The Year of Maple Syrup

Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears

2014 was the year that failure was recognized as an attribute towards the journey of success. That’s if the lesson was learned from the act of failure. This recipe was a difficult dish to develop. It was perfect the first time. The second attempt was too sweet. The third try lacked a flavorful taste. And, when the dish was finally successful, it was perfect.

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Parade Magazine: Maple Almond Pear Tarts

Maple Almond Pear Tarts

After returning to working a weekday schedule of 9 to 5, desserts with less prep work are appreciated in my schedule. Although pears and/or apples baked in buttery pie crusts are worth the extra effort and time, using puff pastry to make a tart turns out a quickie dessert.

This tart is topped with pear slices, warm spices, chopped almonds, and a maple syrup glaze with Tonewood Maple Flakes sprinkled on top. Of course, no dessert with baked pears is complete without a generous scoop of fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Sweet pies are great if there’s extra time in your schedule, but those with fewer hours can make these maple almond pear tarts with equal love.  Read more

Orange French Toast with Pears and Cherries

Orange French Toast with Fresh Pears and Cherries

This year’s commercial love weekend is a lonely feast. My love package of Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cookies, Cornmeal Lime Butter Cookies, and Roast Lemon-Thyme Almonds was shipped last week for the West coast. In the spirit of maintaining a busy mind, this declared romantic weekend is full of freelance work.

However, I’m treating myself to Orange French Toast topped with fresh Pears and Cherries. This version uses stale Honey Wheat Bread made from scratch in my kitchen. French toast is not a popular breakfast dish, because it’s made with soft, commercial bread that has a longer shelf life because of the preservatives. The result is a French toast with a soggy center. It’s actually a recipe at its best with thick slices of French or Italian loaves (since moving to New York, I’ve discovered Challah is a buttery option, too). Such bread is fresh for one day. It’s a great bread to include in a romantically planned menu. I recommend serving half a loaf as garlic bread to accompany a meal of lasagna and salad. By the next morning, the loaf is hard and stale (slice it the night before if making French Bread). Using the mantra, “no food goes to waste,” day-old bread slices are temporarily soaked in a milk and egg mixture, before it’s lightly fried in a skillet. Read more

Buttermilk Pancakes with Caramelized Pears and Pecans topped with Vanilla Whipped Cream

Buttermilk Pancakes with Caramelized Pears and Pecans topped with Whipped Vanilla Cream
Buttermilk Pancakes with Caramelized Pears and Pecans topped with Whipped Vanilla Cream

After a few years of warm winters, it was a treat to wake up to a winter wonderland. And, it’s a blessing to have a fully stocked refrigerator. We served our sweet breakfast with green tea and faux mimosas, orange juice made with wine instead of champagne. We just happened to have a cheap bottle of wine, because it was going to be used in the chicken stew for dinner later in the day. The boyfriend watched his church services via live-stream from the internet. When service was over, the sweets were ready.

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