September is National Honey Month, so before it’s over, we thought we’d give some love to the sweet stuff. Although honey should be used sparingly just like any other type of sugar, it boasts a number of health benefits that make it a smarter choice than plain old granulated sugar. It contains powerful antioxidants, and has antimicrobial properties that help fight off colds and can even make antibiotics work better.
Wilmette-based chef and cookbook author Carrie Schloss is so passionate about honey that she devoted a whole cookbook to it. “The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook,” named the 2018 Midwest Cookbook of the Year Award, is packed with 130 recipes that let the sticky stuff shine. Here, Chef Carrie shares two great ones with us.
Chipotle Honey Marinated Skirt Steak
I was introduced to chipotle, or smoke-dried jalapeño, as a young girl, and that hot, smoky flavor has been one of my favorites ever since. Although this marinade uses both chipotles and chipotle honey, the resulting steak isn’t overly spicy; it’s just really flavorful. The meat only needs to marinate for an hour, but it can marinate for up to 24 hours if you have the time.
Makes 5 to 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 large yellow onion, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 chipotle chiles, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons Asheville Bee Charmer’s Smokin’ Hot Honey (chipotle-infused honey)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 2 to 3 pieces
1. To make the marinade, mix together the lime juice, onion, garlic, chipotle chiles, honey, cumin, salt, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, and olive oil in a small bowl until well incorporated. Place the steak in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Add the marinade and coat the steak well. Seal the bag and let the steak marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Wipe off the excess marinade from the steak and discard the marinade. Grill the steak for 6 to 7 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked to your liking.
3. Transfer the meat to a plate, tent it with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Cut the steak at an angle against the grain into 1/4-inch- or 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve immediately. Store leftover steak in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months.
Note: If you don’t have a grill, you can cook the steak under a broiler.
Kale, Clementine, and Hazelnut Salad
This is one of my favorite salads to make. It’s easy and you can store it in the refrigerator. Typically, a dressed salad would wilt, but there’s something interesting about this one: the longer it sits, the tastier it gets. The massaged kale is a great base for a wide range of fruits and nuts — be creative and make this salad with some of your favorites. I personally love using dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pecans.
Makes 4 servings
- 1 pound curly kale, stemmed, washed, and dried thoroughly
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 clementines, peeled and segmented
- 1 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons orange blossom honey
1. To make the salad, tear the kale into small pieces and place them in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Gently massage the kale for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the kale has deflated by roughly half. Add the clementines and hazelnuts and toss well.
2. To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and honey in a small bowl. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat completely. Serve the salad immediately or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for four to five days.
Note: If you don’t have curly kale on hand, you can use any other kind of kale you like, including black kale, lacinato kale, Siberian kale, red Russian kale, or redbor kale.
Reprinted with permission from “The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook” by Carrie Schloss, Agate Surrey, 2017.
Save the Bees!
You’ve probably heard that the world’s honey bee population is under massive threat, and this is seriously bad news not just for our honey supply, but because bees play a crucial role as pollinators of many of the foods we eat every day — one out of every three bites, in fact. Join the global movement to support bee conservation by lending a hand or dollar to one of these nonprofits committed to fighting to save the bees.
Editor in Chief of Make It Better, Brooke Geiger McDonald is a Chicago native and Northwestern University grad who spent a decade away from home working for O, The Oprah Magazine and Shape magazine in NYC, and getting her master’s degree in English literature and working in book publishing in London. Back home in Chicago, she’s outnumbered by her husband and two boys, and the four of them are certifiable Disney and Star Wars fanatics. Other obsessions include Charles Dickens, wine and authentic Neapolitan pizza. Her favorite cause to support is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Follow her on Instagram: @brookejmcdonald.