honey

Slow-Cooker Chicken with Lime, Honey and Soy

April 6 049 Edited Slow Cooker Chicken with Lime, Honey and Soy

When I read a recipe from a slow cooker cookbook,  I expect to use only my slow cooker. Imagine my surprise when the original version of this recipe called for frying the chicken, sauteing  an onion, and boiling a sauce all before slow cooking. Help me.

Still, I liked the idea of using Chinese Five Spice, honey, and lime, so I took what I wanted from the recipe to create a dry rub and a liquid marinade. Within minutes, my chicken was seasoned and simmering, and I was out the door to waste time in the best of ways. I.e. socializing with friends over adult beverages.

Then I came home to this.

April 6 059 Edited Slow Cooker Chicken with Lime, Honey and Soy

It may be worth noting that this recipe calls for chicken thighs as it is easier to overcook leaner cuts of chicken such as boneless, skinless breast in the slow cooker. Feel free to use the cuts of meat your prefer, just be aware you may need to monitor the cooking process more closely and/or reduce the cooking time.

I served my chicken over a mixture of basmati and forbidden rice, and then tucked the leftovers into an omelet. I imagine it would make for an equally good sandwich or maybe even work as a taco like this slow-cooker adobo chicken. Enjoy!

April 6 053 Edited Slow Cooker Chicken with Lime, Honey and Soy

Chicken with Lime, Honey and Soy
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 to 1½ pounds boneless chicken thighs (about 6)
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (from 1-2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Optional:
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • Rice, cooked according to package instructions
Instructions
  1. Mix the Chinese Five Spice, black pepper and wasabi powder together.
  2. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken thighs, then place the meat into a slow cooker.
  3. Whisk together the chicken stock, honey, lime juice, soy sauce, and minced garlic.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the chicken in the crock pot, turn heat to low, and cook for 4 to 6 hours until the chicken is tender.
  5. When done, remove the chicken from the slow cooker, place in a large bowl, and use two forks to pull the chicken apart into shreds.
  6. If desired, transfer the liquid left in the crock pot to a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce by half, about 10-12 minutes. Pour this mixture over the chicken before serving. (Or just reserve the liquid as is and pour over any leftovers to reduce dryness).
  7. Also if desired. serve over rice and top with green onion.
Notes
I used 1.34 pounds of boneless chicken thighs for this recipe. The original recipe called for 2½ pounds of bone-in chicken thighs.
You can add 1 teaspoon of coarse salt if desired. The soy sauce provides enough salt for my tastes.

Challenged! Honey Pear & Feta Braid

IMG 5637 Edited Challenged! Honey Pear & Feta Braid

The second Willow Bird Baking Challenge required bakers fill a pastry braid with any filling that met their heart’s desire. I had been thinking about whipping up some baked pears like those I made in the past, so I figured, why not just put them into a braid? There is just something about a fruit and cheese combination - in this case pears and Feta – that to me never seems to get old.

Another of my favorites is apple and cheddar.  And as silly as it may sound, tart granny smith apples, creamy brie cheese, and sweet cherry preserves make for a great sandwich. I think both of these combinations would make an equally delicious braid.

I thought of so many filling possibilities I wanted to try in this challenge that I felt a bit like a cop out trying something I knew would work based on past experience. I initially thought of making some sort of banoffe pie concoction. I also considered adding some cocoa power to the dough to create a chocolate braid, filing it with bananas and marshmallows.

Thinking of chocolate dough led me down the path of wanting use cherry pie filling. After that, I naturally began to wonder if pudding would not make for a delicious filling as well. What I am trying to communicate is there are seemingly infinite possibilities for this braid.

Be sure to click the link that starts off this post to see all of the wonderful concoctions – savory and sweet – people created. The savory options bakers came up with were amazing! The sweet recipes looked pretty good too.

The dough does not make an overly large pastry as 8 x 12 is just barely larger than a sheet of notebook paper. If this is your first time baking a braid, as it was mine, the step-by-step pictures that show how to cut and fold the dough found in the original recipe post are quite helpful.

Given that under other dough-folding circumstances, one might call this a pie or a galette, the braid is really nothing that should overwhelm. Because the assembled braid can be refrigerated and baked the next day, it is great to pull together the night before a brunch. Or if you are a morning person, pull together a savory option upon waking and pop it into the oven before dinner. When a recipe is as flexible as its fillings, what’s not to like?

Honey Pear & Feta Braid
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the Dough:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (additional may be needed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup milk, minus ½ teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • For the Filling:
  • ½ mediem-sized pear, sliced very thin
  • 2 tablespoons honey, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese, plus additional for topping
  • For the Icing:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add the butter and cream cheese into the flour mixture and pulse to cut the fat into the flour.
  3. Add the milk and the lemon extract and blend into a loose dough.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead VERY LIGHTLY for 4-5 strokes. Add flour as needed to make sure the dough is not too sticky to roll out. The goal is to simply gather the dough together. It does not need to be smooth, and likely will look a bit rough.That is okay.
  5. Between two sheets of waxed paper, roll the dough to an 8- by 12-inch rectangle. Next turn the dough out onto a lightly greased baking sheet and remove the waxed paper.
  6. Measure and mark the dough lengthwise into thirds.
  7. In a clean bowl, toss all of the filling ingredients except the feta cheese together. I find it helpful to rub the honey and spices on each slice of fruit. The lemon juice serves to thin the honey so it will better coat the fruit.
  8. Lay the pear slices down the middle third of the dough, keeping them about ½ inch from the mark on both sides.
  9. Sprinkle the feta over the pears once layered across the dough.
  10. Make 2¾-inch slight diagonal cuts at 1-inch intervals on each the long sides. Do not cut into the center pear-filled area.
  11. Fold strips, first one from one side and then one from the other side, in a rotating fashion over the filling.
  12. The dough should now resemble a braid.
  13. Bake in a 425° oven for 12-15 minutes, until the dough is cooked through and the top is lightly browned. About a minute before taking the pastry out of the oven, sprinkle additional feta over the top if desired and return to the oven.
  14. When the braid comes out of the oven, drizzle with honey.
  15. While the braid cools slightly, combine the powered sugar, milk, and lemon extract.
  16. Drizzle over the top of the braid and enjoy. Best when served warm.
Notes
Note from Julie at Willow Bird Baking: To prepare this braid in advance, complete all steps and assemble the braid but do not bake. Cover the braid on its parchment lined baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Set out in the morning as you preheat the oven and then bake as usual. Note from LeAndra at Love & Flour: I followed these instructions and was please with the results. It should also be noted that I have a teeny tiny food processor. I simply formed the dough in two batches to compensate for this shortcoming.

 

 

 

Daring Bakers’ Challenge – Challah

IMG 3686 Edited Daring Bakers Challenge   Challah

May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

I was super pumped to participate in a challah challenge (should that be called a challahenge?) because a) I love bread, and b) for whatever reason, I’ve been thinking about challah all year. The bread must have been something I considered tackling as part of a baking resolution, but I never got around to it until now.

As someone raised in the Methodist church, the only things I knew of challah were it is a braided bread and associated with the Jewish tradition. Ruth’s instructions informed the Daring Bakers that challah refers not to bread, but to the  portion of bread which, in the days of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, was set aside as an offering to the high priests. The braid symbolizes the coming together of separate pieces into one combined entity, like the everyday and the holy, and the coming together of family and friends.

IMG 3691 Edited e1338080452822 Daring Bakers Challenge   Challah

It wasn’t until I was in graduate school studying  for my social work degree that I really started to consider the privileges I enjoyed  in society simply because my faith celebrated Christmas and Easter.  A classmate who was very vocal about her Jewish faith made it clear those of the Christian faith had an unfair advantage in the workplace because employers recognized Christian holidays like Christmas and Good Friday, but not Jewish holidays like Chanukah or Passover. I will always remember her discussing how she felt it unfair she had to take a day off for Christmas, a holiday that held no meaning for her, yet she had to use her vacation time for Yom Kippur. I am grateful that hearing her story allowed me to consider the structures I had always known in a different light.

More recently, with the recent passage of Amendment One here in North Carolina, I have realized how a country founded on the separation of church and state does a pretty bad job when it comes down to it. We certainly seem to find many more ways to use our differences to drive each other apart (hate?) than to use our differences as a reason to come together to learn and celebrate (love?). Fortunately, I got to use the challah I baked for a celebration.

IMG 3693 Edited Daring Bakers Challenge   Challah

I made a traditional three-strand braid and a four-strand braided round. Ruth explained round challah is traditionally used on the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) as an example of the cycle of life and the cycle of the year. I needed no help with the three-strand braid, but I found the video Ruth made about how to make a four-strand braided round invaluable. I think my braids turned out well because I had learned from my experiences rolling snakes of dough (see butter mints and pretzels) and braiding dough (see King Cake).

I used a Honey White recipe Ruth provided, and I turned it into Honey Wheat because (gasp!) I ran out of all-purpose flour. As I near my one year goal of blogging, I notice I am slipping when it comes to planning to have ingredients on hand. Ruth also suggested we check out The Challah Blog, and I echo that suggestion to you all. Challahs like stuffed pizza challah, nutella challah, and pumpkin challah can be found within its pages.

Though non-practicing, my friend Jenn is of the Jewish faith. It just so happened Jenn recently celebrated her birthday, so I gave her the braided round to enjoy for her new year. It made my day to receive her verdict, “Challah is delcious!” Indeed.

IMG 3684 Edited Daring Bakers Challenge   Challah

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Honey Wheat Challah
 
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 2 loaves
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups warm water, separated
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. (2-2/3 packets) dry active yeast
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour*, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups wheat flour*
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ½ cup warm water, 1 Tbsp. sugar and 2 Tbsp. yeast.
  2. Allow to proof approximately 5 minutes until foamy.
  3. To the yeast mixture add the remaining water, honey, oil, eggs, salt and 5 cups of flour.
  4. Knead (by hand or with your mixer’s dough hook) until smooth, adding flour as needed, approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer dough to a clean, oiled bowl, turn to coat or add a bit more oil on top.
  6. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and leave dough to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1½ hours.
  7. After the rise, punch down the dough and divide it into two sections. Use one half to make each loaf.
  8. Place loaves on parchment-lined or greased baking sheets, cover with a towel, and allow to rise 30 minutes.
  9. After the second rise, brush the tops of the loaves with egg wash.
  10. Bake loaves at 325 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until done.
  11. Cool on wire racks.
Notes
*You may need up to 9 total cups of flour. I used 4 cups of white flour and 2 cups of wheat flour.