Five Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Six – The District of Columbia – Senate Soup

Welcome to week 6 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  Wait, what? There are five populated territories in the US, so why do I have a week six? Well, I needed to round this whole thing out properly, and that means that I needed to include the little piece of land that makes up our nation’s capitol, Washington DC.  How fitting that tonight is election night. A brutally contested election that culminates tonight in our nation’s decision on who will lead our nation for the next four years. I have my very strongly held personal opinion on all of this, but will refrain from getting political.

Washington DC was founded on July 16, 1790 and is unique in all cities in the United States because it was established by the Constitution to be our nation’s capital. President George Washington chose the exact location of the city along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, which was created when both Maryland and Virginia ceded land to found the new ‘district’. The city itself was designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, modeled after his home city of Paris.

On this Election Day, I find it interesting that the citizens of Washington DC actually lack full self-governance. Their representation in Congress is limited to a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives and a shadow Senator. It was not until 1964 that residents of DC were allowed to vote in Presidential elections and the city was allowed to elect their own mayor in only 1973.

When searching for recipe for our nation’s capitol, the decision was one of the easiest of this whole journey. I decided on a very old tradition called Senate Soup, which is a dish that has been served in the Senate restaurant every day since 1903.

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Senate Soup

Now don’t get me wrong, although the recipe is simple, of course the story of this soup is complicated. There are various versions of the history, attributing its creation to either Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho or Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota. And along with its different story owners, there are different versions of the soup. The actual recipe that is used today in the Senate restaurant is super simple, using just beans, ham hock and onion. The ‘other’ version actually uses mashed potatoes, which seemed like a whole lot of extra carbs without a lot of flavor gain.

I opted for a modified version that stuck to the simple version, but added some aromatics to enhance the overall flavor of the dish. I have never cooked with a smoked ham hock before and it was definitely a huge flavor booster to the soup, but it lacked meat on the bones. I fortunately had a ham bone in my freezer that I pulled out and added to the process, which gave me all the meat the soup needed. I would modify the recipe to include a meaty ham bone to insure you get a solid bean to meat balance. The result is a really delicious, homey, hearty soup that fills you up and makes you feel good. The perfect way to end this historic day.

I give my version a solid A+ and will add it to my rotation for future dinners.

This will round out our tour of the entire United States, including our territories and our nation’s capitol. I guess I need to get out my passport and decide where we are going next. Stay tuned! Thanks for stopping by and see you next week in…?

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Senate Soup

Senate Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 1 smoked ham hock, about 1 pound (if your ham hock does not have a lot of meat, you can also add a ham bone)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Place picked over and rinsed beans in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Cover with cold tap water by at least three inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot and let beans soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.
  2. Combine beans, ham hock, garlic, 8 cups of water and bay leaves in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium flame. Add onion, carrots and celery and toss to coat with butter. Sweat aromatics until just softening, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Transfer the ham hock/ham bone to a shallow bowl and let it cool slightly.
  5. Transfer a ladleful of the beans to a small bowl, along with a little of the liquid. Using a hand masher or a fork, mash the beans thoroughly and return to the pot. Stir in the vegetable mix and season generously with pepper.
  6. When the ham hock/ham bone is cooled enough to handle, remove the skin, fat and bones and chop the meat into small pieces. Return the meat to the pot and simmer uncovered for another 1-1/2 hours, until beans are completely tender and the liquid has reduced somewhat, creating a slightly thick broth.
  7. Taste soup and season with salt only if needed. The ham will add quite a bit of flavor, so the soup may not need any additional salt. Discard bay leaves.

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Five Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Five – The Northern Mariana Islands – Chamorro Shrimp Patties

Welcome to week 5 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  This week, we explore The Northern Mariana Islands, the newest US territory. Like many other islands in this region, the indigenous people are Chamorro. Magellan first discovered the islands in 1521, and at that time the population of the native people was more than 75,000. With the introduction of disease and forced labor by the Spaniards, the population had diminished to a mere 3,500 by 1710.

Spain sold the islands to Germany in 1899, during the same period that Guam became a US territory. Germany did little with the islands, and when they were defeated in WWII, Japan assumed possession along with most of Micronesia in 1944. In 1947, the area was recognized as a United Nations Trust Territory, administered by the United States. The infusion of ‘Yankee’ culture  introduced the islands to better education and tourism.  But it was not until 1978, after years of debates and ballot propositions that the Northern Marianas entered into a commonwealth with the United States. Though still under foreign control, the new Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands introduced an autonomy that had been missing from Chamorro culture for over four hundred years.

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Chamorro Shrimp Patties

When I went looking for a recipe to make this week, I wanted to give the native culture a nod. Because the island culture was very similar to Guam, it became a challenge to find something different and unique. But I did finally find something that was attributed to Saipan (the capital), called Chamorro Shrimp Patties. These are essentially a fritter, and they were really delicious. They are very easy to make, and I was surprised that something with very basic seasonings was so tasty. On the islands, they are frequently served as an appetizer, but I found that they were filling enough to be my main dish. The shrimp was forward enough to be the star ingredient, and the use of frozen mixed vegetables was in line with the regions lack of local produce availability.

Overall, I give this dish a solid A. I would make these again, maybe for a party where I didn’t mind tending the deep fryer for awhile!

Thanks for stopping by! This wraps up our tour of the populated US Territories. I am going to wrap up this tour with our nation’s capital, Washington DC. Seems pretty fitting, since next Tuesday is Election Day! See you next week!

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Chamorro Shrimp Patties

Chamorro Shrimp Patties

A traditional shrimp fritter found at festive gatherings in the Mariana Islands

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, completely thawed, and drained
  • About 4 cups vegetable oil, for deep frying

Directions

Important!  Make sure that the shrimp and mixed vegetables are completely thawed out; otherwise as it defrosts, it will water down your batter.

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the evaporated milk. Add the flour, baking powder, and the seasonings. Mix until smooth. Add a little more evaporated milk if needed to make a thick but smooth batter.
  2. Add the shrimp and mixed vegetables, combining well.
  3. Heat oil in a deep fryer or 12-inch skillet to medium heat (350°F). Using two spoons, scoop and drop about 2 tablespoons batter and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Turn the fritters with tongs to brown evenly
  4. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

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Chamorro Shrimp Patties

Five Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Four – American Samoa – Sapasui

Welcome to week 4 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  This week, we explore American Samoa, who joined the US as a territory in 1899. United States influence began in 1872 when the United States Navy met with Chief Manuma to establish a harbor in Pago Pago. Up to the end of the century, a power struggle ensued between the US, Germany and Britain.  A civil war in Samoa brought backing of opposite positions from Germany and US, with each side hoping to gain power to use the islands for whaling and as a coal station. It wasn’t until the signing of the Tripartite Convention of 1899 that the Samoan Islands were divided, resulting in the western islands, controlled by Germany, and American Samoa.

Over the years, there have been calls for either independence or autonomy for American Samoa, but as recently as a referendum in 2010, the majority of citizens decided to remain unchanged. Interestingly, Americans need a passport to enter American Samoa, and they have their own immigration.

When I went looking for a recipe to make this week, I found that American Samoa is much like its neighboring islands in the south pacific, having large influences from Asia and the Philippines, while also having a sense of mix from American military and European countries. The most unique dish that I found was called Sapasui, which is the American Samoa version of Chop Suey. It uses ingredients that you would find in the traditional dish, including soy sauce and bean thread noodles, but many of the versions I found included canned or frozen vegetables. This is mainly due to the challenges in getting these ingredients on the islands. I also found that Spam was often used, a nod to the US military influence in the region.

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American Samoa Sapasui

I decided on a version that used chicken, plus carrots, red pepper and edamame. The dish is really simple, but I found that it lacked flavor. I added some fish sauce (my Asian umami magic ingredient), plus a little hot chili sauce, which improved things, but I was still a little disappointed. It was just ok, so I am going to give this one a B+ and move on.

I don’t think this will come into my regular rotation, but it was interesting learning about this far away island.  I shall continue on my journey, and look to next week to round out our US Territory adventure.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week in the Northern Marianas Islands!

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American Samoa Sapasui

Sapasui

Traditional American Samoa dish; their own version of Chop Suey

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 oz bean thread vermicelli noodles
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 carrots, chopped in ¼ inch dice
  • ½ red pepper, chopped in ¼ inch dice
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame (you can also use frozen peas)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and then add the noodles. Turn off the heat, cover and soak noodles for 15 minutes while preparing the rest of the dish.
  2. Add oil to a large lidded wok or pan on medium high heat and stir fry the onions, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and stir fry until brown. Add half of the soy sauce to the meat, stir and lower the heat, put the lid on the pan and allow to simmer until the meat is tender (about 7 minutes). The meat will start caramelizing and the liquid will reduce. Add a little water if required and stir occasionally.
  4. Add vegetables (carrots, red pepper and beans) to the pan after the meat is tender and increase heat to medium, stir frying until just cooked, about 5 minutes. Season with a little salt.
  5. Drain the noodles using a strainer or colander. Add noodles to the pan and gently fold it in. Stir the remainder of the soy sauce, water, fish sauce and chili paste, put the lid on the wok and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

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American Samoa Sapasui

Five Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Two – Guam – Kadon Pika with Red Rice

Welcome to week 2 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  This week, we explore the island of Guam, who joined the US as a territory the same way that Puerto Rico did, when it was ceded to the US at the end of the Spanish-American War. Guam is often called the place where “America Starts Its Day”, because it is located on the other side of the International Date Line from the rest of the US. As I write this on the East Coast of the US, it is already morning on Wednesday in Guam. Good morning!

where-is-guam

Guam is located in the South Pacific and is the southernmost island of the Marianas Archipelago. Its native population is the Chamorro people, who are believed to have come from Southeast Asia before 2000 BC. They are most closely related to people from the Philippines and Taiwan.

An interesting thing about Guam. One of its most visited tourist attractions is Yukoi’s Cave. In 1972, a Japanese soldier from WWII emerged from the jungles of Guam, totally unaware that the war handed ended decades earlier. He became instantly famous, and the hole where is lived is now a popular tourist attraction. And strangely, his story was foretold in an episode of Gilligan’s Island called “So Sorry, My Island Now”, which aired in 1965 and told the story of a Japanese soldier who captures the stranded islanders, thinking the war is still active.

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‘So Sorry, My Island Now’

When I went looking for a recipe to make this week, I focused on this group of native people, as they have a strong culinary profile and there were a number of choices to work with. Because of their early influences from Spain, Japan, the US and Filipino cultures, their food is a mixture of native ingredients mixed with foreign spices.

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Kadon Pika

What I decided on was actually two dishes. The first was a chicken dish called Kadon Pika, which combines soy sauce and vinegar with turmeric and coconut milk to create a really delicious flavor profile. I was a little worried about this one, because it just didn’t sound like it was going to balance out. But let me tell you…this is one of the best New Recipe Tuesday dishes I have EVER made. It is amazingly simple, comes together in about 35 minutes and the taste is incredible. It hits all the flavor points… sweet, savory, spicy and salty. It is in my rotation from this day forward and you should make it tomorrow.

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Guam Red Rice

The other dish is a side called Red Rice. It is a staple in almost all Guam households, and uses an interesting spice called achiote powder, which are ground annatto seeds. It made a nice side to the Kadon Pika, but I didn’t think the achiote did a whole lot to the rice other than make it an interesting color. I am thinking that it if I made it again, I would try another version I saw online that uses the seeds and a soak of several hours to make an ‘annato water’ to cook the rice.

Overall, I loved the dishes from Guam and I am so glad I made them. This tiny island gets a solid A in my culinary cookbook and I think I need to add it to my travel bucket list.

Thanks for stopping by! Seriously, make this chicken dish. It is that good. See you next week in the US Virgin Islands!

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Guam Kadon Pika with Red Rice

Kadon Pika with Red Rice

Turmeric Chicken in Coconut Milk with Red Rice

Ingredients

Kadon Pika

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 red fresno chili peppers, chopped
  • 1 – 15 oz can coconut milk

Red Rice

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons achiote (annato) powder (you can find this at latin markets)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup jasmine rice

Directions

For the chicken:

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until the onion are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the chicken and brown on both sides.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the coconut milk, and cook for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally until the chicken is cooked through. (while chicken is cooking, make the rice)
  4. Add the coconut milk and cook for another 2 minutes.

For the rice:

  1. In a medium pan with a tight fitting lid, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until opaque.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, except rice and bring to a boil.
  3. Add rice, stir, cover and simmer for 18 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, stir and recover for another 2 minutes.

 

 

 

Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday – Week One – Puerto Rico – Asopao de Pollo

Welcome to week 1 of the Five US Territories of New Recipe Tuesday.  As you all know, I finished our adventure through the Fifty United States with Hawaii, and it was time to look for something new to do. And although I would love to start off on a new worldly culinary adventure, I felt that I was not doing our fine USA justice without a nod to our outlying land masses, otherwise known as the US Territories.

In actuality, there are 16 American territories worldwide, but only 5 of them are inhabited full time. I am going to try to discover interesting foods from these 5 for the next several weeks, and may even throw in the District of Columbia before moving along to somewhere else. What do you think? I like it, and well, it’s my blog, so that is what I am doing.

My first territory is Puerto Rico. By far the largest US territory, Puerto Rico became part of the US in 1898 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War. If it were a state, it would be 29th in population and land wise would be larger than Rhode Island and Delaware.

Early on, Puerto Rico wanted to be independent, but by the turn of the 21st century, feelings had shifted. By 2012, with many families with members that lived in the US, Puerto Rico actually indicated a desire for statehood. As of right now, there is nothing pending in Congress to allow them to prepare a state constitution and appeal for statehood, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen in the next 20 years. Can you imagine the US with 51 states?

When it comes to food, Puerto Rico has a very distinct culinary identity. Influenced by Spanish and Caribbean flavors, Puerto Rico has developed many dishes that are uniquely their own. I have a brother in law, Ernesto, who is Puerto Rican, so I went to him for advice on what to make. He gave me the suggestion to make Asopao de Pollo, which translated means “Chicken Stew”. Most people think of Puerto Rico as being tropical, but there is actually a mountainous region to the island, and in the winter it can get quite cool. This is a dish that was created for the colder temps and so with fall peaking around the corner here in Philly, this is a perfect dish for this week.

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Puerto Rican Asopao de Pollo

This is really easy to make. It comes together in about 45 minutes, including prep, and you make it all in one pot; a perfect weeknight meal. This recipe uses two ingredients that I have never had before; sofrito and sazon. Both of these are integral to Puerto Rican cooking and there really is no substitute for them. There are recipes on the web for sofroto if you feel up to making your own, but Goya makes a jar version and is readily available in the Latin foods section of most large supermarkets. It was literally right next to the Sazon!

I really liked this. It is mild in flavor yet distinct. The rice gives it a heartiness that makes this an excellent cold weather dish. My son said it needed some texture, but I am not sure what I would add to it to give it some crunch without compromising the original flavor. Maybe just a simple side salad to give it some fresh contrast.

I highly recommend you give this one a try. It is super simple and delicious. If our other four territories are like this one, I think I am going to like this extension of the Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday.

Thanks for stopping by. See you next week in Guam!

Asopao de Pollo

Chicken and Rice Stew from Puerto Rico

Ingredients

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into rough 1-inch pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sofrito (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 envelopes Goya Sazon sin achiote (without annatto)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 6-8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons capers, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ cup long-grain rice
  • ½ cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a soup pot, heat oil and brown chicken.
  2. Add the sofrito, sazon, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, capers, bay leaf, and 6 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  3. Add rice, bring back up to a simmer, and cook for another 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.  If the stew gets too thick, add more stock.
  4. Add the olives and season with salt and pepper. Serve with cilantro.

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.

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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:

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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:

Ingredients

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

Instructions:

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.

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Hawaiian Mac Salad

Recipe for Haupia:

Ingredients

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

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.

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Haupia

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
Salmon Wellington

Recipe for Salmon Wellington:

Ingredients

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
Instructions:

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.

rolling-slamon-wellington
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-sliced
Salmon Wellington