The Year of Maple Syrup

Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears

2014 was the year that failure was recognized as an attribute towards the journey of success. That’s if the lesson was learned from the act of failure. This recipe was a difficult dish to develop. It was perfect the first time. The second attempt was too sweet. The third try lacked a flavorful taste. And, when the dish was finally successful, it was perfect.

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Parade.com: Summer Blueberries in Autumn, Starting with Blueberry-Coffee Rubbed Chicken Thighs

Blueberry Espresso Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Blueberry Hominy Salad with Dandelion Greens

With autumn comes dishes with spicy cinnamon and warm nutmeg flavors, sturdy winter squashes sweetly cooked down, and hearty soups. I’m blissfully thinking of summer blueberries. It’s an unusual craving at this time of year, but blueberries’ tart and sweet flavor are available year-round in different forms other than fresh.

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Parade.com: Saffron Butternut Squash Soup

Saffron Butternut Soup

Finland. Summer 2003. Lunch outside of a mild summer day. The server presented steamed salmon in a saffron creamy broth. It was simple dish, but the memory of its taste is grand. Recently, when I made Saffron Butternut Squash soup as an idea to include in a Thanksgiving menu, the first spoonful didn’t have me thinking of smoked turkey. Instead, forgotten memories of Finland returned.

It was the summer of learning about organic food, becoming environmentally-conscious and riding Copenhagen’s public bikes. The flavorful produce was fresh, bruised and unwaxed. Large chickens looked liked American cornish hens. Fingerling potatoes enclosed in a thin papery skin roasted into a buttery softness. I would return to occasionally trying to recreate the Saffron Creamy broth. It’s a simple sauce, in which I’m surprised to not have successfully created it. Perhaps, the simpleness of the sauce is underestimated. Ten years later into today, I would unwittingly recreate the taste with different ingredients, but the memories come courtesy of saffron. It’s distinct flavor beautifully infuses every dish.  Read more