Showing posts with label Homemade Vinaigrette. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homemade Vinaigrette. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Maple Madness: Smoky-Sweet Maple Vinaigrette from Cleo Coyle

Stack your pancakes, everyone. All that frigid, white stuff that blanketed the Northeast this winter is going to give us a banner year in maple production, according to a recent story in The Wall Street Journal.

Cleo Coyle, mad for maple,
is author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
"Icy nights and warmer days are essential to a good syrup season," wrote reporter Kristen Miglore. "The end-of-winter rhythm of freeze and thaw coaxes sap from the trees for as long as they can resist the urge to bud, usually four to six weeks..."

That's right, this is the season for tapping trees and boiling down maple syrup. For far too many years, I mistakenly thought winter was the time for maple syrup production. (My romantic notion was, no doubt, engendered by the plethora of bucolic photos showing snowy Vermont woods with slate gray buckets hanging from craggy, brown tree trunks.)

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Spring is the season of sugar! One fine year, I hope to visit a maple syrup farm in Upstate New York or New England. Until then, I'll have to content myself with the fruits of the farmers' labors via online shopping (or a trip to my local market). On the other hand, thanks to our friends at YouTube, we can take a *virtual* trip north anytime...

For those of you interested in how
maple syrup is made, take a *virtual* trip
with me to the Bushee family farm in Vermont...

With all that sweet maple syrup on its way, I’ll be sharing some maple recipes with you over the next few weeks, starting with a few suggested by chefs quoted in The Wall Street Journal...

Maple Ice cream Topping

New York Chef Gabrielle Hamilton (of restaurant Prune) told The Journal she enjoys serving butter pecan ice cream "drowned" in a pool of syrup, finished with a shower of coarse salt. I haven’t tried this yet, but it sounds like heaven—and surely looks like that legendary Yankee treat of "sugar on snow" when hot maple syrup is poured over a bowl of freshly fallen snow.

Maple Marinade

Once again, according to The Journal, the cooks at the Vermont restaurant Michael’s on the Hill steep trout in a maple brine, along with caraway, fennel, and celery leaves. The trout is then smoked over maple chips and served with a horseradish crème fraiche. A lovely idea to try at home with trout or pork or...well, The Journal suggests that anything from "duck breast to pigs’ feet" can benefit from long soak in maple and salt.

Maple Dressing

When Chef Tony Maws (at Craigie on Main in Boston) suggested maple as an "almost sinister substitute for honey in a vinaigrette," I had to try it that night for dinner. Unfortunately, Chef Maws didn't share a specific recipe, so I experimented with a favorite honey-mustard dressing and came up with a delicious smoky-sweet salad dressing that I've been enjoying for a weeks now. I hope you do, too...

Cleo Coyle's
Maple Vinaigrette

Maple can offer a smoky-sweet note to many dishes. In this salad dressing, it serves as a sultry substitute for honey.

For a free PDF of this recipe, along with a bonus recipe for my Leftover Champagne Vinaigrette, click here.

Servings: This recipe makes about ¼ cup of dressing, enough to dress 4 small salads or 2 large ones


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons maple syrup
4 teaspoons lemon juice*

Sea salt and ground pepper (to your taste)

*Yes, there is no vinegar in my maple vinaigrette, but I really do prefer the flavor of the lemon juice in this dressing.

Directions: First, please note that I'm using both Tablespoons and teaspoons in this recipe, so be sure not to confuse those measurements. Using a fork, whisk up the olive oil, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Pour over fresh greens and toss. Add sea salt and ground pepper to your taste. (See below for my favorite salad using this dressing.)

Cleo's Spinach Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Servings: This recipe makes 4 small salads or 2 large ones


9 - 10 ounces (about 12 cups) fresh, raw spinach (see my note)*
¼ cup maple vinaigrette (see recipe above)
2 - 3 slices bacon (I use thick-cut) cooked crispy and chopped
1 hard boil egg, chopped

*I often use the "triple-washed" packages for convenience. Fresh, bunched spinach is delicious, but be sure to wash at least three times to remove all grit.

Directions: Toss spinach leaves with vinaigrette. Garnish with bacon bits and chopped eggs, and...

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To get more of my recipes, win free coffee,
or find out more about my books, visit me
 at my *virtual* coffeehouse:

Click on the book covers above
to learn more about Cleo's culinary mysteries.


A final, quick note for our mystery reading fans.
The latest Mystery Readers Journal with the theme Hobbies, Crafts, and Special Interests is now available.

The issue, edited by Mystery Fanfare's Janet Rudolph, includes many mystery authors who have guest posted for us over the past year. You can check out the contents by clicking here, which will also give you info on how to purchase a copy (hard or electronic) for yourself.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Welcome Guest Blogger--Patricia Stoltey

The Desert Hedge MurdersPatricia is the author of the August release, The Desert Hedge Murders, the second book in the Sylvia and Willie mystery series. She loves to look at the pictures in her new favorite cookbook, the Junior League of Denver's colorado classique: A Collection of Fresh Recipes from the Rockies. Visit her blog at

When Riley Adams invited me into the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen,Patricia Stoltey my first reaction was to laugh. My goal is to throw a meal together in about thirty minutes and clean up in ten. Occasionally I cook from a recipe, although to me a recipe is a lot like the scene outline I use to write novels—it serves as a guide, but it won’t hold me back if I come up with a better idea along the way.

I was raised on a farm where the mid-day meal during the growing season was intended to feed a room full of field hands. A common meal included a big platter of fried chicken, a ton of mashed potatoes, white gravy, and vegetables out of the garden. Many years later, when I spent two years in the South of France, my taste buds went through culture shock. I adapted quickly, however, and brought home a few new habits. For instance, I use a lot of extra virgin olive oil and Herbes de Provence.

Food_Blog4Oct2009_AcornSquash Here are my guidelines for down home French cooking Colorado style:

1. Keep it simple.

2. Keep it colorful.

3. Use as many locally grown products as possible (but go aheadFood_Blog4Oct2009_NorwegianSalmon and choose Norwegian salmon and French wine from time to time).

4. Avoid packaged products with a long list of strange ingredients.

5. Change recipes to suit your tastes and use whatever you have on hand.

6. Be creative.

I make up a lot of recipes just for fun. Sometimes they turn out well, sometimes not so much. I still blush to think of the frozen peach yogurt pie I served company last year. It was so solid that when one of my guests pushed her fork into the slice, most of the piece sailed off her plate and onto the floor.

On the other hand, here’s an interesting side salad I developed that tastes great (and I think it’s much better than the traditional three-bean salad).

Food_Blog4Oct2009_Meal Bean Salad: Prepare about two cups of frozen shelled edamame according to directions on the package. Rinse and drain one can of garbanzo beans and one can of dark red or kidney beans. Toss the edamame, garbanzo beans and kidney beans in a bowl with homemade vinaigrette dressing. Chill for a couple of hours before serving, stirring the salad occasionally to mix well.

Homemade vinaigrette: In a container with a lid (so you can shake the dressing before serving), mix 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon sugar. You may, of course, vary the amounts of mustard, herbs and sugar according to taste. And if you don’t care for the stronger flavor of olive oil, substitute canola oil.

Thanks a bunch for inviting me to visit the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. It’s been fun.