Category Archives: Side dish

Tomato Pie with Basil and Feta – Alabama

Summer, summer, summer. Ice cream cones, lazy days at the pool, catching fireflies at dusk. And tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes. If you garden, this might be about the time you start wondering what to do

Tomato Pie with Bail and Feta

with your surplus of the red juicy orb. Tomato Pie is just the ticket. This very southern dish dates back to the 1830s. We gussied up the traditional version to include sautéed onions, garlic, basil and feta cheese which plays so nicely with tomatoes. One thing we dared not mess with is the mayo/cheese topping which bakes into a layer of gooey goodness. Serve with a green salad and maybe some grilled chicken sausages and you’ve got yourself a darn good meal.

Tomato Pie with Basil and Feta

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a museum and cultural center that highlights the role of the city in the civil rights movement beginning in the 1950s.

Tomato Pie with Basil and Feta

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 50 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For crust:

  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • ½ cup cold water

For filling:

  • 1 ½ lbs. tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pepper
  • Basil, diced
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup mayonnaise

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). Roll out onto floured surface, adding a bit of flour at a time if the dough is too sticky. Gently lift into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edge. Set aside.

For filling: Slice tomatoes thinly and place in colander. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside for approximately 10 minutes.

In the meantime, cook onion over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Add minced garlic and continue cooking until onion is just beginning to brown and garlic is fragrant.

With a paper towel, blot tomatoes until most of liquid is removed. Combine cheeses. Reserve ¾ cup for topping. Mix this ¾ cup cheese with ½ cup of mayonnaise. Set aside.

Put one third of the cheese in the bottom of the pie plate. Sprinkle with one third of the onion mixture, then one third of the tomatoes. Season tomatoes with pepper. Finish with a sprinkling of basil. Repeat this step two more times so that there are three layers. Cover top of pie with the mayo/cheese mixture. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Let pie set 10 minutes before serving or serve at room temperature.

Sour Cherry and Rosemary Focaccia – Michigan

Hi folks! We’re back after a fabulous vacation in Scandinavia. The food was terrific! More on that next week. First we have to talk about sour cherries. We’ve talked before about how Michigan is the top producer of sour cherries. The sour cherry season is just a few

Sour Cherry and Rosemary Focaccia - Michigan

short weeks, so you really have to hustle to take advantage of this delicate but delicious fruit. Living close to Michigan, we’ve been indulging for a week now with sour cherries in our morning yogurt, sour cherries on top of salad and this fabulous focaccia recipe topped with sour cherries from Martha Stewart. Don’t be put off by the amount of time it takes, most of that time is hands off when the dough is resting. The finished product is delightfully crisp and chewy, and the sour cherries and dusting of sugar add a hint of sweetness. Don’t fret if you can’t find sour cherries, just use bing cherries instead.

Sour cherry and rosemary focaccia - Michigan

Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. Bicycles reign supreme on this vehicle-free island where Somewhere in Time was filmed. Golf or horseback ride, tour Fort Mackinac or the Grand Hotel, and don’t pass up the many fudge shops throughout town.

Martha Stewart’s Sour Cherry and Rosemary Focaccia

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 5 hrs.
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 2 ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 cups pitted sour cherries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar 

Instructions

Combine flour, water and yeast in bowl of a stand mixer. Mix for 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until tripled, about 2 hours. Add salt, then switch to a dough hook. Beat on low speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds longer. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface (it will be very runny and sticky). Fold dough into thirds as best you can, patting as you go so the dough deflates. Return dough to well floured mixing bowl. Cover and let stand for one hour or until doubled. Repeat folding process. Cover again and let stand for one hour or until doubled.

Take a large baking sheet (preferably 13 x 17) and add 1/3 cup olive oil. Using your fingers, make sure the oil covers the entire baking sheet. Turn dough onto the baking sheet, spreading it out evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes, and continue to press out the dough until it fills the entire baking sheet. Drizzle dough with 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil. Add cherries, then rosemary. Dust with sugar. Bake at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until focaccia is golden brown.

Year of Pulses: Slow Cooker Pinto Beans – Colorado

You’ve probably heard by now that the U.N. declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses. What are pulses? They are a group of 12 crops that includes dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans - Colorado

High in fiber, protein, vitamins and low in fat, pulses are heart healthy and a meat alternative you should consider.

Pinto beans are popular in the southeast and southwest and Dove Creek, Colorado, is the self-proclaimed pinto bean capital of the world. If you’ve got a leftover Easter ham bone you don’t know what to do with, this recipe is just the ticket but it’ll work just as well without if you are vegetarian or vegan. Soak the beans overnight, then rinse and drain before throwing them in the slow cooker with some onions, garlic and spices. Add some cornbread and an easier meal cannot be found.

Taste of Vail takes place March 30-April 3, 2016, and is considered one of the best spring food and wine events in the country.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 5 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry pinto beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 ham bone or 2 ham hocks (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4-5 cups water
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt (optional, for serving)
  • Scallions, chopped (optional, for serving)

Instructions

Pick through dried beans, making sure there are no stones. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water, let soak overnight.

The next day, drain beans and then add to slow cooker. Add ham bone (if using), seasonings, onion, and garlic. Add enough water to cover beans. Stir well. Cover with lid and cook, approximately 5 hours on high or until beans are very tender. If you used a ham bone, fish it out and remove any meat. Shred and return meat to slow cooker. Season again with salt and pepper.

 

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
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Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

 

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
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 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.

Spuds to Die For: Three Cheese Funeral Potatoes – Utah

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

Three Cheese Funeral Potatoes

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

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

Three Cheese Funeral Potatoes

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

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

Instructions

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

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

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

Tart-n-Sweet: Cranberry Orange Sauce – Massachusetts

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

Cranberry Orange Sauce - Massachusetts

 

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

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

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

Cranberry Orange Sauce

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

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

 Instructions

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

 

Quahog Agog: Clam Cakes – Rhode Island

The smallest state in the country, Rhode Island, is home to some exceptional eats, including coffee milk, New York System Wieners and pizza strips. But because Rhode Island is also known as the Ocean State, we decided to bring you a dish featuring the popular quahog, a unique seafood recipe for one of our favorite dishes, clam cakes.

Rhode Island Clam Cakes

Quahog (pronounced KO-hog) is a Narragansett Indian-derived term for the hard-shell clam found in these regions. You can use canned clams in your cakes, but we used fresh and steamed them ourselves to capture that bright ocean flavor. The maple syrup, buttermilk and beer are an unusual combination, but they all work together to create a winning dish. We recommend a shallow fryer so that the cakes turn out flat rather than golf ball-like. Eat these as an appetizer or dipped in New England Clam Chowder.

Head to Newport, Rhode Island, October 18-19, 2014, for Bowen’s Wharf Annual Seafood Festival. 

Rhode Island Clam Cakes

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 45 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe adapted from Hank Shaw, http://honest-food.net, used with permission.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pounds littleneck clams (yields approx. 1 cup of clam meat = approx. 30 clams)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup reserved clam cooking liquid
  • 1/2 cup cold beer
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Tartar sauce or Tabasco sauce (for dipping)

Instructions

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

To make clam cakes: Heat oil to 350 degrees, preferably in a shallow fryer. Mix all dry ingredients. Mix the clams and all liquid ingredients except the beer. After oil is hot, add beer, then gently fold liquid ingredients into the dry until just combined.

Drop tablespoons of batter into hot oil (and be careful not to crowd the pot). Fry batches until golden, turning once, for approximately 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Serve with tartar or Tabasco sauce, or dip in New England Clam Chowder.

 

 

Fried Green Tomatoes are Southern Comfort – Alabama

When you travel through the Heart of Dixie, as the state of Alabama is known, you’ll undoubtedly see fried green tomatoes listed as either a main course or a side dish on menus in dining establishments ranging from humble meat-and-three roadside diners to more upscale sit-down spots. The association between the dish and the state harks back to the 1991 movie of the

GreenTom.081 label

same name, set around the fictional Whistle Stop Café near Birmingham. Truth be told, we can’t actually say if the dish has its origins anywhere near Alabama, since it’s found on dinner tables throughout the South. But the hot, fried slices – which you can either pan-fry or deep-fry – have become undeniably associated with the state, courtesy of Fannie Flagg’s quintessentially Southern novel. If you’ve never tried this dish, what we can say for sure is that the pairing of fried cornmeal-flour batter with the tart and firm flesh of unripe fruit is irresistible – especially when served with a cool dipping sauce (we chose ranch dressing). Pour a glass of ice-cold sweet tea to go along with it, and you’ve got yourself some good eatin.’

If you’re headed to sweet home Alabama, check out the Whistlestop Festival in Irondale, September 27, 2014.

Fried Green Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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 Recipe courtesy of Phyllis Foster of Athens, Ala., used with permission.

Ingredients

  • 4 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk (or buttermilk)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Ranch dressing for dipping

Instructions

In a deep fryer, preheat oil to 350 degrees. Season tomatoes on both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, cayenne and paprika in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, beat eggs with the milk. First dredge tomatoes through the flour mixture, then the egg wash, and then back through the flour mixture again. Add only a few pieces to the fryer at a time, so pieces cook evenly, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain on paper towels and serve with buttermilk ranch dressing.

Arkansas Rice Reigns

 

The Arkansas Delta is the sister region to the Mississippi Delta, both sharing an alluvial plain that is home to small rural towns, migratory birds, and large, flat tracts of farmland. One of the key crops grown on the Arkansas side is rice – that versatile grain that feeds a good portion of the world. A little more than a century ago, a farmer by the name of W.H. Fuller took a hunting trip to Louisiana where he saw rice growing. Thinking that the agricultural conditions in Arkansas would be quite similar, he brought the grain back, and is credited with starting the rice industry in the state. And a good job he did — because today, Arkansas is the leading producer of rice in the United States.AR & LA.003 sign

 

 

With so many ways to prepare rice, we opted to bring you a recipe that utilizes brown rice, which is a less processed whole grain without the husk. It retains the bran and germ layers, making it a Continue reading Arkansas Rice Reigns