Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Forty Six – Oklahoma – Black Eyed Pea Soup with Homestead Corn Muffins

Welcome to week 46 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Oklahoma, who joined the union on November 16, 1907. I was actually surprised to sort of ‘back peddle’ to the middle US this week. The story of statehood for Oklahoma is one that actually made me a little sad about our country, because the reason Oklahoma joined so late is because of Native Americans.

Throughout the 1800s, the U.S. government relocated Indian tribes from the southeastern United States to the area, and by 1900, over 30 Indian tribes had been moved to what was originally called the Indian Territories. At the same time, ranchers from Texas began to come into the region looking for cattle grazing pastures. Eventually, Washington opened up the lands to settlers and developed what they called “land runs” for interested people to lay claim to the lands. These were established at set times, and people who broke the law and ran early were called “sooners”, a title that later became the states nickname.

So the lands that had been set aside for Indian nations was quickly devoured by European settlers looking for a better life and piece of land to call their own. At first, the area was divided into two distinct territories, the Indian and Oklahoma territories. And interestingly, in 1905, leaders from the Cherokee, Seminole, Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw nations (known as the Five Civilized Tribes) submitted a constitution for a separate Indian state to be called Sequoyah. Although a large majority of voters supported the petition in the November election, Congress refused to consider the request for statehood. On November 16, 1907, the Indian and Oklahoma territories were combined and formed the state of Oklahoma.

Map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories, 1894
Map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories, 1894

Since Oklahoma was settled by a huge number of individual land claims, there was never a specific food influence in the region (other than Native American), so the foods of the state reflect much of the southern styles of its neighbors. When looking for a recipe this week, I discovered that Oklahoma is the only state that actually has a complete Official State Meal. No kidding. The State Meal of Oklahoma includes fried okra, cornbread, barbecue pork, squash, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, pecan pie, and black-eyed peas. Wow. These people are serious.

I thought about fried okra (for about 2 seconds), but I seriously don’t like okra so I tossed that one. I also thought about chicken fried steak, but I just couldn’t do another fried thing that had no hope of being even remotely healthy.  What I did decide to do is Black Eyed Pea Soup and Homestead Corn Muffins.

Black Eyed Pea Soup and Homestead Corn Muffins

I have never eaten black eyed peas before, but they are very popular throughout the south, especially on New Years Day, as they are supposed to bring you a year of prosperity if you eat them on January 1st. Although Oklahoma has an official meal, they do not offer up official recipes, so I went looking for something that sounded tasty and settled on a soup recipe that included the ‘holy trinity’ and tomatoes (oh, and a whole pound of bacon). The original recipe was very simple and uses mostly canned ingredients, but lacked some seasoning. I added some garlic, some pepper, and a good dollop of Tabasco, which brightened the dish and gave it a nice little heat.

I have made cornbread before, but the recipe that I used tonight was from the Shawnee Milling Company, which is based in Oklahoma. They were really tasty, but I think I over mixed the batter, as they didn’t rise like I would have liked. I also think they would have done better if I had let the  batter rest for a little bit before baking to help the baking powder do its thing.

The verdict? I really liked the soup, but my son Josh was not impressed. He is not a ‘stuff in your soup’ kind of guy, so I wasn’t surprised when he turned his nose to it. He loved the corn muffins though.

I give these recipes a solid A. I think if I made the soup again, I would cook up my own beans from scratch and maybe reduce the bacon to a ½ pound and add a little ham instead. The muffins were perfect as is and I will use that recipe again.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by. See you next week in New Mexico! (Only four more to go!)

Black Eyed Pea Soup with Homestead Corn Muffins

Recipe for Black Eyed Pea Soup:


1 lb. thick cut bacon
1 c. chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
1 c. chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 c. chopped green pepper (about 1 medium)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cans (16 oz. each) black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ½ oz.) low-sodium beef broth
1 can (14 ½ oz.) stewed tomatoes
1 can (14 ½ oz.) crushed tomatoes*
1 t Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste

In a large fry pan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel covered plate to cool. Once cooled, coarsely chop and set aside.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings from pan; sauté celery, onion, green pepper and garlic until tender, about 7 minutes.

Transfer to a large soup pot. Add all remaining ingredients, including bacon. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning.


Recipe for Homestead Corn Muffins:


1/3 cup yellow corn meal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
3 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg
½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix together cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
Blend oil, egg, and milk together and add the dry ingredients.
Stir until dry ingredients are just moistened.
Fill greased muffin pan 2/3 full and bake 20-25 minutes.


Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Forty Five – Utah – Pastrami Burger with Fry Sauce

Welcome to week 45 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Utah, who joined the union on January 4, 1896. The state of Utah had a long path to statehood that dates back as far as 1848. The region was settled by Mormons in early 1847, when the land was still part of Mexico. After the Treaty of Guadalupe was signed in 1848, leaders of the church hosted a convention and constructed a constitution that would create an enormous state, which they wanted to call Deseret. The area would have included Utah, most of Nevada and Arizona, and parts of southern California, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and Idaho. They elected Brigham Young as governor and sent Almon Babbitt to Washington D.C. as their state representative. But the U.S. House of Representatives would not give him a seat.

Washington never wanted to create a state that large, and when things began to heat up in the south over slavery, they divided the territory into the New Mexico and Utah territories. This allowed them to vote to either be a slave or non slave territory.

From 1852 until 1894, the leaders of the Mormon Church wrote and submitted state constitutions numerous times, but the federal government had passed laws that outlawed polygamy, so each time they were rejected. During this time, the territory was further divided and the surrounding states were accepted into statehood. It was not until 1894 that Congress passed the Enabling Act allowing Utah to submit yet another constitution for acceptance into statehood, but it clearly stated that polygamy must be illegal.

In March of 1895, Mormon and non-Mormon delegates met and framed a new constitution. It was ratified and sent to Washington. Finally, in January of 1896, President Cleveland proclaimed that Utah was a state.

In searching for a recipe this week, I discovered that Jell-O is Utah’s state dessert. At one time, Utahns ate more Jell-O than any other state, and their favorite flavor was lime. I discovered that there are old Jell-O recipes that mix in all sorts of things, some of them pretty nasty. Things like meat or tomatoes. Yuck. Seriously, who eats this stuff? Not going down that road.

What I finally decided on is a very popular burger recipe that was created in Salt Lake City in the 1970s called the Pastrami Burger. It’s pretty much just that; a burger that is then topped with pastrami. And it is always served with another Utah creation, Fry Sauce. Fry sauce is a mayonnaise/ketchup concoction that also has pickle juice and sometimes relish. It is sort of like Thousand Island (although no one is Utah would say that!).

pastrami burger with fry sauce
Pastrami Burger and Fry Sauce

The history of the Pastrami Burger grew out of a large Greek immigrant population, so influential in the Mormon state that even Chinese restaurants serve baklava. The Pastrami Burger was the creation of Crown Burger, owned by Manuel Katsanevas. He admits that he was influenced by the California fusion scene of the late 1960s, and especially a place called the Hat in Southern California that served up burgers alongside pastrami sandwiches. He decided to combine the two and it was an instant success.

A Salt Lake City restaurant called Arctic House claims to be the creator of Fry Sauce, although combining mayonnaise and ketchup is far from a novel idea. Regardless, it’s pretty yummy and I am a big fan. If you have never had it, I highly recommend you ask for a side of mayo and stir a bit of it into your ketchup the next time you have an order of fries.

Overall, I am going to give this one a B. Although an interesting idea, I didn’t think that the pastrami added a whole lot to the burger, and frankly, some crispy bacon is hands down the better way to go any day of the week. The Fry Sauce, that’s a solid A, because I have always been a fan and now I have a name for it. Would I make a pastrami burger again? Probably not. But it was interesting learning about it and the state of Utah.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by. See you next week in Oklahoma!

Pastrami Burger
Pastrami Burger with Fry Sauce

Recipe for Pastrami Burger with Fry Sauce:


1 ½ pounds ground beef
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
8 ounces pastrami, thinly sliced
8 slices American cheese
4 sesame-seed hamburger buns, split, buttered and toasted
Utah Fry Sauce, recipe follows
Shredded Lettuce
Sliced red onion
Sliced tomato

Utah Fry Sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons dill relish or dill pickle juice


Loosely shape the ground beef into 4 equal patties. Sprinkle each side of the patties generously with salt and pepper. Create a small well in the center of each patty, using your thumb, to help your burger cook evenly.

Heat a griddle pan over high heat. Add the pastrami and cook until browned and crisp on both sides, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the burger patties and cook until browned on each side, about 3 ½ minutes per side. Top each burger with 2 slices of the cheese and continue cooking until the cheese is melted.

Slather 1 tablespoon of Utah Fry Sauce on each side of the buns. Add lettuce, tomato and onion, then the burger and top with pastrami.

For the Fry Sauce – Mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup, sugar, vinegar and relish/pickle juice in a small bowl. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. Yield: 3/4 cup.

Pastrami Burger UT
Pastrami Burger with Fry Sauce

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Forty Four – Wyoming – Old English Pork Pie

Welcome to week 44 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Wyoming, who joined the union on July 10, 1890.  Back at week 30, I accidentally made a recipe for Wyoming when I was supposed to be on Wisconsin. So I am very glad that I have kept going and we have now reached Wyoming in its legitimate place in history.

Wyoming was the sixth and final state to join the union under President Benjamin Harris. After the Enabling Act of 1889 allowed four states to seek statehood, Idaho followed by passing a state constitution, which was submitted and approved by Congress. Similarly, Wyoming decided that it wanted statehood as well, especially to insure land and water rights at the state level. As a territory, they had limited control, but as a state they could dictate how their land and water were to be used.

One of the most interesting things about Wyoming’s state constitution is that it included full voting rights for women. It was seen as a way to attract East coast women to the region, since at the time of ratification, the population was barely big enough to meet the minimum standard for statehood (which was supposed to be 60,000 people) and men outnumbered women nearly six to one.  They were so progressive that they even offered delegate seats to women in the writing of the state constitution. Ultimately, the seats were given to men, but I commend them for their forward thinking.

Something that I didn’t know about Wyoming is that it is a major coal state. And as progressive as they were with women’s rights, the original state constitution banned all women from working the coal mines. It was not overturned until 1978.

And a fun fact… Devils Tower, the huge rock formation made famous in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was designated the first national monument in the U.S. on September 24, 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Devils Tower

In searching for a recipe this week, I found myself back where I was at week 30. But in the interim, I did manage to find the cookbook Cooking in Wyoming, which is a compilation of recipes put together by the Wyoming Recreation Commission. The version that I found was the woman’s suffrage centennial edition, circa 1969.  I will say that there is some weird stuff in this cookbook. Things like Wood Chuck Pot Pie and Elk Stew with Vegetables. Yikes. Sorry folks, I am not that adventurous! But I did find an old recipe for what they call Old English Pork Pie, and although it doesn’t have a back story, it sounded pretty yummy and, well, I can find pork around here.


The result was really tasty. The filling is delicious and I love the full flavor you get from the interesting combination of spices. I would never think to put clove in a pork dish, but it really works with the other ingredients to give the dish a hearty taste. The original recipe called for much more salt than I added, probably because their pork products are not ‘brined’ like they are today and they probably used homemade stock that was not salted. So I adjusted that and I also decided to add some peas, because it just seemed to need a vegetable and I happened to have them on hand.

Overall, I give this a solid A; much better than my first attempt at Wyoming. And the cookbook, well, I am not sure I am going to rush into making Wild Game Casserole, but maybe I will flip to the dessert section and whip up some Never Fail Mahogany Cake sometime.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by. See you next week in Utah!
WY Old English Pork Pie

Old English Pork Pie

Recipe for Old English Pork Pie:


Pastry for a two crust pie (or you can use ready-made from the refrigerator section)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ pounds lean ground pork
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¾ cup chicken stock
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon mace
¼ cup finely chopped celery leaves
1 cup peas (I used canned)
¼ cup fine bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon water


In a large sauté pan, fry the onion in butter until just tender. Add the ground pork and cook, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink. Sprinkle with cornstarch; add the stock and the rest of the spices, including the celery leaves. Simmer uncovered until the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the peas. Allow mixture to cool completely (about another 30 minutes).

Roll your bottom pastry and line a glass or porcelain pie plate. Add the filling, then sprinkle the bread crumbs and top with pastry. Make steam holes and brush with the beaten egg mixed with the water.

Bake for 10 minutes in a 425°F oven. Lower the heat to 350°F and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

WY Old English Pork Pie sliced
Old English Pork Pie

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Forty Three – Idaho – Pan Seared Trout with Pecan Brown Butter Sauce and Potato Salad with Cherry Peppers and Sweet Relish Vinaigrette

Welcome to week 43 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Idaho, who joined the union on July 3, 1890. And once again, I seem to be making up for lost time! Sorry about missing last week. That is a first for me. I have tried to be so consistent with this journey, but last week was just a mess. I dropped my son off for a month as a counselor at camp in the Poconos. Then headed up to New York to spend a couple days with friends. While there, I sustained a pretty nice injury to my big toe. Let’s just say that a good portion of my toe nail was dislodged…from the nail bed. The whole nail will not be with me for long. I wonder what a toe looks like without a nail?? I guess I am going to find out. Add some parent issues and you get the picture. But I am back on track and hopefully this will be the one and only time I miss a whole week.

Idaho is the fifth state to join the union under President Benjamin Harris. As you may recall, the Enabling Act of 1889 allowed for four states to seek statehood. After those states were admitted, Idaho followed by passing a state constitution, which was submitted and approved by Congress. Idaho was originally a Mormon state with a large pro-polygamy population, but a strong Republican group essentially pushed out the Mormons when they wrote the state constitution, outlawing polygamy and denying Mormons the right to vote. Interesting.

Here is some other interesting information about Idaho. It was the last state to be explored by the Lewis and Clark expedition (and any other European-Americans for that matter). There is no documented exploration of the area until 1805. The Shoshone Indians, who inhabited the region, assisted in the exploration. They had never seen a white man before then.

And Rigby, Idaho, is referred to as the birthplace of television. Inventor Philo Farnsworth is attributed with reportedly sketching out the design behind the technology for a high school science paper. His contributions were crucial to the first all electric television system.

In looking for a recipe for this week, once again two foods came to the surface. The first was the potato. I think just about everyone knows that potatoes and Idaho go together. It was in 1837 that missionary Henry Spalding planted the first potatoes in Lapwai, ID. They were originally part of an effort to bring cultivating crops to the Indians in the region. The soil and weather were perfect for potato growing and today, Idaho produces more potatoes than any other state, nearly 30% of all consumed in the US. And although the Russet is probably the most famous, Idaho actually grows more than 25 other varieties as well.

The other food that Idaho is known for is Trout. Idaho harvests more trout for US consumption than any other state. Trout fishing is a popular tourist activity and draws hundreds of thousands of fisherman to the region annually.

So again I made two different recipes this week. The first is Pan Seared Trout with Pecan Brown Butter. I adapted the recipe from one I found on Saveur. I thought the cooking method for the fish was perfect and the brown butter sauce was a nice addition. I did think it needed more acid, so I have adjusted the recipe to include a really good squirt of lemon to the finish. That was all it needed to really bring out the light fish flavor.

The second recipe is Potato Salad with Cherry Peppers and Sweet Relish Vinaigrette. This recipe is adapted from Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. I liked the ingredients and thought it would be really good, but I didn’t care for it. I thought the sweet relish was too overpowering and overall, the cherry peppers added nothing to the flavor of the dish. I am not sure how I would fix this. Matt really liked it, so maybe it is just me. If he hadn’t thought it tasty, I probably would not even have told you I made it.


I think both recipes are not perfect, but I would give the trout an A- and the potato salad a B+ (only because Matt liked it). I would definitely make the fish again, maybe looking for a lighter butter sauce. But the fish itself was delicious and I will not hesitate to make trout again.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by. See you next week in Wyoming! And yes, that will be the official do over of the state! Check out week thirty for that story!

Recipe for Pan Seared Trout with Pecan Brown Butter:


10 Tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 T) unsalted butter, divided
34 cup roughly chopped pecans
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsp. grated lemon zest, plus 2 tsp. juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 cup flour
4 (6-oz.) boneless, rainbow trout filets
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley, for garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving


Purée 6 tbsp. butter, 12 cup pecans, the scallions, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper in a small food processor until smooth; set aside.

Melt 2 Tbsp. of remaining butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; place flour on a plate. Season 2 filets trout with salt and pepper; dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Cook, starting skin side down, flipping once, until golden and cooked through, 3–4 minutes. Repeat with remaining butter and trout. Transfer filets to serving plates. Add remaining chopped pecans to skillet; cook, until toasted, 1-2 minutes. Add butter mixture; cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Spoon the pecan sauce over trout. Squeeze lemon over fish. Garnish with parsley.

Recipe for Potato Salad with Cherry Peppers and Sweet Relish Vinaigrette:


Potato Salad:

6 medium Yukon gold potatoes, skin on, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup finely diced red onions
1/4 cup pickled cherry peppers, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sliced chives

Sweet Relish Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sweet relish
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper


For the potato salad: Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover by 2 inches with cold water. Season the water liberally with kosher salt. Bring the potatoes to a simmer over medium/low heat and cook until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander, and then cover with aluminum foil to keep warm until tossed with the vinaigrette.

For the sweet relish vinaigrette: In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, relish, capers and mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the potatoes, parsley, red onions, cherry peppers and chives to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss to coat, adding additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or keep covered in the refrigerator up to overnight and toss again before serving.


Idaho – Fifty State of New Recipe Tuesday