The Wonder of Natural Honeycomb

In November I went to visit my family in Michigan and we went to one of my most favorite destinations: the Dexter Cider Mill.

We’ve been going here forever and hands down it is the best cider you will ever have because it is not pasteurized and the apples are pressed in a traditional fashion between layers of wooden boards to squeeze out the juices.

While I was wrapped in the warm blanket of nostalgia, sipping my cider and feeling completely contented to be reliving a childhood memory, several stacks of natural honeycomb caught my eye.

Natural Honeycomb

Be still my heart! If this was Spinal Tap, the nostalgia just got kicked up to an 11.

My mom would pick this up at the farmers market and cut off dripping hunks of golden goodness my brothers and I would chew with delight. You spit out the wax when you are done, sort of like those wax soda bottles with the sweet liquid inside, remember?

Natural honey tastes so much better than what you buy at the store, it is sweeter and thicker and just…better.  Some even believe it has natural antibiotic properties.

Now that I’m an adult, I chose to serve this honeycomb in a more mature fashion you could say.

Served with a drizzle of honey from the comb

Served with a drizzle of honey from the comb

A plate of sharp cheeses, like creamy parmesan and goat, alongside fresh figs and assorted charcuterie are an absolutely elegant way to use honeycomb.

Of course, I just chewed a piece for old times sake, and it was as good as I remember. 🙂

Enjoy!

– Erin

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It’s been so long…

I’M BACK!

Yay!  I’ve missed posting so much- it has really become therapeutic for me-and I’ve really missed interacting with my readers too. 🙂

Well, let me catch you up on what’s been happening. I know I said I’d be gone for one week up in Michigan (which I was) but then I turned around and had to travel to North Carolina for work for another full week. Being on the road is always tiring and I barely had time to check my email let alone get in a blog post.

Besides, I was eating out every single day, 3 meals a day (ewww) and the food was nothing to write home about. Although I did have breakfast-for-dinner at a Waffle House. That was awesome. (Fried eggs, hashbrowns, biscuit and cheese grits to be exact)

Ok, so I’m back now and it’s time to share the deets on my super awesome-very relaxing vacation at the cottage up north.

The cottage is a tradition. More like an institution actually. My mom went when she was a kid. I went when I was a kid. I hope my future kids go too. The cottage is a noun, an adjective and a verb. As a noun: the cottage isn’t a singular place, its a collection of 4 family owned cottages all within walking distance of each other on the lake. As an adjective: the cottage is an attitude that means laid-back, no worries, no plans, just relaxing with a beer and chatting with aunts, uncles and cousins.  As a verb: “It’s time to get my cottage on!!”

For the last couple years my husband and I have rented a 5th cottage near the others.

Where the cooking magic happened…. 🙂

Lake in the front, woods in the back, it’s perfect

Our very own dock

Since he is still on his overseas assignment, I shared the cottage with my brother and his girlfriend. Both are amazing photographers by the way, check out these sunset shots:

The sunset side

The cottage is in a small town but they take July 4th seriously and go big with a parade every year. There are lots of floats and they also throw candy. I love a good fat slice of Americana.

Fish float!

Don’t see this everyday, also, slightly creepy

Cousins lined up, waiting to grab some candy

So after the parade there was beach time and then fireworks later that night.  The week was great. I got to cook for my family and they cooked for me too. Blonde brownies, banana cream pie, gingerbread muffins and sour cream coffee cake, oh ya, those were just the desserts 😉 Wait till you see what I made. Yum.

More to come tomorrow 🙂  Can’t wait? Check out the monkey bread I made for breakfast the first day up north, here.

– Erin

S’mores Ice Cream

This is like a s’more on steroids. It’s ice cream. Ice cream with Nutella… and marshmallows. AND GRAHAM CRACKERS.

See I told you, it is still a s’more, but it isn’t just a s’more, okay?

(As if someone could call the second greatest food item you can prepare over a campfire “just a s’more”- crazy talk!)

Scoop this ice cream directly onto a graham cracker, then toast some marshmallows on top, perfectly gooey just like a s’more!

Chilly and delicious

It is sweltering hot in DC right now. Like 98° and 60% humidity hot to be exact.

I love summer, but I have a love-hate relationship with DC summers. It looks all sunny and inviting outside and then the instant you step out of your apartment your shirt gets that gross sweat stain right under your boobs and you haven’t even started walking to the Metro yet.

Ugh.

You couldn’t get me anywhere near a campfire now, but you could give me a bowl of s’mores ice cream and I would be happy. 😉

I’ve already had a bowl actually. Mmm.

S’mores Ice Cream

  • 1 3/4 cup cold heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup Nutella
  • 1/3 graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows, plus more for garnish
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips

Recipe inspired by Frozen Honey Cream

Put the bowl of your electric mixer in the freezer for 10 minutes (a cold bowl helps the whip cream form). Meanwhile, separate your eggs, reserving the yolks. Once the bowl has chilled, beat the heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form; transfer to a new bowl and refrigerate.

Beat the eggs yolks on high in your electric mixer until they are pale yellow.  In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the Nutella just until it is smooth and runny. Don’t walk away from this, the Nutella can easily overheat and seize up. While the mixer is running on high, slowly pour the hot Nutella into the yolks. Continue to beat on high until the egg yolks have cooled to room temperature, about 5 minutes.

Next, fold the chilled whip cream and 1 cup mini marshmallows into the cooled yolk mixture.

Spread half the mixture in a 9×5 loaf pan (I used a rectangle 7×7 Tuperware and it worked too) and sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs in 4 even rows. This will create graham ripples in the ice cream when you scoop it. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and more mini marshmallows to taste.

Top with the second half of the mixture and smooth evenly. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

Stay Cool,

Erin 😎

P.S. I used my kitchen butane torch for the first time to toast the marshmallows and didn’t burn off my eyebrows or set the apartment on fire. Success!!!

Jam Cookies

Growing up, my family spent many a summer weekend (or week!) at our cottage in northern Michigan.

This was a completely magical way to spend your childhood summers. Not only was my immediate family at the cottage, but so were all my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.

My cousins and I would spend  hours playing in the lake, running around the woods searching for crackleberries and trying to find ‘hidden’ meadows, toasting dough boys over the fire and playing Ghost in the Graveyard once the sun set.

I feel like every memory I have of my summers up there is tinged golden around the edges. The memories are accompanied by the musty scent of the cottage’s old furniture, the constant shimmer of sunlight and an overwhelming warmth-h like the sun on your skin and a hug from a loved one all at the same time.

It was tradition for everyone to bring a dessert with them to the cottage, so these jam cookies were a staple of our summer.

Chocolate sheet cake, monkey bread and sour cream coffee cake all made regular appearances too. But when you’re a kid tearing around like a mad man for hours on end, these sandwich cookies made the perfect on the go snack.

We would sneak into the kitchen and steal them out of the Tupperware that sat strategically on top of the microwave in a seemingly pitiful attempt to keep the goods out of our reach.  We felt like we were being really sneaky, but I’m sure the adults knew what was happening!

I hope you set aside 20 minutes to bake these cookies. They are light, slightly buttery and have a great chewy-yet-soft texture. The homemade strawberry jam sandwiched in the center brings a fresh sweetness to the cookies that just tastes like summer.   Make some memories 🙂

Grandma Bright’s Jam Cookies

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • strawberry jam*

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating on low, and then add in the vanilla and water and mix to combine. Combine the flour and baking soda together; slowly mix into the batter until incorporated.

Drop the cookie batter, by rounded tablespoon full, onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden brown on the edges.

Allow the cookies to completely cool on a wire rack. Spread about 1 tablespoon jam onto half of the cookies and then top with the other half to form cookie sandwiches, yum! 🙂

*Note: I’ve only made these with strawberry jam, but my Mom has done them with raspberry and blueberry too. I think these will be good with any fruit jam.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Daily Question: Do you have a favorite ‘Grandma’ recipe? Let me know what it is, leave a comment below!