Maple-Chile Butternut Soup
This is a great dairy-free (and cholesterol-free, too) soup in its own right, but a drizzle of Asian-spiced maple syrup adds a wonderfully unexpected kick and dramatic red flourish. The recipe comes from the Birchwood Cafe Cookbook (University of Minnesota Press, $29.95).
Sambal Maple Syrup
In a screw-top jar, combine 1/4 cup pure maple syrup and 1/4 cup Asian chili paste (sambal oelek). (Look for this spicy condiment in the Asian aisle of large supermarkets.) Store in the refrigerator and use to drizzle on soup or roasted vegetables, or as a glaze for meats.