What's Cook'n Around the U.S.A.?

Don't you just love how diversified America is? While we're truly one big melting pot, we've been able to hang onto regional accents, idioms, customs and favorite foods. For instance, we travel to Maine and can plan on a great lobster dinner. We travel to Idaho and know we'll get great potato dishes. We travel to Louisiana and start drooling for gumbo before we even hit the state line.

I'm actually from the Northwest (Spokane, Washington...RAH!). Known for its astounding apples, it's no surprise that some of the best apple pies and apple crisps I've ever tasted have come from Washington.

Also from Washington, Aunt Annie made an amazing apple pie. But she didn't stop there. She could do just about anything with a good apple. And one recipe she mastered was an apple soup that was so good it served as a complete supper on cold fall evenings. Try this out:

Apple, Potato Cheddar Soup

Serving size: 6
Calories per serving: 409


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 medium apples peeled, cored, and chopped
1 potato peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 cup white wine
5 cups chicken broth
4 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
diced, unpeeled apple optional

1. In large saucepot, heat oil. Add apples, potato, celery, onion, and thyme. Sautee 10 minutes. Stir in wine and simmer 2 minutes; add broth and simmer 45 minutes.
2. In blender or food processor, puree soup mixture. Return to saucepot; over very low heat, stir in cheese, cream, nutmeg, and pepper. Cook just until heated through-do not boil or cheese will curdle. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish, if desired, diced apples.

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I live in Utah now, and this state, too, has its food fame. If you were a state, how would YOU like to be known for green Jello (which typically includes shredded carrots)? It's embarrassing. Second to that remarkable dish would be “Funeral Potatoes.” Other states call it cheesy potatoes. But whatever you call this scrumptious side dish, it's a recipe for a heart attack since it's made from sour cream, butter, lots of shredded cheese, and cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup.

And then there's Ohio (with a more respectable list of foods). They're famous for their cream cheese rhubarb pie, chili dogs, paw paw concoctions (a fruit that tastes like a cross between a melon and a banana), and buckeyes.

Our son and his family were living in Ohio while they were going to school and it was then that they discovered Buckeyes, Ohio's official candy. This treat was named after the nut found on Ohio's official state tree, the Buckeye. This nut is small, shiny, dark brown, and has a light tan patch. According to folklore, the Buckeye resembles the eye of a deer and carrying one brings good luck.

Wikipedia explains best what this treat actually is: A Buckeye is a confection made from peanut butter fudge, which is rolled into a ball and partially dipped in chocolate to leave a circle of the fudge visible. They really do resemble the nut from the buckeye tree, and they're delicious.

Regional recipes fascinate me-they're not hard to find and I've been researching them for years now. I've found that people are proud to share when it comes to things they're famous for.

And another good source of regional recipes is the Cook'n Club; talk about a lot of good regional (and even international) cooking going on all the time! So if YOU have a recipe that's representative of where you live, or of your family heritage, etc., please share. We'd love to know more about what's Cook'n around the U.S.A. (or the globe, for that matter)!

  •   www.blog.chefuniforms.com
  •   www.fertilitychef.com
  •   www.bestapples.com
  •   www.recipepes.com
  •   www.cookingwithmamac.com
  •   www.dvo.com

    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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