Archive for the ‘Maple Syrup and Sugar’ Category

Tinky’s Tangy Maple Coleslaw

Friday, March 16th, 2012

I’m continuing with my Maple Month theme by popping some syrup into a basic coleslaw. It only gives a TINY hint of sweet, I promise. In fact, when I served this as part of my (almost) all-maple meal, my guests pronounced it  their favorite part of the meal.

And OF COURSE it’s green (pale green, but green is green begorra!) for Saint Patrick’s Day.

If you’re looking for something else for Saint Patrick’s Day, I heartily recommend my Irish beef stew, Irish cheese fondue, or Irish soda bread. Don’t forget to wear green while you cook.

And please visit my new blog What’s a Girl to Do? to read a brief essay that talks about the name of THIS blog! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all……

Truffle may not cook, but she DOES wear green at this time of year.

The Slaw

Ingredients:

1 medium head cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
3 to 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
kosher salt to taste (I used about 3/4 teaspoon)
lots of freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Instructions:

If your cabbage and carrots are a little elderly (as cabbages and carrots tend to be at this time of year), soak them in cold water for an hour. Drain the vegetables thoroughly before you continue with the recipe. The syrup makes this slaw a little wet to start with so you don’t want to compound the wetness!

In a bowl combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, syrup, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Taste this dressing to see whether you need more salt, vinegar, mayo, or syrup. (It may need adjusting depending on the strength of your vinegar and maple syrup.)

Pour the dressing over the drained cabbage, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Stir and taste before serving, adjusting the flavors if necessary.

Serves 6 to 8.

Slightly Sweet and Slightly Spicy Pecans

Friday, March 9th, 2012

March Madness may mean basketball to SOME PEOPLE—but as far as I’m concerned it’s all about maple syrup. The weather is plum crazy, but the sugarhouses are boiling sap, and I’m thinking of new ways to use my favorite sweetener.

Last week I invited over some friends and relatives and concocted a maple meal for an article in our local paper, the West County Independent.

Actually, I didn’t quite manage to flavor the entire meal. I was going to do some kind of roasting thing with potatoes and carrots and chickened out at the last minute. I mashed the potatoes and threw the carrots into my maple coleslaw. The rest of the meal was all maple, however.

Glazed pecans were our appetizer.

I love spicy foods. I wasn’t sure exactly how much heat my dinner guests’ palates could takes, however. I therefore made my maple nuts just a little bit hot and just a little bit sweet. We loved them!

My Pecans

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (plus a bit more to taste later if you like)
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups raw pecans

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Melt the butter over low heat in a 10- or 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Stir in the maple syrup and spices. Add the pecans and toss them well to make sure they are coated.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and bake the nuts for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Taste a nut after 1/2 hour to see if the seasonings suit your taste; if not, add a little more salt and/or even a little more spice.

When the hour is up remove the nuts from the oven and let them cool on wire racks lined with brown paper. They will be soft at first but will crunch up as they cool.

When the nuts have cooled completely store them in a tin, a jar, or a well sealed plastic bag … or just eat them!

Makes about 3 cups.

Little Rhubarb wonders what the heck these brown things might be.

 

A Family Affair: Davenport Maple Farm

Friday, March 2nd, 2012
This photo was taken three years ago, but the ambiance hasn’t changed much! (Courtesy of Davenport Maple Farm)

March is Massachusetts Maple Month, and an annual pilgrimage for many syrup lovers is now underway. Nothing beats a visit to a sugarhouse restaurant at this time of year to watch sap being boiled and consume food made with fresh, hot syrup.

At Davenport Maple Farm, high on Tower Road in Shelburne, Norman Davenport and his wife Lisa are boiling sap furiously in their evaporator and greeting crowds at their restaurant, which is open only on weekends during maple season. The farm has been in the Davenport family for generations.

“We’re actually approaching our centennial,” Lisa Davenport told me recently. “Norman’s great grandfather Walter Davenport purchased the farm in 1913. There was always sugaring going on here prior to that. And they’ve always had cows here.”

She noted that the restaurant, which opened in 1990, was the brainchild of her husband’s father. At that point the family’s old sugarhouse was in need of substantial repairs, and Russell Davenport and his wife Martha decided to expand it into to a restaurant.

Two decades later the senior Davenports can still be found at the restaurant during maple season. Russ Davenport helps Norman run the evaporator and chats with customers, and Martha Davenport runs the cash register. Lisa and Norm’s daughter Maegan runs the kitchen while daughter Daina serves as head waitress.

“Norm’s sister Barbara Goodchild comes up and helps, too. It’s really a family affair,” said Lisa. “I supervise everybody. I do all the ordering and the payroll, I go out and do the shopping, and I fill in for somebody when they stop working.”

She admitted that while she enjoys maple season she can also find the family’s restaurant weekends intense.

“It’s a short season, six weeks long, but you’ve got a couple of weeks beforehand when you’re getting ready for it. There are some all-nighters. If the sap’s really running, you’ve got to keep boiling.”

She observed that she sometimes sets her cell phone to wake her up in the morning only to hear it ring in her pocket at the end of a long night at the evaporator.

“And we still have the cows to milk and regular chores to do,” she added. “It’s a long schedule, but it’s fun. You’re right in the middle of it all the time.”

Most visitors to the restaurant order breakfast, which is served all day, although the Davenports also offer lunch items. These include hamburgers made from their own beef, corn chowder, maple baked beans, and grilled cheese.

Asked to sum up the farm’s cuisine, Lisa Davenport thought for a minute. “Good home cooking. We don’t use any mixes; it’s all made from scratch. I bake all the bread.”

At home the Davenports use maple syrup in a variety of dishes. “My kids didn’t like spaghetti sauce or the tomato sauces,” Lisa told me. “They’d just have buttered pasta with maple syrup drizzled over it.” I am NOT telling my nephew Michael about this practice!

She also tops her tuna-noodle casserole with maple syrup and crackers. And she recommends a drop or two of syrup on scrambled eggs.

I’m not sure I’m ready for the tuna casserole or even the eggs. Nevertheless, I did enjoy making and eating the Finnish pancakes that are the restaurant’s most popular breakfast offering.

The recipe below served four of my family members, although Lisa explained that she doubles it for four. Portions are generous at Davenport’s!

The pancake tastes a bit like a rich custard as it doesn’t use a lot of flour.

Davenport Farm Finnish Pancakes

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups fresh milk
4 large eggs
2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Melt the butter and place it in an 8-by-8-inch pan or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Mix the milk and the eggs lightly with a beater; then add the sugar, the salt, and the flour. Pour the mixed batter over the melted butter and bake for 20 to 23 minutes.

Serves 4.

Photo by Michael Weisblat, who helped eat!

Maple Butterscotch Sauce

Monday, March 28th, 2011

 
I’m a little late to the party celebrating Massachusetts Maple Month—but at least I can offer a small contribution.
 
Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. Sometimes they’re also the only ones for which a home cook has the time and the ingredients.
 
I originally hoped to share my friend Pat’s prize-winning recipe for maple lace cookies. Our extended family was coming to dinner Saturday evening, and I was all set to make these wafers—or so I thought.
 
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the key ingredient in my pantry: maple sugar!!
 
So I punted and made a maple-based sauce for ice cream instead.
 
Very rich and very sweet, it works beautifully poured in small quantities over ice cream. Toasted walnuts or pecans make a festive garnish. 

As for the cookies, well, I can make them NEXT March……… 

My nephew Michael had no trouble finishing his maple buttersotch sundae.

 
The Sauce
 
Ingredients:
 
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
 
Instructions:
 
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat melt the butter, stirring constantly. Add the brown sugar and stir until it melts. Continue to stir or whisk as the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
 
Whisk in the maple syrup. The mixture will look a little weird at first, but it will come together eventually! Return the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil it (still whisking!) until it coats a spoon. This took about 3 minutes on my weird electric stove.
 
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream. Let the sauce cool slightly before serving it with ice cream. (You may also let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it until you are ready to use it. At that point warm it slightly in the microwave.) 

Makes just over 1-1/2 cups.

Hilo to Hawley Barbecue Sauce

Thursday, September 9th, 2010
 
 
Generally, I know what I’m going to get when I test a recipe. Every once in a while, however, I’m completely surprised.
 
Surprise was definitely the word of the day when I tried this recipe.
 
Devany Vickery-Davidson is a writer and ceramic artist who lives in Hawaii. Her blog, My Hawaiian Home, features delectable recipes and stories of her adventures in her tropical milieu. 

Her dog Valentine is NEARLY as cute as my Truffle. And Valentine has her own lei. (I refuse to show this picture to Truffle!)
 

Valentine in Paradise (Courtesy of Devany Vickery-Davidson)

 
Devany recently sent me her homemade ketchup recipe. I was determined to try it out.
 
I had a lot of tomatoes in the house (not enough, it turned out—Devany DID warn me that one needed a huge garden to make her recipe!). And my nephew Michael is a ketchup fanatic.
 
I adapted Devany’s Hawaiian-oriented recipe to reflect local ingredients around my home in Hawley, Massachusetts. Devany often uses palm vinegar; I used cider vinegar from Apex Orchards. She uses raw cane and brown sugar; I used maple syrup. She uses a Maui onion; I used a local Vidalia type.
 
I cooked and cooked and cooked the ketchup. When it was still wet but getting thicker I tasted it.
 
It didn’t taste ANYTHING like ketchup. My local cider vinegar was way too robust.
 
At the suggestion of my friend Chef Michael Collins I added more maple syrup and kept cooking. When I tasted the revised ketchup, it still wasn’t very ketchup like.
 
I was just about to give up when I tasted it again and experienced a moment of epiphany.
 
My concoction still didn’t taste anything like ketchup. BUT … it DID taste like really good barbecue sauce.
 
So that’s what I’m calling it.
 
You’ll only want to make this recipe if you have lots and lots of tomatoes in your garden or farm share; it’s quite expensive per ounce if you go out and buy the darn things.
 
It’s worth trying if you have a surfeit of tomatoes, however. It’s dark, sweet, and tangy—perfect barbecue sauce, in other words. 

Thank you, Devany, for leading me on this adventure! Whatever this stuff is called, it’s delicious.

 
Devany’s Sauce Adapted by Tinky
 
Ingredients:
 
1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1-1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
2 teaspoons whole cloves
8 black peppercorns
1 fresh bay leaf or 1/2 dried bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 nutmeg nut, grated
12 pounds (5 kilograms) chopped tomatoes—6 to 7 quarts (Devany suggests using Roma or paste tomatoes, but any tomato will do; regular tomatoes, which I used, just have more liquid and will therefore yield less sauce.)
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 Serrano peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon kosher salt (Devany uses 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt, but I used what I had)
 
Instructions:
 
Place the vinegar in a saucepan. Tie the mustard seeds, allspice, celery seeds, cloves, and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth. Place the cheesecloth bag in the vinegar along with the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg.
 
Bring the mixture slowly to a boil; then turn off the heat and let the vinegar sit with the spices for 1 hour. Discard the spices (except for the nutmeg, which will be in the vinegar!) and set the vinegar aside.
 
In a large nonreactive kettle combine the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and peppers. Heat the ingredients over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid scorching on the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat; allow the mixture to simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
 
Stir in the spiced vinegar and continue to simmer for another 1/2 hour, still stirring from time to time.
 
Remove the pot from the heat and put the tomatoes and other vegetables through a food mill. Try to extract as much pulp and juice as you can. Discard the leftover solids, seeds, and skins.
 
Stir the maple syrup and salt into the tomato mixture, and return it to the heat. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until your barbecue sauce achieves the desired consistency. (This took me about 4 hours.) 

I ended up with a little less than 1 quart of sauce, but one would probably achieve a larger yield (and a shorter cooking time) with the tomatoes Devany recommends.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider taking out an email subscription to my blog. Just click on the link below!

Subscribe to In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens by Email.