fig. a: p'tit livre
It may be a little late for sugaring-off (after all, Canada Day is already upon us), but Anne Fortin's Cuisiner avec le Sirop D'Érable du Québec is hot off the presses.
It's a handsome book--well photographed and well designed--and recipes cover everything from sides & mains, to desserts & drinks. You get all kinds of down-home classics, like Baked Beans, Maple-Glazed Ham, and Pouding Chômeur, but Fortin has wisely decided to augment her own recipes, and the ones she's collected from friends, with recipes from a number of talented local chefs and food personalities. So not only do you get a recipe for Chicken with Spices and Maple Syrup from Tapeo's Marie-Fleur St-Pierre, but you also get a recipe for Crispy Sweetbreads with Maple and Absinthe Sweet & Sour Sauce from Ethné and Philippe de Vienne of Épices de Cru/Olives et Épices/La Dépense. Ever wondered how the good folks at Havre aux Glaces make their fantastic Maple Caramel Brûlé Ice Cream? That recipe is in here too.
And if all that wasn't enough, you get two recipes from Michelle (!). One for her positively sinful maple-caramel tartinade, and the other for her invigorating Gin Tonic.
fig. b: gros gin
The idea here was to humorously riff on both the legendary tonic properties of maple water and those New-Agey maple-lemon-cayenne pepper cleanses that people insist on inflicting on themselves, while simultaneously concocting a cocktail (a reasonably strong one) that's crisp and undeniably refreshing.
Michelle created her Gin Tonic as a spring cocktail that would complement Sugaring-Off Season and help with the transition from winter to summer. It also makes for a pretty fine summer cocktail, one that would be perfect for a Canada Day apéro, for instance.
1 1/2 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz medium grade Quebec maple syrup*
seltzer water or club soda
2 small pinches espelette pepper
slice of lemon
Mix first three ingredients in a highball glass. Add ice cubes and tonic water to taste. Stir in espelette pepper. Garnish with a slice of lemon. Serve.
Anne Fortin's Cuisiner avec le Sirop D'Érable du Québec is available in French and English (as Cooking with Québec Maple Syrup) at fine bookstores and online book retailers everywhere. It's co-published by Jean-Talon Market's Librairie Gourmande, so if you're visiting the market, stop in and give it a gander.
* Any high-quality maple syrup will do, of course, but Quebec's is pretty choice.