Giddy Up: Cowboy Caviar – Oklahoma

The Sooner State is lucky enough to have designated an entire state meal which consists of fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbeque pork,

Cowboy Caviar - Oklahoma

biscuits, sausage & gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, black eyed peas, and pecan pie. Quite a list, isn’t it? All of this food reflects the history, culture and agriculture of the state.

We decided we needed to highlight one of these products. We chose black eyed peas, the main ingredient in this lovely little salad/appetizer dip known as Cowboy Caviar. Black eyed peas, also known as cowpeas or southern peas, are grown in Oklahoma and all over the south as it tends to do well in hot and dry climates. This legume is high in fiber and a good source of protein.

If you are hosting a gathering for Memorial Day or need to bring something to a potluck this weekend, this is a great dish especially because it can tolerate being at room temperature without refrigeration. Just double the amounts if you are feeding a large crowd. As an added bonus, this dish gets better with time. Make it the night before and let the lime Sriracha dressing permeate the veggies so the flavors meld.

If you need to get your cowboy on, check out the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The museum is the host for the 25th Annual Chuck Wagon Gathering & Children’s Cowboy Festival on May 23-24, 2015.

 

Cowboy Caviar

  • Servings: 4-6 as a salad, 8-10 as a dip
  • Time: 20 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 Ingredients

  • Juice from 2 limes, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, depending on your heat preference
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) black eyed peas, drained
  • 1/2 can (15.5 oz.) yellow hominy, drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red or yellow pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

In a large bowl, mix lime juice, honey, and Sriracha sauce. Add black eyed peas, hominy and all vegetables except the avocado. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and place in fridge at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. Add avocado right before serving. Serve as a side dish or with tortilla chips as an appetizer.

Clamoring for More:- New Haven White Clam Pizza – Connecticut

The Nutmeg State’s second largest city, New Haven, is identified with the white clam pizza.  If you’ve never tasted the savory sensation that is white clam pizza, well then friends, you’ve been missing out. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana on Wooster Street claims

New Haven White Clam Pizza

to be the originator of this dish which dates back to the 1960s when the restaurant served little neck clams as an appetizer.  Presumably, Frank didn’t think it much of a stretch to toss some clams and parmesan cheese on top of dough and call it “apizza” (ah-beets as the locals still say).

A couple of tips about white clam pizza: We don’t recommend using canned clams. They will be way too chewy. Frozen will work in a pinch but your best bet, as usual, is freshly steamed. We’ve told you before here and here how to steam clams. It really is easy so don’t be intimidated.  Also, please note that the recipe below makes enough dough for two pizzas but the amount of clams and cheese is for only one pizza. Just double the amounts if you want to make two pizzas.

If you dig all things nautical, check out Mystic Seaport, the nation’s leading maritime museum with four national historic landmark vessels including the 1841 whaleship, the Charles W. Morgan, the country’s oldest commercial ship still in existence.

New Haven White Clam Pizza

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1 hour, 30 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

 

Ingredients

For crust (will make enough for two crusts):

  • I package yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray

For pizza (double these amounts if you will be making two pizzas):

  • 25-30 little neck clams
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely minced
  • Olive oil

Instructions

To make crust: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in ½ cup warm water. Let sit until mixture begins to foam. Add rest of water and olive oil.  Add 3 ½ cups flour, salt, and remaining sugar. Mix with a stand mixer fitted with dough hooks until well combined. If dough is too sticky add a quarter cup of flour at a time, until dough is smooth and elastic and pulls away from the bowl. Transfer dough to a large bowl that has been coated with cooking spray. Cover with a tea towel and let rise, about 40-55 minutes. Divide into two. Set aside one crust for a different kind of pizza or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

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. Turn down heat to medium. Add clams and cover. Steam about 4 to 6 minutes or until the shells just start to open. Do not overcook as clams will cook again on the pizza. 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.

To make pizza:  Preheat oven to 550 degrees with pizza stone inside if using. Place the ball of dough down on a well-floured work surface. Using the heel of your hand, press down to flatten. Lift the dough onto a round pan or pizza paddle sprinkled with corn meal. Continuing pressing and shaping the dough.  If dough is too springy, let rest about 10 minutes until the gluten relaxes, then proceed. Once dough is the appropriate size, press and shape a ½ inch crust on the edge. Brush dough with olive oil. Add Parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic and then clams. If using a pizza paddle, transfer pizza onto baking stone that has been preheating in oven. Bake at 550 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is browned and the cheese is golden. Finish with additional olive oil if desired.

Get Your Two Lips on Some Juleps: Mint Juleps – Kentucky

Hey racing fans, it’s Kentucky Derby season! The quintessential drink to quaff is the Mint Julep. The signature drink of Churchill Downs since 1938 when they first began serving it in souvenir cups

Mint Juleps - Kentucky

for 75 cents, this delicious concoction is easy to make at home with just a few ingredients. Churchill Downs now serves over 80,000 mint juleps during the two-day Derby.

The trick to this drink is making the mint simple syrup a day or two beforehand. The simple syrup gives the drink a minty oomph that simply muddling the mint leaves won’t do.

The key ingredient is of course, Kentucky Bourbon. If you get the chance to visit Louisville you must designate a driver and then hit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which offers tours of nine different bourbon distilleries. Buy the best Kentucky Bourbon you can afford for this drink, it’s worth every sip.

Bust out your fancy hats and make your way to Louisville on May 1 and 2 for the 2015 Kentucky Derby.

Mint Juleps

  • Servings: 2 drinks
  • Time: 15 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

For mint simple syrup:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 bunch mint

For cocktails:

  • 4 tablespoons mint simple syrup
  • 4 ounces of Kentucky bourbon
  • 4-6 mint leaves, crushed
  • Crushed ice
  • Confectioners sugar (optional)

Instructions

For mint simple syrup: Place water and sugar in saucepan. Heat on medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add mint. When cool, place in a glass container overnight in fridge. Remove mint after 24 hours.

For cocktail: Add mint simple syrup and bourbon to cocktail shaker. Shake well. Add crushed iced into two glasses. Divide cocktail into glasses. Add mint leaves. Top with confectioners sugar if desired.

 

 

Why Knot? Soft Pretzels – Pennsylvania

As treats go, pretzels have a long history, going back hundreds of years to European bakers. German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania during the early 1800s were responsible for the pretzel proliferation. Julius Sturgis opened the country’s first

Soft Pretzels - Pennsylvania

 

commercial pretzel bakery in Lancaster County, Pa, in 1861. Rumor has it that the average Philadelphian consumes 12 times as many pretzels as the rest of the population. In 2003, Governor Ed Rendell declared April 26 as National Pretzel Day, to commemorate the commonwealth’s long history with the salty snack. And talk about creative, one Philly pretzel factory recently rolled out a Tim Tebow pretzel after the quarterback signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In preparation for the upcoming twisted celebration, you can make soft pretzels at home. We’re not going to lie, the recipe takes some time and is a bit tricky, but the results are so worth it. Soft and warm, these babies are great with a little mustard or some nacho cheese.

A couple of pointers: Rolling out the ropes to 30 inches is not a typo. But you won’t be able to do it in one try. Roll out the ropes one at a time as long as you can get them, then let them rest a bit. The gluten will then relax. Roll them out some more, and you’ll be able to get to 30 inches.   Place the shaped pretzels in the freezer for a couple of hours to prepare them for the alkaline bath. This will allow the pretzels to hold their shape as they are dipped. About that alkaline bath, commercial pretzel bakers use food-grade lye to get that rich, brown color and distinct flavor. But lye is caustic. You can re-create that chestnut brown finish with a baking soda bath. (Baking soda is about 9.5 on the pH scale while lye is about 14, at the top of the scale). Make sure you dip both sides of the pretzel for about 30 seconds total. If you leave out this step, you will have baked bread in the shape of a pretzel.

If you’re near Lancaster, PA, prepare to take a tour of one of the six pretzel factories in the area.

Soft Pretzels - Pennsylvania

Soft Pretzels

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups warm water (heated to 110 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 to 4 ½ cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Cooking spray
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

Heat 1 ½ cups water in saucepan or microwave. Water should be warm, not hot, to the inside of the wrist. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water, sugar, salt and yeast. Let sit a few minutes or until yeast starts to bubble. Add flour and butter. Use the dough hooks and mix on low speed until just combined, then switch to medium speed until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover bowl with a tea towel and let sit in a warm spot for 50 minutes to an hour or until the dough has doubled.

To prepare to roll out the pretzels, first spray the work surface with a generous amount of cooking spray. Punch dough down and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a long rope. Let sit a few minutes for the gluten to relax, then roll out each piece to 30 inches. Form dough into a pretzel shape by making a U, twisting about two inches from the ends and then pressing the ends into the bottom of the U. Place pretzels on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

When ready to bake pretzels, boil 10 cups of water with 2/3 of a cup baking soda. Remove pretzels from freezer. Dip each pretzel into the alkaline bath for 15 seconds on each side. Place each pretzel back on the baking sheet and brush with the egg yolk mixture, then salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 450 degrees or until pretzels turn chestnut brown.

Lovey Dovey Loosey Goosey: Loose Meat Sandwich – Iowa

A loose meat sandwich is a declaration in simplicity. Not gussied up with tons of toppings, not loaded with cheese, the loose meat sandwich is not a sloppy joe or a burger, but something in between.

Loose Meat Sandwich - Iowa

Sometimes called a tavern sandwich, the beef is lightly seasoned and usually adorned with ketchup, mustard, raw onion, and pickle rounds. Made famous by the Midwest chain Maid-Rite, this ode to beef has been sustaining Iowans, where most of the stores are located, since the 1920s.

If don’t live in the Midwest, you can easily make this sandwich at home. You’ll find tons of variations on this recipe, with lots of different ingredients — some even include cola as a sweetener — but we liked this one for its straightforwardness with ingredients you probably already have on hand.

If you’ve never checked out the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, you’ve been missing out. From its iconic gold dome, to the glass floor in the rotunda, the building is simply stunning and well worth a tour.

Loose Meat Sandwiches

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 large onion, chopped finely (reserve approx. 2 tablespoons raw)
• 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
• 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
• 1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 14.5 oz. can of beef broth
• 2 teaspoons brown sugar
• 4 sesame seed hamburger buns
• Salt
• Pepper
• Dill pickles, sliced

Instructions
Heat the vegetable oil on medium heat in a large saute pan. Add onions, sauting until translucent. Add beef and cook until meat is no longer pink. Use a potato masher to break up the larger chunks of beef. Add the mustard, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, then add the beef broth and sugar. Continue cooking until broth is reduced. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on buns, topped with ketchup and/or mustard, raw onions and pickle slices.

Badger State Trinity in a Bowl: Cheesy Brat and Beer Soup – Wisconsin

When you think of the Badger State, you think of three things: beer, brats and of course, cheese. Wisconsin has led the United States in cheese making since 1910, producing a whopping 2.9 billion pounds in 2013. What a lotta gouda! As for the beer and brats, we can thank the influx of German immigrants, who came in waves in the second

Cheddar, Brat and Beer Soup - Wisconsin
half of the nineteenth century. Many of these immigrants were lured by inexpensive farmland, which in turn led to the state’s large dairy production. In 1940, license plates in Wisconsin boasted the slogan “America’s Dairyland.” This soup is a delicious combination of all three Wisconsin products. If you’re cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers this weekend or hosting a viewing party for the Final Four, this soup would be a perfect addition.

Get a taste of beer, brats and cheese at the Dairy State Cheese and Beer Fest, April 18, 2015, in Kenosha.

Cheesy Brat and Beer Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 45 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe adapted from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 medium onions, finely chopped
• 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
• 14 oz. chicken or vegetable broth
• 1/3 cup flour
• 1 cup milk (2 percent preferred)
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 10 ounces Wisconsin cheddar cheese
• 4 links of grilled bratwurst (can substitute Polish sausage), sliced ½ inch thick
• 12 ounces beer (Pilsner style)

Instructions

Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onions and carrots, cook until they are soft. In a separate bowl, whisk flour into the broth, breaking up any lumps. Stir into the vegetable mixture. Add milk, pepper and mustard. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Gradually stir in the cheese, taking care not to overheat or the cheese will become stringy. Add the sliced brats and beer. Cook until heated through. Top with additional shredded cheddar if desired.

Feast Away on Crawfish Etouffee – Louisiana

Yes, it’s true. At least one state has an official state crustacean. The Louisiana legislature bestowed this honor to the crawfish in 1983. Crawfish — also called mudbugs, crayfish or crawdads — look like

Crawfish Etouffee - Louisiana

mini lobsters but are the freshwater version. While crawfish are caught in the wild – with a season that runs from roughly December through June – Louisiana also has an established farming industry that provides more than 90 percent of the domestic supply.

If you’ve ever dined on crawfish, you know that its delicate, lobster-like tail meat is perfect in soups, stews, dips and the etouffee (French for “smothered”) recipe you see below. Keep in mind that if you’re buying whole crawfish rather than just the tails, your yield of meat is about 15 percent. Meaning, you’ll have to buy about 6 pounds to get 1 pound of meat. If you can’t find crawfish, you can substitute shrimp or even crab, and if you like it spicy, just up the amount of cayenne.

The Louisiana Crawfish Festival takes place March 26-29, 2015, in Chalmette.

Crawfish Etouffee

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe courtesy of www.cajundaughters.com, used with permission.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped fine
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 small bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

Season tails with salt and pepper and set aside. Make roux with butter and flour, cook over medium heat until light brown. Add celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook until the onion becomes translucent. Add tails and sauté about 20 minutes. Add water and green onions and bring to a boil. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes. Add parsley and cook 5 more minutes. Season to taste. Serve over hot rice.

Sugar-Dusted Goodness: Zeppole – New Jersey

Even though it was battered by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Garden State is known for its beautiful shore. A favorite food from the boardwalks of Seaside or Wildwood is the delectable delight of sugar-coated fried dough known as zeppole. Also known as sfingi,

19 w label

zeppole are associated with the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19th, but they can be found year-round at family-run pizzerias, street fests and church festivals thanks to the state’s large Italian population. Many variations on the basic recipe exist: Some are filled or topped with a pastry cream; some are even savory with bits of chopped anchovy. We like the street fair version best, made with ricotta and dusted with powdered sugar.

Check out the Atlantic City Beer and Music Fest, March 20-22, 2015, featuring over 1,000 beers from 150 breweries.

Zeppole

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

Mix dry ingredients first, then add egg, ricotta and vanilla, mixing just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Batter should be sticky. In batches, drop by tablespoonful into oil heated to 375 degrees. Fry on both sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain excess oil. While still hot, place into a paper bag with confectioners sugar, close bag and shake. Remove and serve warm.

 

 

Tiny State, Big Flavor: Maple Hazelnut Pie – Vermont

You can always tell by the smell when spring arrives in Vermont. From about early March to mid-April, sugarmakers in the state head outdoors to tap sugar maple trees and process the sap by boiling it

Maple Hazelnut Pie - Vermont

 

down into the rich, brown syrup our pancakes couldn’t live without. (And, FYI, the evaporation process is pure olfactory heaven.) In 2014, the effort yielded 1.3 million gallons of maple syrup, once again making Vermont the leading producer of syrup in the United States. In fact, maple is the official flavor of the Green Mountain State. If you visit, you’ll find so many products made with it, including maple candy, maple mustard and maple cream.

We decided to bring you a recipe for Maple Hazelnut Pie that is easy and delicious, and could rightly be considered the Yankee answer to the South’s pecan pie. The hazelnuts – sometimes called filberts – are very crunchy, and once baked, have a great toasted flavor that really complements the maple.

If a visit to Vermont is in your future, check out the Open House Weekend, March 27-28, 2015, when sugarhouses across the state give tours, demos and samples.

Vermont Maple Hazelnut Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

For crust:

  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/2 cup cold water

For filling:

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup plus one tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts

Instructions

For crust: Place all ingredients except water in food processor and blend until fine crumbs are formed. Add water a little at a time until the dough is moist and forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use. (Can be made a day ahead.)

For filling: Melt butter on low heat. Add brown sugar until dissolved. Add maple sugar. Bring to medium heat and boil for 60 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add vanilla and salt. Allow mixture to cool.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Add cooled maple syrup mixture slowly. Add nuts and stir until coated. Place nut and maple mixture into rolled-out crust. Finish crust edge by fluting or press with fork tines. Place in 350-degree oven for 50 minutes or until filling is set.

 

 

 

 

All Hail the Power of the Pig: Pulled Pork Barbeque – North and South Carolina

If you live in the Southeast or have traveled there, you have some understanding of the popularity of pork on the lunch or dinner menu. And the way to prepare this little piggy? Why, barbequed, of course.

Pulled BBQ - North & South Carolina

We’re talking slow-cooked – often over a fire – ‘til the meat is tender and falls off the bone. The Carolinas sit right on the Barbeque Belt of the Southeast U.S. by virtue of history and tradition, bringing to the table distinctive variations that foster nothing short of regional fealty. The eastern region favors a vinegary pepper sauce, while barbeque lovers farther west incorporate more ketchup or tomato bases to their sauces. South Carolina meanwhile, adds an additional twist in the form of a mustard-based sauce reflective of the German immigrants who settled there. We offer a recipe for oven-roasted pork – a little easier for many of us than finding an outside pit – with your choice of Carolina finishing sauces.

You can find barbeque fests and competitions all over the Carolinas virtually every month. A couple of upcoming ones include the 6th Annual Bands, Brews and Barbeque competition in Port Royal, SC, February 27-28, 2015 and the 37th Annual Pig Cookin’ in Newport, NC, March 27-28, 2015.

North or South Carolina Pulled Pork Barbeque

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

For rub:

  • 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin
  • 3/4 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 5- to 7-pound pork shoulder
  • Hamburger buns

For North Carolina sauce:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

For South Carolina sauce (recipe courtesy of the South Carolina Barbeque Association, used with permission):

  • 1 cup mustard
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup vinegar (white, apple or wine)
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tablespoon sorghum or molasses

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all spices for rub in a small bowl. Rub the mixture over the pork, covering meat completely.  Roast meat until meat thermometer reads 170 degrees and meat is falling off the bone, 3 to 4 hours. Remove from oven and let cool. With clean hands, pull pork from bone and shred meat with two forks. Add North or South Carolina Barbeque sauce. Serve on hamburger buns with coleslaw.

 

 

 

Highlighting food from our 50 states

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53 other followers

%d bloggers like this: