Maple syrup adds just a hint of sweetness to these fall recipes – Food and Dining – Austin 360

Maple syrup adds just a hint of sweetness to these fall recipes – Food and Dining – Austin 360

Maple syrup season isn’t technically until spring or late winter when temperatures in the North and Northeast rise enough so that the sap in the sugar maples starts to flow.

Sugaring season, as it is called, brings a flurry of activity to the maple farms of Quebec, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and even places like Wisconsin, but for the rest of the country, many of us associate the rich, earthy sweetness of maple syrup with fall.

Maybe it’s the color or the allspice undertones, but this is the time of year when I’m most likely to put real maple syrup in my coffee or on my pancakes. Maple syrup, of course, has many other uses, including in savory dishes and sauces. To inspire you to use maple syrup as an ingredient in your cooking, I’ve rounded up a handful of recipes to showcase its versatility as a seasoning agent, not just a sweetening agent.

A reminder when you go to buy a fresh bottle: In 2015, the maple syrup industry dropped its old grading system, so now true maple syrup is either Grade A or Processing Grade. Grade A can have four classifications, from the lightest (Golden Color) to the darkest (Very Dark Color Strong Taste). In Texas, we don’t have access to quite so many options, so use what you can find and let your taste buds tell you if you need to adjust the quantity.

And one last note: Make sure you keep maple syrup in the fridge. Unlike its corn syrup-based counterparts, real maple syrup has enough water in it that it will spoil if left long enough in the pantry.

Maple-Sage Pork Breakfast Sausage

There is nothing like the the rich-buttery flavor of maple syrup paired with savory pork for breakfast. This has been my favorite breakfast sausage recipe for years. It also freezes really well if you want to keep a stash on hand for easy breakfasts. You can reheat the patties by placing them in a cold oven and then heating it to 350 degrees. By the time the oven reaches temp they’re usually warmed up and ready for you. You can use 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes instead of cayenne if preferred.

— Amanda Torres

1 tablespoon avocado oil or lard

1 teaspoon fine Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

1 pound ground pork

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons robust maple syrup

Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. While the pan is heating, mix together the salt, sage, thyme, pepper, cayenne and coriander in a small bowl. Place the ground pork in a medium bowl with the maple syrup and sprinkle the seasoning on top, gently working it in with your hands.

To make patties, form the ground meat into 6 to 8 evenly sized patties and cook them in a heated pan for about 4 to 5 minutes per side, until they’re browned on both sides and the internal temperature is 160 degrees. To make ground sausage, add the meat mixture to the heated pan and use a spatula to break it into crumbles as it cooks. Cook until well browned and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

— From “Fast & Flavorful Paleo Cooking: 80+ Easy, Delicious Recipes for the Weeknight Chef” by Amanda Torres (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Salad

This salad fills your house with the most intoxicating pumpkin spice and maple aroma — who needs to burn a pumpkin spice candle when you have this gorgeous recipe? It’s quite possibly the best warm salad to dig into all fall season long. The best part? You get three recipes out of one here. In addition to making this complete salad as a hearty starter or main, both the roasted maple and pumpkin spice sweet potatoes and marinated kale salad make easy side dishes on their own. You’ll want to make extra, because your neighbors are sure to knock on your door, asking where that blissful scent is coming from. Store leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. Reheat in an oiled skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until warmed through. Season with a little extra pumpkin pie spice mix and pure maple syrup, if desired, to revive the flavors. If you don’t have (or like) tahini, increase the amount of maple syrup in the kale salad to 2 teaspoons.

— Angela Liddon

For the roasted sweet potato and chickpeas:

3 medium sweet potatoes

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, homemade or store-bought, plus more for serving

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for serving

For the marinated kale salad:

1 medium bunch curly kale, stemmed and chopped (6 cups)

1 medium garlic clove, finely grated on a Microplane

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon tahini

1/2 cup roasted salted pepitas, for garnish

Prepare the roasted sweet potato and chickpeas: Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line an extra-large baking sheet (or two large baking sheets) with parchment paper.

Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into small 1-inch cubes (you should have about 5 1/2 cups). Place the drained chickpeas and sweet potato on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and toss until thoroughly coated. Drizzle on 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup and toss again to coat. Spread the sweet potatoes and chickpeas into a single layer on the pan. Sprinkle the pumpkin pie spice and salt all over the sweet potatoes and chickpeas.

Roast, uncovered, for 32 to 38 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender and golden brown on the bottom and the chickpeas are a bit shriveled. I don’t flip them or rotate the pan during baking.

Meanwhile, prepare the kale salad: Place the kale in a very large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, oil, maple syrup, salt, lemon juice and tahini until smooth. Pour the dressing over the kale and massage it into the leaves with your hands until fully coated. Let the kale marinate in the dressing while the sweet potatoes and chickpeas roast.

When the chickpeas and sweet potatoes are finished roasting, remove the baking sheet from the oven and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup over them. With a spoon, gently toss to coat. Taste and season with more pumpkin pie spice and salt, if desired.

Portion the kale into bowls, top with the warm roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas, and garnish with the roasted pepitas. Serve warm. Serves 4.

— From “Oh She Glows for Dinner: Nourishing Plant-Based Meals to Keep You Glowing” by Angela Liddon (Avery, $35)

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Use this delightful pumpkin pie spice in lattes, pies or even salad. It really is the most delicious thing sprinkled on roasted sweet potatoes with sea salt and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. I like to keep a large batch on hand because I find myself using it in (and on) just about everything throughout the fall and winter seasons … cakes, cookies, bars, oatmeal, smoothies, lattes, chia seed pudding and more. It’s sure to perk up any gloomy-weather day! And if you’re looking for a last-minute host or hostess gift, look no further. Simply assemble the spice mix in a small glass jar (feel free to double the recipe, if need be), pop a tag and ribbon on it, and you have a lovely edible gift that’ll keep on giving all season long!

— Angela Liddon

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons grated nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cloves

In a small jar, place the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Secure the lid and shake well to combine. Be sure to shake the spice mix to recombine before measuring each time you use it. Store in the jar in a cupboard for up to 6 months.

— From “Oh She Glows for Dinner: Nourishing Plant-Based Meals to Keep You Glowing” by Angela Liddon (Avery, $35)

Tahini Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Dates

I knew Nashville was movin’ on up when we got a True Food Kitchen right smack in the middle of where fast-food restaurants used to exist. Founded by Dr. Andrew Weil, True Food Kitchen is a healthy, chef-driven, seasonally focused chain that offers delicious anti-inflammatory meals and beverages. One of my favorite True Food Kitchen dishes is a cauliflower appetizer that includes harissa spice, dates and pistachios. As much as I adore cauliflower, I had an inkling that I’d prefer the flavor combination with Brussels sprouts. I love to serve it in mini compostable bamboo cups as a cooking class starter, but this dish also makes for a great side dish. Note that traditional harissa spice includes ingredients I don’t often use, so I made something similar with what I keep in my pantry. A tip: I find it easier to chop dates that are chilled. Even then, the pieces will stick together a little when sliced, so just pull them apart.

— Laura Lea

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, base and any brown or holey leaves removed, sliced in half vertically (if they are particularly large, slice into thirds or quarters — we want 1-inch pieces)

2 teaspoons avocado oil

3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste, divided

Juice from 1 lemon (2 tablespoons)

1 1/2 tablespoons tahini

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon mild, white miso paste

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 to 4 tablespoons water

1/3 cup roasted, salted pistachios, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish

4 to 6 pitted medjool dates, roughly chopped (1/2 cup)

1/3 ounce fresh mint, thinly sliced, for garnish (1/3 cup loosely packed)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Depending on the size of your Brussels sprouts, you may want to use two baking sheets. If you crowd them on the baking sheet, they won’t crisp.

In a large heatproof bowl, combine Brussels sprouts pieces, avocado oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat, then spread evenly onto baking sheet(s). No need to clean the mixing bowl.

Roast Brussels sprouts for 35 minutes, or until tender and crispy at the edges. If using 2 baking sheets, swap their positions halfway through.

In the same mixing bowl, combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, tahini, maple syrup, miso, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cumin, turmeric and 2 tablespoons water. Whisk until it forms a sauce. If it isn’t a pourable consistency, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water. (I usually add 1 tablespoon.)

Once Brussels sprouts have finished roasting, add them to the sauce, and toss to evenly coat. Fold in pistachios and dates. Serve however you like, adding fresh mint and chopped pistachios for garnish. Serves 6.

— From “Simply Laura Lea: Balanced Recipes for Everyday Living” by Laura Lea (Blue Hills Press, $35)

Maple Dijon Dressing

You might think it unusual to combine Dijon mustard and maple syrup in a salad dressing, but the sweetness of the syrup blends beautifully with the sharp tang of the mustard, resulting in an interesting, very tasty, dressing.

— Kim Lutz

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons oat milk

Salt to taste

In a small bowl, whisk the mustard, syrup, oat milk and salt together. Keep the dressing refrigerated in a lidded container until you are ready to use it. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to one week. Makes 1/4 cup.

— From “The Oat Milk Cookbook: More than 100 Delicious, Dairy-free Vegan Recipes” by Kim Lutz (Sterling Epicure, $18.95)


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