cheese so you can try your own combinations (from the brain and experience of Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and famed author). There aren’t any hard fast rules, so  try, try and try again until you find what you prefer.

– lighter beers with younger or fresh cheeses

– malty beers with nutty, aged cheeses

– hoppy beers with tart, sharp cheeses

– strong, sweet beers with blue cheeses

The beauty of pairing beer and cheese is you can taste away until you find the perfect pairing. If you have any favorites of your own, please don’t hesitate to include them below.

Thanks.

Honey: A Culinary Seduction

I’ve always felt there was a seductive nature to honey. Think about the words associated with it:  luscious, soothing, comforting, oozing, dripping – even the simple word “honeypot” can have a lascivious connotation. Do you know what the worker bees secrete to feed the queen bee? Another double entendre:  royal jelly. They secrete royal jelly. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Honey in History

OK, so now that I have your attention (and perversions aside), honey has to be one of the most diverse foods ever enjoyed by man or woman. It dates back thousands of years. In my research, I’ve seen dates going back as far as 8,000 BC or as recent as 2,000 BC. According to Louis Grivetti from UC Davis, there were references to honey 10,000 years ago shown on petroglyphs in Spain and India.

It is so important and common throughout our history that it is mentioned in just about all creation myths, religious texts, ancient and modern literature, medical journals and even pop culture – where it exists in many forms, including song lyrics (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), hairdos (have you seen Marge Simpson), tattoos (check this one out) and our lexicon (how about the word honeymoon).

But before I get off the historical and cultural significance of honey, I thought I’d retell one of the most interesting myths I found that related to honey and bees. It was an old Thai myth that told the story of the creation of the elephant’s trunk.

The Asian Elephant, Elephas maximus is the nat...

One day a long, long, long time ago – even before elephants had trunks – there was a raging forest fire that swept over all the land. With nowhere to go to escape the smoke and flames, all the bees hid in the mouths of elephants for safety. Obviously, this was a major inconvenience for the elephants, so to get the buzzing bees out, the elephants blew so hard their mouths stretched out to form what is now known as a trunk. They breathed in the smoke through their trunks and chased out the bees.

Is it a coincidence that after all that time, bees still build honeycombs in hollow trees, the TRUNKS of trees? Could one say that it reminds them of an elephant’s trunk? You be the judge.

Culinary Value of Honey

This is all great and interesting, but what about honey in culinary terms. Believe it or not, there are over 300 varieties of honey in the United States, with the mild clover honey being the most popular. Just about every major region in this country produces its own honey.

Did you think I’d ever use the term “terroir” when discussing honey? Well, I’m going to. There are many factors that affect the taste and color of honey. Think of it in the same terms as a fine wine. Since honey is made from bees pollinating flowers, factors such as soil conditions, water and sunlight (among others) from the area where the flowers grow will have an impact on flavor and consistency.

There are two main categories or sources of honey:

  • Honeys produced by a range of flowers – typically called wildflower honey
  • Honeys from a single source, or single variety – they are named after the actual source e.g. Orange Blossom, Lavender

Many people think that the source flower of the honey will influence the flavor; meaning honey from blueberry flower pollen will taste like blueberries. You certainly get a fruity flavor from such a honey, but actual blueberry flavor may be a little more challenging for the average person. However, color will certainly be dictated by the source of the honey. Consistency can range from light and runny to thick and opaque depending on many factors including filtration. I personally enjoy the more complex, thicker, deeper hued honeys.

Tasting Honey, Or Is It A Honey Tasting

So, now you’ve convinced me to buy all this honey. What do I do with it? Why not invite over your food enthusiast friends and have a honey tasting. Yeah, I just said honey tasting. We’ve all heard of wine tastings and cheese tastings and beer tastings, but why not honey. It’s simple – just buy a range of different honeys from light to dark in color and from thin to thick in consistency and serve them with complementary foods such as toasted nuts, figs, apples, peaches and various cheeses. You can also think about serving sweets made with the honeys being served – for example, make a gooey and crunchy baklava. Being a porkavore, I’d also add bacon, ribs and ham to that list (or really anything pig related), but that’s optional.

Common And Not-So-Common Pairings

There certainly are many common honey and food pairings. Try figs and hard cheese or peaches and fresh goat cheese with honey. However, I urge you to try honey with other not-so-common pairings. A few others to inspire you are honey  with:  coffee, duck, pistachios, whiskey, lavender, dark chocolate, ginger, cognac and thyme.

Cover of "The Flavor Bible: The Essential...

To inspire you even further, Michael Laiskonis from LeBernardin in NYC said (in a book titled The Flavor Bible, written by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg) that he has scorched honey to create a new flavor, specifically for a dish of burnt honey caramelized pistachio ice cream. Not sure about you, but I’m sold.

I could go on forever, but one last suggestion:  honey butter. Last June at the farmers market in Salt Lake City at Pioneer Park, there was a honey producer who made his own honey butter. I almost became a religious man that day, dropping to my knees and thanking God that such a food could exist.

It’s actually very simple to make and it all relies on the quality of ingredients – combine a complex, small batch honey with local farm fresh butter. Stir the two together until smooth, add a pinch of salt and then spread on anything from toast to a damp sponge. I mean that. This concoction can make anything scrumptious.

The Final Plea

As a parting thought, it’s important to know that many grocery store honeys are typically sourced from other countries that have the pollen removed in an attempt to also remove contaminants. It shouldn’t technically be called honey by FDA standards and doesn’t have the health benefits typically associated with honey. Therefore, I recommend when buying honey make sure you buy it from local sources, and look for organic because it is subject to higher standards. In Utah we have a number of great sources of local honey. I personally prefer Slide Ridge Honey (they also make a tart honey vinegar).

Thanks for your time and patience during this lengthy dissertation on the humble ingredient, honey. If you have any suggestions for a great source of local honey or interesting flavor combinations, please tell me about it in the comments box below.