Maple-Trout-Lilli And I

My epicurean interests began about the time I was responsible for feeding myself.  What began as a requirement for sustenance quickly evolved into a passion for food and an opportunity to explore new flavors, smells and textures.

Interest in food became a profession… The Wild Flour Bakery was born in Whitefish Montana, providing Whitefish with creative pastries and breads.  Tarts filled with fresh local fruits and VT maple syrup became our signature product.   Crisp buttery tart crust mounded with fall Huckleberry’s,  combined with an able dose of VT Maple syrup resulted from the cross pollinatio of local wild foods.

Maple Trout-Lilli lives in a yellow house at the top of fifteen broad stone steps. In her cheery kitchen she experiments cooking with maple. The ensuing recipes are as varied as maple syrup grades, so stock up on this year’s crop.


Vermont Maple Syrup Recipes

Maple-Trout-Lilli writes: 
This savory recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. 

sweet and sour meatballs.jpg

Sweet & Sour Meatballs 

1 20 oz. can unsweetened pineapple chunks
3 TBS unseasoned rice vinegar
2 TBS ketchup
2 TBS reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 TBS Nebraska Knoll Maple Syrup
2 tsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
1 large egg
1 medium carrot shredded
¼ cup chopped scallion whites
2 TBS minced fresh ginger
1 ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
¾ tsp. salt
8 oz ground turkey breast
8 oz ground pork
2 tsp. canola oil
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
½ cup sliced scallion greens

Preheat Oven to 450.

Line baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with oil.

Drain pineapple juice into a small bowl and whisk in vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, Nebraska Knoll Maple Syrup, cornstarch and crushed red pepper.  Set aside.

Finely chop enough pineapple to yield ½ cup.  Press out excess moisture.  Reserve remaining pineapple chunks.

Lightly beat egg in large bowl.  Stir in carrot, scallion whites, ginger, five-spice powder, salt and finely chopped pineapple.  Add turkey and pork; gently mix to combine.  Using a scant tablespoon each, make 36 small meatballs.  Bake until just cooked through about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add bell pepper and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk the reserved juice mixture and add to the pan.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Stir in remaining pineapple and the cooked meatballs.

To serve, thread a meatball and a pepper onto a small skewer or toothpick.  Transfer to a platter and drizzle w/sauce an sprinkle with scallion greens.

Adapted from Eating Well Magazine 
Submitted by Maple-Trout-Lilly


Maple-Trout-Lilli:

Brussel Sprouts… you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. Well, this will surely make you a lover of brussel sprouts, as everything does tastes better with a little bit of maple. This recipe is similar to a Grade A Fancy run occurring early in the season when the sun warms the dormant sugarbush just long enough to make clear, delicious sap run, just briefly.

Not all maple-infused foods need to have big maple flavor. Like Grade A Fancy Syrup, this recipe is subtle and delicious; enjoy!


RED-ONION-BRUSSEL-SPROUT SLAW

savory.jpg

WITH MAPLE-SHALLOT DRESSING

1 Cup coarsely chopped red onion
4 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1TBS white balsamic vinegar
1 lb brussel sprouts (about 3 Cups shaved)
1/4 Cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp. Nebraska Knoll Maple Syrup
1 TBS minced shallot
Your Favorite Vermont soft cheese (optional)

1. Heat 1 TBS olive oil in medium sauté pan and add onions; cook until slightly charred and soft, 10-15 minutes; transfer onions to a bowl and toss with vinegar;
2. Meanwhile prepare brussel sprouts. Remove outer leaves and trim nubs. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut sprouts paper-thin. Transfer shaved leaves to mixing bowl. Add onions and parmesan cheese and toss;
3. Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk 3 TBS Olive Oil, lemon juice, maple syrup and shallot. Season w/S&P.
4. Slice your favorite soft cheese and serve over salad. We love, Triple Crème, by Champlain Valley Creamery, or Oh My Heart, by Lazy Lady Farm.

Blogger’s Note: Maple-Trout-Lilli surprised us with this salad on the first warm day in March. One serving led to another in an attempt to clarify its allure. Not until I read the recipe did I even know it was a brussel sprout salad. Subtle indeed – and superb.


From:  Maple-Trout-Lilli

Sugar’n at Nebraska Knoll Sugar House combines modern technology with tried and true Yankee ingenuity.  For me, this recipe for Maple Bread Pudding is reminiscent of visits to grandma’s house and a time when simple, common ingredients were utilized to create delicious treats. In addition, it’s a thing of beauty, fresh from the oven, wafting smells ….. comfort food.

This recipe can be served as dessert, to refuel after a hearty day outdoors or to recharge the sugar-making crew. Don’t be afraid to add a dollop of maple syrup or your favorite hard sauce for some added pleasure!

MAPLE BREAD PUDDING

6 slices challah bread
2 tablespoon melted butter
½ cup raisins
3 eggs
1 cup half and half
1 cup almond milk
½ cup Nebraska Knoll Maple Snow
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½  teaspoon  grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest from ½ an orange
Nebraska Knoll Maple Syrup

Whipped Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)

Directions:

1.     Preheat oven to 350
2.     Toast bread on both sides under the broiler until golden and
chop into bit-sized pieces.  Place in a buttered 8 inch square baking
pan.
3.     Whisk together raisins, eggs, half and half, milk, maple snow,
cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and zest and pour over toasted bread.  Let
sit for ½ hour or so.
4.     Drizzle with melted butter and raisins before going into the oven.
5.     Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top springs back when lightly tapped.
6.     Serve Warm and drizzle with Nebraska Knoll Maple Syrup.
7.     Serve with freshly made whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or
your favorite hard sauce.

Submitted by Maple-Trout-Lilly

From:  Maple-Trout-Lilli
Spring marks the time in Nebraska Valley when all thoughts turn to maple.  Maple to us means: spring, rejuvenation, and making our morning tea/coffee with fresh sap.  The smoke rising above the old Adams barn means Nebraska Sugar knoll is turning sap to syrup.  The warm, vaporous fire, tinged with sweetness and smoke, seems to provide an ideal atmosphere for good conversations; foods of varied flavors and tastes are magically provided by friends and visitors.   While the arch is being prepped for the first boil, why not stoke your inner fire with this delicious, “lite” Sugarhouse Brunch?


FIRST-RUN MAPLE BISCUITS


INGREDIENTS:

For Topping:
½ Lb. Mackenzie Bacon
¼ Cup Nebraska Knoll Maple Sugar 2 TBS Flour
2 TBS Nebraska Knoll Maple Syrup
1 TBS Melted Butter

For Biscuits
1 ½ Cups Flour
½ Cup medium-ground Cornmeal
2 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Salt
4 TBS Cold Butter (cut into small pieces)
1 Cup Cold Buttermilk

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 475.  Lightly grease an 8 inch square or 9 inch round pan.

2. Chop cooked bacon into ½ inch pieces and combine with remaining topping ingredients and spread into prepared pan.

3. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Work in cold butter until crumbly.  Add buttermilk, stirring lightly to make a sticky dough.

4. Drop dough in heaping tablespoonfuls over topping in pan.

5. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn oven off and leave for an additional 5-10 minutes until golden brown.

6. Remove from oven and immediately turn pan over onto a serving plate.  Scrape any topping left in pan onto biscuits.

7. Serve in a pool of warm maple Nebraska Knoll syrup.

Yield:  16 Small Biscuits
Adapted from PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour

Submitted by Maple-Trout-Lilly

Maple-Trout-Lilly writes:
Serendipity is often the prime ingredient to successful sugar making.  With the right combination of evening and daytime temperatures, wind from the west and other unknown natural phenomena, the sap flows bountifully.  Serendipity came to play this morning as I read the blog entry for March 1st.  The tree branches were described as:   “….each sports a white chef’s hat as light as meringue…”  I had been thinking all week about making this week’s entry of Maple Meringues and there it was, serendipity at work.


MAPLE MERINGUES 
The maple sugar in this recipe goes by the name ‘Maple Snow’ up at the sugarhouse. It really does resemble snow, too, with its fine light crystals. 
2 Egg Whites
¼ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon Nebraska Knoll Maple Snow for sprinkling
Preheat oven 225 degrees
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine first three ingredients and beat until soft foamy peaks form.
Gradually add Nebraska Knoll Maple Snow and beat until stiff and glossy.
Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of Nebraska Knoll Maple Snow.
Bake for 1 ½  hours.  Turn off heat and leave in oven with the door closed for an additional 1 ½  hours.
Store in an airtight container.
[Adapted from King Arthur Flour]
They are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and melt in your mouth like sugar-on-snow.

Submitted by Maple-Trout-Lilly


MAPLE-ROSEMARY ROASTED NUTS

NUTS.jpg

2 C Almonds
2 C Walnuts
2 C Pecans
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2+ tsp. Coarse Salt
Black Pepper
1/8 – 1/4 C Fresh Rosemary
1 1/2  - 2 TBSP Nebraska Knoll Maple Syrup
1 – 2 tsp. Nebraska Knoll Maple Sugar

Toss nuts in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and maple syrup to coat evenly. Add more or less syrup and/or salt according to your taste. Divide it among 2 roasting pans and Bake at 325 for 15-20minutes, or until the nuts begin to brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Nebraska Knoll Maple Sugar and let cool. Store in airtight containers.

Blogger’s Note: If you want these to last more than a day, store them in airtight containers and hide them behind the piano.

Submitted by Maple-Trout-Lilly


When You’re Frying It Up It Sounds Like Applause

In time for the weekend, Maple Trout Lilli writes:

ROASTED MAPLE BACON

“Everything tastes better with a little bit of bacon.”  Serving bacon, coated with pure maple syrup and baked until crisp,, completes just about anything you put it on.  A maple-bacon BLT…come on, it’s amazing; or crunch up a few slices and serve atop your oatmeal, just like Gramma Wiltz used to make.  With just two ingredients, it’s ooh-so-easy and oh-so-delicious.  Heard a comedian recently comment on the wonders of bacon…it went something like this:  :”When you’re frying it up it sounds like applause….”yeah bacon.”  Here’s to a perfect combination.

Ingredients:
-Thick cut bacon
-Pure maple syrup

2014-maple-bacon2.jpg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degreesPlace baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in one layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the bacon begins to brown.  Remove the pan carefully from the oven; there will be hot grease in the pan!  Brush the bacon slices with Pure Maple Syrup and bake for another 3-5 minutes, flip over w/ tongs and lather up the other side for another 3-5 minutes or until the bacon is warm golden brown…Longer if you like crispier bacon.  Transfer to a plate w/ paper towel and serve.

—MTL.  Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten.


Crazy Good

The editorial staff is delighted to announce that our local Food Correspondent has signed on for another blog season to remind us in tasty ways that there’s more to maple than drinking it straight up. A hearty welcome back, Maple Trout Lilli!


PERFECT MAPLE-GLAZED PECANS

These are crazy-good served in a green salad w/ dried fruit.  Perfectly glazed, sweetened with maple and finished w/ sea salt.
I’ll admit, balsamic vinegar?  But that one ingredient paired with maple and sea salt is what makes these so tantalizingly delicious and brings the individual ingredients to life, flavoring your taste buds with the first hint of spring.

INGREDIENTS:                               

1/8 Cup Maple Sugar
1 1/2 TBS. Maple Syrup
1 TBS. Olive Oil
1 TBS. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Cup Pecan halves
2-3 tsp. Sea Salt

INSTRUCTIONS:
1.  Grease or line a baking
sheet with parchment paper,
set aside.
2.  Lightly toast pecans for 3-4
minutes in oven, being careful not to burn them.
3.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir
maple sugar, maple syrup, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
together until well combined.
4. When mixture bubbles, take pecans from oven and add to
saucepan, stirring to coat. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring
frequently to prevent burning.
5. Pour pecans out onto the prepared sheet and spread out so they
are not touching. Sprinkle with sea salt, to taste. Cool to harden
and toss into your favorite green salad.

—MTL


Chia-Maple-Berry Jam

Maple Trout Lilli writes:

“CHIA” means strength in the Aztec and Mayan cultures, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white chia seeds an an energy-booster.  Makes sense because they contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants and calcium. ”Syrup” in Vermont culture means a sweet delicious concoction made from sap of the noble maple tree.  Combine syrup and chia and you’re sure to have the strength to get up in the morning and do what needs to be done!  Sugaring is not for the weak, so we’ve pared the benefits of chia seeds with not only fruits, but also the fruits of labor from sugaring to make a delicious spring jam that is sure to please.  It’s simple, delicious and oh-so-good.


Chia-Maple-Berry Jam

3 cups fresh or frozen berries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine berries and syrup.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Lightly mash berries w/a fork, leaving some whole for texture.

Stir in chia seeds until thoroughly combined and cook until mixture thickens, about 15minutes.

Once the jam is thick, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Enjoy on toast, muffins, oatmeal, smoothies, crepe filling, by-the-spoonful and more….

*available in your health food market and larger grocers

-MTL


Welcome Back, Maple Trout-Lilli

To my delight, Food Correspondent Maple Trout-Lilli is back in town, eager to write a weekly column. She writes:

Maple Shortbread

MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH MAPLE SHORTBREAD

Here’s an ordinary and traditional treat, familiar to many and elevated to the extraordinary, with the addition of Nebraska Knoll Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar. Now that you’ve created these delectable morsels, what to do with them? Here are just a few possibilities:  toss in your lumberjack’s lunch bucket, place on a doily at your next afternoon tea, bring to Town Meet’n………you’ll think of something! Regardless of the manner of presentation this will put smiles on faces. Sweet, buttery, slightly salty, flaky cookie with the wonderful essence of maple crowned with or without a maple cream cheese glaze……yes, this cookie will take you to the next level.

1 cup soft butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Nebraska Knoll Maple Syrup
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons Nebraska Knoll Maple Sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly butter a 9″ spring form tart pan with removable sides.

Combine butter, salt and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat til fluffy. Add the maple syrup and combine completely.

Add flour a little at a time until just combined.
Press into a 9″ spring form tart pan. Refrigerate for an hour or up to overnight.

Sprinkle w/ 3 teaspoons maple sugar. With a very sharp knife, slice the dough into 16 wedges and pierce the top of the wedges with a fork’s tines. Bake for about an hour or until it is barely golden on the edges. Cool and remove the outer ring of pan. Re-slice the cookies along the same lines with a sharp knife. Remove from pan. As they cool they will crisp up.

To Frost or Not to Frost. Well, I happened to have some left0ver maple cream cheese frosting in the frig from last week’s project, so I thought I’d slather some on the shortbread and the result was kind of like shortbread gone to finishing school, not necessary but well worth the small amount of effort.

NEBRASKA KNOLL MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1/2 Cup VT unsalted butter
1/2 Cup cream cheese
2-3 Cups powdered sugar depending on how sweet you like it
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup Nebraska Knoll Maple Syrup
1-2 TBS milk of your choice

Cream butter and cream cheese til smooth. Add powdered sugar, syrup, vanilla and milk.

Time to put another log on the fire. Until next week…….

Maple Trout-Lilli


TURNIPS/RUTABAGAS/MAPLE, OH MY

Confused about the difference between a turnip and a rutabaga?  So was I.  Some quick Google research revealed that turnips are a Paleolithic food, cultivated around the world and revered by the Romans.  Rutabagas are an 18th century result of crossing turnips with cabbages.  Which got me thinking… maple syrup is a Neolithic, North American product.  Like the transformation of sap to syrup the following recipe morphs common ingredients into an unexpectedly delicious dish, one which combines the earthy, nutty flavors and creamy, fibrous textures of turnips and rutabagas, with a healthy dose of Maple Syrup.  Maple Syrup binds all the ingredients while adding a unique, smoky, woodsy flavor, thus eliminating the bitterness often associated with turnips and rutabagas.
 
TURNIPS/RUTABAGAS/MAPLE, OH MY
TURNIPS/RUTABAGAS/MAPLE, OH MY
2 medium turnips
2 medium rutabagas                                                    
3 cups half and half
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 pinch cayenne
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 cup grated parmesan

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven 400
Grease and 8″ cast iron skillet or 8X8 baking pan w/butter
Peel turnips and rutabagas and slice as thin as possible, using a mandoline if you’ve got one.  Toss in a bowl with salt and pepper, celery seed and thyme.
Combine half and half, maple syrup, cayenne and nutmeg and heat over medium flame.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
Arrange 1/3 turnips and rutabagas in bottom of greased skillet.  Pour 1/3 cream mixture over veges and sprinkle w/cheese, dot with butter; then add another 1/3 turnip/rutabagas, repeating above steps until you’ve used up all your vegetables.  Don’t overfill the dish; the cream mixture should stop just below the top so it doesn’t bubble over in the oven… you may have a bit left over.
Cover with foil and cook for 1/2 hour.  Uncover and cook an additional 45 minutes or until the top is brown and liquid is absorbed.


Vermont K 19 - Golden Elixir

Some two thousand plus years ago during Hippocrates’s time,  a medicinal drink called Oxymel originated.  It was the Greek’s  version of  an electrolyte-boosting beverage containing apple cider vinegar, honey and water.  Fast forward to agrarian 19th century New England where making hay was a life sustaining necessity.    Cutting, raking, drying and stacking hay all day made a hike to the summit of Mount Mansfield seem like a leisurely stroll.    Continuous,  hot, sweaty,  work (or play) requires a person to be energized from dawn to dusk.  Switchel or Haymaker’s punch was born via common household ingredients; necessity is the mother of invention after all.    As you’ll see, all of the ingredients are dietary sources of potassium, an essential mineral important in the transmission of nerve impulses, building muscle tissue, beating of your heart and metabolizing carbohydrates and proteins.  And you thought you were reading about the making of maple syrup.   If you can make it with sap, all the better, if not, water will do fine.  Make a batch, leave in your frig and use instead of gatorade or vitamin water.

K-19 Golden Elixir 

 4 1/2 cups Sap or Water
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
3 teaspoons fresh squeezed Lemon
2 teaspoons Honey
2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh grated Ginger Root
pinch of turmeric
pinch of cayenne

Bring all of above ingredients to a boil and stir until dissolved; remove from stove and store in refrigerator.  Whet your whistle, as often as you like.

-Maple Trout-Lilly  


Maple Blossom Cookies

Maple Blossom Cookies
 
Maple syrup is just so much of what’s right with the world.   Making it into a cookie can only make it more so.
These Maple Blossom cookies are an extraordinary treat.  Light, crisp and chewy with a distinct maple flavor.   This is a unique treat and one which challenges you to eat just one.

Heck………it’s spring, the sun’s shining, sap’s running and the snow is melting!  It’s the time of year to enjoy winter’s final chapter, visualize the pending  summer’s joys and indulge yourself today utilizing the quintessential ingredient of spring……………MAPLE SYRUP!

Maple Blossom Cookies
2 Cups Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Egg
2 cups sifted white flour

Boil the syrup down to one third the amount in a large pot.
The syrup will foam up so keep a close eye on it. This took me
about 1/2 an hour.  Using a candy thermometer, make sure
the temperature doesn’t exceed 250 degrees.
Cool to 212 degrees before stirring in the butter.  If the melted
butter pools on the top of the syrup, heat, stirring
constantly until butter is incorporated.  Cool again, stirring,
until the temperature is below 120 degrees, then add vanilla,
baking powder and egg (make sure temp is below 120 or the egg
will cook.)  Add flour and mix until combined.  Chill overnight or
until thick enough to scoop out solid-like balls of dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out chestnut-sized balls
onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes until pale
gold.  They will be soft when they come out.  Carefully transfer
to a cooling rack.
Yield: 36 
Adapted from a recipe in the Burlington Free Press 


BOSTOCK: The Best French Toast You’ve Never Heard Of

French Toast gets a makeover.  What to do with stale bread?  You take that stale, old bread (preferably Challah or Brioche), soak it in a simple syrup made with, well you guessed it, maple syrup, as well as other ingredients listed below, top it with frangipane – sweetened, buttery almond paste – and bake it until the syrup forms a crisp, lightly carmelized sheen.  It’s moist and rich inside, like bread pudding you can hold, but only so much better because anything  made with maple syrup and topped with frangipane has got to be this good.

To my mind, it’s the ultimate french toast replacement — no more batter and soggy bread; no more burning slices.. as you try and feed a table full of starving breakfasters.  My reaction after sampling for the first time was to question whether Bostock is in fact a breakfast food.   Something this delicious will definitely give your taste buds a jump start in the morning.  Dessert for breakfast anyone?

bostock.jpg

INGREDIENTS
*Stale Brioche or Challah Bread
*Simple Maple Syrup
1 Cup Maple Sugar
1 Cup Water
Pinch of Salt
Bring everything to a boil and let cool.  Will keep in the fridge for weeks… that’s it
*Frangipane
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
1/2 Cup Maple Sugar
1 Large Egg
3/4 Cup Toasted Almonds, Ground Fine
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
1 Tablespoon Amaretto
1 Tablespoon Flour
Cream butter and sugar, beat in the egg, almonds, extract, amaretto and flour… that’s it!

ASSEMBLY
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2.  Lightly grease a baking sheet
3.  Cut bread into 1.5 inch slices.  Don’t stress over the precision… but do it right
4.  Dunk slices of bread in warm syrup and squeeze out like a sponge. Place two inches apart on your pan.  Bread really needs to be stale or it will turn to mush right about now.
5.  Spread frangipane from edge to edge at about the same thickness as a peanut butter sandwich
6.  Sprinkle slivered almonds on top and bake for about 15-20 minutes,  just enough to set the frangipane.
Serve with pureed strawberries if you dare…. That’s it.  It takes hardly any time and even less effort and it’s so good you might be persuaded to have it every Sunday…. Happy Easter
—Maple Trout Lilli 


MAPLE INFUSED CARIBBEAN ALMOND CAKE
Maple Infused Caribbean Almond Cake
 
A moist, delicious tea cake, perfect for Easter and…… it’s wheat and gluten free!     If I close my eyes and take a bite I’m transported to a breezy, warm beach.  I can almost hear the soft lapping sound of the surf retreating back to the blue sea.  It must be the coconut flour, the taste and smell bringing back memories of a “Black Cake” discovered completely by accident in a little shop on the side of the road on the island of Virgin Gorda.   With the addition of Vermont golden maple sugar this concoction is destined to create fond memories.
Enjoy!
 
3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Maple Sugar
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Almond Meal Flour
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Coconut
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

Cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  Add in eggs, one at a time and beat until fully blended.  Add milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Combine flours, coconut,  salt and baking powder and add to the wet mixture.  Spread into greased cake pan (9×13) or small bundt pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Serve plain with toasted, shredded coconut; or make a maple glaze (confectionary sugar and maple syrup until you reach the consistency of frosting; ) I tried the glaze for this post, but I would opt to leave it plain next time, as the flavor stands alone subperbly.
—Maple Trout Lilli


NAPA CABBAGE SALAD

To date  I’ve focused mostly on maple-infused desserts, perhaps leading to the false impression that this is the only suitable use of  the spring nectar.  Maple syrup is an ideal replacement for all other lesser classes of sweeteners (sugar, karo syrup, molasses, etc), not only addressing the sweet piece of our pallet but also imparting it’s own unique and subtle woodsy/smoky flavor.

Following is a recipe utilizing  spring’s bounty.   Enjoy and explore maple’s possibilities throughout your culinary repertoire.

East meets West in this wonderful salad which encompasses all of the crowd pleasing elements:    crisp, crunchy, sweet and sour.
 
THE SALAD
1 Head Napa Cabbage
1 Bunch Scallions
THE CRUNCH
2 TBS Butter
1 TBS Olive Oil
3 oz Package Ramen Noodles, broken
2 TBS Sesame Seeds (black if you have them for more flavor)
1 Cup Slivered Almonds

THE DRESSING
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1 TBS Soy Sauce
1 TBS Sesame Oil
1 TBS Maple Syrup

THE DIRECTIONS:
1.  Finely shred cabbage and combine with minced scallions; cover and refrigerate.
2.  Preheat oven to 350.  Melt butter and oil and toss w/ramen, sesame seeds and almonds.  Spoon onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, shaking often to make sure they don’t burn.  When brown remove from oven and cool.
3.  Combine dressing ingredients and shake.
4.  Combine salad, crunch and dressing immediately before serving.  It is a heavily dressed salad, so be cautious and use a bit at a time to your liking.  Toss when ready to eat otherwise it looses it’s crunch.
Adapted from Bobby Hale’s Napa Cabbage Ramen Salad
—Maple Trout Lilli


Maple Sweet Potato Cakes

Maple Trout Lilli writes:

A second chance for the oh-so-sweet, sweet potato…no marshmallows with these; just our good old friend, maple syrup. A nice balance of sweet and spicy (there’s that combination again) but not overly sweet, plus the Greek yogurt makes a rich counterpart. These cakes will scorch when you’re not watching…so look alive and practice your wrist flipping skills.   Just in time for Passover/Easter …wow the elders with these faux latkes.

MAPLE SWEET POTATO CAKES WITH
CURRIED GREEK YOGURT

CURRIED GREEK YOGURT

5 ounces 2% Greek yogurt
½ tsp. curry powder
S&P to taste

MAPLE SWEET POTATO CAKES

1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 egg
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. paprika
1 pinch cinnamon
½ cup minced yellow onion, sautéed
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
Grapeseed oil for frying

Make curried Greek yogurt by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl…easy
Saute onion in a bit of oil on med-low for about 10 min.
Make cakes by placing shredded potato in a large bowl and toss w/salt, letting it stand for 5 min.
Meanwhile, whisk together egg, maple syrup, pepper, paprika and cinnamon. Usingyour hands, squeeze all excess liquid out of potato.       Add potato, onion and breadcrumbs to egg mixture and combine well.[Has someone been nibbling? I thought there were five..  -AC]
[Has someone been sneaking these? I thought there were five on the plate..  -AC]

Form mixture into 8-10 cakes. Heat griddle or large pan to medium. Coat with oil. (I used grapeseed oil because it can withstand a higher heat without smoking). Place potato cakes on griddle and cook for 8-10 until crispy and brown, flattening with spatula as they cook…
Serve while crisp with Curried Greek Yogurt.

-MTL
Thanks to Foxes Love Lemons Blog


Cheese and Crackers Exalted

 Maple Trout Lilli writes:

I recommend placing a thin slice of your favorite VT cheese …hard, sharp cheddar or soft creamy, tart Brie, onto the most delectable of crackers. The combination of crunch, slight maple sweetness and ever-so-tart cheese will do for to your taste buds what above freezing temperatures and sunshine are doing to the sugar maples this spring. Enjoy two local, unique products whose flavor should invoke your own personal images of the beautiful place we call home. Spread the Joy!

WHOLE WHEAT MAPLE CRACKERS

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup maple sugar + more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter cut into ½ inch pieces
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup + more for brushing
Pinch of coarse sea salt or to taste
Optional dried rosemary  [Editor’s note: not optional to my mind]

In a food processor, combine both flours with ¼ cup maple sugar and salt. Pulse to mix, Scatter cold butter on top and pulse until a coarse meal forms. Add water and ¼ cup of maple syrup and pulse until the dough comes together when you pinch it. Scrape out onto a work surface and press together. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and shape into disks; wrap in plastic and chill for an hour or longer.

Preheat oven 400 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a floured work surface, dust 1 disk of dough with flour. Roll out dough into a 12-inch round and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat. Brush with syrup and sprinkle with maple sugar and a bit of coarse sea salt. Second time around I added a sprinkling of dried rosemary onto before baking for a more savory flavor.

Bake for 18 minutes, until crisp; shift the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Transfer to racks and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Break into shards.

-MTL, Inspired by Justin Chapple


Eat Your Greens!

Maple Trout Lilli advises:
EAT YOUR GREENS!

“Swiss Chard” No, it doesn’t taste like chocolate or keep great time. It gets the name Swiss Chard (a.k.a Green Chard) because of its extensive cultivation in Switzerland. The botanist who discovered and then named it hailed from Switzerland. However, its origin is farther south, in the Mediterranean region, specifically Sicily.

So now that you’ve had a little background…Welcome Spring and with that a quick and easy way to prepare Swiss Chard.   The maple syrup and sherry vinegar add a sweet spark to this dish.

Serves 4

1/3 cup cashews
2 pounds rainbow chard, washed and ends trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ of a large red onion
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup low sodium vegetable stock
S&P
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar

  1. Remove center ribs from chard with a sharp knife. Cut the ribs into ½ inch pieces and set aside. Coarsely chop the chard leaves and set aside.
  2. Using a large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat oil. Add onion, paprika and chard rib pieces. Cook over medium for 5 minutes.
  3. Add chard leaves and cook, stirring until leaves wilt, about 3 minutes
  4. Add raisins and stock, cover and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish.
  6. Combine maple syrup and sherry vinegar and toss with chard.
  7. Top with cashews and serve.

MTL    -Adapted from TheChef

[Editor’s Note: MTL brought up this dish, just as pictured, for the vegetable-starved crew. Divine.]


That Maple Walnut Combo

To get to Nebraska Knoll you follow the road that crosses Miller Brook and swoops sharply right into Nebraska Valley. The first house you pass is Joe and Becky’s on the left. Look to see if their sheep have lambed. You may glimpse a chicken or rabbit in the yard. Notice the skis lined up on the porch, a syrup pan set up in the garage with the smoke stack poking outside. They tap the maples across the road by Miller Brook.

Becky is famous in these parts for remembering and celebrating birthdays. To fˆête her on her May 5th birthday, Maple Trout Lilli lavished her time and talent on creating this exquisite tart:

CREAMED MAPLE WALNUT TART   (Becky’s Birthday Tart)

Remember the days of maple walnut combo… in ice cream, particularly? Well this recipe was adapted by someone who missed that good old New England flavor combination and decided to recreate those special flavors unique to our area.   Pastry crust is fine but this unusual shell is more than just a holding pen for its filling. Think of the possibilities with strawberry season fast approaching.

 Makes one 8X11 inch rectangular tart

maple walnut pie

½ cup granulated maple sugar
1/2  cup white sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup maple syrup, divided
¾ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
¾ cup unsalted soda crackers, crushed
1 teaspoon baking powder
16 intact walnut halves
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a rectangular tart pan.  A large round one will work too. But regardless of its shape, it’s best to use a removable bottomed pan.

Combine white and maple sugars in a small bowl.  Put the egg whites and salt in a large mixing bowl and beat together at high speed until you get soft peaks. Keep whipping them as you slowly add the sugar, two tablespoons at a time, until the cup of sugar is fully incorporated into egg and you’ve got glossy peaks.  Slowly mix in two tablespoons of maple syrup. Fold in the chopped walnuts, crusted soda crackers and baking powder. Spread the mixture into the prepared tart pan, taking care to make the sides high, so that there is good indentation the middle to hold the maple whipped cream for service.

Bake the shell 25-35 minutes or until the meringue is golden but not brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Refrigerate the shell at least two hours (preferable overnight if you’ve got the time).

Meanwhile put ¼ cup maple syrup in a non-stick skillet and add the walnut halves, coating them with syrup. Heat up the mixture on medium letting the syrup bubble up around the nuts. When the syrup is caramelized and very sticky and the nuts are coated, they are sufficiently candied. Lift the nuts out of the pan one at a time and let them cool separately on lightly buttered parchment.   Store in airtight container, until ready to use.

When you are ready to serve the tart, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add 4 tablespoons of maple syrup and whip the cream a bit more. Spread the cream in the meringue cavity. Top with candied walnuts and serve.  This does keep well in the fridge for several hours.

Enjoy and Happy Spring!
-MTL