This year, there isn't a drop of snow left on it (knock on wood).
Thankfully, there was some snow left on the ground, a couple of weekends ago, when we went skiing. The lake is melting...
Another sign that Spring is on its way is the beginning of maple syrup season. Syrup producers are making up for lost time. Last year, with the insane amount of snow we got, syrup production was really slow. But this year, conditions are much better with overnight freezes but mild temperatures during the day.
We decided to go to a small sugar shack operation.
Often, sugar shacks include a full artery-plugging selection. Like this one I went to last year. This time, it was just a pancake breakfast.
I was fine with that. But, I must admit to being somewhat underwhelmed by the flat-looking pancakes. The pancakes at Giz's sugarshack looked more natural and fluffy.
But the syrup was delightful. Unfortunately, with reduced syrup production in previous years, the price of syrup is up about 40%. It'll take a couple more years to replenish the stock. Who knows if prices will every return to their lower amount. I paid $6 for 500 ml a couple of years ago. Now, it's about $6 for 250 ml (depending on the type of bottle you're buying, glass vs plastic jug).
For as far as the eye can see, there are maple trees with metal syrup-collecting buckets attached. This syrup is then reduced, for a much higher concentration of sugar.
It's always a nice touch at the end of meal, when you get your hardened syrup on a stick. Here's a volunteer from the sugarshack rolling it.
Continuing with the maple syrup theme, I decided to make a recipe I saw on Cathy from Noble Pig's site and, subsequently, on Kevin from Closet Kitchen's site.
Maple and Mustard Glazed Chicken
(makes 2 servings)
2 chicken breasts (pounded flat)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 cup bread crumbs (I used a mixture of regular bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon thyme (chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Dredge the chicken in the flour.
3. Dip the chicken into the egg.
4. Dredge the chicken in the bread crumbs.
5. Heat the oil in a pan
6. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
7. Mix the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, whole grained mustard, brown sugar and thyme in a bowl.
8. Place the chicken in a baking pan and brush the maple mustard mixture onto it heavily.
9. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 10 minutes.
The chicken was delicious. If you ask me, the marinade would suffice for 3-4 chicken breasts.
Check out Kevin's post all about recipes that include maple syrup. Also, don't forget to visit Giz's earlier post on her experience at a sugar shack.