Sunday, July 13, 2008

Spicy Maple Glazed Quail

Friday's Recipes (6/27/08)
POSTED: 7:56 pm CDT June 26, 2008
WSMV Nashville, TN (NBC)

Spicy Maple Glazed Quail with Peaches and Cream Corn and Alan Benton's Bacon

4 semi-boneless quail
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz Benton's bacon (or your favorite)
2 Ears Peaches and Cream corn
1 Jalapeño seeded and minced
2 oz chicken broth
1 oz maple syrup
2 Tablespoons Chives
Slice the bacon 1/4" thick then slice it into 1/4" strips.Place on a baking sheet and into a 275º oven until crispyHeat a 9" sauté pan over medium -high heat, add 2 Tablespoons butter.Season the quail with salt and pepper and put them in the hot pan breast side down and cook until well browned. Flip and into 350 degrees oven for four minutes.

Remove the quail from the pan. Add the corn and sauté over medium high for three to four minutes. Add the jalapeños, maple syrup and bacon and sauté one more minute.Add the stock and reduce by 3/4. Over very low heat slowly swirl in the butter constantly whisking. Add chives, salt and pepper

Pour over quail and serve immediately.

US Maple Syrup Production

• Total

1.64 million gallons, up 30 percent from 2007• TapsEstimated at 7.46 million, up 2 percent from 2007 total of 7.29 million

• Tap yield

Average yield for each tap — 0.219 gallons, up 27 percent from 2007

• Top states 1. Vermont - 500,000 gallons, an 11 percent increase from 2007 2. New York - 322,000, an increase of 44 percent 3. Maine - 215,000 gallons, 4 percent below 20074. Wisconsin - 130,000 gallons, a 45 percent increase 5. Ohio - 118,000 gallons, up 57 percent and highest production on record since 1959 6. Michigan - 100,000 gallons, up 67 percent and highest production since 19647. Pennsylvania - 95,000 gallons, 86 percent above 2007 8. New Hampshire - 85,000 gallons, an increase of 12 percent 9. Massachusetts - 55,000 gallons, up 83 percent, the highest production since 1944. 10. Connecticut - 15,000 gallons, the highest on record since tracking started in 1992.

• Conn. reaction
A sampling of comments from Connecticut maple sugarers — who had their best season:"We ran out of wood, jugs and ambition, so we pulled out taps." "In 35 years, 2008 was the best season ever!""It was a great year. We had too much sap.""We would have made more, but we ran out of wood.""Sap ran like crazy. Buckets were full every night."
"We had a hard time keeping up.""It was a short, intense and productive season."

• Maine reaction
A sampling of comments from Maine maple sugarers — who had the poorest season:"It was horrible. Worst season I ever had. Too much snow, too cold.""Once the weather became just right, the season zipped along and was over. It was the worst season ever.""It started out too cold and then was too warm. The weather did not cooperate.""Temperatures went from 30 to 60 in a week and a half. It was a disaster."

• Maple facts The sugar maple and black maple are the most common trees tapped. Trees must be 30 to 40 years old and more than 10 inches in diameter. A tree can give as much as a gallon of sap per tap each day. It typically takes 30 to 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. The perfect weather for sap flow is above freezing during the day and below freezing at night.

For State Maple Sugarers, 2008 Season Was, Oh, So Sweet

For State Maple Sugarers, 2008 Season Was, Oh, So Sweet
Peter Marteka Nature's Path
June 20, 2008

Hartford Courant

Robert Lamothe had serious doubts about the sap business going into the 2008 maple-sugaring season.So serious that he considered pulling his 4,500 taps out of maple trees in Burlington, Harwinton and New Hartford. Lamothe ultimately decided not to pull the taps, and he, along with other maple sugarers, helped Connecticut to one of its best maple-sugaring seasons on record."The year before was one of the worst," said Lamothe, whose family runs Lamothe's Sugar House in Burlington. "With utility and fuel costs going the way they were going, if there were two difficult seasons in a row? Forget about it. And, man, what a year we had. You couldn't ask for a more textbook sugaring season."

According to the New England Agricultural Statistics of Concord, N.H., Connecticut produced 15,000 gallons of maple syrup, the highest production since tracking started in 1992. The 2008 season began Jan. 6 and ended April 28. Last year, the state produced 8,000 gallons of syrup; nationwide, more than 1.64 million gallons were produced.

Richard Norman, who runs Norman's Sugarhouse in Woodstock, said that with 1,000 taps spread throughout town, this year nearly matched 1987-88 in terms of production. Norman said the best sap-flowing weather is when temperatures go below freezing at night with the next day sunny with temperatures in the 40s."It was quite a bit above average," Norman said of his season. "We are a little cooler here and some go out earlier than we do. We caught up quickly when we got out there. The sap was much sweeter. ... I don't like saying there's a bad year. There's never a bad year. The sap always flows.

"The only New England state that saw its production slip was Maine, which dropped from 225,000 gallons in 2007 to 215,000 gallons in 2008. As usual, the No. 1 syrup producing state was Vermont with 500,000 gallons, an increase of 11 percent and 31 percent of the nation's output.

For those used to that fake stuff — Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth's — on top of their pancakes or waffles, here's a quick lesson in maple syrupology. The sap of maple trees is as clear as water and is slightly sweet. The trees produce starch, which is stored in their roots.When temperatures begin to warm as winter changes to spring, the starch turns to sugar and circulates through the tree. Taps or spouts are drilled into the tree to release the sap, so that it flows into buckets or tubing strung between trees. The sap is boiled creating the syrup. After boiling 30-40 gallons of sap, a gallon of syrup is created. By the way, Connecticut has approximately 62,000 taps. Vermont? 2.25 million.The statistics collected also include the sugar content of the sap. The higher the sugar content the easier it is to create the sap. On average, about 39 gallons of sap were required to produce one gallon of syrup in the 2008 season. In 2007 it took 45 gallons.

Although it was a great season, maple sugarers struggled with increases in production costs. Lamothe said the price of plastic containers in which the syrup is sold went up 25 percent, utilities and costs to fire an evaporator with oil both doubled. He added the diesel fuel to operate a truck to collect sap daily was "also a killer." In 2007, the average price per gallon in Connecticut was $53.90 — the highest in the nation.

"We have loyal customers, so it's hard to pass on price increases," he said. "But you have to decide to go up or get out. Everything has gone up and the overall economy is going to have an impact."

In the report, maple sugar harvesters are asked for their comments on the recent season. And a sugarer from Fairfield County probably summed up the 2008 maple sugaring season for everyone.

"Best season in recent memory," the sugarer wrote. "The sap flowed from start to finish. We ran out of wood, jugs and ambition, so we pulled out taps."

Column ideas and suggestions are welcome. Peter Marteka can be reached by phone at 860-647-5362; by mail at The Courant, 200 Adams St., Manchester, CT 06040; and by e-mail at

Pork Tenderloin and Maple Syrup

Pork tenderloin and maple syrup: A love storyJuly 1, 2008
By Louise Duhamel Fine Dining Chef Instructor, New England Culinary Institute
The Barre Montpelier Times Argus

Original story at:

Sometimes I feel as if I have fallen into a maple syrup cauldron, the way the Obelix character in "Astérix and Obelix" cartoon series falls into the magical potion. I love that sweet stuff and I always seem to want more. Born in Quebec, on the south shore of Montreal, I was raised by parents who came from families living on farms. Most of them still live along the Richelieu River where the best maple syrup farms are. Yes, I maintain what I am saying; no offense to Vermonters. I am not impartial in this matter, and I like to keep it this way. Though I will say, Vermont syrup is not bad at all.

I remember the fun we had as kids, at my father's cousin's sugar house, following the adults picking up the maple water, eating scrambled eggs poached in maple syrup, tasting my grandpa's "réduit," to which he always added a bit of brandy. It was always a great family reunion, especially on Easter Sunday, when chocolate and maple syrup were our high sugar diet of the day! When I graduated from Université du Québec with a degree in communications, I was lucky to find myself promoting lots of great artisan products made in Quebec: maple syrup, apple butter, maple toffee, maple liquor. I loved telling people how good maple syrup was on pancakes, waffles, French toast, and bread pudding; how it gave just the right sweetness to grapefruit or a strawberry salad with fresh ground pepper. One of my favorite uses then was grated maple sugar on a thick slice of homemade bread, served with heavy cream.

Later when I became a professional cook, I started to explore the use of maple syrup in savory cooking, and found another dimension to it. Of course, my mother used to serve it over ham … with pineapple! I developed my own recipes, a series of delicious dishes such as crispy quail salad with a warm maple and mint vinaigrette; a seared salmon with maple soy glaze; duck breast with ginger, coriander and maple gastrique; potato wrapped scallops with maple tomato "ketchup;" maple glazed carrots with venison.My love story with maple syrup continues with this recipe for pork tenderloin with maple, sherry, raisin and pine nut sauce, for four people. I hope you enjoy this dish.

Equipment:1 medium size sauté pan that can go into oven1 slicing knife1 cutting board1 serving spoon1 whisk1 quart heavy-bottomed stainless-steel pot that does not react to acid foodOven at 350F

Ingredients:24 ounces pork tenderlointo taste salt and pepper as needed;vegetable oil1/2 cup Vermont maple syrup1/2 cup sherry vinegar2 quarts veal stock (available in specialty food stores or make your own)3 tablespoons golden raisins3 tablespoons currants3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (pignolia)juice 1/2 lemon1/2 teaspoon lemon zest3 tablespoons butter from Vermont Butter and Cheese Company

Gastrique is a thick sauce produced by caramelizing sugar (in this case maple syrup) and reducing vinegar (sherry vinegar). Often gastrique will be fruity (golden raisins and currants). Reduction is the process of thickening a liquid (gastrique plus veal stock) by evaporation. As simple as this recipe is, there are a few steps that need attention. Slow cooking the sauce is a must; otherwise the amount of sugar in this sauce will develop into bitter flavor. So be patient because sauce will take some time to make; this is why you want to start making the sauce before cooking the pork.

Pour the maple syrup and the sherry vinegar into the sauce quart pot. Heat over medium heat. Reduce gastrique until evaporated by half. You should see lots of bubbles developing on the surface of the reduction. Add veal stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer the sauce until it is "nappé," which means that the sauce should coat the back of a wooden spoon.Add raisins, currants, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk in the butter (at NECI we would say "monté" with butter, because the richness of the butter will expand the sauce and give it a nice mouth feel). Add freshly ground pepper to taste. Notice that I am not adding any salt. Salt would bring down both the sweet and the acid taste, which are needed for a good balanced flavor.Keep the sauce on very low heat or over a double boiler to keep it warm until needed.Meanwhile pork should be cooking. Season the pork tenderloin well with salt and pepper. Sear on all sides in a hot sauté pan. Finish cooking your pork in the oven at 350F for about 25 minutes for medium (rosé or "à point" for me). Pull pork from oven, cover with foil, and let rest on a rack for 10 minutes. Resting meat prevents juices from leaking out of the meat and makes it tender.After it has rested, slice the pork tenderloin and fan it evenly on to 4 warm plates. (I always serve hot food on warm plates; it keeps your food at temperature for longer time). Pour 2 tablespoons of sauce over the sliced pork (or much if you like it so much!)

I like to serve this dish with roasted vegetables. Since you need your oven turned on anyway, you might as well take advantage of it. I usually choose what is in season, although I do have a preference for baby carrots, turnips, beets, celery root, and fingerling potatoes. Green or red braised cabbage would be also delicious. If you prefer more texture on the plate, julienne (cut into fine strips) the cabbage and simply stir fry it Chinese style. I would then add a little bit of ginger to the maple sherry sauce. You could also try to substitute many other fruits, both fresh and dried, for the raisins: dried cranberry, cherry, blueberry, apple, peaches, pear, pineapple, melon, banana, mango, papaya, cantaloupe … alleluia!