It may surprise you to know that almost every state has a state insect. Utah’s state insect is the European honeybee, so designed in
1983 after the lobbying efforts of schoolchildren. What’s more, Utah adopted the beehive as its official emblem in 1959. The beehive symbolizes the industry, perseverance and thrift of Utah’s first settlers.
Fitting then, that we should feature a recipe with honey as one of the ingredients. We recently were gifted with some pure culinary lavender (thanks Mom!) and thought that it would be the perfect addition to this honey lemonade. We love how the lavender turns the lemonade slightly pink. The taste is subtle, but if you want a stronger lavender flavor, add a bit more than one tablespoon and/or steep for longer than 30 minutes.
Visit Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. The park is a red rock paradise with over 2,000 natural stone arches.
Honey Lavender Lemonade
- 5 cups water, divided
- 1 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon culinary lavender
- 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
In a medium saucepan, add 2 ½ cups water and honey. On medium heat, bring to steaming or until honey dissolves. Remove from heat, add lavender. Let steep 20-30 minutes. Strain liquid into a pitcher. Add lemon juice and additional 2 ½ cups water. Mix well. Serve chilled.
We’ve talked about regional burgers before when we explored the Minnesota Juicy Lucy and the Okie Onion Burger. Now comes the
Utah Pastrami Burger. Made famous by Utah’s Crown Burgers, the Pastrami Burger has been around since the 1950s in California. Manuel Katsanevas, founder of the Crown Burger on North Temple Street, admits that he learned to make pastrami burgers from a guy in Los Angeles. This ode to beef is topped with sliced lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese and of course, hot pastrami.
And you cannot forget the fry sauce. Fry sauce is a little like a smooth Thousand Island dressing, seasoned with pickle juice rather than relish. Great on the burger, the fry sauce also is a tasty dip for French fries.
Prepared to be dazzled by speed, snow and aerial tricks at various events at Utah Olympic Park in the next few weeks including the Luge World Cup, the Nordic Combined Continental Cup, the US Freestyle Aerials Selection, and the Bobsled and Skeleton World Cup.
For the burgers:
- 1 1/2 lb ground chuck
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ pound thinly slice beef pastrami
- Sliced American or Cheddar cheese
- 4 burger buns
- Sliced tomato, lettuce, onions (optional)
For the fry sauce:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2-3 teaspoons pickle juice (to taste)
- 2-3 dashes hot sauce
For the fry sauce: Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Set aside.
For the burgers: Mix ground beef with salt, pepper garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. Divide into 4 patties. Grill 3 to 4 minutes each side for a medium burger. Place on buns. Top with cheese, then pastrami warmed for a few minutes in a frying pan. Add fry sauce and other desired fixings.
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.
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
- 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
- 3/4 cup crushed cornflakes or panko
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.