Early Spring, Late Winter? I Suppose it Doesn’t Matter.

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Last week we discovered why maple syrup is so expensive.  My son left his maple tree tapping equipment for us to use this winter while he is away playing hockey.  We have a big  Broad Leaf Maple in our backyard and so just before I knew it was getting cold we drilled 4 holes in the tree, inserted the spigots, attached the lines and led them into a cannister to be caught.  We went away for a few days during the cold snap and when we got back we were so excited to see some clear fluid filling about  1/3 of the contatiner.

After bringing it inside and straining it, I set about ‘sugaring off.’ The dutch oven was  2/3 full when I started and after a couple of hours of simmering  I was left with the ‘golden’ syrup, (gold might be more appropriate to indicate the value of the viscous liquid). I think I can honestly say we got about 4 Tablespoons of delicious maple syrup.  I felt like such a pioneer woman.

Needless to say the coveted syrup is being often admired through the glass dish and seldom sampled.  I am not sure what the ‘sacred’ occasion will be that is worthy of consuming the prize but, I am waiting for it.

Another sure sign that Spring is on its way is that we just celebrated Valentines Day(or not).  A friend asked me to create a special take-away treat for her dinner guests and I quickly agreed.  As the date drew near I wondered what to make.  I chose one of my favourite decadent bars and my daughter came up with the idea of cutting them in heart shapes.  I ended up making the Barefoot Contessa’s Pecan Bars and customized them by using various size heart shape cookie cutters and then Belgian chocolate to garnish the edges of the hearts.  I didn’t take pictures of the finished product unfortunately, but here they are sans the chocolate and cellophane packaging.

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