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Maple Magic

 3 Sweet Recipes to Savour Spring in Muskoka

Well, it seems our Muskoka maple syrup season has drawn to a close. And earlier than usual this year!

As we all know, in Canada (especially Muskoka), maple syrup isn't just a condiment; it's found its way into our early spring lifestyle. If we don't get out to someone's sugar shack, we're sure to beg someone for some of their haul.

I wish I would have made time to venture out into the sugar bush this year! It's somewhat of a ritual and an outdoor activity I always look forward to as the world begins to thaw. To me, it signals the promise of renewal and the new season.

Maple Syrup - Pure Muskoka

I always like the feel of the crispness of the air as we hike through the woods, tapping the trees and hanging buckets to collect the sap that would soon be transformed into "liquid gold". It's those quality hours spent with family or friends in the sugar shack. (click to watch The Sugar Shack video)

The ideal weather for the sap to flow is a delicate balance - below zero at night and above zero in the day. Daytime temperatures above freezing cause the sap to rise through the trees, while nighttime dips below zero encourage it to retreat back into the roots. The sap is laden with the sugars that give maple syrup its signature sweetness.

As we bid farewell to another maple season, let us find joy in the memories of seasons past and the promise of seasons yet to come.

And on that note, we thought you might enjoy three of our delicious, tried and true family favourites, using one of our most favourite local ingredients: Liquid gold.

Enjoy!

Ben's Maple Glazed Back Ribs 
Maple Glazed Ribs - Pure Muskoka

Ingredients:

  • 2 racks pork back ribs
Maple Chili Sauce:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup chilli sauce
  • 2 cups maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 275°F. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs and season with salt and pepper. Place the ribs in a roasting pan and bake for 2 hours, or until fat is sufficiently cooked off.

While the ribs are cooking, heat olive oil in a saucepan. Sauté onion and garlic until softened. Stir in chilli sauce, Worcestershire, and maple syrup. Simmer, then season with salt and pepper.

Allow ribs to cool slightly, drain off fat, and cut into individual portions. Place back into the roasting pan, add maple-chilli sauce, and bake at 375°F for 30-40 mins, stirring occasionally, until cooked. Serves 4

Arugula Praline Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Maple Arugula Salad - Pure Muskoka

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 pear (such as d'Anjou), cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pralines
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese


Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions:

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Toss arugula with dressing, then top with pears, pralines, cranberries, and goat cheese before serving. Serves 4.

Simple Maple Rice Pudding
Maple Rice Pudding - Pure Muskoka

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Arborio rice, uncooked
  • 6 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick


Instructions:

Rinse rice, then combine with all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium until boiling, then reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve warm or cold. We recommend topping with fresh berries and a splash of cream. Serves 6.

 

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