copyright the Chronicle 9-26-2012
Recipes from a Maple Queen, by Doreen Lyon, hardcover, full-color photographs by Doreen Lyon, design and layout by Jared Lyon, 83 pages, $35.
Reviewed by Bethany M. Dunbar
Recipes from a Maple Queen is a gorgeous and informative cookbook. Doreen Lyon put it together herself, with help in the design from her son, Jared.
Doreen Taylor Lyon grew up in a family of maple producers. At age 16 she decided to enter the Vermont Maple Queen competition, held each year at the Vermont Farm Show at the Barre auditorium.
“We were judged on our knowledge of maple production, oratory skills, and poise. There were 18 contestants; I didn’t think I had a chance of winning. So it was a great surprise when I was announced at the new 1970 Vermont Maple Queen. I can still see the look of pride on my parents’ faces.”
It was the beginning of a year of activity for the teenage maple queen, and photos of some of these activities appear in the book. One shot shows her with Governor Deane Davis, handing him a can of maple syrup.
One of the prizes was a hand made silver maple leaf pin, made by Luella Schroeder of East Cabot. A photo of the pin appears on the cover of the book.
This book will be useful for those who don’t know a lot about maple syrup production and how to cook with maple. It is also going to quickly become a treasure for many of us who have cooked with maple for most of our lives.
I’ve always cooked with maple syrup but never knew how to make granulated maple sugar or maple candy. Those recipes are in the first chapter: The Basics.
Later in the book is a recipe for maple cheesecake I think I have been looking for all my adult life. I’ve tried several maple cheesecake recipes and none were as good as the idea of maple cheesecake. I’m guessing that the recipe from the maple queen is going to be the one for me from now on.
There are desserts in this cookbook, but as Vermonters already know very well, maple is not just for dessert. This book includes a chapter of recipes for meat dishes, vegetable dishes, salad dressings and salads with a touch of maple in them.
What a gift Ms. Lyons has made to the world by putting all these family recipes into a book and offering it for sale. Her photos are lovely, and her son has done a terrific job with the design.
Francis Taylor is Ms. Lyon’s sister, and he is selling her book at Taylor’s Automotive in Barton, where you can also get a jug of the family’s syrup.
Here is a sample recipe to get your mouth watering for more:
Spinach salad with hot maple bacon dressing:
Yield: four servings; prep: 25 minutes; cook: ten minutes.
One roasted pepper
One pound baby spinach
One red onion, sliced
One-half pound smoked bacon
Six Tablespoons maple syrup
Six Tablespoons rice vinegar
One-half teaspoon salt
One-half teaspoon pepper
One-half cup sliced almonds
Prepare salad by first roasting red pepper in the oven, on the stove or on the grill, until charred. Remove from heat, place in a bowl and cover until cool. Remove skin from roasted pepper and slice. In a large bowl add spinach, red onion, and roasted pepper.
Cook bacon in cast iron pan over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Break into medium pieces; save for garnish. Stir maple syrup into pan used for bacon. Add vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve dressing hot over spinach salad. Garnish with bacon crumbles and sliced almonds.
To learn more or contact Ms. Lyon directly, see her website: www.recipesfromamaplequeen.com
contact Bethany M. Dunbar at [email protected]