POUR AND SIMPLE
Real maple syrup is essentially boiled sap graded for color and intensity of flavor; the rule is that the darker the grade, the bolder the flavor, and a bottle of the good stuff can run between $7 and $20. It can last up to a year in the fridge, though, and can be so much more than a pancake and waffle topping. It goes in everything from salads and glazes to cocktails -- even sport drinks.
STRAWBERRY FOCACCIA WITH MAPLE-BALSAMIC ONIONS
Give flavor to white, tasteless strawberries by using them atop a robust bread with onions sautéed in Grade A very dark maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. When baked, the strawberry flavor intensifies, while the syrup and vinegar add a balancing tartness terrific when paired with goat cheese. This recipe gives instructions to make focaccia from scratch, but you can cheat with a store-bought loaf.
RAINBOW CHARD WITH MAPLE-VINEGAR DRIZZLE
Swiss chard can be limp and heavy when just tossed in a pan. Toasted cashews and raisins (for texture) and sherry vinegar and maple syrup (for extra zing) give delightful complexity to these winter greens. Try a Grade A very dark syrup for even more intense flavor.
MAPLE ROAST PORK
Maple syrup and pork blend perfectly for cooler-weather meals. The tenderloin gets a punched-up glaze of maple syrup combined with cider vinegar and whole-grain mustard. Save half to pour over the pork as it's served with apples and sweet potatoes.
PORK CHOPS OR CHICKEN WITH MAPLE BARBECUE SAUCE
MAPLE CARDAMOM GLAZED SALMON
TROUT WITH MAPLE-SAGE BUTTER
Pan-fried, corn-meal coated trout gets a flavor boost with a dollop of maple-sage butter from syrup maker Robb Turner. Chop sage leaves finely to combine with two tablespoons of butter and four teaspoons of dark syrup.
Recipe: The Crown Maple Guide to Maple Syrup
SWEET AND CREAMY MAPLE TAHINI FRUIT DIP
Tahini, made from ground sesame seeds, is a protein, mineral, and fiber powerhouse. There are even some beauty-enhancing claims for hair and skin in suggesting this mix of orange juice, lemon juice, and maple syrup as a dip for apples, bananas, kiwi, or other fruit.
Recipe: Feeding Your Beauty
MAPLE MUSTARD BUTTERMILK-CRUSTED CHICKEN TENDERS
Satisfy a chicken fingers craving by whisking together buttermilk, maple syrup, mustard, and garlic and pouring over chicken tenders, allowing them to marinate before coating with breadcrumbs and oven-baking.
Recipe: How Sweet It Is
MAPLE SPORTS DRINK
This natural sweetener can add flavor to beverages too -- try swapping out sugar with maple syrup for a new twist on an Old-Fashioned -- though very light or light syrups are best. A DIY sports drink combines orange juice, lime juice, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt with cold water for a post-workout refresher.
Recipe: Pure Canada Maple
TRIPLE BERRY FRENCH TOAST
BREAKFAST QUINOA WITH ALMOND MILK
Swap the oatmeal for quinoa -- nothing packs a protein punch like this gluten-free grain, and it absorbs syrup and almond milk perfectly. use any toppings you choose, but slivered coconut, almonds, and berries add a flavorful crunch.
MOCK MAPLE SYRUP
If you discover the last drop of syrup has been drained from the jug, make a facsimile in a pinch by bringing equal parts water, white sugar, and brown sugar to a boil and stirring in some maple-flavored extract. (More brown sugar means a thicker syrup.)