All posts by stateeats

Whoopie Pies – Maine

Whoopie pies are the state treat of Maine (not be confused with the state dessert which is blueberry pie). Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston, Maine, takes credit for inventing this confection way back in 1925.

Whoopie Pies - Maine

Whoopie pies come in various flavors combinations (both the cake and the filling), but in our humble opinion, the classic recipe is really the epitome of a perfect dessert. The outside is two soft chocolate cakes, that surround a fluffy, vanilla marshmallow-y filling. YUM! We have been making this recipe for years and years to much acclaim. No one can resist a whoopie pie. Why would you even want to?

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor is the second most visited national park east of the Mississippi. Visitors who make the trek up Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard, can claim to be the first people to see the sun rise, at least for part of the year.

Whoopie Pies

  • Servings: 12-15 pies
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For cakes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar

For filling:

  • 2 cups marshmallow spread
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar

Instructions

For cakes:

In a medium bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a measuring cup, combine milk and vanilla. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg and oil. Mix well until well combined. Add sugar and continue mixing, until well combined. With the mixer running, alternate adding the flour-cocoa mixture, with the milk mixture. Mix until just combined and no flour pockets appear in the batter.

Drop tablespoons of batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This will yield between 24 and 30 cakes depending on the size. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until the tops spring up when touched. Let cool on wire rack.

For filling:

Combine marshmallow spread, confectioners sugar, butter and vanilla in a clean bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Filling should be light and fluffy. When cakes are completely cool, spread filling on half of the cakes. Put cakes together to form a sandwich.

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Turkey, Orange and Rosemary Kebabs – Minnesota

The Gopher State is the number one producer of turkey in the country, raising approximately 44 to 46 million birds annually, according to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. Turkey

Turkey, Orange and Rosemary Kebabs, Minnesota

has more protein than chicken or beef and is lower in calories and fat, making it a good, heart healthy choice.

Even if summer is slowly slipping away, we couldn’t resist this tasty kebab recipe. We can grill outside until it snows, right?

If you are Twin Cities bound, be sure to check out the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, part of the Walker Arts Center. Forty works are highlighted, including the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.

Turkey, Orange and Rosemary Kebabs

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

• 10 ounces orange marmalade
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 teaspoons orange zest
• 2 pounds boneless turkey breast, cut into 1-inch pieces (can use chicken)
• Salt
• Pepper
• Orange slices, cut thinly (optional)

Instructions
Place marmalade in a small sauce pan and heat until melted. Combine marmalade and next six ingredients (mustard through orange zest) in shallow dish or ziptop bag. Mix well. Liberally salt and pepper the turkey, then add to marinade, tossing until well coated. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours, longer if you can.

When ready to grill, thread meat on skewers, along with orange slices, if using. Grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until meat is no longer pink, about 10-12 minutes.

Boiled Peanuts – Georgia

If you are driving in Georgia and see a “Boiled Peanuts” sign by the side of the road, by all means, pull over. Peanuts are one of the top products of the Peachtree state, along with peaches and pecans.

Boiled Peanuts - Georgia

Georgia produces a little over half of the peanuts in the country, with 1.7 million tons harvested in 2015. Boiled peanuts are one of those Southern specialties that are little known outside the region. Soft, salty and utterly addictive, this delicious snack is easy to make at home if you have a few hours. Be sure to use raw peanuts, not roasted, and keep a watch on them as the water will evaporate quickly at high heat.

Who is the most famous American presidential peanut farmer? Why, Jimmy Carter of course. Check out the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta. This museum and research institute houses 40,000,000 pages, 1,000,000 photographs, 2,200,000 feet of film, and 2,500 hours of video.

Boiled Peanuts

  • Servings: 6-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 pound raw peanuts, in the shell
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 gallons water

Instructions

In a large bowl, let peanuts soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain. In a large pot, bring peanuts, 3 gallons of water and salt to boil. Let boil for two to three hours or until peanuts reach desired consistency. If a very soft consistency desired, and more cooking time is needed, add more water if necessary. Drain and let cool before serving.

Buffalo Cauliflower with Maytag Blue Cheese Dip – Iowa

Maytag Blue cheese is one of Iowa’s most famous products. First produced in 1941, this family run dairy (the same one associated with the appliances) is in its fourth generation of making cheese and

Buffalo Cauliflower with Maytag Blue Cheese Dip - Iowa

uses a small batch method. If you like the flavor of blue cheese, Maytag will knock your socks off. It’s that good.

We love a good blue cheese dip but man cannot live on dip alone so we bring you Buffalo Cauliflower. This alternative to Buffalo wings is much lower in fat but has plenty of flavor and is mighty spicy. You’ve been warned.

Maytag Dairy Farms in Newton, Iowa, offers daily tours focusing on the history and packaging (note: this is not a production tour), Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00 and Saturday 9:00 to 4:00.

Buffalo Cauliflower with Maytag Blue Cheese Dip

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For cauliflower:

  • 4 cups cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For dip:

  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled Maytag blue cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

In a large bowl, combine milk, water, flour, and spices (garlic salt through pepper). Toss cauliflower into mixture and mix until it is completely coated. Place cauliflower on baking sheet covered with parchment paper, shaking off the excess batter. Cauliflower should be on a single layer and the pieces should not be touching. Bake at 425 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until cauliflower just begins to brown.

In the meantime, in a large, microwave safe bowl, add butter to the hot sauce. Microwave for one minute or until butter melts. Stir until butter is incorporated. At the 20 minute mark, remove cauliflower and toss it in the hot sauce mixture. Return cauliflower to baking sheet and bake another 20 minutes.

In the meantime, make the blue cheese dip by combining all ingredients including salt and pepper to taste.

Cauliflower will be done when it is browned. Serve immediately with blue cheese dip.

Walla Walla Onion and Mango Salsa – Washington

The next time you cut a sweet onion and don’t cry, thank a soldier named Peter Pieri. Pieri is credited with bringing sweet onion seeds from the island of Corsica to Washington in the 1880s. Sweet onions

Walla Walla Onion and Mango Salsa - Washington

have a very low amount of pyruvic acid which is the compound that makes you cry and gives onions their pungent bite. Walla Walla sweet onions are Washington’s official state vegetable thanks to a persistent group of schoolkids who lobbied the state legislature.

Sweet onion season is fleeting, just like summer. This recipe, slightly adapted from the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee, pairs the allium with summer fruit stand-outs mango and kiwi to make a terrific fruit salsa that will be a hit at your next patio gathering.

Towering over 14,000 feet, Mount Rainier makes its presence known, just 64 miles southeast of Seattle. With over 27 major glaciers and countless smaller ones, this peak supplies six rivers and is also an active volcano.

Walla Walla Onion and Mango Salsa

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Walla Walla onion, diced
  • 2 mangos, peeled and diced
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lime

 Instructions

 In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

Huckleberry Handpies – Montana

We’ve just returned from a glorious week in Glacier National Park. This jewel in the national park system is one of the most beautiful places on earth. At every turn, you are met with a stunning vista  . . .

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

a gorgeous waterfall . . .

St. Mary’s Falls, Glacier National Park

. . . or a majestic mountain.

Mt. Oberlin (with Bird Woman Falls), Glacier National Park

And huckleberries. Mid-July to August is prime huck season. Stores and shops promote huckleberry flavored everything including ice cream, coffee, lemonade, chocolate and popcorn. They are a favorite of the black bear who roams these quarters and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a bear by the side of the road, munching away on this delectable treat (we were safe in our car, thank goodness).

This handpie recipe is a real winner. It combines the taste of a full-on

Huckleberry Handpies- Montana

pie, with the ease of a handheld pastry. Don’t fret if you can’t find huckleberries — and you probably can’t unless you live in northwest Montana, they haven’t been successfully grown commercially — just use blueberries.

Going-to-the-Sun Road is a 50-mile road (in fact, one of the only roads) that takes you from one end of Glacier to the other. Open only in the summer and often maddingly jammed with traffic, this route offers breathtaking views and passes the highest point in the park, Logan Pass.

Huckleberry Handpies

  • Servings: 8 pies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For Pastry:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup cold water

For Filling:

  • 2 cups fresh huckleberries or blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Salt, pinch

For Topping:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Turbinado sugar 

Instructions

To make pastry: In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture is a coarse meal. Add water and pulse until dough comes together. Wrap dough in plastic and place in refrigerator until chilled.

To make filling: In the meantime, make the filling. Place berries in a medium saucepan. Add cornstarch, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Heat on medium until mixture begins to simmer. Allow mixture to thicken, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon zest. Set aside to cool (mixture can be made a day ahead of time).

To assemble handpies: Roll the chilled dough into a 12” X 12” square. Cut out 16 squares. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on 8 of the squares. Place pastry on top and crimp edges with fork tines. Brush tops of handpies with beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place each handpie on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut two small slits in each pie to allow steam to vent. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Crab Salad – Maryland

When you think of Maryland, you probably think of the Chesapeake Bay and if you think of the Chesapeake Bay, you probably think of blue crabs. The bay is an estuary (where saltwater and freshwater

Crab Salad - Maryland

mix) and the perfect environment for blue crab. In fact, the Chesapeake Bay produces 50 percent of the blue crab harvest in the United States.

If it’s hot where you are, you might welcome this no-cook crab salad recipe that does not involve an oven. We served this on endive boats for a lovely appetizer pre-concert, but you could put it on crackers or even a soft roll for a crab salad sammie.

Check out the wild horses on Assateague Island National Seashore, near Ocean City, where you can swim, hike the beach, kayak, fish or birdwatch.

Crab Salad

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 8 oz. fresh crab meat
  • Old Bay seasoning, to taste

Instructions

In a medium bowl, add celery, scallion, mustard and mayo. Mix until well combined. Gently fold in crab meat, taking care not to break up large lumps or claw meat. Add Old Bay seasoning to taste. Let chill before serving.

Rum Runner Cocktail – Florida

The Rum Runner cocktail evokes white sandy beaches, warm ocean breezes and sherbet colored sunsets. The drink was purportedly invented in the 1950s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada,

Rum Runner Cocktail - Florida

Florida, to get rid of an excess supply of rum and other liqueurs. This tasty concoction is a like a mini visit to the tropics and a great summer time sipper.

You can camp, bike, birdwatch, canoe, fish or hike at Everglades National Park, near Homestead. Wildlife sightings could include manatees, gators and maybe even a Florida panther.

Rum Runner Cocktail

  • Servings: 1 drink
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. banana liqueur
  • 1 oz. blackberry liqueur
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Orange slices (for garnish)

Instructions

In a cocktail shaker, add juices, liqueurs, rum and grenadine. Shake well. Pour over ice. Garnish with orange slices.

Blueberry Dutch Baby – New Jersey

Blueberries are the state fruit of New Jersey and have a long history in the state. The first commercial crop of blueberries was harvested in New Jersey in 1916, thanks to Elizabeth White, daughter of a

Blueberry Dutch Baby - New Jersey

cranberry farmer, and Frederick Coville, a botanist, who teamed up to cultivate the wild plant. In terms of nutrition, blueberries are a good source of fiber and vitamin C and are antioxidant powerhouses.

We have been making Dutch babies for years but just recently found a recipe for a blueberry dutch baby. This oven baked pancake is easy to make will delight the breakfast lovers in your life. You can whisk the batter by hand but a blender does a better job of getting rid of any lumps. Also note that the addition of blueberries prevents the dutch baby from puffing up as much as it normally does sans fruit.

Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange includes both his lab and residence, the Glenmont and are well worth the visit to glean a bit of knowledge of this creative genius.

Blueberry Dutch Baby

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 cup blueberries
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)
  • Maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

 In a blender or food processor bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, flour, and cinnamon. Blend quickly until lump free, 30-45 seconds. Let batter sit for 20-30 minutes on counter or until room temperature.

In the meantime, heat oven to 400. Using cast iron skillet or other oven-safe pan, add 2 tablespoons butter. Put pan in oven to melt butter. Remove pan from oven and swirl butter until it completely covers bottom of pan. Add blueberries. Slowly add batter so that it is evenly spread over the bottom of pan. Return pan to oven and cook for approximately 20 minutes (do not open oven during baking) or until it is puffed and edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Smoked Salmon Dip – Alaska

 We’ve talked before about Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, a.k.a. King Salmon, a.k.a Chinook salmon, the state fish of Alaska. Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which may aid in heart health,

Smoked Salmon Dip - Alaska

 

reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of stroke.

We especially love the flavor of smoked salmon. We’ve been buying Costco’s Alaskan version for several years now (they also carry Norwegian smoked salmon). Wild caught, it contains no artificial colors or preservatives. We took a few liberties with Ina Garten’s

Smoked salmon dip Smoked Salmon Dip. Double this recipe if you’re having a party, otherwise, it’s the perfect amount for a pre-dinner nibble with some raw veggies and crackers.

Rising over 20,000 feet, Denali is North America’s tallest mountain. Sitting amid 9,400 square miles of parkland, this jewel in the national park system is bigger than the state of New Hampshire and contains only one road.

Smoked Salmon Dip

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon, diced
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

 In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, mix cream cheese with yogurt until smooth. Add lemon juice and horseradish. Mix again. With a wooden spoon, add salmon and mix until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled with crudité and crackers.