Category Archives: Snack

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.

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The Best Cornbread – Oklahoma

Oklahoma had to be special and designate a state meal (the only other one in the country is the state meal of North Louisiana). It consists of cornbread, fried okra, barbeque pork, squash, biscuits, sausage and gravy, black eyed peas, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, and pecan pie.

Cornbread - Oklahoma

We’ll eventually get around to cooking some of these dishes but we went out of our way to try to find THE BEST cornbread recipe. We’ve been using the cornbread recipe off the back of the cornmeal canister for years with no complaints. But then we tried a few different recipes. No offense back-of-the-canister recipe, but this, recipe, whoa! The cornbread that emerged from the oven was sweet, dense, and moist. One stick of butter, two eggs and buttermilk will give you the best dang cornbread you’ve ever had.

For a completely different experience, visit Oklahoma City’s Museum of Osteology.   With over 300 skeletons on display, this privately held collection is one of the largest in the world.

Best Cornbread

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick butter, melted in microwave
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Instructions

In a medium sized bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, salt and baking soda). Set aside. In a separate, larger bowl combine melted butter, sugar and honey. Add eggs and stir to combine, then add buttermilk. Gradually add dry ingredients until just incorporated into wet ingredients. Do not over-stir. Pour batter into greased 8×8 pan. Smooth top. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes and top is golden brown or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Pig Candy – Wyoming

Fries dipped into a milkshake. Chocolate covered pretzels. Prosciutto wrapped melon. Sweet and salty pairings may seem incongruous (see our recent Fluffernutter post) but they are actually delicious. Now comes Pig Candy (a.k.a. candied bacon) made famous

Pig Candy (aka candied bacon)

 

by Café Genevieve in Jackson Hole. You could order this online for princely sum, or try our recipe. Just leave out the cayenne pepper if you don’t want the heat. You can also make this on the grill if you prefer.

The National Elk Refuge near Jackson Hole is a conservation area run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Its mission is to provide, preserve, restore, and manage the winter habitat for the Jackson Elk Herd. The refuge is also habitat for endangered species, birds, fish, and other big game animals.

Pig Candy

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 8 slices thick cut bacon
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

With a fork, combine brown sugar and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Lay bacon on slotted broiler pan with foil underneath to catch drippings. Spread half the brown sugar mixture in an even layer on the bacon, making sure there are no clumps of sugar. Place pan in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and brush on half of the maple syrup. Turn the bacon over and spread on the remaining brown sugar mixture, followed by the rest of the maple syrup. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crisp and browned. Let cool completely before serving.

Fluffernutter – Massachusetts

October 8th is National Flutternutter Day. If you’ve never experienced the joy that is a flutternutter, let us indoctrinate you.

Marshmallow Fluff is actually celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Originally sold door to door in Somerville, Mass. by an

Fluffernutter - Massachusetts

enterprising fellow name Achibald Query, Boston candy company Durkee-Mower bought the recipe in 1917 for $500.

The sandwich dates back to WWI, when Snowflake Marshmallow Crème (an initial competitor of Durkee-Mower) began printing small brochures with the recipe, dubbing it a “Liberty Sandwich.” Durkee-Mower, however, really capitalized on the idea with a marketing campaign in the 1960s.

Catchy, right?? Even in black and white, this ad makes you want a fluffernutter RIGHT NOW. Luckily, this is a ridiculously easy sandwich to make and enjoy.

Quincy Market, which opened in 1826 in Boston, is a food-lovers mecca with over 50 restaurants and eateries, selling everything from lobster rolls to Boston cream pie.

Fluffernutter

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 slices, favorite soft bread
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons Marshmallow Fluff

Instructions

Spread one piece of bread with peanut butter, the other with Marshmallow Fluff. Cement together and enjoy.

 

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hawaiian Donuts: Leonard’s Bakery Malasadas

Malasadas are the Hawaiian donut you never met but will instantly love. Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu has been making these sugary orbs of goodness since the 1950s. Originally a Portuguese

Malasadas - Hawaii

confection, these treats jumped two oceans as well as the vast expanse of North America when sugar cane and pineapple workers from Portugal immigrated to Hawaii. Created to celebrate Fat Tuesday, now you can find malasadas throughout the year and all over the Hawaiian Islands. If you are driving in Hawaii and see a food truck with a long line of people, pull a U-turn and check it out, they could be selling malasadas.

What makes malasadas different than donuts is the rich batter, fortified with eggs and half and half. The basic recipe we have used here from Leonard’s is plain sugar but on Hawaii you can find malasadas filled with all sorts of custards, including vanilla, chocolate and coconut. Super ono! Malasadas are a bit time consuming as they have to rise twice but if you make them, you will be the rock star of your household and neighborhood — if you dare give some away.

While in Hawaii, don’t miss the USS Arizona Memorial, including the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. This is one of the most heavily visited sites in Hawaii and is a very moving memorial to the sailors and service people who died there.

Leonard’s Bakery Malasadas

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 ½ cups sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups bread flour, sifted
  • Canola oil (for frying)

Instructions

Combine yeast,  one teaspoon sugar and two tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl. Set aside until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixture with the paddle attachment, beat eggs. Add yeast mixture, ½ cup sugar, butter, milk, half and half, and salt. Beat until combined. Add sifted flour gradually and mix until dough is smooth and elastic (it will be quite sticky). Transfer to a clean bowl coated with vegetable oil. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch square, so the dough is about ½ inch thick. Cut the dough into 12 3-inch squares (alternatively, you can make smaller, round malasadas by cutting the dough into 24 pieces). Place each dough piece on an individual square of parchment paper on two baking sheets at least 3 inches apart. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place again, for approximately one hour.

Heat oil to 350 degrees. Place remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl. Working in batches, remove dough from parchment paper and drop gently into hot oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Toss in sugar when cool enough to handle. Serve while warm.