Maple Syrup Forever

A staple in my pantry is maple syrup. I buy 12 1-litre jars of the organic stuff from Quebec when it goes on serious sale at the grocery store—like 50% off. The supply lasts 6-9 months in our house. We use it as a topper for pancakes, waffles and French toast, bien sûr, but we use it in other ways, too.

Maple syrup is the secret ingredient in our go-to salad dressing: ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup rice vinegar (unseasoned), 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 vigorous shake. Super easy and super tasty—a hard combo to beat.

We also marinate salmon in a 70/30 combo of soy sauce (we prefer Bragg’s, which is technically liquid amino acids derived from soybeans) for a minimum of 10 minutes, maximum of 30, then depending on how much of a rush we’re in, either broil the salmon in a 425º convection oven for about 7 minutes, or barbecue it over a dampened wood plank for a smokier flavor (it still tastes darn good from the oven).

I’ve recently started using maple syrup for baby back ribs, too. I never used to make them. That was my dad’s job. About once a month, we’d head over to my parents’ house for a feast of those baby backs. The Boy and The Girl loved this meal. There would be dry ribs, but really, it was the sauced ribs they chewed up. And the company.

My dad died this year. It was unexpected and very fast, and I don’t think my family has really digested it yet.

We miss him terribly, and we missed his spareribs, too. So Alpha Dog and I decided to make our own finger lickin’ feast in his honor. Only without the bottled sauce my dad used. Too much sugar and crap. We just  liberally salted and peppered the racks, then rubbed them with a thin coating of maple syrup.

Suffice it to say that these were the best dang ribs ever. We chewed them clean down to the bone, and while we did, we told stories about my dad, and how we missed his ribs, and how we missed him.

We still do.

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