Goat Cheese with Pistachios and Figs in Balsamic-Maple Syrup

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Spring means fresh maple syrup is on tap …. wonderful paired with figs and goat cheese!  Photo by White Point Imaging

A sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres reminiscent of Tuscany.  The balsamic-maple reduction makes this dish special.  Place a jar of syrup on the side for extra dipping and drizzling.  Serve with fresh figs if desired.

10 ounce log of goat cheese
1 cup pistachios, finely chopped plus whole nuts
1 cup dried figs, halved
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup

Macerate figs in balsamic vinegar for 1 hour or more. Meanwhile, roll goat cheese log in chopped pistachios. Wrap and refrigerate.

Place maple syrup and vinegar in a small sauce pan. Stir and add figs. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove figs and continue simmering until 1/4th of liquid is reduced, approx. 15 – 20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate for 1 hour. Note: Be careful not to overcook or balsamic-maple syrup will thicken to taffy like consistency when cooled.

Sprinkle whole pistachios on the plate and serve goat cheese log with figs and drizzled syrup.

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Roasted Chicken with Maple-Chipotle Glaze and Rosemary

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Maple sweetness is a winning combination with spicy chipotle, garlic and rosemary. Photo by White Point Imaging.

Roasted Chicken
1 organic chicken, 1.2 to 2 lbs
1 lemon, sliced in wedges
1 bunch mixed herbs (parsley and rosemary)
5-6 garlic cloves, slivered
water or chicken broth
sea salt and pepper to taste

Maple Chipotle Glaze
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary, plus more for gravy
1 -2 Tablespoon Chipotle Oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the chicken and rub olive oil, salt and pepper on the outside skin and inside the cavity. Stuff the cavity with 2 slivered garlic cloves, herbs and lemon. Tie the legs with chicken string.

Place chicken on a roasting rack inside a heavy roasting pan. Add water or chicken broth 1/2 inch up the pan. Add garlic slivers to the broth. Tent chicken with tin foil and roast for 25 minutes. Baste chicken and lower heat to 350 degrees. Continue basting chicken every 20 minutes with broth and drippings for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on the size of the bird.

Meanwhile, mix glaze ingredients together, adding oil last until thoroughly incorporated.  Thirty minutes before the chicken is done, remove foil tent and brush on half of the glaze. Roast for 15 more minutes. Brush on remaining glaze and roast until 185 degrees registers on a meat thermometer and chicken is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit 15 minutes before carving.

For a simple gravy, first degrease the pan drippings. Add tapioca starch or cornstarch paste (mix 3 Tablespoons water to 1 Tablespoon starch) to the pan and heat while whisking to thicken the juices into a gravy. Add more rosemary and maple syrup if desired. Briskly whisk in more paste if thicker gravy is desired. Salt and pepper to taste.

Chocolate Chunk Maple Almond Teff Cookies

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You’ll want to eat every crumb! Photo by White Point Imaging.

These lightly sweetened cookies laced with maple syrup are made with teff flour, a naturally gluten-free artisan grain.

Inspired by Shiloh Farms’ peanut butter cookie recipe, I made my own dark chocolate chunk version substituting almond butter and adding almond flour for a yummy tea-like cookie-biscuit.

1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 ounces grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups teff flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse wet ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly mixed. Place in a bowl and mix in dry ingredients. Form dough into balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Lightly flatten dough with a spatula to cookie size and bake for 12-15 minutes. Cookies are crumbly when hot. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes approximately 2 dozen.