Honey makes a better meal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 12, 2018

By Bonnie S. Benwick

The Washington Post

“The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by 28 Varietals and Blends” is a slim, single-subject volume that is just as compelling as any deep-dive cookbook.

You will get to know those 28 varietals, some of which might seem precious, as they are not found on grocery store shelves.

Pure, good honey comes at a price, and it is an unfortunate fact of life that golden syrups labeled as honey have diluted the market and made us gasp at the product’s proper cost.

You will become aware of the “Bee Charmer” varietals’ affinities with certain foods and cuisines. You will wonder whether obtaining a jar of Tasmanian leatherwood honey, which pairs with lentils, beer and smoked cheeses, could be worth the bother. Having sampled it and several others featured in the book, I say: You bet it is.

And you will learn the story behind the book, named for the North Carolina shop whose owners are committed to selling local, seasonal honeys. Jillian Kelly and Kim Allen run a nice-looking business and keep bees themselves.

They were also lucky enough to get Carrie Schloss on board; she and Allen have been friends since their college days. The Chicago-area chef and culinary consultant kept ease of use in mind here, evident in the recipe indexes by varietal and by dietary restriction.

A surprising number of the creations are savory and a fair number skew healthful.

Finally, if you have exorcised refined sugar from your life or are wishing to loosen its grip, cook from this book and you will be among the happiest readers of all.

“The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by 28 Varietals and Blends,” is by Carrie Schloss; published by Agate Surrey, 2017; $21.95.

Chipotle Honey-Marinated Steak

5 to 6 servings

Although the marinade here uses chipotles and chipotle honey, the resulting steak is not overly spicy.

We tested this with sirloin steak, as pictured, and skirt steak. For the latter: You may notice some pieces of skirt steak are longer than others; according to Cook’s Illustrated, the long pieces are cut from the diaphragm and are more tender than the shorter pieces, which are cut from the transverse abdominal muscle.

Serve with a salad, especially the Kale, Clementine and Hazelnut Salad.

Make ahead: The meat needs only an hour to marinate; it can be refrigerated in the marinade for up to 24 hours.

The recipe was tested with Smokin’ Hot Honey made by Asheville Bee Charmer, which can be ordered online via AshevilleBeeCharmer.com and via Etsy.com, and with Mike’s Hot Honey.

Adapted from “The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook.”


• 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

• 1/2 large yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

• 1 Tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

• 3 canned chipotle chiles, chopped

• 2 Tbsp. chipotle-infused honey (see headnote)

• 2 tsp. ground cumin

• 2 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 tsp. ancho chile powder

• 1 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika

• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

• 21/2 pounds sirloin steak, cut into large pieces (may substitute skirt steak, cut into 2 or 3 pieces; see headnote)

Combine the lime juice, onion, garlic, chipotle chiles, honey, cumin, salt, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika and oil in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Add the steak and seal, pressing out as much air as possible. Let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Prepare the grill for direct heat: If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (375 to 400 degrees) with the lid closed. If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly over the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 to 6 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Brush the grill grate.

Alternatively, position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler.

Remove the steak from the marinade and wipe off any excess marinade from the meat; discard the marinade. Grill or broil the steak for 6 to 7 minutes on each side (for medium-rare).

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes, then cut it on the diagonal, against the grain, into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve right away.

Kale, Clementine and Hazelnut Salad

6 servings

The combination of sweet, juicy citrus, massaged greens, honey and hazelnuts is a perfect foil for grilled meats.

Make ahead: The salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Adapted from “The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook.”


For the salad

• 1 pound curly kale, stemmed, washed and dried thoroughly (may substitute any other type of kale)

• 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• 1 tsp. kosher salt

• 4 clementines, peeled and segmented

• 1 cup skinned, toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

For the dressing

• 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• 2 Tbsp. honey, preferably orange blossom

For the salad: Tear the kale into small pieces and place them in a large bowl. Add the 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.

For the dressing: Whisk together the oil, lemon juice and honey in a liquid measuring cup. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat thoroughly before serving.

Nutrition per serving (based on 6): 290 calories, 6 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 24 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 13 g sugar.

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