Category Archives: Vegan

Bar Food is for Lovers: Sweet and Savory Peanuts – Virginia (vegan)

We don’t know about you, but when we think of the foods of Virginia, two things come to mind: Smithfield ham (which is a type of country ham protected by state law and only produced in the town

Sweet and Savory Peanuts - Virginiaof Smithfield) and peanuts. There are actually thousands of peanut cultivars but the four main groups grown in the U.S. include Spanish, Runner, Valencia and Virginia. Virginia peanuts are mostly grown in southeastern Virginia but also in the Carolinas. Virginia peanuts are prized because they are bigger than the other types.

For those who love sweet and salty snacks to go with a beer or cocktail, this recipe will deliver. Just try to keep yourself from eating too many at once, we found them totally addictive. You’ve been warned.

Enjoy the wildflowers on the historic Skyline Drive which covers 105 miles through Shenandoah National Park. Be sure to allow enough time for checking out the visitor center, hiking, exploring neighboring towns, and of course, eating.

Sweet and Savory Peanuts

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (up to ¼ teaspoon if you like spicy)
  • 1 ½ cups lightly salted Virginia peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

In a large bowl, place agave syrup and spices (everything except the sugar). Stir until well blended. Add peanuts and stir to coat. Spread peanut mixture evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees, stirring every five minutes for 20 minutes or until nuts are caramel brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle on sugar, then toss with spatula until nuts are fully coated. Let cool. Break up into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container.

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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
  • 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 Crunchy: Vegan Maple Pecan Cherry Granola – Vermont

If you’ve never made homemade granola, we’re here to tell you it’s the simplest thing ever. Besides that, you have the added bonus of being able to control the ingredients, especially the sugar.  This Vegan Maple Pecan Cherry Granola - Vermont

recipe uses Vermont’s most famous and favorite product – maple syrup. We’ve told you before how Vermont leads the states in producing maple syrup and how maple is the official flavor of the Green Mountain State.

We’ve been making this granola recipe for years and it’s a big hit whenever we have company. We are partial to pecans and dried cherries but you can use whatever nuts and dried fruit you prefer – almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries – it’s all good.

If a visit to the Vermont is in your future, check out the Open House Weekend, April 2-3, 2016, when sugarhouses across the state give tours, demos and samples.

Vegan Maple Pecan Cherry Granola

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 ½ cups pecans or other nuts
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup dried cherries

Instructions

In a large bowl, place oats, nuts, chia seeds (if using), turbinado sugar and salt. Stir until combined. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Add maple syrup and water. Heat until boiling. Add maple syrup mixture to the oat mixture. Stir to combine.

Place granola on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 300 degrees, stirring granola every 15 minutes until it reaches desired shade of brown (approximately 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how dark you like it). Let cool. Add dried cherries. Granola will keep 2 to 3 weeks if sealed tightly.

 

Oh, You’re Full o’ Beans: Tortilla Soup – Texas

Let’s talk about Tex-Mex, shall we? The term was coined in 1875 and initially referred to the Texas and Mexican Railroad. Some claim that the cradle of Tex-Mex food is San Antonio where Hispanic women, called “chili queens” began serving chili in the plazas in the 1880s. In

Tortilla Soup from Texas is comfort food at its best

the 1930s, several restaurant chains started and popularized the idea of the combo plate with rice and beans. Then in the 1970s, cookbook author Diana Kennedy asserted that Mexican food made north of the border wasn’t truly Mexican food at all. Even though she offended Texans who liked their nachos, fajitas and cheese enchiladas, she probably cemented the idea of regional dishes with big southwest flavors that came to be known as Tex-Mex.

We’ve been making tortilla soup for years and could probably do it while half-asleep, it’s that easy. Our little trick is to pulverize some tortilla chips in the food processor and add these when the veggies are almost done. They add a bit of texture and thicken up the soup nicely.

The last several times we cooked this soup, we made our own chicken stock by simmering bone-in chicken thighs with veggies (a quartered onion, celery, and carrot) and seasoning (salt, peppercorns, bay leaf) for about 40 minutes. But you don’t have to do this. Leftover chicken (rotisserie chicken is particularly good) and canned stock works just as well.

This recipe is easily adaptable. You don’t like heat? Leave out the jalapeno. You don’t eat meat? Make it vegan by leaving out the chicken and subbing vegetable stock.

If you make your way to San Antonio, remember the Alamo (literally), site of the 1836 battle between Mexican troops under President General Santa Anna and Texian defenders. Visitors can take in the shrine, visit the museum and walk the gardens.

Tortilla Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, deveined and deseeded, finely diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup corn tortilla chips, blitzed in food processor
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 15-oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 15-oz. cans of black beans, drained
  • 3-4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce for garnish (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)
  • Tortilla strips for garnish (optional)
  • Avocado or guacamole for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt for garnish (optional)

 Instructions

Heat olive oil in large stock pot. Add carrots and sauté, 3-4 minutes. Add celery, onion, red pepper, garlic and jalapeno if using. Sauté 3-4 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add tortilla chips, continue cooking until soft. Add stock, tomatoes, salsa and black beans. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low. Add chicken and season to taste with salt, pepper and cumin. Simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. Enjoy with your favorite toppings.

Guest Post: Atole

Hello lovely readers of StateEats! I’m Chrissy, known to most as Chrissy, to others CB, my family Lulubelle and to my readers, The Hungary Buddha. I’m so happy to be guest posting for Kat and Kloh. As they’ve been cooking their way around the U.S., I’ve been cooking my way around the world, and it was not lost on either of us that there is a ton of overlap between the two ideas. After all, our country is indeed a nation of immigrants, and there are little reminders of the old world from whence they came in every bite we take.

Kat asked me to share a recipe for atole, and I’m more than happy to do so because it’s breakfast! And I love breakfast! Plus, it’s perfect for this time of the year when the weather is oh so cold and frightful.

Atole

For some background, I grew up eating a hot, freshly prepared breakfast every weekday morning. #Spoiled. Once in a while we had cereal, but more often than not we had pancakes, french toast, quiche, cheesy toast, cream of wheat, crepes, wheatena…the list goes on. Atole, a warm cornmeal drink with central Mexican and central American origins, would have fit seamlessly in my childhood morning rotation and get me started on the right foot. Especially popular for breakfast, it is also consumed for special occasions, namely on el dia de los meuetos (Day of the Dead) or at Christmas time with chocolate (called champurrado). Because it’s made in the same manner as oatmeal or cream of wheat, it can be as thin or as thick as you like, making it either more drink-like or porridge-like.

I opted for the latter, and I boiled my atole to medium thickness. However, for a gluten-free breakfast on the go, opt for a thinner, more coffee-cup portable version.

Atole

To make the champurrado (chocolate atole), add 2 ounces of chopped Mexican chocolate into the recipe below.

Atole

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  •  1 ¼ cup almond milk (or other dairy variety)
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • 1/4 cup masa harina
  • 2 TB brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Almonds, to garnish and add crunch (optional)

Instructions

Whisk the milk, water, masa, sugar and cinnamon in a medium saucepan until smooth.  Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir until it reaches desired thickness, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and serve in mugs or bowls.

Note: To make the champurrado (chocolate atole), add 2 ounces of chopped Mexican chocolate into the recipe above.

 

 

Go Wild: Wild Rice Soup – Minnesota

Did you know wild rice is the state grain of Minnesota? Tis true! Wild rice is actually a semi-aquatic grass that grows in lakes, rivers Wild Rice Soup - Minnesotaand bays. Native Americans harvested wild rice in canoes, using beater sticks to knock the seeds into the boat. Even today, by law “wild” wild rice (not cultivated) has to be harvested the same way in Minnesota and only by those licensed to do so, according to the Whole Grains Council.

Nutritionally, wild rice is extremely low in fat, a good source of fiber (3 grams per serving) and has more protein than white rice (7 grams vs. 4 grams per serving).

Residents of the Land of 10,000 Lakes love their Wild Rice Soup. We present a vegan recipe but this can easily be adapted for meat lovers. Sub in chicken broth instead of vegetable, add cooked, diced chicken or turkey (about 3 cups) when adding the broth, and then finish with 1 cup whole milk or cream.

Hugging the very western tip of Lake Superior, Duluth, the self-proclaimed beer capital of Minnesota lures beer lovers with its North Shore Beer Trail.

Wild Rice Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • Olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • Medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Half pound of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

 Make wild rice according to package directions. In the meantime, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot. Add carrot, cook 3 minutes. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent. Remove vegetables to a bowl and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot. Add mushrooms. Let mushrooms cook until caramelized and quite brown. Deglaze the pot with white wine, vigorously scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add reserved vegetables back to pot. Add oregano and rosemary. Stir in flour until all vegetables are well coated. Add 4 cups broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then return to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until carrots are soft. Add additional broth if too thick. Add wild rice, salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 10 minutes or until rice is hot.

 

 

 

Holy Chip: Chocolate Covered Potato Chips – North Dakota

Everything is better with chocolate. That’s a motto we can get behind and we think most of you would agree. Widman’s Candy Company, located in Grand Forks and Fargo (along with Crookston,

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips - N. Dakota

 

MN), has been in the chocolate business since the 1880s. The Widman family has an amazing array of chocolate dipped items including some startling candidates (pickles and olives) but by far their most popular item is their chocolate covered potato chips. Called “chippers” these sweet-n-salty snacks are made from Red River Valley potatoes.

We recreated this signature delight with dark chocolate, but Widman’s uses milk and dark chocolate, as well as white almond and peanut butter. Use whatever chocolate you like best. We guarantee these chips will disappear faster than you can say “Holy Chip!”

The 50th Annual Potato Bowl will take place September 8-12, 2015 in Grand Forks, ND. Events include a golf outing, a French fry feed, fireworks and of course, the culminating event, the football game between University of North Dakota vs. Drake University.

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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 Ingredients

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 5 ounces ridged potato chips
  • 2-3 teaspoons vegetable oil

Instructions

Heat the chocolate in a double boiler until melted. Remove from heat and stir in oil until a smooth consistency is reached. Dip half of each chip in chocolate, or if preferred, dip completely. Let excess chocolate drip off back into the saucepan. Place chip on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Repeat with remaining chips. Let cool in fridge.

Spicy is Nicy: Kicked Up Peanut Brittle – Georgia

 America has had a love affair with the peanut for nearly 250 years but you can thank WWII and its accompanying meat shortage for making peanut butter a household staple.

Kicked Up Peanut Brittle

Georgia is the country’s top producer of peanuts. Along with peaches, which we talked about here, and pecans, peanuts make up the three Big Ps in the Peachtree State. At 1.7 million tons in 2012, Georgia produced half the peanuts in the country. George Washington Carver is considered the father of the peanut. This brilliant botanist discovered over 300 uses for the little legume. And don’t forget about Jimmy Carter, the country’s 39th president. He hailed from Plains, Ga. and took over his family’s peanut farm before embarking on a political career.

If you like peanut brittle as much as we do, you’ll love this super easy and quick microwave recipe. The addition of baking soda makes the candy more chewy than crunchy. We used cayenne and cinnamon to add some pizazz, just leave them out if you don’t like it spicy.

The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, May 28-31, 2015, features the best of the South’s food and drink and highlights the agricultural products of the region.

Kicked Up Peanut Brittle

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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 Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

Instructions

Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, toss the peanuts with the cayenne pepper and cinnamon until the peanuts are coated. Set aside.   In a microwave safe bowl, add sugar and corn syrup. Microwave on high for approx. 3 minutes. Add nut mixture and microwave 3-4 minutes longer or until the mixture turns a light copper color. Add coconut oil or butter and vanilla and stir. Add baking powder, taking care as the candy will foam up. Stir to incorporate. Spread out onto baking sheet and spread as thin as possible with a spatula sprayed with cooking spray. Let cool. Break into bite sized pieces.

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
  • 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.

Get Your Two Lips on Some Juleps: Mint Juleps – Kentucky

Hey racing fans, it’s Kentucky Derby season! The quintessential drink to quaff is the Mint Julep. The signature drink of Churchill Downs since 1938 when they first began serving it in souvenir cups

Mint Juleps - Kentucky

for 75 cents, this delicious concoction is easy to make at home with just a few ingredients. Churchill Downs now serves over 80,000 mint juleps during the two-day Derby.

The trick to this drink is making the mint simple syrup a day or two beforehand. The simple syrup gives the drink a minty oomph that simply muddling the mint leaves won’t do.

The key ingredient is of course, Kentucky Bourbon. If you get the chance to visit Louisville you must designate a driver and then hit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which offers tours of nine different bourbon distilleries. Buy the best Kentucky Bourbon you can afford for this drink, it’s worth every sip.

Bust out your fancy hats and make your way to Louisville on May 1 and 2 for the 2015 Kentucky Derby.

Mint Juleps

  • Servings: 2 drinks
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For mint simple syrup:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 bunch mint

For cocktails:

  • 4 tablespoons mint simple syrup
  • 4 ounces of Kentucky bourbon
  • 4-6 mint leaves, crushed
  • Crushed ice
  • Confectioners sugar (optional)

Instructions

For mint simple syrup: Place water and sugar in saucepan. Heat on medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add mint. When cool, place in a glass container overnight in fridge. Remove mint after 24 hours.

For cocktail: Add mint simple syrup and bourbon to cocktail shaker. Shake well. Add crushed iced into two glasses. Divide cocktail into glasses. Add mint leaves. Top with confectioners sugar if desired.