During a recent visit to The Monterey on South St. Mary’s Street, a friend and I shared a dessert that was a delicate combination of fresh strawberries and local goat cheese ricotta topped with honey infused with a touch of fennel.
A few days later I discovered a series of flavored honey recipes in the new “The Herbal Kitchen” by Kami McBride (Conari Press, $18.95), each easy to make and easy to use in a number of different ways. Here are three short combinations that would work on a toast point smeared with goat cheese or cream cheese as an appetizer, in a vinaigrette or served with cheese after a meal.
Here’s her process for making an herbal or spiced honey:
“Put the honey into a sterilized jar.
“Put the jar into a double boiler over low heat.
“Gently heat for 15 minutes or until it is warm. do not boil or overheat the honey, just warm it up until the herbs can be easily mixed in.
“Stir the herbs into the honey while it is still warm.
“Remove jar of honey from double boiler and let cool.
“Store the honey in a cabinet for two weeks before eating.
“Occasionally stir the contents, mixing herbs thoroughly into the honey.
“Just leave the honey in the herbs as you use it. There is no need to strain the herbs out at any point.”
“This honey turns toast into a yummy treat and livens up pancakes, waffles and all warm breakfast cereals,” McBride writes. “If you are catching a cold, make a tea with just Cinnamon Honey and it will help to send your cold on it’s way.”
1 cup honey
3 tablespoons powdered cinnamon (see note)
1 teaspoon powdered allspice (see note)
Note: You can reduce a ground spice into a powder with a spice grinder, a food processor, or mortar and pestle.
“If you like curry, this an exemplary honey for cooking. Put 3 tablespoons on a chicken before baking, or mix it with baked vegetables,” she writes.
2 cups honey
2 tablespoons powdered coriander
1 tablespoon powdered cumin
1 tablespoon powdered tumeric
2 teaspoons powdered mustard seed
2 teaspoons powdered fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon powdered clove
“All of the (spices) in this honey help to reduce inflammation and increase circulation throughout the body,” McBride writes. “Adding turmeric and ginger to your diet helps with arthritic complaints. You can also warm this honey up and scrub it on your feet. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wash off with warm water. The honey foot rub will warm your body and increase circulation.”
2 cups honey
1 tablespoon powdered turmeric
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon powdered juniper berry
1/2 teaspoon powdered cardamom
Recipes from “The Herbal Kitchen” by Kami McBride