Suzi's Blog

Habanero and Honey Syrup: A Beverage Booster

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Habaneros are hot. That we all know. In 2000, with its Scoville scale of 100,00-350,000, the habanero was considered the world’s hottest chili. Thanks to genetic engineering, and perhaps man’s endless quest for pain, the habanero has been displaced from the top of that list. But never from our hearts.

This particular pepper originated in the Amazon, then spread north in the Americas and ultimately worldwide. In the 18th century, taxonomist thought the pepper came from China, hence its Latin name Capscum chinense [the Chinese pepper]. It’s American. South American. Oh, it is closely related to, but not the same as, the Scotch Bonnet.

How can we use something so potent? Let’s, let’s drink it.

Combine habanero and honey to forge a Habanero Honey Syrup. And then, unleash the dogs of war.

Well, war may be too awkward a term here. How about: rich and rapturous flavor enhancement. If you have read this blog before, you understand that when it comes to cocktails, I adopt a classic approach: a liqueur, something sour, and something sweet.

Now, let’s shift to something sweet and hot. Use this syrup in a margarita in place of simple sugar syrup. In that combination, that syrup first strikes the tongue as sweet, because it is loaded with honey. Then the tequila and lime/lemon flavors approach. But the aftertaste now is not lingering tequila. It is a rush of heat from that habanero that lingers pleasantly.

This syrup is a reward you should engage. And, if margaritas are not your beverage of preference, then tomorrow you’ll see the Habanero-Honey Syrup used without alcohol but with total satisfaction.

Honey Habanero Syrup

Yield: ~11 ounces

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon dried habanero [available at Latin markets]

Preparation:

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of honey. Add the dried habanero. Bring to a boil, simmer for about 10 minutes, the let cool. Strain into a jar and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Use delicately. It’s hot.

 

Source: Food & Wine Cocktails 2013 and Wikipedia

Photo Information [top picture]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/10th second at ISO-3200

 

 

Chipotle and Cheddar Biscuits with Honey Butter from Gale Gand

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Yes, ten years ago you could not spell chipotle or easily find them in many stores. Now, every dish seems to contain it. Chipotle overload? Perhaps. It is time to be selective, and this recipe is just that. Chipotle is combined with cheddar cheese and paprika. The resulting biscuits are warm, not hot, to the taste and have a lovely reddish brown color.

To complement the warmth, we served these biscuits with honey butter. Why bother to make honey butter? Why not just put butter on the biscuits and then top with honey from the bottle?

Oh, you did not read my recent post about the book Taste. When you taste food, there is the sense of taste involved and the sense of smell and the sense of texture or feel. Honey butter integrates the honey texture into the butter and mutes the sweetness. If you simply pour honey on a biscuit and bite, your tongue is unavoidably saturated with the honey sweetness and the velvet texture of the flowing honey dominates the signals going to your brain.

If, on the other hand, you make this honey butter, the experience is very different. You will, for example, use less honey than if you were pouring it on directly. The sweetness level is lower, so the biscuit flavor is not lost. Try this butter just once and you’ll be a fan.

These two recipes are from the same author, Gale Gand, and two books, Lunch and Brunch. Lunch is new, Brunch is a few years old. Both would be tasteful additions to your kitchen bookshelf.

Chipotle and Cheddar Biscuits

Yield: 12 2-inch biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked or regular paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh scallions
  • ½ cup [1 stick] cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preparation:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, chipotle, ½ cup of the cheddar, and the scallions. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine and blend in the spices. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed to break down the butter, mixing just until just combined. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead it slightly to bring it together, if necessary. Roll out the dough to ¾-inch thickness and cut out 2-inch-diameter circles with a cookie or biscuit cutter. Place the circles on the lined baking sheet. Press the dough scraps together, roll them out again and cut out as many biscuits as you can. Repeat until you’ve used all the dough. Evenly distribute the remaining12 cup cheddar over the tops of the biscuits.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the biscuits are puffed up and golden brown on top.

The biscuits keep in an airtight container for up to 1 day at room temperature or up to four days in the refrigerator. If refrigerating, reheat them in a 350-degree toaster oven for about 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Lunch by Gale Gand

Honey Butter

Yield: ½ cup

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup [1 stick] unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoons honey

Preparation:

In a bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon. Then mix in the salt and honey. Pack the honey butter into ramekins, and serve at room temperature; or warm it in a small saucepan over low heat (or in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time) until melted, and serve hot.

Source: Brunch by Gale Gand

 

Photo Information [top picture]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/16th second at ISO-3200