You may have noticed I’ve been including maple recipes lately; that’s no coincidence. Maine Maple Sunday is just around the corner (okay, it’s five weeks away) and I love everything maple, from the little leaf-shaped hard candies and sugar pressed into the shapes of lobsters and moose, to the rich amber liquid we pour on stacks of steaming pancakes and waffles (and mix into milk — have you ever tried maple milk? You can make your own pretty easily, but if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and Siberia Farms is there with their maple milk, I strongly suggest trying it.)
One of the several maple-producing farms I follow on Facebook announced a few weeks ago that the sap was running, and ever since then, I’ve been gearing up. Maine Maple Sunday is a special favorite of mine, bringing back fond memories of my parents bundling first me, and later me and my younger sister Désirée, into the family car and driving to one of the several maple farms near our home to tour the sugar house, sample some ice cream drizzled with maple syrup at its source, and bring home a tan jug with a brown cap that would last us until the next March, when we would do it again. Maple farms are a little harder to find these days, because producing maple syrup is a lot of hard work for not a lot of reward, but it’s a labor of love for those that continue with it, and I try to do what I can to keep the tradition alive on my end.
Meringues were typically a Christmas treat in my house, and I don’t think I’ll ever make them as well as my mom does, but this maple adaptation is crunchy and delicious and may become a new favorite in my house — if I don’t make Ian completely sick of maple by the end of spring. It’s also a fantastic way to use up leftover egg whites after making my maple crème brûlée, from last week. I like to cook with other maple products as well, such as Raye’s Mustard; they have an amazing maple horseradish variety that’s as stellar on a red hot dog as it is on a perfectly-cooked fillet of salmon. The zip of the horseradish calls to mind salmon sushi with wasabi, a personal favorite.
Maple can even transform a lifelong family favorite into something just a little different and special while still familiar enough to be comforting. There’s just something about that maple flavor — a little smoky, a little earthy, but not overwhelmingly either — that makes it an outstanding addition to many foods. Try substituting it into your own favorite recipes and share your results! (Just remember that maple is sweeter than the processed white sugar most of us default to, so cut back your amounts accordingly.) I used it in my latest adaptation of my mom’s “Chinese” chicken recipe, and was impressed with the depth of flavor I was able to impart, and I think you will be, too.
Maple Horseradish Mustard-glazed Salmon
- 1 pound salmon filet
- 2 tablespoons Raye’s Maple Horseradish mustard
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- kosher salt, cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a foil-lined baking dish, place salmon skin-down. In a small bowl, whisk together maple horseradish mustard, butter and garlic, and pour evenly over salmon flesh. Sprinkle with as much or as little salt and pepper as you would like, and cover baking dish with another piece of foil. Place in oven for 25 minutes or until just done through. (A little less for a thinner filet, a little more for a thicker one.) Shown here served with roasted Brussels sprouts (drizzled with olive oil and dusted with maple sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper) and quinoa pilaf.
- 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed)
- 1 medium or 2 small onions, sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup maple sugar
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- water to cover
In a large pan on the stove, place onion slices and arrange the chicken thighs on top. Add soy sauce, sugar, mustard and sriracha, cover with water, place a lid on the pan, and turn the burner on high. Bring to a boil and lower to medium. Simmer 45 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender and liquid has formed a thin sauce; serve on white or brown rice, with a ladle or two of sauce on top.
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup maple sugar (plus more to top)
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 225°F and line two cookie sheets with tin foil, shiny side up. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular bowl if you use a hand-mixer) combine egg whites and cream of tartar and beat until it starts to get foamy-looking. Add maple sugar a little at a time, continuing to beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Drop by large spoonfuls or pipe with a pastry bag and a large tip onto the baking sheet, sprinkle each dollop with a little pinch of maple sugar, and place in oven. Bake 2 hours, then turn oven off and allow to cool/dry in the oven overnight. (Note: They will get much larger while they bake, so be sure to leave room on the sheet for them to expand.)
For more recipes from my kitchen to yours, please visit http://www.forkable.net.