Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

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Gastronomically yours,

Maple Wine

 

The very first harvest of the year is Maple Sap, and this year my kids and I have collected over 200 liters of sap from our humble maple farm. This we have boiled  down into approximately 4 liters of pure maple goodness.

As the season has just begun our first 3 liters of syrup would be classified as Canada No. 1 Light which is a pale, honey like delicate syrup produced only at the beginning of the season.  Maple syrup is divided into five grades, based largely on color. Canada No. 3 Dark lies at the other end of the spectrum, as a richly colored full-flavored syrup which is harvested towards the end of the season. Canada No. 1 Medium is the most popular grade; it’s produced midseason.

Most people will take maple syrup and drizzle it over food just like ketchup. My point being that neither is considered to be an act of culinary genius, we just simply use it as a condiment and pour it over anything from baked goods and pancakes to salmon and pork dishes.

One should try any of the following ideas If you are harvesting your own sap or have access to fresh sap I recommend any of the following ideas and concepts to appreciate maple sap and syrup to the fullest..

Of course you have to try drinking maple sap fresh from the tree. Consuming fresh sap can be an invigorating experience as it is a pure, raw, living food that is low in calories and high in nutrients. My son has referred to sap as the blood of trees.

Anywhere that you use water in your kitchen you can replace it with maple sap so try making your coffee and tea with sap instead of water.  I will freeze a few liters of sap to make iced teas with in the summer. A maple-mint julep can take the edge off of any lazy summer day.

Some of my favorite ways of cooking with sap is to reduce by half it until it just starts to thicken and turn a slight amber color. At this point the sap will have a slightly pronounced maple flavor, now you can get adventurous, try cooking your oatmeal or other hot cereal grains in this reduced sap. It is perfect for cooking wild rice and quinoa as well.

I recently cooked baked beans with sap in a crock pot for several hours. I only added some salt, chopped onion and bacon. I didn’t have to add any brown sugar or molasses to the recipe as I found them to be delicious with just the maple sweetness.

This sap reduction can be used as a poaching medium as well. Try poaching salmon or chicken in it.  For a taste of a true Canadian breakfast poach your eggs in the reduced sap and serve it up with smoked bacon.

Enjoy the first harvest of the Kawarthas’ and support our local maple syrup producers. For the more adventurous ones out there I recommend trying this week’s recipe for wine.

 

 

Maple Sap Wine

Four liters maple sap

Up to 1kg granulated sugar

Two lemons

Ten cloves

1/8 tsp tannin

1 tsp yeast nutrient

1 package of Riesling wine yeast

Method:

First measure the specific gravity of the sap with a hydrometer to determine how much sugar to add to achieve a starting specific gravity of 1.085-1.090. Different saps will contain different amounts of natural sugar, and even the sap from the same tree will differ from year to year. In a stainless steel pot stir the required amount of sugar into the maple sap and bring to a low boil for 15 minutes, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. In a separate pan, combine a cup of the sap with the cloves and zest of the lemons and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the clove mixture back into the sap and sugar pot and add the juice from the lemons and the yeast nutrient. When cooled to 22° c., add the activated wine yeast. Cover the pot and store it at room temperature. Be sure to stir the mixture daily for 8-10 days. Transfer to a secondary carboy fitted with an airlock. Ferment for 6-8 weeks. Rack into a sanitized secondary, refit the airlock and bulk age for 12 months.

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