October 13, 2014

Ohio

Statehood: March 1st, 1803 (17/50)

I learned how to spell Cincinnati from Keanu Reeves.

Not personally, that is. The 1986 classic Babes in Toyland has a scene in a car where the teens are singing, "I come from C-I-N C-I-N N-A-T-I, Cincinnati. The best town in O-H-I-O, Ohio, USA." And I have known, basically since then, how the city was spelled. Some (weird) things just never leave your brain, do they?

The other thing I know about Ohio is that it's called the Buckeye State, most likely because of the buckeye trees that are common throughout the state and have, over time, became an important part of their heritage. And how do I know this? Because of bake sales. I know this, because of bake sales. You see, Buckeyes are also fudgey peanut butter balls that are partially dipped in chocolate (to resemble buckeye tree nuts... which resemble the physical eyes of a deer... which is what they were named after). And they're amazing. Why they aren't the official state dessert, snack, baked good, or treat of Ohio is beyond me, though. ATTN: OHIO, FIX THIS GRAVE ERROR.

Ohio is also home to a really cool place called Serpent Mound (a prehistoric effigy mound that extends over 1,300 feet in length and in some spots upwards to three-feet high) in Adams County. Kinda cool, right?

Ohhhhhhkay, Ohioans, onward to your honorable eats!


State Beverage: Tomato Juice
Oooh, tomato juice. My in-flight drink of choice. The Ohio General Assembly made it the official state beverage in 1965!

Farmers' Market Bloodies
Makes: two drinks

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 red tomatoes, cut in quarters
3 green tomatoes, husked, washed, cut in quarters
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup vodka
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon olive juice
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 Tablespoons water

Method:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour the tablespoon of olive oil on the red tomatoes, green tomatoes, and garlic. Toss together on cookie sheet and sprinkle salt over everything. Roast for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven afterwards and peel the skin off the red tomato and the garlic. Toss everything (including juices that were extracted and sitting on the pan) into a blender and puree until entirely creamy. It should make about 1 cup of puree.

Mix pureed tomato juice with vodka (as much or little to your liking), lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, sriracha, olive juice, black pepper, salt, and water (to thin the mixture down a bit if you want - I chose to add 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of vodka and 2 Tablespoons of water for my drink). Pour over ice with a tomato, stuffed olive, lemon wedge, or celery garnish and serve immediately.


State Fruit: Tomato

Tomatoes - as I'm sure you've guessed - are an incredibly important part of the agriculture in Ohio; they're one of the top five producers of the fruit in the country. There's even an annual festival that celebrates the life of Alexander W Livingston - an Ohioan that developed many different varieties of tomatoes in his lifetime.

S'Hoagie (Simple Hoagie)
Makes: 1 hoagie

Ingredients:
1 hoagie roll
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
3 slices of Italian Deli Tofurky
2 slices provolone
3 slices Lightlife Smart Deli Ham
4 thin slices of tomato (about 1/2 of one large tomato)
2 Tablespoons hot pepper relish (like this or this)
Sprinkle of oregano, salt, pepper
1 teaspoon of olive oil

Method:
Cut your hoagie roll vertically down the top of the bread, and gently scrape out the interior of the roll to make more room for the fillings and to discard unwanted/unnecessarily carbs! First, sprinkle the shredded lettuce evenly in the roll. Then, top with the three slices of Italian Deli Tofurky, each overlapping the other piece just slightly. Top that with two evenly spaced out slices of provolone cheese. On top of that place three evenly spaced out slices of Lightlife Smart Deli Ham. Top that with the slices of tomato, then drizzle the hot pepper relish over the contents of the sandwich. Sprinkle oregano, pepper, salt then drizzle the olive oil over the whole sandwich. Serve immediately!


State Native Fruit: Pawpaw
COMING SOON...
The protein-rich pawpaw was named the State Native Fruit in 2009. There's even an annual festival held in Athens County for the part banana, part mango flavored fruit. Unfortunately, you know what's not popular (or even heard of by most residents) here in Maine? The pawpaw. I'm at a slight standstill with this one until my local Whole Foods or specialty store can guide me in the right direction. For now, we give a nod to the hyper-regional fruit as we figure out how to properly pay it homage!


Sources:
Manager, Portal. "RE: Ohio.gov Contact Form". Message to the author. 30 Oct. 2013. E-mail.
Ohio Secretary of State: Symbols of Ohio