A sweet alternative
It's sugaring season in Vermont and here at the heart of Maple Syrup nation my neighbors are tapping the trees, pulling out 40 gallons of sap to boil down to one gallon of syrup. While most people just use maple syrup on pancakes, I find its sweet, earthy flavor pairs well with all sorts of foods. Here are a few of my favorite recipes using maple syrup:
Sesame-Maple Roasted Tofu: This quick and healthy dinner pairs creamy tofu and crispy snap peas with a tahini-maple sauce. Serve with udon noodles and Green Tea-Poached Pears for dessert.
Maple-Walnut Tapioca Pudding: Turn comforting tapioca pudding into a special dessert for two by spiking it with pure maple syrup and finishing it with a simple spiced maple-nut topping.
Maple-Glazed Chicken Breasts: Here's an easy main dish that's sure to set you on your own quest for the best syrup. Start the chicken breasts marinating on a Saturday afternoon for a quick meal later in the day, just about the time you come in from raking the last of the winter leaves off the garden.
Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing: Pure maple syrup, as opposed to artificially flavored and colored "pancake" syrup, is an extraordinary cooking ingredient. Here it adds body as well as rich flavor to the dressing, providing a perfect counterpoint to the smoked cheese.
Maple Walnut Cake: Reminiscent of a British sticky toffee pudding, this cake gets its moisture from dates; toasted nuts and maple give it an intoxicating fragrance.