All posts by stateeats

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches – South Carolina

If you are in need of comfort, nothing is more soothing than a bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese. We recently saw grilled pimento

Grilled Pimento Cheese- South Carolina

cheese as a menu item at a fancy sandwich shop and thought it was genius.

We’ve talked before about how pimento cheese spread did not become a home prepared item until after WWII. This delicious cheese dip can be made as zippy as you want with the addition of hot sauce. Spread between slices of sturdy bread and grilled until the cheese is oozing and melted, this is the definition of a culinary hug.

Congaree National Park, near Hopkins, encompasses almost 27,000 acres and is a designated Wilderness Area, an International Biosphere Reserve, a Globally Important Bird Area and a National Natural Landmark. The largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States is its claim to fame.

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 ounces pimentos, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worchester sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • 6 slices sturdy seeded Italian bread

Instructions

In the bowl of a food processor, add first six ingredients. Pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce, if desired.

Divide mixture evenly on 3 slices of Italian bread. Place top on each sandwich. Butter each side of bread. Grill sandwiches in a hot pan on each side until golden brown and cheese is melted.

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Sopapillas – Texas

Texas is fortunate to have not one, but two official state pastries, strudel and sopapillas. While you may indulge in sopapillas at your favorite Mexican joint, they are surprisingly easy to make at home.

Sopapillas - TexasThe dough comes together easily and you don’t even need an electric mixer. We opted for a cinnamon sugar dusting for our sopapillas, but you can leave yours unadorned or top them with honey or chocolate sauce.

On the very western edge of Texas sits Big Bend National Park. A spectacular spot for bird watching, visitors can also hike, bike, fish, take river trips or stargaze.

Sopapillas

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • Canola oil (for frying)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add shortening and water. Knead dough with your hands until combined, making sure not to overmix dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour or until well chilled.

Remove dough and place on clean work surface. Divide in half. Roll out one dough half into a circle, about 1/4 inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut circle into 8 equal pieces. Repeat with remaining dough half.

Heat canola oil in a large, heavy pot until 375 degrees. While oil is heating, combine sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Working in batches, fry sopapillas, about 2 minutes on each side or until light brown. Remove with spider or slotted spoon. Place in sugar/cinnamon mixture and toss on both sides until sopapilla is well coated. Let cool slightly before serving.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo – Louisiana

Louisiana declared gumbo as its state cuisine in 2004. Some scholars think gumbo might have been around as early as the 18th century. The word “gumbo” comes from the West African word for okra, “ki ngombo,” as okra was often used in this dish as a thickening agent.

This rich stew starts with a roux (flour and oil/butter), followed by  what Louisianans lovingly refer to as the “trinity” (onions, peppers

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo - Louisiana and celery). From there, variations abound: some are heavy on the seafood, some favor chicken or pork, and there is even a vegetable version for Lent.

We’ve brought you an adaptation of Emeril Lagasse’s gumbo recipe. We have made it too many times to count. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of time it takes to make, most of it is hands-off and it makes a TON. You can thank us later for the leftovers. You can find filé powder in the international aisle at most large grocery stores or online.

This weekend down in NOLA, parades from the so-called “super krewes” of Orpheus, Bacchus and Endymion will take place, featuring the biggest and most elaborate floats. Check out www.mardigrasneworleans.com for a full schedule.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 4 lb. chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 lb. kielbasa sausage
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon filé powder
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • white rice (for serving)
  • hot sauce (for serving, optional)

Instructions

In a large pot, heat 1-2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Rub chicken thighs with Creole seasoning. Working in batches, saute chicken in oil until it browns, about 5-6 minutes. With tongs, remove chicken to a plate and set aside. Add a ½ cup oil and flour to pot. Scrape up any browned bits on bottom of the pan. Cook roux until dark brown (the color of a tarnished penny), approximately 20 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook them for about 5 minutes. Add the salt, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves. Add the sausage and then the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for about 1 hour. Add reserved chicken to the pot and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours until chicken is tender and falling off the bone, occasionally skimming off the excess fat from the top of the gumbo.

Again with tongs, remove chicken from the stew to a clean plate. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Return meat to the gumbo, discarding the bones and fat. Stir in the filé powder, parsley and green onion. Adjust seasonings to taste. Best served over a scoop of white rice.

Recipe by Emeril Lagasse

 

Baked Potato Chips with Beer Cheese Dip – Idaho

The Gem State loooves their potatoes and who can blame them? Potatoes are like a warm, comforting hug. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C and a good source of potassium (even more

Baked Potato Chips with Beer Cheese Dip - Idaho than a banana), and the cost – cheap. Idaho’s most famous product is also versatile. Potatoes can be baked, mashed or fried, or made into soup, bread, cake, or candy.

If you are looking for something to serve for the Big Game next week, consider homemade Baked Potato Chips. Because they only use a little bit of canola oil, they are healthier than fried chips. The Beer Cheese Dip that we made to go along with the chips comes together very quickly and is tres delicious. Just play around with the amount of the seasonings until it tastes good.

For a fun and quirky experience, visit the Museum of Clean in Pocatello. See nearly 1,000 vacuums dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, as well as a Texas sized trash can, washing machines, brooms and tubs. Dedicated to “clean homes, clean minds, clean language, clean community, and a clean world.”

Baked Potato Chips with Beer Cheese Dip

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the chips:

  • 1 lb. small, gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

For the dip:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • Onion powder to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Paprika to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 green onions, diced, divided

Instructions

To make chips: Cut potatoes 1/4 inch thick. Take sliced potatoes and plunge them into a bowl filled with ice water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry. In medium bowl, combine oil and seasonings. Add potatoes, tossing until well coated. Lay potatoes in a single layer on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then flip and bake another 10 minutes (watching carefully so the chips do not burn), or until potatoes are crisp and golden.

To make dip: In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese, half of the shredded cheddar, beer, spices, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and half the green onions until well mixed. Transfer to serving bowl. Top mixture with the remaining cheddar, then remaining green onions.     

 

Chicken Paprikash – Ohio

Tony Packo’s Café in Toledo, Ohio, has been dishing up Hungarian food since 1932 when relatives gave Tony and his wife a $100 loan to open a sandwich shop. Fans of TV’s M*A*S*H might remember

Chicken Paprikash - Ohio

Corporal Klinger (played brilliantly by Jamie Farr) mentioning Tony Packo’s in several episodes.

One of Tony Packo’s signature dishes is their chicken paprikash. This comforting and warming dish is something we grew up eating despite having no Hungarian ties, probably because it was very simple for our working mom to prepare. Serve over egg noodles and with some good, crusty bread to sop up the gravy.

Do not miss the Glass Pavilion in Toledo. Although technically part of the Toledo Museum of Art, the Glass Pavilion is worth a visit alone with over 5,000 pieces of art. Be sure to check out the daily glass blowing demonstrations.

Chicken Paprikash

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • 3-4 lbs. chicken thighs or legs or combination
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 red peppers, cut in 2-inch strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt

Instructions

In a large cassoulet pan, heat oil on medium heat. Sprinkle chicken pieces well with salt and pepper. Place chicken pieces skin side down and cook until skin is brown and crispy. Turn chicken over and cook another 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.

In the same pan, over medium heat, heat onions and peppers until onions are translucent. Add garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Stir in paprika, making into a paste with the oil and vegetables. Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes. Return chicken to pan. Cook covered on medium low for 25-30 minutes. Add sour cream just before serving.

 

Black Bottom Pie – Alabama

We do love our pies here at StateEats, because, you know …. PIE!! The Black Bottom Pie is a Southern staple. This icebox pie is a very close cousin to the Mississippi Mud Pie, only without the nuts and

Black Bottom Pie - Alabama

liquor. Usually made with a graham cracker crust (or sometimes a gingersnap crust), the black bottom is a chocolate cream layer made with both cocoa powder and chocolate chips. The Gaines Ridge Dinner Club in Camden, Alabama, is said to have a superb Black Bottom Pie. If you can’t make it there, try to get yourself invited to a church potluck or Sunday supper anywhere in the south. Chances are, someone’s grandma made a Black Bottom Pie.

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, is the site where Dr. Martin Luther King planned and led the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956 while he was pastor. Still a vibrant congregation, you can attend services or take a tour Tuesday through Saturday.

Black Bottom Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve, blitzed in food processor)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter, melted in microwave
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt, a pinch

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Salt, pinch
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

For the topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon sugar
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)

 Instructions

For the crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and pinch of salt. Press into bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes or until crust begins to slightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine cocoa powder, sugar, salt and cornstarch. In a slow stream, add milk and heat on medium, whisking constantly until mixture thickens. Add chocolate chips and stir until incorporated. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and butter. Whisk until smooth and glossy. Pour filling into cooled pie crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the topping:  In a medium bowl, add heavy cream and beat with electric mixer on high until mixture begins to thicken. Add sugar and continue mixing until soft peaks form. Add whipped cream on top of chocolate filling. Add chocolate shavings (a vegetable peeler on the edge of a chocolate bar works well) if desired.      

 

Crab Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers – Delaware

Blue crab is one of the most important products of the First State, with almost 4 million pounds landed in 2016. If you get a chance to visit Lewes or Rehoboth Beaches in the summer, there is nothing

Crab Stuffed Mini Peppers - Delaware

better than visiting a crab house, where they will lay out the butcher paper and mallets as you pick some crabs. Beer and Old Bay Seasoning are integral to this experience and if your hands aren’t covered with bits of shell and crab meat, you are being far too prim.

Canned crab, on the other hand, offers all the deliciousness of crab without any of the mess. We made this appetizer recently for a party and it was a huge hit. The flavor of the crab really shines, as it’s not masked by cream cheese or other dairy products.

Step back to the late eighteenth century when you visit the Old Statehouse in Dover. Completed in 1791, this beautiful example of Georgian architecture served as both the state and county capitol building until 1933.

Crab Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Yellow, orange and red mini sweet peppers
  • 12 ounces crabmeat
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 scallions, chopped finely

 Instructions

Halve the mini sweet peppers. Remove seeds and membranes but leave steam intact. In a large bowl, mix crabmeat, mustard, mayo, Old Bay and scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place  peppers on a baking sheet. Spoon crab into peppers. Bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees, then broil to finish for 4-5 minutes or until crabmeat is golden brown.

 

Cubano Sandwich – Florida

Oh, Cubano sandwich, you make our hearts swoon. Besides being one of the best sandwich creations of all time, the Cubano sandwich has the distinct honor of hosting two types of pork. Before we get into the specifics, a little history.

Cubano sandwich - Florida

Miamians claim that the Cubano came from Cuba as it was on restaurant menus there dating back to the 1930s, but good evidence exists that it was created 25 years earlier in Ybor City, a Latin neighborhood in Tampa, at a place called the Columbia Restaurant, which claims to be Florida’s oldest restaurant. Tampa and Miami both have versions of this winning culinary creation. In Tampa, you will find the sandwich often includes salami, lettuce, tomato and mayo and is not pressed. In Miami, no salami and the sandwich is always pressed.

Our recipe here is a Miami version which is basically a gussied up toasted ham and cheese with both pork roast, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and sliced dill pickles.  We used a bolillo which is a type of Mexican roll. Whatever roll you use, the exterior of it cannot be too hard or crunchy. Once the bread is compressed it will be too hard to chew. Also, make sure you put the cheese of both sides of the roll. When it melts, it will hold the other fillings in place. Don’t have a panini press? No problem. Just use your favorite skillet, and then take another heavy pan and place it on top of the sandwich. Press down on both with your hands to compress the sandwich by about a third.

Visitors to Miami should not miss Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a stunning waterfront mansion built by James Deering, owner of Deering McCormick-International Harvester. This Italian Renaissance villa was completed in 1916 and features the main house, beautiful gardens and a stand-alone barge once used for cocktail parties that sits in Biscayne Bay, just a few feet from the terrace.

Cubano Sandwich

  • Servings: 1 sandwich
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 soft roll (like bolillo)
  • 3 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • 3 ounces sliced deli ham or Canadian bacon
  • 3 ounces sliced roast pork
  • Dill pickle, sliced
  • Butter

 Instructions

Slice open the roll and spread mustard of both slides. Lay cheese on both sides. On one side, add ham, pork and then sliced pickles. Close sandwich and butter both sides. Using a hot griddle, a plancha or panini press, toast sandwich on both sides, pressing down slightly until sandwich is compressed, cheese is melted and bread is golden brown.

Road Trip to Racine for Kringle – Wisconsin

StateEats took a road trip this past week up to Racine, Wisconsin, self-proclaimed Kringle Capital of the World. What is kringle, you ask? Wisconsin’s state pastry (so designated in 2013) is oval shaped,

butter-layered, infused with various fillings and iced on top.

Originally made in Denmark and often served during the holidays,  kringle is the town’s most famous product. Racine (sometimes called Little Copenhagen) is host to four separate bakeries that churn out this wonderful concoction all year round. We sadly didn’t have time to visit all four, so we focused on the biggest operation, O&H Danish Bakery.

O&H Danish Bakery, Racine WI

Christian Olesen began O&H in 1949. Now in its fourth generation of bakers, O&H has five locations. It takes three days to make one

O&H Danish Bakery, Racine, WI

 

O&H Danish Bakery, Racine WI
This is the ancient symbol of the bakers’ guild in Denmark, it is often found on exterior bakery signs in Denmark.

kringle, due to the fact that the dough must rest. Each O&H kringle is comprised of 36 layers.

And the flavors? Just take your pick because it is almost overwhelming with 30-something “everyday” flavors like pecan, blueberry, and cream cheese, as well as seasonal flavors like pumpkin caramel, cranberry, or our choice, a Very Danish Christmas Kringle (pictured below) which is cherry/almond. Delish!Kringle

O&H Kringle, Racine, WI

Kringle is very time consuming and difficult to make. We know because we tried and failed miserably, so we are not posting a recipe. But the good news is that you can order kringle from here and they will ship it right to your house. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Besides picking up kringle, if you visit Racine, check out the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed SC Johnson Headquarters, which is free and open to the public.

Hot Tamales – Mississippi

Mississippi boasts a Hot Tamale Trail. Yes, you read that right. Tamales ― those delectable packets of corn-based dough stuffed with pork, beef, chicken, cheese or vegetables and cooked in a corn

Hot Tamales - Mississippihusk ― are usually more associated with Mexican culture. But the trail was created by the Southern Foodways Alliance to celebrate this ubiquitous dish, which finds its way from Tunica in the north, all the way to Lumberton in the south.

No one is really sure of the tamale’s origins in this area of the country. Some say U.S. soldiers brought them back from Mexico after the Mexican-American War which took place in the middle of the 19th century. Others think African-Americans adopted the recipe from Mexicans who labored alongside them in cotton fields early in the 20th century. Hot tamales are usually made with pork rather than beef or chicken, and are spicier than their Latin-counterparts.

Tamales are certainly labor intensive but this recipe makes a ton and they freeze beautifully. You can also make the meat on day one, and then make the dough and simmer them the following day. More hands make light work so grab a friend or two and make it a tamale party.

If a road trip to Mississippi is in your future, check out Southern Foodways Alliance Hot Tamale Trail Map.

Hot Tamales

  • Servings: approx. 36-48 tamales
  • Difficulty: difficult
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Ingredients

For filling:

  • 7-8 lb. pork shoulder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced thickly
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3-6 cups chicken stock

For dough:

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups MaSeCa brand masa harina
  • 5-6 cups reserved cooking liquid from meat

To finish:

  • 16 oz. package, dried corn husks

 Instructions

For the filling: Take pork shoulder and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large heavy pot on medium heat, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the pork, searing on all sides until well browned. Remove the meat and set aside. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Return meat to pot, and then add enough chicken stock so that meat is covered. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until meat is very tender and falling off bone, about 2 1/2 hours.

While meat is cooking, take corn husks and separate them. Place in a large bowl. Add enough hot water so that they are completely submerged, adding another bowl on top of them if necessary to keep them underwater. Let corn husks soak for about 2 hours.

When meat is done, remove from it the pot and reserve cooking liquid, discarding skin, fat and other solids. When meat is cool enough to handle, shred meat from bone, again discarding fat and bone. Dice meat into smaller pieces. Add spices (chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt, oregano and cayenne pepper) and stir until well coated. Set aside.

For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add baking powder, then add salt. With mixer on low, add masa harina gradually, alternating with half cups of reserved cooking liquid. To test if done, drop a pea sized ball of dough into a glass of cold water, the ball should float to the top. If it does not, add a ¼ teaspoon of baking powder and continue mixing a few minutes more to incorporate more air into the dough.

To assemble: Remove a corn husk from the water and pat until dry. Fan out so that wide part is closest to you. Take ¼ cup of dough and spread thinly in an even rectangle, leaving about an inch of space on the left side of the husk. Add 2 tablespoons of meat in center of dough rectangle. Carefully fold the husk over so that the right side of rectangle meets the left side. Gently press to seal closed and then flatten tamale slightly to ensure even cooking. Tuck the thin end over. Stack tamales on a sheet pan and continue until you run out of filling or dough.

To steam tamales: Add one or two inches of water into a large pot. Add steamer insert. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low so that water is simmering. Stack tamales vertically, open end up, folded side toward the water, making sure they are not crowded. Place a few extra corn husks on top and cover with a lid. Steam for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, keeping an eye on the water so that it does not evaporate. Tamales are done when they easily peel away from the husks.