Monday, May 2, 2011

Po10tial - Honey Honey Everywhere, All of it to Eat!

 Every recipe in this post incorporates honey. It isn't only the honey that's important here though, but where it comes from and how its made. The Kittrell's spend a lot of time and energy ensuring the flowers on there land are not polluted by the "mandatory" chemicals dropped on the surrounding land to kill mosquitoes. They've even built a home for bats (which eat the 'skeeters) and watch for the trucks to ensure they are not spraying adjacent to their land (they are exempt because of the business's organic status). If you read the previous post, you know that honey is good in many ways, but there are other foods that you may not know are harmful.

The meat packing industry has been targeted by numerous consumer watch groups, starred in documentaries exposing the dirty under-belly, and thrives as the largest polluter on the planet. Therefore, check out this chicken that was raised in some very different conditions. Clicking on the photos will blow them up, and this chicken has some good reading on her packaging. On the flip side, if you're having trouble reading, that little paragraph under the American Humane Certified seal says: "... raised in ways which reduce stress with adequate shelter, comfortable resting areas, sufficient space, proper facilities & the ability to express normal behavior." That last part means they not only get to peck at the ground, but she had a beak her entire life. Almost a fuzzy thought until you think about the other chicks that we eat everyday. She was purchased at Publix for under $10, not much different than other chickens.

Enough preaching, already! On to the food! Combine 3 oz honey with 1 oz honey mustard dip (optional -- it was in the fridge). Add in 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard and a splash of mirin to thin and whisk well. Set this combo aside.

Wing tips behind the body prevents them from burning.
Unwrap the chicken, remove the giblets and rinse well with cool water. Pat with paper towels inside & out. Arrange the chicken on a pan. Bend the wings behind her as shown so they are pinned back, and tie the ankles together to assist in even cooking. Coat the dry chicken liberally with oil and sprinkle all over with salt & pepper. Put into 350 oven. After 15 minutes, and every subsequent 10 minutes, baste with the honey-mustard mixture. Increase heat to 400 degrees when chicken reaches internal temperature of 145 (about 30-40 minutes) and allow to brown (no more than 10 minutes).

After putting the chicken into the oven, peel four parsnips and one large sweet potato. Dice into 1" pieces. Since I have a wire rack that sits just over an inch above the pan, I put my veggies under the chicken. This method allowed some of the basting liquid to glaze the veggies as well. Put 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon cardamom, sprinkle of salt & 3 tablespoons oil into a sealed container and shake to combine. Toss the parsnips & potatoes with oil mixture to fully coat, and then spread them onto a sheet pan. Roast in the 350 oven with the chicken for about 45 minutes or until potato is tender. Remove golden brown chicken first to allow to rest while everything else in the oven finishes.

 Finally, the corn muffins you see here are easy and approachable with no prior cooking talent needed. Jiffy corn muffin mix is the best I've ever tasted, and the directions on the box are easy enough that my 4-year-old only needs minimal assistance. Make according to the box's directions and spoon into muffin cups. Top the cups with cheddar and fresh corn, then bake according to the instructions on the box. Adding a touch of chili powder is nice in these because they are pretty sweet; top spicy ones with a strip of red pepper. While the muffins cook, combine 4 tablespoons honey with 2 tablespoons butter for a gooey glaze, or up the butter to 6 tablespoons for more of a spread. Either way, add a dash of cinnamon, stir and set on the table to anticipate. When the muffins are done, remove from oven and allow to cool. Drizzle the honey butter onto the muffins to serve.

Finish your meal with peas, corn on the cob, broccoli... Just about anything...

Dinner is so sweet. :)

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