Salted Maple Caramel Corn with Crunchy Lentils, Dried Cherries, and Cashews

Caramel corn is loaded with nostalgia for me; when I was young, it was a tradition to make it when we would sleep over at my grandma and grandpa’s house. I’m pretty sure that grandma didn’t load hers with lentils, but she’s definitely the first person I think to tell when I have a hankering for this salty sweet deliciousness. Sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy… This maple-kissed caramel corn has all your favorite tastes and textures rolled into one. Of course, if you have a hot-air popper (which I don’t have), you can nix the step for making the popcorn on the stovetop, and use the appliance, instead.

Along with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Pie, this was made for the Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge.


Salted Caramel Corn with Crunchy Lentils, Dried Cherries, and Cashews

1/2 cup dried red lentils
Fine sea salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus more for the pans
2/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups dried sweet cherries
1 heaping cup salted cashews, toasted
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup vegan buttery spread, such as Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Soak the red lentils in about 3 cups water for 4 hours. Drain, rinse well, and drain again. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the lentils in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake on the centre rack for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are crisp. Cool completely.

Once the lentils are cool, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Lightly oil two baking sheets.

Melt the coconut oil in a large pot or dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels and cover. Let cook until the kernels begin to pop, then reduce to the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the popping has slowed down. Remove from heat. When the popping has stopped, pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Add the crunchy lentils, dried cherries, and cashews.

Put the brown sugar, maple syrup, and vegan buttery spread in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and baking soda. Mix well, then working quickly, pour the mixture over the popcorn mixer. Mix well (a metal spoon is easiest here) to coat.

Spread the mixture on the two baking sheets in a single layer. Bake on the centre rack for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.





Maple Roasted Carrots with Dillon’s Bitter Orange

This recipe features Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, a local small batch distillery producing vodka, gin, rye, whiskey, and bitters. Dillon’s is pretty great, especially for those with celiac disease who are wary about using alcohol that is derived from wheat or barley. This is because it uses distilled Niagara grapes to make their vodka and gin–the former being the base of their fruit/herb/floral-infused bitters. Just step away from the rye and whiskey. But drinks aside, bitters are great for cooking and baking, too.

Maple Roasted Carrots with Bitter Orange

Maple Roasted Carrots with Bitter Orange

2 pounds (908g) carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
2 tablespoons (30mL) mild extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea or Himalayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (30mL) pure maple syrup
20 dashes Dillon’s Bitter Orange
Flat leaf parsley, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the carrots with the olive oil, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.

Whisk together the maple syrup and Bitter Orange. Drizzle the mixture over the par-baked carrots, mixing to combine. Return to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender and starting to caramelize. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve warm.

Maple Roasted Carrots with Bitter Orange 2

Maple Mustard Fingerlings

Side dish, snack, or appetizer, tender potatoes highlight the sweet-tang of maple mustard. For something a little extra, serve with additional Maple Mustard for dipping. If you can’t get your hands on the stuff, just mix together a stone-ground mustard with amber or dark maple syrup for the same effect. For this dish, I was writing an article featuring White Meadows Farm and their Maple Mustard.

maple-mustard roasted fingerlings

Maple Mustard Roasted Fingerlings

1 1/2 pounds (680g) yellow fingerling potatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons (30mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (30mL) White Meadows maple mustard
Fine sea or Himalayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Put the potatoes, olive oil, and maple mustard in a bowl. Mix until the potatoes are well-coated. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and roasted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley before serving.