The Hippo


May 25, 2020








The classic breakfast, pancakes with maple syrup. Courtesy photo.

Maple-sage daiquiri 

From Casey Elsass’s Maple Syrup
2 ounces light rum
1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 torn sage leaves, plus one for garnish
1 ounce maple syrup
In a cocktail shaker, combine the rum and sage leaves and let rest for 10 minutes. Add the lime juice and maple syrup and fill with ice. Shake hard for 30 seconds or until the shaker is frosty and cold. Strain into a rocks glass. Slap a sage leaf between your palms to activate the flavor and aroma, then rest it on the surface of the drink and serve.
To find the cookbook online or in stores, visit 

Made of maple
Take maple syrup beyond the kitchen table

By Allie Ginwala

 If you think of maple syrup just as a sweetener to pour over pancakes, then the contents of Casey Elsass’s new cookbook may surprise you. Maple Syrup, the first cookbook from the Nashua native, was released by Short Stack Editions on Feb. 15, and every recipe is dripping with maple inspiration.

“My list went through a lot of iterations before it got whittled down,” Elsass said in a phone interview. “[I] noticed that it was naturally falling into this pattern of breakfast and vegetables and meats and drinks, and that just seemed to me like a logical way to take maple syrup through a variety of applications and times of the day.”
The cookbook is divided into five sections — breakfast, veggies, meat & fish, dessert and drinks — each with four recipes. Some reflect his New England upbringing, like the baked French toast his mother makes at Christmas and his stepfather’s pancakes, while others were developed as a way to “break away from the confines of a pancake box.”
“I always wanted to honor my New England heritage and explore New England recipes [but] also bring in other influences,” he said, noting the chicken wings with miso and scones with Guinness and whiskey.
“I wanted to look to a broader picture as I was developing these recipes and let maple syrup start [intertwining] with more global influence too,” Elsass said.
At first blush, some of the recipes seem like a surprising outlet for maple syrup (who’d have thought to pair maple with a lobster roll or daiquiri?), but Elsass said he wanted to embrace the versatility of maple syrup.
“I think it’s important to acknowledge that sweet doesn't need to be synonymous with sweet things,” he said. “You can have a very savory dish that has a sweet component with it and instead of taking over the dish it heightens it.”
A natural sweetener, maple syrup draws flavor notes from where it was produced, so a New Hampshire maple syrup will taste different from a maple syrup from Vermont or Canada. You can begin to unpack maple syrup’s terroir, Elsass said (borrowing the wine term) once you explore different varieties and grades. 
“You start to click into the subtleties and variances,” he said.
He said maple syrup has been pigeonholed by many as a breakfast condiment in part because folks outside of New England aren’t familiar with real maple syrup.
“A lot of people don't eat real maple syrup,” he said. “Maple syrup product does not have the complexity of flavor that a real, well-produced maple syrup does.”
He thinks any expert kitchen should have a bottle of maple syrup on hand and use it in cooking the way you would any other herb or spice. 
“It should be in the vocabulary of cooking,” he said.
For the two audiences picking up his cookbook — those who know the pure deliciousness that is real maple syrup and those who don’t — Elsass thinks two recipes will come as a surprise.
For the latter group (and maybe even for some of the former), it’s definitely the traditional sugar on snow. It calls for lots of fresh snow, maple syrup, sliced dill pickles and plain cake or potato doughnuts. Along with laying out the steps of heating and pouring the maple syrup Elsass writes about the tradition in New Hampshire and how to experience the dish to its fullest.
“We all know [it] so well, but it seems so wild and foreign, especially the pickle, to people who haven't lived that tradition,” he said.
As for those who are familiar with real maple syrup but want to explore it in a new flavor profile, Elsass thinks the maple sage daiquiri will be a nice surprise.
“Rum, lime juice, maple syrup and sage, which aren't flavors you might think go well together, but let me tell you, it's very drinkable and very delicious,” he said. 

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