Big and Beefy: Texas Brisket

Although the state snack of Texas is chips and salsa, and the state dish is chili con carne, we decided we needed to highlight beef in a big Texas way. The Lone Star state is the top cattle producer in the country ― a $10.5 billion industry in 2012 — according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Texas Brisket

Barbeque can mean different things depending on where you eat in this country. In the southeast, barbeque usually means pig. But in Texas, when folks babble on about barbeque, they usually are talking about beef, and by beef, we mean brisket.

The key to a good brisket is picking a good cut of meat with a bit of marbling (choose choice or prime) and cooking it low and slow over a wood or charcoal fire. Is this method time consuming? Yes. It is worth every minute? Absolutely! We smoked ours over hickory chips and the resulting meat had a beautiful bark (that dark, crusty exterior) and a wonderful, smoky flavor. Some Texans scoff at using any type of BBQ sauce but we provided one for you here, just in case you like to embellish your meat.

If you’d like some homegrown Texas refreshment to wash down that BBQ, head to the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco. Fun and kitschy!

Texas Brisket

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 6-8 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 3-4 lb. choice or prime beef brisket, trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons black pepper

For beef rub:

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

For BBQ sauce:

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/3 cups beer
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions

For meat: The night before, mix the 4 tablespoons salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Rub on the brisket. Loosely cover with foil and let sit overnight in fridge. Mix all ingredients for the rub in another bowl, set aside.

In the morning, preheat smoker. Remove meat from fridge and cover meat with a thin coating of vegetable oil. Cover with the rub. When the smoker reaches 225 degrees, place meat in smoker. Cooking time will depend on thickness of brisket, but a general rule is about 90 minutes for each pound. When brisket reaches 190-200 degrees, remove from smoker, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in a cooler lined with old towels. This will allow the brisket to stay hot until serving time.

For BBQ sauce: Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. When hot, add chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add beer, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Stir until combined. Add chili powder and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for one hour until thickened. Allow to cool slightly. Place BBQ sauce in a food processor or blender. Blend until onions and garlic are incorporated into the sauce (if too thick, thin with a little bit of the leftover beer).

When ready to serve brisket, reheat BBQ sauce. Slice meat perpendicular to the grain and drizzle or dollop with sauce. Serve plain or on soft buns.

 

Broke Da Mouth: Chicken Long Rice – Hawaii

From the sandy shores of Waikiki on Oahu, to the summit of Haleakala on Maui, to the deep valley gorge of the Waimea Canyon on Kauai, the Hawaiian Islands are a sight to behold. The Aloha State, the nation’s fiftieth, has a unique culinary culture, with influences from China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Portugal.

Chicken Long Rice - Hawaii

If you are invited to a  local’s home for dinner or attend a Hawaiian luau, you will likely be served Chicken Long Rice. Don’t look for rice in this dish, there is none. Long rice refers to cellophane noodles (also called mung bean noodles) which give this dish its distinctive Chinese flavor. We adapted a recipe from Doreen Fang and added julienned carrots for crunch and texture. Fang prefers Aloha Shoyu soy sauce which is a local soy sauce that tastes a little less salty and tangy than Chinese or Japanese soy sauce. Don’t worry if you can’t find it, just substitute reduced sodium soy sauce. If a dish is broke da mouth, that means it’s very delicious in Hawaiian pidgin. Yep, consider our mouths broke.

If you are a lucky enough to be headed to Hawaii, check out the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau’s website which lists luaus on all of the islands. At luaus, the food is usually served buffet style and is a great place to try a number of authentic Hawaiian dishes.

Chicken Long Rice

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For marinade:

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (Aloha Shoyu brand preferred)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

For chicken and noodles:

  • 6 ounces cellophane noodles (mung bean threads)
  • 1 ½ lbs. chicken breast, cut in strips
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 carrots, julienned (optional)
  • 3 ounces cremini or shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions, sliced and divided
  • 8 ounces chicken broth
  • Soy sauce to taste

Instructions

For the marinade: Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix with fork. Add sliced chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for one hour.

For noodles: Place noodles in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand ten minutes or until soft. Drain well. Chop into smaller pieces if desired. Set aside.

To finish: Heat saute pan or wok to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. When bead of water sizzles in the pan, add carrot. Cook until tender. Remove and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When hot, add marinated chicken. Cook for 6-8 minutes. Add mushrooms, and 2 green onions. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Add cellophane noodles, broth, soy sauce and carrot, tossing well to combine. Top with remaining green onion.

So Appealing: Grapefruit and Orange Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette – Florida

If you’ve ever taken a drive into the Sunshine State, you know what awaits you at the Welcome Center: free samples of chilled fresh orange juice and grapefruit juice. While Florida is a powerhouse

Grapoefruit and Orange Salad - Floridaproducer of both fruits and veggies, it’s citrus that reigns supreme. Ironically, even though the popular orange had been in the New World since the early 1500s when Spanish explorers threw some seeds into the sandy, subtropical soil which they’d begun to settle, the fruit wasn’t given its public props until relatively recently. In 2005, a group of fourth-graders in Sarasota noticed there wasn’t an official state fruit, and they waged a successful legislative lobbying campaign giving the orange its formal designation (not that we needed a fancy title to make us love the juicy tang of pretty much all forms of citrus). This wonderful recipe combines the sweetness of the orange with the crisp tartness of the grapefruit. Drizzled in a sweet-sour vinaigrette, it’s perfect for a light lunch or dinner – and even better, it packs a serious Vitamin C punch.

Travel way down south to the Key West Food and Wine Festival, January 27-February 1, 2015.

 

Grapefruit and Orange Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe courtesy of Florida Department of Citrus, used with permission

Ingredients

For salad:

  • 1 bunch watercress, washed and trimmed
  • 2 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

For raspberry vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

For salad: In a large salad bowl combine watercress, grapefruit sections, orange sections, avocado, onion, raspberries and pine nuts.

For the raspberry vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together grapefruit juice, vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in oil, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

 

Hunka Hunka Pan-Fried Love: Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches – Tennessee

Tennessee is known for many Southern specialty foods, but being rabid Elvis fans, we turned our attention to Memphis – the River City – and its most famous house, Graceland, for inspiration. The King lived life large and is said to have enjoyed a special treat that

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana - TN

has become his signature dish – the Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich. Similar to a grilled cheese in construction and cooking, the sandwich has a number of variations. We used an artisan Italian bread as the basis for our recipe, as it held up a little better in the skillet, and we mixed the PB with honey for a sweeter, smoother spread. As for the banana, you can mash it and spread it – although we prefer slices. Add crispy bacon if you want that little extra salty crunch.

Celebrate Elvis’ birthday (January 8th!) with weekend-long festivities at Graceland and other Memphis venues including a dance party, movie screenings, concerts and Elvis bingo.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 slices Italian bread, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter (or to taste)
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 2 slices cooked bacon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Instructions

Smooth peanut butter (mixed with honey, if you prefer) onto two slices of bread. Place sliced banana on top of peanut butter. Place remaining two slices of bread on top of bananas and spread outsides of sandwich with butter or margarine. Place in pre-heated fry pan or griddle. Cook until toasty brown and heated through.

 

Spuds to Die For: Three Cheese Funeral Potatoes – Utah

We admit, we were a little taken aback when we heard about funeral potatoes. Apparently, they have a long history in the Beehive State, heavily influenced by the Latter Day Saint tradition of hosting potluck dinners after funerals. Truly, this is comfort food.

Three Cheese Funeral Potatoes

Endless versions of this recipe exist, some with frozen hash browns and American cheese, others with sour cream or cream of chicken soup, some topped with crushed potato chips or Ritz crackers. As usual, we opted for a version with less processed ingredients, using fresh Idaho potatoes and cheddar, parmesan and manchego cheeses. But use whatever cheeses you like best, it’s all good. This dish is so beloved in Utah, it has spawned a cook-off at the Utah State Fair.

You won’t want to miss the chance to hobnob with celebs at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, January 22 to February 1.

Three Cheese Funeral Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 55 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup manchego cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3/4 cup crushed cornflakes or panko

Instructions

Place the potatoes in a large pot. Add water until potatoes are covered. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil until the potatoes are fork tender but not falling apart. Drain. Place potatoes into a greased, ovenproof casserole dish.

In a large saucepan, melt half of the butter. On medium heat add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the flour, and whisk vigorously to make a roux. Slowly add the milk, continuing to whisk until the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the cheeses until melted. If cheese sauce is too thick, add in a bit more milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour cheese sauce over the potatoes, stirring slightly so sauce covers all the potatoes.

Place the remaining butter in a small bowl and microwave until melted. Add crushed cornflakes or panko. Spread on top of the potatoes. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees until potatoes are bubbling and topping is golden brown.

Veni, Vidi, Vici: Chili Verde – Colorado

We came, we saw, and we conquered Chili Verde. Chili Verde is unique to the southwest states and especially popular in Denver.

Chili Verde - Colorado

Made with pork rather than beef, this delicious stew is quite green. Thank the tomatillos for that vibrant hue, along with poblanos and cilantro. Add a jalapeno or two if you want some heat, otherwise leave it out.

This chili is wonderful on a football Sunday. It holds well if you are having people over for the holidays and are not sure what time everyone will want to eat. Serve with homemade corn bread or corn tortillas.

Take a spin around the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park in Denver. Skate rentals are only $2 or bring your own and skate for free!

Chili Verde

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • 1 ½ pounds tomatillos
  • 6 cloves of garlic (not peeled)
  • Cilantro, one bunch, stems removed
  • 2-3 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

Prepare a cookie sheet lined with foil and start the broiler. Slice peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and stem. Smash with the palm of your hand so they are flat. Place on the cookie sheet skin side up. Remove papery husk from the tomatillos and wash them well. Slice in half. Place on cookie sheet cut side down. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves. Broil vegetables for about five minutes until the skin is blackened on the poblanos. Remove from oven. When peppers are cool enough to handle, place in a paper bag. Let sit a few minutes, then remove the blackened skins from the peppers and peel from the garlic.

Place peppers, garlic, and tomatillos into a blender. Blend on high until all ingredients are finely chopped. Add the cilantro. Blend again. The mixture will resemble a green smoothie.

Heat a large skillet or soup pot with olive oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook pork on medium heat until browned. When pork is done, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add onion and chopped garlic to the skillet. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits of pork from the bottom of the skillet. Add the pork back to the skillet. Add the oregano and cumin. Stir until fragrant. Add the verde sauce and then the chicken broth, making sure the meat is covered (add a bit of water if necessary).

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low uncovered for 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender. Season again with salt and pepper before serving.

Okie Onion Burger – Oklahoma

The onion burger may be one of the best regional burgers you’ve never heard of. Until now. Legend has it that the onion burger was created in the 1920s by a man named Ross Davis at the Hamburger

Okie Onion Burger - Oklahoma

Inn in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Presumably, the onions were a way to stretch the meat in a tough economy. The onions get mashed into the beef and get nice and caramelized so that each bite is beef-n-onion heaven.

Okie Onion Burger - Oklahoma

The trick with this recipe is to slice the onions super thin, preferably on a mandolin if you have one. And the quantity of onions is not a typo, use about half an onion for each burger and feel the allium love.

Check out Downtown in December in Oklahoma City for ice skating, snow tubing, holiday lights, pop up shops and other winter fun.

Okie Onion Burgers

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 15 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, sliced very thin
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4-6 burger buns
  • Cheese (optional)
  • Sliced tomato and lettuce (optional)

Instructions

Divide beef into 4 or 6 balls. Heat a cast iron skillet until a bead of water sizzles on the surface. Add a small amount of oil. Add beef and press down until thin. Add about half an onion to each burger, pressing down until the onion is incorporated into the beef. Season with salt and pepper. Flip burger. Add cheese. Cook until onions are caramelized and beef is done, adding a bit oil if necessary. Place on a bun and add burger accompaniments of your choice.

 

Chow Down on Chowdah: New England Clam Chowder – New Hampshire

After a brisk day of hiking in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, nothing could be more inviting than a nice, hot bowl of clam

DSC_0063 label

chowdah. You can find good clam chowder at any clam shanty up and down the Eastern Seaboard, but New Hampshire has an especially strong connection to the rich, creamy soup because it’s one of the first places in the New World to have successfully cultivated potatoes, according to the National Potato Council. In the recipe we’re featuring, we used fresh clams, and it absolutely makes a difference in bringing out a bright, briny clam flavor. If you’ve never steamed clams before, don’t worry – it’s easy. Soak the clams so they filter out the excess salt and sand, then brush them well; then in a large pot bring a few cups of water to a boil along with onion and celery trimmings. Add the clams, cover and let steam until these babies open. You don’t want to overcook them; they’ll cook a little longer in the soup. Use red potatoes which are waxier and hold their shape better than the white variety. The rest is super easy: If you can fry bacon, you can manage. As they say in Manchester, mmm, mmm, wicked good!

Support local artisans and crafters at the Downtown Holiday Market in Manchester, December 11, 13 and 18, 2014.

New England Clam Chowder

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pounds littleneck clams (yields approx. 1 cup of clam meat = approx. 30 clams)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/3 pound bacon
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup reserved clam cooking liquid
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 6 to 8 small red potatoes, diced medium
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

To steam clams: Pick through clams and discard any with cracked or damaged shells. Soak for 20 minutes in fresh water. Lift them out of the water bath (do not strain) and brush them vigorously to get rid of any excess sand. Heat 3 to 4 cups of water in a large pot with onion and celery trimmings until slowly boiling. Turn down heat to medium. Add clams and cover. Steam about 4 to 6 minutes or until the shells start to open. Remove from heat and let cool. Discard any clams that do not open. Once shells are cool enough to handle, open shells, extract and chop meat coarsely. Reserve the cooking liquid.

To finish chowder: Fry bacon until it’s crisp. Remove bacon, add onion and celery. Cook until onion is translucent. When bacon is cool enough to handle, chop and return to pot. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add ¾ cup of the reserved clam cooking liquid (skimming off the top to avoid sand from the bottom of the pot), bottled clam juice, water and potatoes. Add salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium. Add chopped clams and simmer until potatoes are tender, approximately 25 minutes. Finish with cream, adjusting seasonings to taste.

Tart-n-Sweet: Cranberry Orange Sauce – Massachusetts

The humble little cranberry — tart enough to make your mouth pucker — has a long history in Massachusetts. Native Americans ate them, and the first commercial beds were planted in 1816. The name

Cranberry Orange Sauce - Massachusetts

 

is a bungled derivation of “craneberry,” so called by the Pilgrims because the spring blossoms resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill crane. The geography of the area is an ideal environment for cranberries. Glacial deposits left kettle holes which filled with water and decaying matter, creating bogs. In 1994, after two years of lobbying by school children, the Massachusetts legislature finally recognized the cranberry as the official state berry.

You can usually find fresh cranberries in stores from mid-September to December. We love this sauce at Thanksgiving with our turkey. It literally takes 15 minutes to make and once you try it you will never go back to the canned stuff. As an added benefit, this tart little fruit promotes urinary tract health and is a nutritional powerhouse, full of antioxidants, and a good source of fiber and Vitamin C.

If a visit to the Bay State is in your future, go back in time at Old Sturbridge Village, a New England living history museum that depicts rural life in the 19th century.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 15 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 package fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (orange part only)
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

 Instructions

Wash and drain cranberries, pick over to remove any bad berries. Add water to saucepot along with sugar. Heat water on medium until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. Add cranberries, heat on medium high for about 10 minutes or until cranberries split open. Berries will slightly pop. Remove from heat. Add orange zest and orange juice. Cool.

 

Peace, Love and Spuds: Baked Eggs in Potato Cups – Idaho

Whether you bake, boil, mash, nuke or fry them, everyone loves potatoes. Idaho, sometimes called the Gem State, leads the states in potato production, with 14.2 billion pounds harvested in 2012.

Baked Eggs in Potato Cups - Idaho

Idaho’s rich volcanic soil and climate offer the ideal conditions for potatoes. Potatoes are a good choice for those who are gluten free. They are a good source of Vitamin C and an even greater source of potassium — even better than a banana.

This recipe is perfect for Sunday brunch and can easily be made vegetarian. We do not recommend using frozen hash browns as they will not brown up nicely. The only caution we note is to make sure you do not press too firmly against the bottom and sides of the pan when you are putting the grated potatoes in the muffin cups. If you do, the potatoes will stick to the pan.  :(  Spray or oil liberally, then use a light touch.

For kitschy fun and to take a picture with a giant potato in front (who could pass that up?), check out the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot, ID.

Baked Eggs in Potato Cups

  • Servings: 12 cups
  • Time: 90 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 medium baking potatoes
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup Canadian bacon, chopped (can omit)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 teaspoons fresh chives, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray

Instructions

Bake potatoes at 400 degrees until almost done, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool, then grate. The potatoes should crunch a bit when you grate them which means they are just underdone. Season well with salt and pepper.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Spray or well oil the muffin pan. Scoop grated potatoes into the holes and onto sides, pressing very lightly (or potato cups will stick in the pan). Spray again lightly with cooking spray. Cook until potatoes are golden brown, but make sure edges do not burn, about 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime, while cups are baking, combine beaten eggs, chopped red pepper, cheddar cheese and Canadian bacon if using. Remove muffin pan from oven and spoon egg mixture evenly into the potato cups. Sprinkle tops with the chives. Return to oven for 15 minutes or until the eggs are set.

 

 

Highlighting food from our 50 states

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