Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Fifty! – Hawaii – Shoyu Chicken, Mac Salad and Haupia

Welcome to week 50 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the last, but certainly not the least, state of Hawaii, who joined the union on August 21, 1959. I cannot believe I did it. All fifty states represented here. From Delaware to Hawaii, we have taken quite a journey through our states, each one unique in its own way. I can honestly say that I learned something from this process. A lot of history about our country, some of it better than others, but I have definitely gained knowledge about who we are, good and bad.

But we’re not done yet! Let’s talk about our Pacific state of Hawaii.

So how did we end up with a state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Well, a lot of it has to do with sugar and of course, location. During the mid to late 1800s, the US government gained interest in the island nation, as it offered a strong strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region and also provided for huge economic opportunity in its sugar plantations. At the time, the islands were ruled by the Kamehameha dynasty, but when the last of the reigning family died in 1872, the islands went into some upheaval and the US stepped in to try to bring control. At the urging of the military and US citizens now living there, the government and Queen Lili’uokalani were overthrown in 1893. US President Cleveland was against annexing Hawaii, but several years later under President McKinley, the islands were officially annexed into the US as a territory in 1898.

After becoming a territory, the US moved quickly to build military bases around the island of Oahu, some still in use today. The US Navy built a base at Pearl Harbor, which we all know was hit by Japanese fighter planes on the morning of December 7, 1941. Twenty vessels were destroyed, over 2000 service men were killed and the attack propelled the US into World War II.

Hawaii wanted to be admitted as a state as early as 1935, but was rejected 3 times before finally gaining enough support with their arguments in 1959. They sent an elected representative to Washington with their desires clearly laid out. They wanted to elect their own governor, have the ability to vote for the president, put an end to taxation without representation in Congress, plus they had proven their loyalty to the US in WWII and more than 90% of the population were already US citizens. In March 1959, both houses of Congress passed the Hawaii Admission Act and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law. On June 27, 1959, a ballot vote was held asking Hawaii residents to vote on accepting the statehood bill, which passed 17 to 1 to accept. On August 21, church bells were rung throughout Honolulu proclaiming that Hawaii was finally a US state.

Ok. So let’s talk about Hawaiian food. I have been to the Hawaiian Islands several times and I always love the food. I tried to find some recipes that were representative of the local culture, but also had to avoid fish (son won’t eat it). I would have loved to make some cool luau food, but not having taro leaves and a big fire pit in my back yard sent me looking for something else.

Shoyu Chicken, Mac Salad and Haupia

What I decided on were three different dishes! Yes, three different recipes, because I just couldn’t decide on one. The first dish is Shoyu Chicken, which is a tasty braised dish that tastes like teriyaki. It is super simple and flavorful. It is often served as a meat option for the Hawaiian Plate Lunch, which is where the second recipe comes from; Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. This one was also very tasty. It contains more mayonnaise than any other mac salad I have ever made, and everything I read about it is that it is supposed to be that way. It sort of reminded me of deli prepared mac salad. Tasted good, but too soupy. The third recipe was a dessert called Haupia. It is a super simple coconut pudding with only a couple of ingredients. My son described it perfectly when he said it tasted like coconut jello. Sort of jiggly, but flavorful while not being heavy. I bet it would be really good with some chocolate sauce!

So there you have it. Fifty states of New Recipe Tuesday complete. As they say in that old tv ad “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”! Where do we go next? Honestly, I have no idea. Maybe a week or two of reflection and planning for my next adventure. If you have any ideas, please feel free to offer them up.  For now, I want to thank you for following along, and I hope you will continue with me as we move on to our next culinary journey.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by. See you next week…

Recipe for Shoyu Chicken:


6 – 8 chicken thighs
2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cups low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup mirin
4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 -inch piece of ginger, peeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick and smashed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish


Combine all ingredients except cornstarch and green onions in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low and simmer, covered, turning occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30 to 35 minutes more.

Remove chicken to a serving platter. Remove garlic and ginger and discard. Bring sauce to a boil, skim off excess fat, and cook until reduced slightly, about 10 minutes. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add chicken, turn to coat, and serve chicken with sauce and sliced green onions.hi-shoyu-chicken

Shoyu Chicken

Recipe for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:


1 lb elbow macaroni
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups whole or 2% milk, divided
2 cups mayonnaise, divided
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled & grated
Salt & pepper


Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp salt and the macaroni; cook one minute past done, about 10-11 minutes. Drain and return to pot.

Add the cider vinegar and toss until absorbed. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1 ½ cups of the milk, 1 cup of the mayonnaise, the brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 tsp pepper.

Once the cooked pasta has cooled for 10 minutes, mix in the dressing. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk and 1 cup of mayonnaise, along with the scallions and carrot. Stir to combine, and then season to taste with salt & pepper. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Hawaiian Mac Salad

Recipe for Haupia:


1 (12 – 13 ounce) can coconut milk
5 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
34 cup water
1 teaspoon coconut extract
toasted coconut, for topping

Pour coconut milk into saucepan.

Combine sugar and cornstarch; stir in water and blend well.

Stir sugar mixture into coconut milk; cook and stir over low heat until thickened (about 4-5 minutes)

Remove from heat and add coconut extract.

Pour into 8-inch square pan and chill covered until firm.

Cut into 2-inch squares. Garnish with toasted coconut.


Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Forty Nine – Alaska – Salmon Wellington

Welcome to week 49 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Alaska, who joined the union on January 3, 1959. Seriously, am I really up to Alaska?  I am so excited to be rounding the final bend of this journey and I am especially happy for those of you that have come along for the ride. We are almost done! I guess I need to start thinking about where we will go next. Stay tuned for that in just a couple of weeks.

I was really interested in learning about Alaska, as I had no idea how we ended up with this vast piece of land. And knowing what I know about previous territories and statehood, I am very intrigued that this huge hunk of real estate became only one state. So this is what I found out.

The land area of Alaska was part of Russia. In the mid 1860s, Russia was having financial difficulties and was afraid that they would lose the land in a conflict, specifically to Britain, whose Royal Navy could easily capture it because of its remote location. The czar Alexander II decided to sell the land and began negotiations with the US Secretary of State William Sewell. The treaty was signed on March 30, 1867 at 4:00 in the morning for the sale price of $7.2 million US dollars (the equivalent of about $1.7- 2 billion today).

Most of the lower 48 thought it was a stupid deal as the land, in their opinion, held no value and was coined “Sewards Folly” and deemed a total waste. This all changed in the 1890s, when gold was discovered and created a mass stampede of settlers and prospectors, looking to make it rich. The area went through several administration changes and took years to fully organize. I can find no records that ever indicated that the land should be divided up. It was always just one territory. And in 1959 it was finally admitted to the US as a full state.

An interesting fact about the transfer of Alaska from Russia to the US was that it changed time zones. At the time, it was at 14 hours ahead of GMT, but changed to 10 hours behind. This resulted in the land actually have two Fridays in succession, the one place on earth to ever do so.

When you go looking for foods of Alaska, the recipes fall into two very distinct categories. Let’s say they are the ones that I would eat and the ones I wouldn’t. Partly because of availability and partly because they just sound weird, I was not going to make moose meatballs or a dessert that they call Alaska ice cream, which is made of fat and snow and berries. The other half is two things…salmon and crab.

Crab in Alaska is really pure. They don’t make it into crab cakes or casseroles. It is cooked, cracked, maybe dipped in butter and eaten. Not much of a recipe there.

So salmon it was. I wanted to make something (obviously) new, so I settled on an interesting dish called Salmon Wellington. In theory, it is the same as the famous Beef Wellington; a nice piece of meat with some additions, wrapped and baked in a puffed pastry. The recipe I found used a really nice, creamy sautéed spinach, which was delicious and added a lot to the whole dish.

The result was pretty good. I have to say that it seemed to be missing something. Salmon is pretty fatty, and with the pastry and creamed spinach, it was very rich and needed some brightness. I am thinking the simple fix is a good squirt of lemon to give it that needed acidity. Wish I had grabbed a lemon at the market.

As a side note, my son does not like salmon at all, so I decided to make his version using a boneless chicken breast. He said it was really good and ate the whole thing. Since he can be a bit picky, I consider that a big solid A. His only suggestion was that you could probably double the spinach filling. Now that is saying something!

So the salmon version gets an A- because it was a little unbalanced and the chicken version gets an A. Pretty enough for a company dinner, and actually  much easier to make than how fancy it looks. I hope you will give it a try.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by. See you next week in the big Hawaii 5-0!

Salmon Wellington

Recipe for Salmon Wellington:


4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
salt and lemon pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, divided
1 shallot, chopped
¼ cup white wine
3 oz cream cheese
1- 6 oz bag fresh baby spinach
2 tbsp plain bread crumbs
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 (1 lb.) package puff pastry
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Season the salmon generously with salt and lemon pepper.

In a large sauté pan, heat butter, chopped shallots, and garlic over medium heat. Sauté until the shallots become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

Bring the heat to medium-high and add the white wine. Let the liquid cook out for about 5 minutes, and then add the cream cheese and cook for about 1 minute to melt it a little.

Add the spinach and sauté until it starts to soften. Add the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and blend well. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

Unfold the puff pastry onto a light floured surface and roll out the 2 sheets (to about 10×14), then cut each of them in half on the long side. So you end up with 4 pieces, each about 7×10 inches.

Place each seasoned salmon fillet in the middle of each puff pastry sheet. Leave about 2 inches around the edges.

Divide the spinach mixture into 4 equal parts and evenly spread it on top of the 4 fillets. Then brush the edges of the puff pastry with egg wash.

Begin folding the puff pastry over starting with the longer edge. When folding over the short edges, brush more of the egg wash before folding. It will end up like a closed packet.

Salmon Wellington Prep

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the salmon wellington seam side down.

Make crosshatch slits on top of the Wellington with a knife. Then brush with more egg wash.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.


Salmon Wellington

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Forty Eight – Arizona – Beef Chimichanga

Welcome to week 48 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Arizona, who joined the union on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 1912. I cannot believe we are at the last state of the 48 contiguous states! OMG! Can we really be only two more states away from completing this journey? Wow.

As we have learned last week, Arizona became its own territory when it was separated from New Mexico to allow both areas to create their own state constitutions and become states. Arizona was lightly populated at the time, and it was really not until the introduction of air conditioning and refrigeration after World War II that created a population boom to the dessert areas of the state. Today, Arizona is the sixth largest state in terms of population.

Arizona is known as the Grand Canyon State. Formed by the Colorado River over millions of years, Arizona’s Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and one mile deep. If you have never been there, you need to put it on your bucket list, and then make it happen. It is a magnificent sight that everyone should see.

When it comes to food in Arizona, there is (again) barely a discussion. It is all about the Chimichanga. The story of the chimichanga is believed to have originated in the nation’s oldest Mexican restaurant in continuous operation by the same family and is located in Tucson, Arizona. El Charro café opened in 1922 by owner Tia Monica Flin. The story goes that one day she was making one of her famous beef tacos and accidentally dropped the burro into hot oil. As the oil splashed up, she began to curse, but there were children within earshot, so instead she shouted “Chimichanga”, which translates to “thingamajig”.

Arizona Beef Chimichanga

Now I don’t know if this story is really true, but it is pretty cool and the dish is extremely popular throughout Arizona. It is so popular that there is currently a drive to make the chimichanga the official state food of Arizona, who currently does not have one. I think it would be a nice choice.

As with all dishes of this sort, there are thousands of different versions, so I set out to find one that I would personally like. I opted not to do a pulled pork or beef style, mostly because it would be a whole day process and it wasn’t a taste choice I prefer. I opted to go with an interesting take on a ground meat version, which adds chorizo into the mix for some nice authentic flavor. I am also a big fan of refried beans in all this Mexican flare, so my version has beans as well.

I have never actually had a chimichanga before and definitely have never attempted to make one, but I have to say that they came out great and were easier than I expected. I really liked the crunchy tortilla outside and the tasty filling inside. Adding your own toppings makes it personal to your own taste.

Since they are fried, I will probably not jump into making these part of my regular dinner rotation, but they were pretty yummy and maybe when I am in a fried food mood someday I will pull the fryer out and make them again. I give the recipe a solid A.

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


Recipe for Beef Chimichangas:


6 oz chorizo (you want the soft kind, not the smoked sausage style)
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ tsp cumin
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
6 flour tortillas (10 in)
1 can (16 oz) refried beans
1 c Monterrey Jack cheese
Vegetable oil for frying
Sour cream, Salsa and Guacamole


Remove and discard the casing from chorizo. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble chorizo into skillet. Brown 6 to 8 minutes, stirring to separate meat.

Crumble ground beef into skillet. Brown over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring to separate meat. Add the onion, garlic and cumin; cook and stir 4 minutes or until onion is soft. Drain off and discard fat.

Stir in tomato sauce. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover skillet; increase heat to medium. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until most of liquid has evaporated and meat is still moist.

Soften and warm tortillas.

Spread a couple tablespoons of the refried bean, then add ¼ cup meat mixture on bottom half of 1 tortilla; spread to within 1-1/2 inches of bottom and side edges. Fold in side edges, then the bottom edge of tortilla up over filling, then roll up to completely enclose filling. Secure top with a wooden toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas, beans and meat mixture.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Add oil to a deep fryer (or 1 inch oil in deep, heavy skillet over medium-high heat) to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Fry 1 to 2 chimichangas at a time in oil 2 to 3 minutes until golden on all sides, turning occasionally. Remove with tongs; drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with some of the cheese and place in warm in oven on prepared baking sheet.

Remove toothpicks before serving. Serve with Sour cream, Salsa and Guacamole.

Arizona Beef Chimichanga

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Forty Seven – New Mexico – Green Chile Cheeseburger

Welcome to week 47 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday Thursday! Another week that I have missed my mark in getting my blog actually posted on the day it’s supposed to be posted. Ugh. Not one for excuses, but, well, I was involved in a pretty scary car accident last week and ended up getting a bit banged up. Standing for long periods of time can be a bit challenging, so cooking takes on a whole new dimension right now. But the states must go on and as they say, “better late than never”! So here we go.

This week we welcome the state of New Mexico, who joined the union on January 6, 1912. As we have learned in previous weeks, the land that is now known as New Mexico was part of Mexico proper until the Mexican-American War. At the signing of The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in February 1848, Mexico conceded the land that is now New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and part of Colorado. Even though the US now held this land free and clear, New Mexico itself was only deemed a territory, and actually covered an area much larger. It was not until the end of the Civil War, fights with Texas over territory and the federal government dividing up the territory into smaller areas (specifically the entire state of Arizona being separated from NM), did New Mexico finally get the opportunity to construct their own state constitution and be admitted into the union by President Taft.

Personally, when I think of New Mexico, I think about two different things. The first is that it was the site of the top secret Manhattan Project, which if you do not know, was the development of the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos. The second thing I associate with New Mexico is Roswell, where in 1947, a farmer discovered unidentified debris on his property, which some believed was the remains of a crashed alien spacecraft. The government called it parts of a weather balloon. Conspiracy theorists still think there is something going on there.

When it comes to food in New Mexico, there is barely a discussion. It is all about the Green Hatch Chile Pepper. They love to make chili sauce out of it, and there is actually a ‘trail’ that you can follow of restaurants that serve the Green Chile Cheeseburger. So who am I to go looking for something other than the food of choice?

NM Green Chile Cheeseburger

Now there are many different varieties of Green Chile Cheeseburger, so I decided to take a bit of some and a little of others and develop something to my own liking. The Green Chile Sauce recipe I used is from, because it seemed pretty straightforward and authentic.

The end result was really tasty. The sauce by itself is very spicy, but when added to the burger it was just a nice heat. I like the double cheese on the burger and the spices added to the meat. The jazzed up mayo was also a really nice addition. Everyone in the family gave this a solid thumbs up and I would probably make this one again. It gets a solid A rating from all of us.

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

Recipe for Green Chile Cheeseburger:

NM Green Chile Sauce

Ingredients for Green Chile Sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ medium onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped roasted mild to medium-hot New Mexican green chile, fresh or thawed frozen
1cups chicken or beef stock
¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste

Warm the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the flour and continue cooking for another 1 minute.
Mix in the chile. Immediately begin pouring in the stock, stirring as you go, then add the salt.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until thickened but still very pour-able. Use warm or refrigerate for later use.

Recipe for Green Chile Cheeseburger:


1 lb. ground chuck
½ Tbsp., plus 1 tsp. New Mexico chile powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
13 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. ketchup
2 cloves roasted garlic, mashed to a paste
1 tbsp. canola oil
Green Chile Sauce
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 brioche buns, split and toasted


In a bowl, combine chuck, ½ tbsp. chile powder, cumin, and salt and pepper; form into four patties and chill.
Whisk remaining 1 tsp. chile powder, mayonnaise, ketchup, garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl; refrigerate sauce until needed.

Special sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook patties, turning once, until a thick crust develops on both sides. Top each with some chile sauce and 1 slice of each cheese; cover with lid to melt cheese. To serve, place 1 patty on each bottom bun and spread top buns with some of the mayonnaise sauce.

NM Green Chile Cheeseburger