Adventures in Eating: Honey and Nut Glazed Brie

“Madam,” the ancient proverb says,
“That one rich drop of honey sweet,
As an alluring luscious treat,
Is known to tempt more flies by far,
Than a whole tun of vinegar.”

– St. Francis de Sales 1821

You guessed right. Honey is our subject this month. The quote was a favorite of King Henry IV, and since then we all have heard shortened versions of the saying. When you stop to think about it, nothing in the philosophy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has changed too much. Sweetness of the tongue in our day-to-day encounters makes its mark.

Paul and I love County Fairs, so off we were to visit the L.A. County Fair in Po­mona. It is touted to be the world’s largest county fair with an attendance of 1.4 million people in 18 days.

In the main pavilion, the Bee Keepers Association had a fantastic display. They have swarms of bees encased in glass so one can watch the critters at work; plus, samples of the varieties of honey, honey combs, items made from beeswax, and knowledgeable people to answer questions.

Avocados, plums, honeydew melon, can­taloupes, alfalfa, cauliflower, celery, pep­pers, chinese cabbage, and California’s newest crop, kiwi, depend on the bee for pollinating their blossoms. Wow! Next time I see a bee, I will tip my hat in respect!

Honey is a natural sweetener which con­tains mainly fructose and glucose with val­uable traces of minerals, vitamins, and en­zymes. No additives, preservatives or sodi­um are found in honey. Compared to re­fined sugar, honey is sweeter per unit of measure. One tablespoon of honey is only 60 calories, so reduce the amount of swee­tener in cooking and lower calories. Honey mixed with a little cream, warmed up, is excellent over pancakes, waffles or french toast.

The most popular flavors of California honey are: Orange, Sage (Sage honey does not granulate and is sometimes used to blend with other honeys to slow granulation) Buckwheat, Alfalfa, Wildflower, or Mixed blossom. (this honey is a blend; buy according to color: the lighter, the milder the flavor.)

Honey is graded by U.S. standards, ranging from A through D, with A the best. The grade is based on the quality of flavor, moisture content, and clarity. Color of honey is not graded.

Some tips:

-If granulated, place in glass jar, and into a pan of warm water, or use micro-wave on high @ 1 – 1 1/2 minutes, uncovered. Let stand 5 minutes. Do not overheat, as it ef­fects the delicate flavor and color of honey.

-When measuring honey, oil or wet the measuring cup or spoon for easy pouring.

With the holidays coming, how about an easy, yummy appetizer? One you can whip up in minutes.

HONEY AND NUT GLAZED BRIE

3 Tb mild flavored honey

1/3 cup walnuts or pecans; coarse chopped

1 Tb Bourbon or Brandy

1 Brie cheese, 5″ round, approx. 14 oz

In a small mixing bowl, stir together hon­ey, nuts and bourbon or brandy. Place cheese on large round ovenproof platter or 9″ pie plate. Bake in preheated 500 degree oven 4-5 minutes or until cheese is soft­ened. Drizzle honey nut mixture over top. Bake 2-3 minutes more until topping is heated. DO NOT MELT CHEESE. Serve with crackers, apple wedges brushed with lemon juice, (prevents browning) and seed­less grapes. Makes 16-20 servings.

Can’t wait for the parties. Enjoy!

– Rosemarie

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