Try 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/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, and in turn, living largely indoors, we can lack an awareness of the farmers and producers that 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 – these two are true elixirs that can cure all ills! In the antioxidant loverʼs version of a double down, combine maple syrup and balsamic vinegar 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.
Maple Balsamic Elixir Recipe:
- First, taste test a 1/4 teaspoon of each ingredient – balsamic vinegar and pure maple syrup – separately; it is a true sensorial experience.
- Then mix equal parts condiment-grade balsamic vinegar and pure Ontario maple syrup in a pot. (Try 1/4 cup of each but feel free to go ahead and double or triple that as 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 until it gets syrupy (based on how much volume you add to your pot). Have a light simmer going without stirring until the mixture changes from thin to a liquid honey, syrupy consistency. 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, take the elixir off the heat immediately. Cooking it too long might result in it hardening like candy.
- Pictured above: Use this maple balsamic elixir warm or cold to drizzle over a platter displaying an artful combination of local farmer’s summer-fresh slices of fruit, vegetables and greens. This drizzle is the new fast food! It keeps for weeks in the fridge if covered, and can be served cold or rewarmed gently in the microwave or on the stove for drizzling. Other suggested maple balsamic elixir menu options include drizzling on any sandwich, pizza or salad.
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, sweet peppers and/or grilled slices of zucchini, potatoes, peppers, squash or beets for drizzling. Add big handfuls of fresh, whole sweet basil leaves and/or fresh arugula leaves or baby greens. Pictured above, all the fruit and vegetables are raw: sliced peaches; yellow, red, and green tomatoes; carrots; beets; sweet basil and arugula circle the platter. Slip in rounds of fresh Ontario mozzarella or bocconcini cheeses (either buffalo or cow’s milk variety, or any of your favourite cheeses) and you have your Canadian version of an Italian Caprese Salad. Add some fresh or toasted whole grain artisan bread, and a glass of wine for the adults (try a German Riesling Kabinett) with a bit of residual sweetness and a balanced acidity and you will think you have died and gone to heaven – but you’ll actually be alive and chock full of healthy polyphenols and minerals!
A very special thank you to farmers Chris Krucker and Denise Trigatti of Manorun Farm!
Thanks also goes to: the Nenniger family for their award-winning maple syrup; Picone Fine Food for their sourcing of fine and condiment-grade balsamic vinegars; and amazing bread from de la terre bakery; Mickey McGuires Cheese for sourcing Bella Casara quality buffalo milk mozzarella and bocconcini cheeses.