How sweet it is
SIOUX CITY – Having just the right job involving a favorite personal interest isn’t the norm for many people.
Mary Mallett, Sue Bee Honey’s director of quality control, admits this is exactly her situation at the Sioux Honey Association office in Sioux City.
“Not only do I like to cook,” Mallett said, “I like to eat and come up with recipes anyone can enjoy.”
Throughout her 30-year career at Sue Bee, most recently working in food safety, Mallett has handled research and development projects, and responsibilities for providing recipes and cookbooks for the company’s ad agency, industrial customers and consumers.
Mallett, who holds a 1982 Morningside College degree in biology and biopsychology, and a master’s degree in food safety from Iowa State University and an additional medical technology degree, said her current Sue Bee responsibilities are “just what I was looking for” when she left school.
She said her Sue Bee position allows her opportunities to enjoy innovative meal-planning to try at home with husband, Bill, and sons, twins Billy and Brad, 27; Matthew, 22; and Aaron, 20.
Her favorite ingredient in the meals?
“It’s honey, of course,” Mallett said. “My take on it is you can put honey in anything.”
Growing up with a mother who made wedding cakes and a maternal grandmother “addicted” to victory garden cooking and baking, Mallett said these influences have long been a part of her life on a family farm near Salix.
Bees and honey were also part of the mix, she said. She enjoyed helping her grandfather with his bee hives.
“Naturally with the bees available, we always ate a lot of honey,” Mallett said. “Honey is a sweetener you can usually add to a lot of things.
“If something is too salty or too spicy (honey) tones it down. If you have a lot of ingredients, honey brings everything together. It’s pure and healthful, and you can add it to anything without ruining it.”
Mallett said she uses “a lot of honey” when cooking, including chili, spaghetti and goulash.
“I have a lot of people who when they taste my potato salad, ask how I make it,” Mallett said.
That, too, includes honey giving it an extra flavor.
“There’s always the simple uses for honey on toast or with peanut butter,” she said, which are “among my sons’ honey favorites.”
A peanut butter pie includes honey, which has long been among her honey favorites.
Also at the top of her favorites list of are macadamia white chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, honey fudge and her “tweeted” Toll House butterscotch cookies.
Mallett suggested homemade bread made with honey. Honey’s role in this instance, she said, acts as a humectant, retaining water to ensure a moist loaf of bread.
Honey, she said, will retain moisture in biscuits, cakes and cookies.
She emphasized that honey never spoils and is edible indefinitely, can be stored at room temperature, is an all-natural ingredient and as a favoring agent can give a unique, natural flavor.
Other benefits include honey’s ability to caramelize or brown to add overall color and external glazing, naturally coats and binds food ingredients. A water-soluble ingredient, honey is whippable and volume-building and incorporates well with fats.
Mallett reminded that using honey as another sweetener replacement, often in place of corn syrup that honey is measured in weight, not volume with 12 ounces of honey equaling one cup of another sweetener.
Mallett said the U.S. honey bee is essential to human food demand, Mallett said, citing the bee’s importance in the pollination of more than 30 percent of the fruit and vegetables seen on grocery counters in the United States.
Additional information on using honey in recipes is available by contacting the Sioux Honey Association at www.suebee.com.
Sassy sweet and spicy chili
1/2 cup honey
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 15-ounce cans chili beans
2 teaspoons chili power
1 teaspoons thyme, chopped
1 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Crumble ground beef and brown. Add onion, green pepper and garlic clove.
Cook the ingredients until the onion is almost translucent. Drain grease.
Add tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, chili beans, chili powder, thyme, cumin and cinnamon.
Stir all ingredients together well. Cover the pot and let simmer 30 minutes.
After simmering, stir in honey and serve.
Tasty honey cornbread
1/4 cup honey
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly grease a 9-by-9 baking pan. Stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl and set side.
Combine honey, eggs, cream and oil in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until all are incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of pan comes out clean.
Ultimate peanut butter and honey grilled
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons peanut butter (any variety)
1 tablespoons raisins
1/2 Granny Smith apple thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
2 slices of multigrain bread
Mix honey and peanut butter and spread on one slice of bread.
Sprinkle raisins over the peanut butter, layer apple slices on top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Top with other bread slice.
Toast on a portable electric grill, panini grill or fry pan until the bread is toasted and honey/peanut butter mix is melted.
Quick and easy honey
1/4 cup honey
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
Dash of salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped nuts
Powdered sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour two small bread pans.
Mix ingredients and pour into pans.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let stand until cool.
Remove from pans and dust, if desired, with powdered sugar.
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