• Tommy Centola

Incorporate local honey in the kitchen

There are numerous sweeteners on grocery market stores these days. My favorite is Steen’s Cane Syrup. Part of the reason is that it’s a Louisiana product. It’s not readily available here in Arkansas. However, there’s another product that is a local alternative, Arkansas Honey.

Go into any local grocery store and you can find numerous containers of honey from local producers. Arkansas honey are also easily found at your local Farmer’s Markets. Like cane syrup, honey adds a unique flavor to any dish you add it to. Today, I want to share with you 2 entrees, Honey-Basted Chicken and Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin, and one dish that can either be a side dish or dessert, Fresh Fruit with Minted Honey. Let’s head to the kitchen!

Here is a great Sunday family dinner. Feel free to use other chicken pieces. Just make sure to adjust your cooking times. Whatever pieces you use, this recipe will quickly become a family favorite.

Honey-Basted Chicken

1 cup honey

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Whisk together honey, vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Toss the chicken with the mixture and marinate for 4 to 12 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375℉. Drain the marinade from the chicken. Place chicken on baking sheet and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Baste while cooking.

Honey Mustard is a very popular flavor these days. When buying pork tenderloins, remember that they come packaged two to a pack. They cook quickly, so you want to make sure they don’t dry out. This is a great dish for a weekday meal. Within 20 minutes, you’re eating a deliciously prepared home-cooked meal.

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin

4 pork tenderloins, 12 ounces each after trimming

3/4 cup honey

1/4 cup mustard seed, cracked

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Brush the pork generously with honey. Mix the mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl, and spread evenly over the loins. Put half the oil in the pan, heat for about 30 seconds, taking care not to let the oil smoke, and place two loins in the pan. Sear the pork until an even brown crust appears, about 4 minutes. Turn and repeat. Continue until all sides are brown and the loin is medium-rare to medium. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe out the pan, add the remaining oil, and repeat with the other two loins.

After the meat has cooled, about 3 minutes, cut slices on the bias to a thickness of about a third of an inch.

Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Here is a refreshing dish that can serve as a dessert or side dish. It’s perfect for any gathering. Feel free to use whatever fresh fruit you enjoy. You can’t go wrong with fresh fruit.

Fresh Fruit with Minted Honey

4 cups fresh peaches, sliced

2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

2 cups fresh blackberries

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon lime zest

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped, plus more for garnish

In a large serving bowl, combine peaches and all the berries. In a small bowl, combine honey, lime zest and juice, and chopped mint. Drizzle honey mixture over fruit, stirring gently to coat. Garnish with additional mint, if desired. Serve immediately.

Whenever you use a product like honey for use in a savory preparation, don’t forget to balance the sweetness. Add your favorite vinegar. Add a touch of mustard. It will enhance the honey flavor.

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