Historic Recipes from Pacific Northwest Cuisine & Black Swamp Food

Historic Recipes from Pacific Northwest Cuisine & Black Swamp Food

Happy Friday! If you’re looking for some delicious recipes rooted in local history for your weekend meals, look no further.

The first recipe comes from A History of Pacific Northwest Cuisine: Mastodons to Molecular Gastronomy.  With a dash of humor, culinarian Marc Hinton has chronicled the bounty of the Pacific Northwest from the mastodon meals of the earliest inhabitants to the gastronomic revolution of today. Hinton tells how Oregon’s and Washington’s chefs have used the region’s natural abundance to create a sumptuous cuisine that is stylish yet simple. From potlatches to Prohibition, seafood to sustainability and Lewis and Clark to James Beard, Hinton traces the events and influences that have shaped the Pacific Northwest’s edible past. Today’s first recipe, Walla Walla Onions with Cornbread Stuffing, is a Pacific Northwest signature dish.

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Too bad this isn’t served on any menus today, as someone could build quite a reputation with a dish like this.

Walla Walla Onions with Summer Corn Stuffing

4 large Walla Walla onions

3 ears of corn

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon melted butter

½ cup mushroom sauce

Salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Blanch four large Walla Walla onions and scoop out the center. Shave three large cooked ears of fresh corn. Place corn pulp in large mixing bowl with two beaten eggs, and then add 2 tablespoons heavy cream, a teaspoon of melted butter and salt, paprika and pepper to taste. Fill the onions with the corn filling, and then cook until heated through and custard is set. Serve with rich cream mushroom sauce.

The next recipe comes from Nathan Crook’s A Culinary History of the Great Black Swamp: Buckeye Candy, Bratwurst, & Apple ButterThe cultural and physical landscape of the Great Black Swamp is a monument to the hardship and perseverance of the people who drained and settled the region. They transformed densely forested wetlands into one of the most productive agricultural areas in the nation. Commercial crops of corn, soy, tomatoes and wheat are dominant in the fertile loam of southeastern Michigan, northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. However, each immigrant group calling this place home brought its own culinary traditions—from pickled eggs to peanut butter pie. 

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…our second featured recipe is Peanut Butter Pie. The flavors invoke memories of one of the region’s tastiest traditions: Buckeye Candy. (For those of you that don’t know, Buckeye candy is a bite-sized ball of peanut butter and butter, sweetened with powered sugar and a drop of vanilla and then partially dipped in semisweet chocolate coating). We find these flavors simply irresistible.

Peanut Butter Pie

Courtesy of Father John Russin

6 tablespoons butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

¾ cup peanut butter

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar (preferably dark brown)

1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust (below), 1 (9-inch) chocolate-nut crust (below) or 1 (9-inch) prepackaged “Ready Crust”

Beat butter, cream cheese, peanut butter and sugar until well blended and smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping until mixture is smooth and creamy. Turn out into the prepared crust. Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours. Garnish with cocoa powder or shaved or curled chocolate. Top with peanuts or drizzle melted chocolate over pie, if desired. Serves 6 to 8.

We hope you enjoy cooking these recipes, and as an added bonus, if you share this post from our Facebook page, or comment below, we’ll enter you to win these books.

The first winner will receive Pacific Northwest Food, and the second winner will receive Black Swamp Food. You have until Sunday, November 10 at midnight. Cheers!

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