Marty’s Maple Extravaganza
Over the past week I have embarked on a sticky journey to implement maple syrup into all of my meals. I discovered the many uses for the widely regarded amber liquid as a condiment, sweetener, and a marinade. Unlike Ross on that episode of friends, I did not eat any maple candy, rather I planned to test the sweet liquid’s utility as an ingredient. As many may know the good stuff comes at a price, however I was lucky enough to have the UVM Maple Proctor Research Center supply me with one quart of their finest Grade A maple syrup. Team members Camilla and Jimmy graciously retrieved the jug from the Maple Proctor facility in Underhill, VT.
The Big Meals
Before describing a few of my favorite meals from the week I would like to highlight that I am not in any way culinarily inclined. I love good food, just not making it. Nonetheless, I set dedicated a few nights to making some maple infused dishes.
My first endeavor was maple-candied Brussels sprouts. The preparation was pretty easy, I made a glaze out of maple syrup, salt, pepper and olive oil. After about 40 minutes in the oven the sprouts had a nice shiny crust over them. This is by far the best way to consume Brussels sprouts especially with some diced bacon bits.
For my second maple entree I prepared maple marinated grilled chicken. Again this was another simple recipe that tasted great. I whipped up a marinade of maple, soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice and garlic. After whisking I let the chicken breast marinate in the emulsion for about two hours. I threw the chicken breasts on the burner and within minutes the soy sauce tragically began to form a thick black bark over the meat. As the saying goes chefs don’t make mistakes, they make new dishes. I cut off the bark and covered the chicken in the marinade. The maple worked really well with the garlic and ginger, however presentation was a bit… rustic.
Presentation 9.9/10 ft. soy sauce crust
The Daily Fare
Often my schedule does not allow for overly elaborate meals. As of late I have been eating a lot of frozen fruit, vegetables and yogurt. Throughout the week these were the meals that I easily worked maple into.
I subsist off the berry kale frozen mix that forms the base of this smoothie bowl. A touch of peanut butter, ‘nola and most importantly maple syrup set it off.
I started the week with maple greek yogurt, but it proved to be too much of a good thing. After finishing off the pint I bought the unsweetened variety and the maple pulled its weight to take away some of the bite from the yogurt.
Sitting atop the last of my primary colored plates is the “Vermont salad” from City Market. There is a maple vinaigrette drizzled over top which paired quite well with goat cheese and cranberries. I plan to use my surplus syrup to make a vinaigrette of my own. To complement the salad I ventured closer to the source of the syrup and drank some SAP! seltzer. Unlike the salad, the seltzer was pretty underwhelming, I remain a LaCroix boi.
I genuinely thought that at the end of this week I would be mapled out, but if anything I will be pouring maple on spaghetti noodles, ’tis the season. I understand why maple is such an institution here, no other brown liquids can hold a candle to the stuff. And stay away from that blasphemous goo at the grocery store in the questionably shaped bottles.