Maple Syrup Recipes

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Fig Marinara Pasta Recipe Recipe

Fig Marinara Pasta Recipe

09.05.13 by Jackie

Lala, my husband's youngest sister, helped to maintain our vegetable and fruit garden all summer. She definitely has a green thumb and has been so good watering our tomato plants and keeping them alive (even when I was out of town for the Banh Mi book promotion in Houston last week). Lala has just started 4th grade this month. She's a very witty girl, full of energy and such a foodie. She told me she didn't want to have to eat the school lunches this year and would prefer eating homemade food for her back-to-school lunch (click on the link for more back-to-school lunch suggestions).

I told her it would be possible only if she helps me in the kitchen once she's done with her homework. She started a chart with the menu of the week and she seemed so thrilled! I couldn't be more excited because these are more precious moments I get to  share with my munchkin, plus it's about sharing my passion for cooking. 

So this evening, we gathered a few San Marzano tomatoes, basil flowers and Brown Turkey figs. You're probably wondering what we made with all these fantastic ingredients? Pasta sauce! I sweetened the tomato sauce with a hint of maple syrup and tossed medium shell pasta into the delectable sauce. It’s sweet without being overpowering, and the figs give it a wonderful new dimension.


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Easy Party Appetizers: Foie Gras Stuffed Prunes with Almond Tuiles Recipe

Foie gras stuffed dried plums are my guilty pleasure. The dried plums (prunes) are baked with maple syrup, and to enhance the texture and flavor, I add a pinch of fleur de sel and a sprinkle of crumbled almond tuile cookies. These little appetizers will definitely be served by the dozens during our New Year Eve's dinner.

I know this recipe might raise some eyebrows on several levels. I've always loved,  perhaps worshipped, the French culinary delicacy called foie gras. If you've never tasted foie gras before, it's like eating a piece of intensely flavored, semi-softened butter. Some people think it's an abomination and constitutes cruelty to animals. I believe that in Chicago for a time there was even a ban on foie gras and that the sale and production of foie gras is still illegal in California.

The other thing you might find odd is that I chose to use prunes in an elegant appetizer. I was surprised to learn from Lulu that in America, prunes are marketed as digestive aids and have a rather negative stigma. That is not the case in France. Prunes are often served as a snack for children, and just yesterday I saw them on a fruit and cheese platter at the end of a lovely meal we had at my friend's home. They’re now marketed in the U.S. as dried plums, not prunes, because there was so much negativity associated with prunes as a laxative.

I hope this recipe will inspire you to try new ingredients, or perhaps old ingredients in new ways.


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Pumpkin Oatmeal Smoothie Recipe

Pumpkin Oatmeal Smoothie

10.26.09 by Jackie

Recently I made a pumpkin spice latte and it got me thinking about other drinks that I could make using this Fall flavor. The girls love smoothies, so it seemed like an obvious choice.

I combined some pumpkin purée with traditional pumpkin pie spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon to form the base of the smoothie. Maple syrup and brown sugar provide the sweetness, and oatmeal helps to thicken the drink and provide texture. No bananas here.

If you're looking for a healthy alternative to gorging on slices of pumpkin pie, this smoothie fits the bill.  It has the same flavor but with fewer calories and more nutrition. If that's not your goal, you could always throw in a scoop of ice cream and make a milkshake...


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