Twice a month we highlight local restaurants, farms and farmers markets featured on episodes of UNC-TV’s “Flavor, NC.” This week, we review episode seven of season three, in which host Lisa Prince highlights Vintage Bee Honey from Jack Tapp’s Chapel Hill farm and Sitti Restaurant in Raleigh.
Ancient Greeks and Romans called honey the food for the gods. Lisa Prince calls it the “essence of summer bottled in a jar.” As this episode shows, a lot of work goes into making sweet, delicious honey. In fact, worker bees visit more than two million blossoms to get the nectar needed for one pound of honey. Tapp shows Lisa how honey is extracted and bottled. Busy Bee Apiaries in Chapel Hill provides queen bee rentals, hive rentals to farmers and makes Vintage Bee Honey, which is sold nationwide. (Click here for a recent blog on how farmers use bee rentals during pollination.)
Vintage Bee Honey is processed at the Piedmont Food and Agriculture Processing Center in Hillsborough.
After her visit to Vintage Bee Honey, Lisa visits Chef Matt Scofield at Sitti in Raleigh for a lesson in cooking with honey. Sitti focuses on fresh, authentic Lebanese dishes with locally grown ingredients. Matt and Lisa make ashta, baklava and baklava-crusted N.C. striped bass with basmati rice, sauteed greens and jalapeno honey. Click here for all the recipes. Below is their recipe for baklava:
1 (16 oz.) package phyllo dough (room temp)
1 1/4 cups butter, melted
1 1/4 cups pistachio, finely ground
1 1/4 cups walnuts, finely ground
1 cup honey syrup (recipe to follow)
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a sauté pan and set aside. Brush 9x13x2-inch baking pan with melted butter. Layer one sheet of phyllo on bottom of pan. Brush with butter and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Repeat these steps until half the phyllo is used, folding the extra phyllo over on top. Mix the ground nuts together in a mixing bowl. Add half of the cooled honey syrup and mix well. Place mixture on top of phyllo and spread evenly to cover phyllo. Place a sheet of phyllo on top of nut mixture and repeat step 6 until all phyllo is used, brushing the top layer with a thin coating of butter. Make 5 cuts length wise from one side of the pan to the other about 1.5 inches apart. Make 9 diagonal cuts width wise, also 1.5 inches apart. Bake in center of the oven for 45 minutes or until top layer is golden brown. Drizzle the remaining honey syrup over the top and allow to cool completely.
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
Bring all ingredients to boil in a small sauce pan until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.