HoneyTuna Nicoise Salad

A perfect salad for the Dog Days of August!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1/4 pound haricots verts, or small, thin green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 pounds yellowfin tuna loin, trimmed of sinew
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 large head romaine or Bibb lettuce, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • Anchovy Dressing, recipe follows
  • 1/2 pound Roma plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup halved and seeded black brine-cured olives
  • 1/3 cup halved and seeded green brine-cured olives
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  • Chopped fresh herbs, for garnish (parsley, tarragon, chive, etc.)

Directions

Bring 2 medium pots of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes to 1 pot and blanch until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain in a colander, pat dry, and set aside. Add the green beans to the other pot and blanch until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, pat dry, and set aside.

Arrange the tuna on a cutting board and cut into 4 equal portions. Season the tuna steaks with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, each. Heat the oil in a large skillet (or 2 medium skillets), over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the rosemary sprigs and tuna steaks and sear, about 30 seconds per side for medium-rare. Remove from the pan and dice the tuna into 1-inch pieces.

Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces and combine with chopped fresh parsley and tarragon. Toss with enough of the Anchovy Dressing just to coat. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed. Toss the potatoes and green beans in 1/4 cup of the Anchovy Dressing. Arrange the lettuce along the side of 4 large plates (or 1 serving platter). Spoon the vegetables along the other side of the plate. Arrange the diced tuna over the lettuce. Arrange the tomatoes, olives, sliced red onions, and eggs on the other sides of the plates (or serving platter). Garnish with additional herbs if desired and serve immediately.

Anchovy Dressing:

1 anchovy fillet, drained

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 large egg*

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots

2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon honey

In a medium bowl, mash the anchovy, salt, pepper, and garlic into a paste with the back of a fork. Add the egg and whisk well to blend. Add the lemon juice and mustard, and whisk well. Add the oils in a steady stream, whisking constantly to form a thick emulsion. Add the shallots, capers, Worcestershire, and honey, whisk well, and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield: 1 cup

Favorite English Garden Bee Plants – Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)

Preferring full sun and dryish conditions Candytuft is very easy to grow and can be planted almost anywhere in the garden except deep shade. Native to the Mediterranean it flowers from May to August.

Iberis Gibraltarica (Candytuft), Close-up of White Flowers

The glossy, evergreen foliage forms a billowing mound, with loads of good-sized white flowers. When grown in a garden it may require light pruning right after blooming, but otherwise plants can be left alone in fall and early spring.

It is drought tolerant once established. It prefers a well-drained site, so heavy clay soils that stay wet in winter should be avoided. It is not easily divided.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Perfect For Pollinators list, Candytuft is one of the best plants for bees!

Honey Mustard Glazed Corned Beef Brisket

Perfect for picnic sandwiches!

  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 pounds raw corned beef brisket with spice packet
  • 6-ounces beer
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup whole grain mustard

Directions

  • Rinse your brisket and pat dry. Place the onion, brisket and seasoning packet in a slow cooker or dutch oven, add your beer and cover with water.
  • Cook the brisket for 8 hours on low. Just before you’re ready to eat, heat the broiler to high heat. Trim off any fat on the exterior of brisket. Carefully remove the brisket from the pot and place it in a baking dish.
  • Mix together the honey and mustard and pour directly over the top of the brisket, coating evenly. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until the glaze begins to brown and caramelize. Slice and serve.

Should Beekeeping Be An Olympic Sport?

I’ll admit it.

I’m glued to my tv watching the Summer Olympics in London. Apparently, I’ll watch just about any event.

Which gave me an idea.

Beekeeping has all the makings of an Olympic sport!  Kind of a Pentathlon of beekeeping activities!!

The events could be:

1. Wearing a full bee suit and wellies in 100° weather the longest without passing out.

2. Lifting and  carrying a full deep the farthest.

3. Lighting a smoker and keeping it lit the longest.

4. Dealing with a bee in one’s suit without flailing and screaming like a maniac.

5. Being the first to spot the Queen among  80,000 or so other bees.

Hey, I think it would be a lot more fun to watch than synchronized swimming!!  But then I’m biased…

What’s Blooming In The Garden On July 28

There’s still plenty of nectar for the bees. I can’t wait for my dahlias to start blooming en masse!

July In The Hive – More About Hive Splits

Example of Bee Hive Split (Not My Hives…)

Ordinarily, I would be giving you routine advice about maintaining your hives in July – do bi-weekly inspections, add honey supers as needed, be on the lookout for honey robbers, and harvest your honey when appropriate.  (Remember bees need at least 60 pounds of honey – two shallow supers – for their own consumption during the winter.)

But my July was anything but ordinary. I lost a hive of Italian bees and discovered I had a Buckfast hive that was overcrowded. As a result I did a hive split to make two hives out of one.

There are a number of reasons to do a hive split, the most common being 1.) to get more hives and 2.) to prevent swarms. I split my boiling Buckfast hive for both of those reasons.

When I first thought of doing a split, I wondered whether it was too late in the season. Typically, splits are done in May or early June after the original hive has had time to build up. I was nearing the middle of July.

Was it too late to do a split?

I checked The Practical Beekeeper by Michael Bush. According to Michael, you can do a split as late as August, provided you have a good honey flow into the fall.

So I went ahead and did the split on July 12. So far, so good!

I’m going to do an inspection today, and I’ll report back on the status of the new hive later.

Honey Meringue Cookies

I love meringues!

My hotel in London had a small bag of them waiting for me in my room when I arrived. Much better than chocolates!

Try a little food coloring to brighten them up!

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup water
5 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. ice cold water
1 tsp. vanilla extract or peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 225º F. Line a baking sheet or cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Hot syrup: Cook the honey and water, without stirring, in a small pot over medium heat until it reaches 235 to 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Meringue: While the syrup is cooking, use a balloon whisk to beat the egg whites with the salt,cream of tartar, and water to soft peaks in a large metal or stainless steel bowl. When the syrup is done, remove from heat and immediately pour into the soft peak egg whites in a slow, steady stream while continuing to whip the egg whites at the same time. If you’re doing this by hand, at this stage it would be helpful to have someone pour the syrup in while you whip it in the egg whites.

Once all the syrup has been poured in, continue whipping the egg whites until stiff and glossy. Stiff peak egg whites should hold and retain their shape. Add vanilla or peppermint extract and rapidly beat for about 2 more minutes.

Spoon or pipe the meringue on to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to one hour. Open the oven door and let dry for another 10 minutes or until dry to the touch. Remove meringues from oven and cool on the pan, you may hear crackling as the meringues cool and finish drying out. Peel the meringues away from the parchment paper once cool enough to touch. They should peel away easily and should sound like a ping pong ball when tapped with a fingernail.