Maple Baked Beans

Before summer’s end, I’ve been loving all the baked beans I can find.  Perhaps it’s because there has been a new barbecue restaurant that opened up in my town, or because I attended a picnic a few weeks ago where the cook made delicious burnt ends and beans, but I was excited to try making my own from scratch.  I found a recipe that looked great in the Mile End CookbookMile End Cookbook, and except for the fact that I used regular bacon, I followed the recipe and loved it.  And, the flavor definitely deepened the next day.  If I need to make beans for another occasion, I’ll go back to this recipe without a doubt.

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Maple Baked Beans

1 1/2 c diced lamb bacon
3 c diced onion
1 lb white navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
5 c chicken stock
2 tsp kosher salt
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 fresh bay leaf
1 c maple syrup
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a heavy ovenproof pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it just starts to brown.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s translucent.  Then add the beans, chicken stock, salt, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.

Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.  Bake until the beans are soft but not breaking apart, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Add the maple syrup and season with salt and pepper to taste; stir.  Let the beans sit for at least 30 minutes — or even better, in the refrigerator overnight — before serving.  The beans will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.


Rosemary-Maple Cashews

I have started doing a lot of snacking on nuts.  They are a great and filling snack, but I get a little tired of the regular nuts, and so when I have a moment to create something better or come across a recipe that looks particularly fascinating, I am trying it.  This recipe came about as I was looking through an old Food and Wine magazine.  It took me a couple times to make it because the first time I burned the cashews.  These are mildly sweet and the rosemary wasn’t overwhelming on the cashews.  The cayenne added a little kick, too.

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Rosemary Maple Cashews

4 c raw cashews
2 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 1/4 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss the cashews with the maple syrup, olive oil, rosemary, and cayenne pepper.  Spread the cashews on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned.  Immediately season the cashews with salt and pepper; let cool, tossing occasionally.

Maple Mustard Pecans

I was bringing some snacks into work for one of the departmenst that met a goal they’d been working on.  I knew that at least one of the individuals in the department didn’t eat carbs and ate a mostly paleo diet, so when I saw this recipe, I knew it was a great opportunity to make these pecans and make sure that this person also had a snack they could enjoy.  I found this in the Catholic Daughters Cookbook.

Maple Mustard Pecans

Maple Mustard Pecans

2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/8 c maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 1/2 c pecans

Mix together all ingredients except pecans.  Stir in pecans to coat evenly.  Spread on a lightly-buttered baking sheet.  Bake approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring often.  Cool and break apart.

Bacon Maple Sprouts

Have you seen Alton Brown’s new cookbook?  I’ve been a fan of Alton’s for a long time.  I enjoyed his show Good Eats on the Food Network and continue to enjoy his work.  I also really enjoyed the Alton Browncast Podcast when he was making that.  It was a delightful listen in on things he enjoys.  I really like hearing about the science behind food preparation, and Alton does a great job of explaining that.  As I was putting together my menu for Thanksgiving, I knew I wanted to put brussels sprouts on the menu and as I was dabbling through his cookbook, this seemed like an excellent pick.  So, from Alton Brown: Everyday CookI bring you bacon maple sprouts.

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Bacon Maple Sprouts

4 rashers bacon
1 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts
1 large apple, chopped
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the bacon on a half sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes, flipping once, until crisp.  Remove the pan from the oven and the bacon from the pan.  While the bacon is making the kitchen smell awesome, trim and split the sprouts.

Toss the sprouts and apples with the bacon fat and spread in an even layer on a half sheet pan, placing as many sprouts cut-side down as possible.

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sprouts are browned and tender.  Crumble the bacon while the sprouts roast.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mustard and syrup.  When the sprouts and apples are brown, put them back in the bowl you seasoned them in and toss with the maple mustard and bacon.

Red Cabbage Glazed with Maple Syrup

Doesn’t December sometimes feel like a never-ending dessert buffet?  Scratch that.  For me, it’s felt that way since Halloween.  I think I’ve made more cookies, bread puddings, desserts, bars, and other sweet treats in the last two months than I have for years.  Now it’s time to  have some more vegetables inserted into the diet and I thought I should move to a different vegetable in the cabbage family than Brussels sprouts.  The Essential New York Times Cookbook provided a recipe for cabbage that looked worth throwing together.  And, since there is some maple syrup in it, it’s just sweet enough to help ease off the holidays and into the new year.

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Red Cabbage Glazed with Maple Syrup

5 slices bacon, minced
1 onion, minced
1 medium firm, tart apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 lb red cabbage (about 1/2 head), cored, outer leaves removed, remainder shredded
1 bay leaf
1/2 c maple syrup
salt and ground pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  In an ovenproof saucepan or casserole large enough to hold all the ingredients, saute the bacon until crisp.  Add the onion and saute until translucent.

Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Cranberry Wild Rice Muffins

I once read that to enter something into the Pillsbury Bake-Off, at least 4 ingredients need to be changed within a recipe.  I have no plans to enter this recipe into the Bake-Off, but I would match those qualifications for the adjustments I’ve made to the Blueberry Wild Rice Muffin recipe I made about a year ago.

After making a bunch of wild rice and going through a few recipes, I had some leftover rice and decided that these muffins would be a good use of the rice.  I didn’t want to go get blueberries, though, since I had cranberries on-hand.  I remembered these not being especially sweet muffins, and wanted to make some other adjustments to enhance the flavor and complement the cranberries, so the adjusted recipe is below.

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Maple Nut Bars

Fall always has me looking for comfort food, and new takes on comfort food.  As a result, I’ve spent the last few weeks looking through church cookbooks, midwestern cookbooks, and other spaces to find the foods that are going to serve as comforting foods.  I was looking through Savoring the Seasons when I saw that I had flagged this recipe for Maple Nut Bars some time ago, but had not yet made the recipe.  No time like the present, so one weekend morning I found myself throwing together the recipe.

The recipe calls for black walnuts.  I know a lot of people in my family who adore black walnuts, but I’m not one of them.  And, the cookbook acknowledges that black walnuts aren’t for everyone, “If the distinctive flavor of black walnuts is too strong for you or the nuts are not readily available, substitute pecans, almonds, or walnuts.”  My modification used chopped walnuts.

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