Tag Archives: maple syrup

Apple Onion Relish

4 Feb

Before I go on a trip or to a retreat, I like to clean my fridge as much as possible. I hate wasting food and throwing away food jut because it was left unattended on the fridge is just “a sin” to me.

So before I left for my Xmas retreat I was looking for recipes to use up fresh stuff I had in my fridge that I didn’t want to go to waste. When I came across this recipe on TV by Giada Di Laurentiis, I knew it would be perfect to use those apples that had been staring at me for a few weeks now. I do like apples, but I am super lazy when it comes to snacking on an apple. I also had brought some thyme and rosemary from my sister’s during our last trip there… and I knew the herbs could go bad if I waited too long to use them.

This was the perfect recipe then to cook a bunch of apples with thyme all at the same time.

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APPLE ONION RELISH

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 small Gala apples, cored, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tbs apple juice
2 tbs maple syrup
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  1. In a high-sided skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, apple slices, salt, and pepper. Cook until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the vinegar, maple syrup, and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and apples are very soft, about 40 minutes.

This recipe is super easy… and you don’t need to tend to it too much. The smells in your kitchen will be divine.

This relish will go wonderful next to some scalloped potatoes, over creamy mashed potatoes, mashed parsnips, grilled Portobello mushrooms or even inside a sandwich.

Almond Praline

31 Dec

This is a recipe I originally learned from Diane Carlson, from the Conscious Gourmet.

This is a super easy recipe that will never disappoint you.  I have also used it to candy hazelnuts, cashews and walnuts.  You can easily eat these almonds by themselves or as a garnish for poached or roasted fruit – like my Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese or these Poached Pears in Orange Juice.

 

ALMOND PRALINE

1 cup sliced almonds
1 tbs maple sugar
1 tbs maple syrup
  1. Combine all ingredients and stir well with two forks.  Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silplat.
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350F oven.  Stir occasionally, and remove from oven once they’ve become golden brown. 
  3. When you remove from oven, transfer them immediately to a cool bowl or plate for them to cool down.  They’ll become crisp as they cool down.  Separate them carefully.

Poached Pears in Orange Juice

30 Dec

Pears have never been one of my favorite fruits…  I have always favored berries to any other fruits.  But how I love cooked pears!

Don’t get me wrong… I like pears, particularly, sliced up next to a nice piece of gruyère or comté cheese.  But I have grown to love also a nice roasted or poached pear.  And in my interest to find new ways and flavors to pair pears with I developed this nice recipe…

 

POACHED PEARS IN ORANGE JUICE

2 pears – I usually buy Bartlett as they’re widely available here
2/3 cup of orange juice – can be freshly squeezed or from the Tropicana container
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs maple sugar
A pinch of salt
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.  I make this in a toaster oven…
  2. First, peel, halve and core your pears.  I use a melon-baller or a round 1tbs measuring spoon.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in an oven safe dish where you can fit comfortably all 4 halves of pears.   Place the pears in the dish and move the around so the liquid coats somewhat the whole pear, even though the pear halves will not be submerged in the liquid.
  4. Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes until pears are soft when pierced with a fork.  Make sure the poaching liquid does not burn or caramelize before the pears are cooked.

The thickened poaching liquid will serve as syrup on top of the pears when serving.  Serve with a nice nutty, salty cheese (like gorgonzola dolce or comté) on the side and some almond or walnut praline.

Tarragon Almonds

4 Jun

This is another recipe I made for my college get-together using ingredients from my CSA box, tarragon.

Tarragon is a new herb for me.  It’s not something you use in Latin cooking at all.  But it’s “licorice-y” taste gave me the idea to pair it up with something sweet and salty at the same time.  I already showed you my Rosemary Almonds, so I decided to give it a go with tarragon to see how people would receive them.

The test was a success… people were asking me what was in them.  Hold on… not just anyone was asking – my friend Mariví, the most finicky eater of all my friends, and Alejandro, the husband of my friend Angie, who always comes to my dinner parties after eating something before.   They were all over the bowl of almonds… 

I guess they don’t serve these at the Argentinean restaurant next door to my house…

 

 Tarragon Almonds

TARRAGON ALMONDS

1 cup of raw almonds
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs maple sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
A few grinds of the peppermill
1 tbs fresh tarragon, chopped finely

 

  1. I prefer to skin the almonds… so you need to do this in advance using the method I show you here.
  2. After the almonds are skinned and dry, toast them in a 350F oven for about 15-20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them… they will take a bit longer than skinned almonds because we’ve soaked them in water, but they could burn if left completely unattended.  The idea is to toast them a bit before you add the sugars because if not, the sugars will burn before the almonds get toasted…
  3. Take them out of the oven and let them cool a bit. 
  4. In a medium bowl mix together the maple sugar, syrup, salt, pepper and tarragon.  Add the almonds and toss to combine.
  5. Return them to the oven for about 10-15 minutes until the sugar and syrup dissolves and forms a caramel on top of the almonds.
  6. Take the out of the oven and immediately but very carefully place them in a shallow dish to cool.  BE CAREFUL THE SUGAR BURNS!!!

After they’ve cooled, you can separate them with your hands.  If you live in a hot humid climate like Puerto Rico, you might need to place them in the fridge so they do not get sticky…

The Bounties of Vermont…

8 Apr

 

I recently visited Vermont for the first time…  The main purpose of my visit was to ski at SugarBush, a lovely ski resort right in the middle of Vermont.  My best friend’s dad has had a slope-side apartment there for the longest time, and it was this year the first time we’ve been able to sync our schedules and go together.

I am not the one to bring gifts or souvenirs back from a trip – but I like to purchase items that are indigenous to the place I am visiting…  so I need to share with you about these true Vermont beauties:

Vermont’s Maple Syrup

Oh goodie…  the variety of maple syrups can be overwhelming sometimes.  I learned about Vermont Fancy, Grade A Amber, Grade A Medium, etc.  I can get at home the Grade As, but I had never seen or tasted Vermont Fancy – so that’s what I bought as a souvenir.  I also bought some maple spread, maple butter and some maple candies.  You’ll be seeing some of these maple jewels in various upcoming posts… I see pancakes in my future… 

Vermont’s Apple Cider

We went past Cold Hollow Cider Mill…  but it is really hard to miss, because their cider bottles are EVERYWHERE!!!  Truth be told… I do not know the difference between apple juice and apple cider, but I LOOOOOVED this apple cider.  It’s like the freshest, sweetest unfiltered apple juice you have ever had.  If you’re ever in that neck of the woods, you need to try their cider.

 

 

Vermont’s Cabot Cheese

 I an a Cabot cheese lover.  What I love about Cabot cheeses is they explicitly mention in their packaging they do not use animal rennet in their manufacturing.  My favorite variety is the Extremely Sharp Hunter’s variety, which is as sharp as you can get here – to me, it’s perfect to eat with strawberries or green grapes.  We were able to go to one of Cabot factory store where we were able to taste test many varieties… and I found the Vintage Variety – aged for 24 months hand-selected by the company’s president… this is even sharper than the Hunter’s kind… it’s AWESOME!!!!  I just wish I could have been able to bring home a larger piece.

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

We visited Ben & Jerry’s factory tour one afternoon after skiing.  Even though most Ben & Jerry’s ice creams are not karma-free (because they contain egg yolks in the base recipe), they do offer a variety of organic flavors and fruit sherbets.  The new flavors we tried at the factory were AMAZING!!!!  And if you have a B&J shop nearby, stay tuned to their FREE CONE day coming up on April 29th.

 

It’s all right there on VT Route 100 – Visit and taste all the bounties Vermont has to offer… you can take a stab at skiing too if you’d like, you know…

 

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