Try this maple balsamic elixir on beautiful Ontario farm-fresh fruits and vegetables.
It is easy to make, and the taste sensations are a party in your mouth! Balanced with whole grains, dark leafy greens and local cheese, it’s a flavourful way to gain healthy nutrients.
Farmers and producers rely on a complex balance of nature, nurture and infinite patience to make good things happen for cooks in the kitchen. Natureʼs rhythm is lost on us all too often. In turn, we can lack an awareness of the farmers and producers who toil over their quality products very close to our homes.
For indoor-living, time-crunched individuals, sourcing the fruits of the Ontario specialty farmers’ labours can make us heroes in the kitchen! Why? Because the alive, just-growing-hours-ago flavours are incomparable to anything transported from far away.
Cooking with local foods often means you need only a simple recipe. Nothing compares—it is pure happiness, and so fulfilling to engage with caring producers, support local sustainable living and nourish all your senses!
Case in point: Spend a little time researching the production of pure Canadian maple syrup and balsamic vinegar from Italy. You will see that these two are true elixirs that can cure all ills! Combine maple syrup and balsamic vinegar to double down on antioxidants, and even more fantastic things can happen! Both ingredients are priced according to their quality—do not let that price deter you, as a little goes a very long way, flavour-wise. In fact, taste test just ¼ teaspoon of each ingredient, and you’ll see it’s a true sensory experience.
Maple Balsamic Elixir
- Mix equal parts condiment-grade balsamic vinegar and pure Ontario maple syrup in a pot. (Try ¼ cup of each, but feel free to double or triple that as the elixir keeps for weeks in the fridge.)
- Place the maple-balsamic combination on the stove and simmer on low-medium heat for around five to 15 minutes (based on the volume in your pot). Keep a light simmer without stirring until the mixture changes from thin to syrupy (like liquid honey). You can test that the maple balsamic elixir is syrupy enough by seeing if it has enough body to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Watch this video demonstration.
- Be careful to watch the pot—boiling sugars can burn really fast and be hot! Kids, please have an adult present.
- As soon as it is syrupy enough, immediately remove the elixir from the heat. Cooking it too long might make it harden like candy.
Tree House Tips
- Local producers did the work for you. Now, you can mix it up and make it your own! Try any combination of raw slices of peaches, figs, strawberries, apples, carrots, tomatoes, beets, cauliflower or sweet peppers. Or try grilled slices of zucchini, potatoes, peppers, squash or beets.
- Add big handfuls of fresh, whole, sweet basil leaves, arugula leaves or baby greens.
- Add some fresh or toasted whole grain, artisan bread and, for the adults, a glass of wine with a bit of residual sweetness and a balanced acidity (try a German Riesling Kabinett). You will think you have died and gone to heaven. But you’ll actually be alive and chock full of healthy polyphenols and minerals!
- All the fruit and vegetables pictured above are raw: sliced peaches, carrots, beets and yellow, red and green tomatoes. Sweet basil and arugula circle the platter.
- Slip in rounds of fresh Ontario mozzarella or bocconcini cheeses (buffalo or cow’s milk variety) or any of your favourite cheeses for a Canadian version of an Italian Caprese salad.
- This maple balsamic elixir is the new fast food! Drizzle it over a platter displaying an artful combination of local farmers’ summer-fresh, sliced fruit, vegetables and greens. Or drizzle it on any sandwich, pizza or salad.
- It keeps for weeks in the fridge if covered and can be served cold or rewarmed gently in the microwave or on the stove.
A very special thank you to farmers Chris Krucker and Denise Trigatti of Manorun Farm!
Thanks also go to the Nenniger family for their award-winning maple syrup, Picone Fine Food for their sourcing of fine and condiment-grade balsamic vinegar, de la terre bakery for amazing bread and Mickey McGuire’s Cheese for sourcing quality Bella Casara buffalo milk mozzarella and bocconcini cheeses.
© Tree House Kitchen. Triple tested.