In Celebration of the Cranberry: Cranberry Nut Bread – Massachusetts

Didja know National Cranberry Day is coming up on November 23? We’ve talked before about how the cranberry is the Bay State’s

Cranberry Nut Bread- Mass.

official state berry, thanks to some lobbying school children. We happen to adore the tart flavor of this lovely little fruit so we bring to you this family recipe that is sure to be a hit in your household too. If you’ve got company coming for Thanksgiving, this is an easy quick bread that you can make ahead of time. Perfect for that crazy Thursday morning when your mother-in-law is dashing about the house looking for her misplaced phone and your brother is wrestling with the kids, causing the dog to bark. Just make some coffee, slice it up, and breakfast is served.

Check out America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration in Plymouth, November 20-22, 2015, with a parade, the New England Food Festival, music and more.


Cranberry Nut Bread

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: 90 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries, chopped in food processor


 In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until combined. Add orange juice, zest, and egg; mix until combined. Add pecans and cranberries and stir by hand until combined. Add flour mixture and stir by hand until just combined, taking care not to overmix. Pour into two loaf pans lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until golden brown.

Playin’ Possum: Possum Pie – Arkansas

When we first heard about this pie, we had the same reaction that most people have. “It’s not made with possum, is it?” We assure you, it’s not (eww). This delicious concoction that should be the official

Possum Pie - Arkansas

state dessert of Arkansas goes by other names in the south including Striped Delight, Chocolate Layer Pie and Four Layer Delight. A sandy bottom crust is the base upon which a cream cheesy layer sits. A chocolate pudding layer comes next, followed by a whipped cream topping. No one is really sure where the name comes from, but the best reasoning is that this pie plays possum by pretending to be something else – in this case the whipped cream hiding the chocolate filling.

We have seen lots of variations of this dessert including those made with a graham cracker crust, instant chocolate pudding and Cool Whip for the topping. You can go that route, but we prefer our version with no processed ingredients.    

If this pie isn’t a near-religious experience, check out Thorncrown Chapel near Eureka Springs. This stunning architectural masterpiece is comprised of 6,000 square feet of glass and 425 windows. Designed to blend into its surroundings, the chapel has won numerous architectural awards and is a must-see if you are in the Ozarks.

Possum Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 60 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


First Layer

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Second Layer

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Third Layer

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt, a pinch
  • 3 tablespoon corn starch
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Fourth Layer

  • Whipped cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)


 Place all pecans needed for recipe in a skillet on medium heat until they just begin to turn fragrant and brown, about 3 to 5 minutes (watch closely so they don’t burn). Remove from heat and let cool. Divide for each layer and set aside. Line a 9X9 square pan with aluminum foil, making sure the corners are tight.

For the first layer: Combine melted butter, flour and pecans. Spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the foil-lined pan, pressing down with your fingers. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until the dough just begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the third layer: While the first layer bakes, in a medium saucepan, add the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, salt and corn starch. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks until broken up, then milk. On medium heat, add milk mixture to dry ingredients, whisking constantly until pudding begins to boil and thicken, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Let cool about 5 minutes. Pour pudding in a shallow bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface so a skin does not form. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For second layer: In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk. Beat with electric mixture for 2-3 minutes or combined.

To make pie: Spread cream cheese mixture over the dough base. Remove pudding from fridge. Carefully spread pudding over the cream cheese layer. Top with whipped cream, toasted pecans and chocolate shavings if desired. To serve, remove pie from the pan by lifting up by the foil. Transfer to a serving platter.

Go Wild: Wild Rice Soup – Minnesota

Did you know wild rice is the state grain of Minnesota? Tis true! Wild rice is actually a semi-aquatic grass that grows in lakes, rivers Wild Rice Soup - Minnesotaand bays. Native Americans harvested wild rice in canoes, using beater sticks to knock the seeds into the boat. Even today, by law “wild” wild rice (not cultivated) has to be harvested the same way in Minnesota and only by those licensed to do so, according to the Whole Grains Council.

Nutritionally, wild rice is extremely low in fat, a good source of fiber (3 grams per serving) and has more protein than white rice (7 grams vs. 4 grams per serving).

Residents of the Land of 10,000 Lakes love their Wild Rice Soup. We present a vegan recipe but this can easily be adapted for meat lovers. Sub in chicken broth instead of vegetable, add cooked, diced chicken or turkey (about 3 cups) when adding the broth, and then finish with 1 cup whole milk or cream.

Hugging the very western tip of Lake Superior, Duluth, the self-proclaimed beer capital of Minnesota lures beer lovers with its North Shore Beer Trail.

Wild Rice Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 50 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 cup wild rice
  • Olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • Medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Half pound of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper


 Make wild rice according to package directions. In the meantime, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot. Add carrot, cook 3 minutes. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent. Remove vegetables to a bowl and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot. Add mushrooms. Let mushrooms cook until caramelized and quite brown. Deglaze the pot with white wine, vigorously scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add reserved vegetables back to pot. Add oregano and rosemary. Stir in flour until all vegetables are well coated. Add 4 cups broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then return to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until carrots are soft. Add additional broth if too thick. Add wild rice, salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 10 minutes or until rice is hot.




Gimme Chimi: Beef Chimichangas – Arizona

The origins of the chimichanga are murky at best. Two restaurants in the Grand Canyon State stake a claim: Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen, a

Beef Chimichangas - AZ

Phoenix chain, asserts that the dish was created there in 1946. Tucson’s El Charro Café also says that the dish was the happy accident of a burrito being knocked into the deep fat fryer in the early 1950s. The cook started to swear in Spanish, but seeing children, quickly changed her profane utterance to the word “chimichanga” which loosely translates as “thingamajig.”

In 2011, Macayo’s started a petition drive to have the chimichanga recognized by the Arizona legislature as the official state dish. Alas, that effort was not successful, so poor Arizona must muddle along without a signature dish to call its own. That’s OK, because StateEats is officially declaring our allegiance to chimis and all its variations, from pork to chicken to vegetarian. For this recipe, we went with the very traditional beef. We also tested both the deep frying and baking methods. Although purists may scoff, we actually preferred the baked version which is less heavy. Save your calories for a margarita (prickly pear!) and chips and guac.

You still have time to check out the Arizona State Fair which runs Wednesday through Sunday until November 6, 2015, in Phoenix.

Beef Chimichangas

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 50 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Small white onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Salsa (optional)
  • Guacamole (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Cilantro, chopped (optional)


In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the beef until it is no longer pink. Drain the fat. Add onions, garlic and jalapeno (if using). Cook until onion is translucent and pepper is soft. Add green chilies, chili powder, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Soften tortillas one at a time by heating them in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. Add approximately one third of a cup of filling just off center of the tortilla. Fold up bottom edge closest to you, then sides, then roll up tortilla the rest of the way. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place into a shallow pan, seam side down. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until tortillas just begin to brown. Remove from oven, top with shredded cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream and top with chopped cilantro if desired.





Hoosier Dessert Delight: Persimmon Pudding – Indiana

The persimmon is one of nature’s most fragile fruits. It has a long ripening period and a thin skin, like a tomato, that easily splits. The trees grow wild over much of southeastern Indiana. While wide

Persimmon Pudding - Indiana

commercial cultivation has not been successful, family farms and homeowners grow the trees for Indiana residents who worship the fruit for its heavenly flavor, often described as a cross between an apricot, a guava, and an avocado. Nutritionally, persimmons are a great source of dietary fiber, as well as vitamin A and vitamin C.

Mitchell, Indiana, hosts a Persimmon Festival each year with a persimmon pudding contest. We tried our hand at this British-inspired dessert and loved the fall-like flavor of the cake, a little reminiscent of pumpkin.

Visit Fort Vallonia Days, October 17-18, 2015, in Vallonia, IN, with trail rides, a baby contest, music, and more.

Persimmon Pudding

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 90 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 cups persimmon pulp (about 5-7 persimmons)
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Salt, pinch
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Whipped cream


Remove stems from the persimmons then slice into eighths. Remove any seeds. Working in 2 or 3 batches, place persimmon sections in the bowl of a Foley food mill. Process until 2 cups of pulp is extracted and only the skin remains.

To the pulp, add sugar, eggs, and milk. Mix well. In another bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt until combined. Slowly add to persimmon mixture until combined. Add vanilla and melted butter and stir until just combined.

Add batter to a 9×13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool, then serve with whipped cream.




Get the Skinny: Pizza Potato Skins – Idaho

Idaho’s most famous export is the potato. The Gem State leads the states in potato production, with 13.1 billion pounds harvested in

Pizza Potato Skins - Idaho

2013. Potatoes get a bad rap nutritionally but they are actually high in potassium and Vitamin C — providing almost half the recommended daily value.

We confess to being slightly addicted to potato skins. We decided to revisit the traditional recipe of bacon and cheddar. Our take uses common pizza ingredients for a fun twist on a classic.

There’s just a few more weekends for you to catch WalkAbout-Boise, a 90 minute guided walking tour through 150 years of history and architecture.

Pizza Potato Skins

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 90 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 4 medium baking potatoes
  • 1/2 pound bulk sausage, mild or spicy, cooked through
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • Pizza sauce


Bake potatoes at 350 degrees until done, about 1 hour. Allow to cool. Slice potatoes in half. Scoop out the potatoes, leaving about 1/8 inch of flesh. Reserve flesh for another use.

Place potato skins on a baking sheet. Combine sausage, pesto, tomatoes and a cup and a half of the cheese in a large bowl. Scoop filling back into skins. Top with remaining half cup of cheese and then parsley. Heat under boiler set to high until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately with pizza sauce.


Sweet and Salty in the Windy City: Chicago Mix Popcorn – Illinois

If you’ve ever visited Chicago and caught a whiff of a delicious aroma that lured you, trance-like and salivating, to stand in line for 20 minutes, you might have been ensnared by Garrett’s Popcorn.

Chicago Mix Popcorn

Enticing customers with that heavenly smell since 1949, Garrett’s Popcorn is truly a Chicago institution. Their famous Chicago Mix is an addictive combination of cheese and caramel popcorn that will convert even the most popcorn ambivalent among us. When we first moved to Chicago, we wondered what all the fuss what about, until we tasted it. The caramel, so rich and buttery, marries well with the salty, tangy cheese. You can order Garrett’s Popcorn online or you can save some nickels and make it yourself with this recipe.

If you want to immerse yourself in history and architecture, check out the many offerings for a Chicago boat tour. Most start at Navy Pier and combine the lake and the Chicago River, a “can’t-miss” when you visit Chicago.

Chicago Mix Popcorn

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 50 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  •  1 cup popcorn kernels
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 paper bag

For Cheese Popcorn:

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if cheese  powder has added salt)
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

For Caramel Popcorn:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda


Pop popcorn in vegetable oil. Let cool, then remove all unpopped kernels. Divide into two equal parts.

For Cheese Popcorn: Combine spices in a small bowl. Melt butter and pour over half the batch of popcorn. Place popcorn and spices into the paper bag and shake vigorously until popcorn is completely coated.  Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 250 degrees for 15 minutes or until popcorn is crisp.

For Caramel Popcorn: Place half of the popcorn on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Combine salt, brown sugar, butter and corn syrup into a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat until boiling. Continue cooking without stirring until temperature reaches 235 degrees with a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and carefully add baking powder. Be careful as the mixture may foam or spit. Working quickly, pour the caramel over the popcorn. Using a rubber spatula, stir the popcorn until it is completely coated. Place baking sheet into oven heated to 250 degrees. Stir every 10-15 minutes to evenly coat the popcorn. Bake for one hour or until popcorn is crisp.

After both popcorns cool, combine both for Chicago Mix.

Oh Mommy Umami: Fish Sauce Wings – Oregon

At first blush, fish sauce wings do not sound particularly appetizing. After all, this pungent Southeast Asian sauce made from anchovies and fermented in wooden barrels is intensely flavored and

Fish Sauce Wings

something of an acquired taste. But diners in Portland, Oregon, have been clamoring for fish sauce wings ever since Andy Ricker maxed out his credit cards in 2007 to open Pok Pok restaurant. Insanely popular there, Ricker opened outposts in NYC and LA in the intervening years.

These wings are a bit sweet, a bit salty, a bit crunchy and a bit spicy, and have been described by Ricker as “umami bombs.” We bet that you too will become strangely addicted before you can finish the batch and lick your fingers.

What goes great with chicken wings? Beer! Head on over to the Hood River Hops Fest, September 26, 2015, which showcases fresh hops beers from 36 Northwest breweries.

Fish Sauce Wings

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 50 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup warm water
  • 2 lbs. chicken wings, separated
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tempura batter
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce (optional)


For marinade: Combine garlic, salt and warm water in a small bowl. Let set for a few minutes. Combine fish sauce and sugar in a deep dish or marinade tray. Using a mesh sieve, take garlic mixture and mash garlic through the sieve into the marinade tray until all the liquid is gone. Scrape out any leftover garlic that did not go through the sieve and reserve in a small dish for later. Add chicken to the marinade. Marinate for 6-8 hours or overnight, turning chicken occasionally.

For frying chicken: Heat oil to 325 degrees. Fry garlic until golden brown, remove with a slotted spot and reserve. Combine rice flour and tempura batter. Remove chicken from marinade and reserve the marinade. Coat chicken in flour mixture. Fry in batches for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. While chicken is frying, take leftover marinade and add to a wok along with ¼ cup water and Sriracha sauce if desired. Boil mixture for 1-2 minutes. Keep warm. As chicken finishes, remove pieces with tongs and place in sauce, tossing each piece completely. Remove chicken and sprinkle with half of the fried garlic. Fry remaining batch of chicken, tossing in sauce and then adding garlic. Serve immediately.

Holy Chip: Chocolate Covered Potato Chips – North Dakota

Everything is better with chocolate. That’s a motto we can get behind and we think most of you would agree. Widman’s Candy Company, located in Grand Forks and Fargo (along with Crookston,

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips - N. Dakota


MN), has been in the chocolate business since the 1880s. The Widman family has an amazing array of chocolate dipped items including some startling candidates (pickles and olives) but by far their most popular item is their chocolate covered potato chips. Called “chippers” these sweet-n-salty snacks are made from Red River Valley potatoes.

We recreated this signature delight with dark chocolate, but Widman’s uses milk and dark chocolate, as well as white almond and peanut butter. Use whatever chocolate you like best. We guarantee these chips will disappear faster than you can say “Holy Chip!”

The 50th Annual Potato Bowl will take place September 8-12, 2015 in Grand Forks, ND. Events include a golf outing, a French fry feed, fireworks and of course, the culminating event, the football game between University of North Dakota vs. Drake University.

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 20 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 5 ounces ridged potato chips
  • 2-3 teaspoons vegetable oil


Heat the chocolate in a double boiler until melted. Remove from heat and stir in oil until a smooth consistency is reached. Dip half of each chip in chocolate, or if preferred, dip completely. Let excess chocolate drip off back into the saucepan. Place chip on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat with remaining chips. Let cool in fridge.

Snick Snack: Zweiback – Kansas

Forget what you think you know about zwieback. This is decidedly not that hard toast stuff you give to babies when they are teething. When folks talk zweiback in the Sunflower State, they are referring to delicious rolls, a little bit richer and saltier than the usual Zweiback - Kansashomemade bun. The Mennonites brought these from Russia, presumably because they traveled well, especially when toasted (thus the name in German which roughly translates to “double baked”). These rolls have a unique shape with a little ball on top of the base of the bun. They are great for Sunday brunch with some butter and jam or to hold your sandwich innards. They also freeze very well.

History buffs will love Fort Larned National Historic Site, which houses a complete and authentic army post from the 1860s. Various living history events will take place Labor Day weekend, September 5-7, 2015, including lectures, carriage rides and artillery and  blacksmith demos.

Zweiback - Kansas


  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 2 hrs, 30 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup margarine, butter, or lard
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 3/4 to 6 cups flour


Heat milk, water and butter or margarine together in a microwave safe bowl or cup until warm, about 100 degrees. Do not let the liquid boil as the yeast will not proof. Sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Let set a few minutes until mixture is bubbling.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast mixture with salt. Gradually add 3 cups sifted flour and beat with an electric mixture for 5 minutes. Add the additional flour and beat until thoroughly combined. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and knead by hand for about 8-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough into a large bowl coated in oil and cover with a tea towel. Place in a warm spot for about 75 minutes or until dough is doubled in size. Punch down and let dough rise again, about 30-45 minutes. Punch down again. Remove dough to a well-floured surface and knead out any air bubbles.

To form the rolls, divide dough into 24 pieces. Roll each piece by hand until round, then pinch off a large marble sized piece. Place bigger piece on well-greased baking sheet, flatten slightly. In the middle of the roll, make an indentation, then place the smaller ball on top (this will ensure the top will not slide off during baking). Continue until all rolls are formed, making sure to spread out the rolls 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.


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