Today is National New York State Day. Did you know that while New York sent three delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, only Alexander Hamilton remained to sign the final document? Interestingly enough, Hamilton was a Federalist that believed for a President to effectively govern, he should be elected for life. By removing campaigning from the office of Presidency, Hamilton believed politics would also be removed. He felt the Senate should also be a life-term appointment. Since there are no term limits in the U.S. Senate, life terms are possible.
New York State is home to over 19 million residents. Two-thirds of them call the New York metropolitan area home. Amazing when you consider that New York State is the 27th largest state in respect to land area. That’s quit a concentration of people in a relatively small space. Yet with its population New York was the only colony not to vote for independence. That is not to say they opposed independence, but that their delegates were not authorized to do so. However, five days later, on July 9, New York endorsed the Declaration of Independence. Nearly a third of the battles of the American Revolution took place in New York. New York City was the National Capital under the Articles of the Confederation, the first national government of America until 1790. New York had the second-highest population of slaves after Charleston. Yet soon after the Revolutionary War, New York passes a law for the gradual abolition of slavery. Gradual indeed, the last of New York’s slaves were not freed until 1827. Still, New York sent more troops than any other state to fight for the North during the Civil War.
New York isn’t just a big city. It’s beautiful countryside with rich soil. In stark contract to New York City’s urban landscape, the vast majority of New York State are meadows, forests, rivers and farms. Think the Great Appalachian Valley, Lake Champlain and the Hudson.
When it came time to put together recipes that reflect New York, Coney Island Hot Dogs immediately sprang to mind. Buffalo Wings and a slice of pizza also conger up images of New York. That’s when I discovered Salt Potatoes. Salt what? Potatoes. Salt Potatoes are a regional dish of Syracuse. Irish salt miners came to work each day with bags of small, unpeeled potatoes. At mealtime, they boiled their potatoes in a salt brine. It was cheap and filling. Salt potatoes would go well with Coney Island Hot Dogs, don’t you think? And after all that salt, we need a creamy slice of Cheesecake. Oh, and today is also Pecan Cookie Day – the inspiration for our Cheesecake Crust. Enjoy!
Flavors of New York
Coney Island Hot Dogs
Long Island Ice Tea
New York Cheesecake with Pecan Cookie Crust
2 lbs baby White or Gold Potatoes
2 oz Sea Salt
1/2 cup Butter
Scrub potatoes well. Combine the potatoes and salt in a wide pot and add enough water to just cover the potatoes. Set the pot over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat as needed to maintain a vigorous simmer and cook potatoes until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Pour off all but 1/2-inch of water, if needed, then return the pan to the stove. Increase the heat to high and roll the potatoes around in the reduced salt water until the water evaporates and the salt crystallizes, about 3 minutes. Continue rolling the potatoes around until the pan is completely dry, the potatoes are coated in an even salt crust, and the skins appear slightly wrinkled, another minute or two.
Melt butter in a dipping bowl. Place bowl in the center of a platter, surrounded with Salt Potatoes.
Coney Island Hot Dogs
2 lbs Ground Beef
6 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
3 cups Beef Stock
1-1/2 cups Tomato Sauce
2 teaspoons ground Cumin
2 tablespoons Chili Powder
2 teaspoons Turmeric
2 tablespoons Smoked Paprika
8 tablespoons Flour
Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring often to break it up into very fine morsels. Once the meat has cooked, reduce heat to medium.
Place beef stock, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, paprika and flour into a blender and pulse until the ingredients are well mixed and smooth.
Pour the blended ingredients into the skillet and stir often as it heats and thickens. Once the sauce has thickened, purée four cups of the chili sauce in the blender. Return the puréed sauce to the skillet, stir, and cover. Reduce the heat to minimum until you assemble the hot dogs.
8 All-Beef Hot Dogs
8 Hot Dog Buns, warmed
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook hot dogs until plump. While the dogs boil, wrap 4 buns in each of two foil sheets. Place in a steamer basket over the hot dogs and allow buns to warm while the hot dogs cook.
1 White Onion
To assemble: Peel and dice the onion. Place a cooked hot dog into each warmed bun. Spoon a generous helping of the chili sauce across the top. Add a squeeze of prepared mustard, then a generous sprinkle of chopped onion. Serve immediately.
Classic Long Island Ice Tea
1/2 fl oz Vodka
1/2 fl oz Gin
1/2 fl oz Light Rum
1/2 fl oz Orange Liqueur
1/2 fl oz fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 fl oz freshly squeezed Orange Juice
1 teaspoon Simple syrup
Cola, to top
Lemon Wedge, to garnish
Place all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice and shake hard.
Strain the cocktail into a highball glass, top up with cola and garnish with a lemon wedge.
New York Cheesecake with Pecan Cookie Crust
Pecan Cookie Crust
16 Pecan Shortbread Cookies
1/3 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
8 tablespoons Butter, divided
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Break cookies into pieces. Process cookie pieces and sugar in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add flour and salt, pulse two times to combine. Melt 7 tablespoons butter. Add to the cookie mixture and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened, about 10 pulses. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter. Brush bottom of 9-inch springform pan with the 1/2 tablespoon of the melted butter. Using hands, press crumb mixture evenly into pan bottom. Using flat bottom of measuring cup or ramekin, firmly pack crust into pan. Bake on lower-middle rack until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 12 minutes. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and set aside to cool completely.
5 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups Sugar
Pinch Sea Salt
1/3 cup Sour Cream
2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
6 large Whole Eggs
2 large Egg Yolks
Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees.
Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in remaining 3/4 cup sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bowl well; add sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add egg yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl and beater. Add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds after each addition. Pour filling through fine-mesh strainer set in large bowl, pressing against strainer with rubber spatula or back of ladle to help filling pass through strainer.
Brush sides of springform pan with remaining 1/2 tablespoon melted butter. Pour filling into crust and set aside for 10 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to top. Gently draw tines of fork across surface of cake to pop air bubbles that have risen to surface.
When oven thermometer reads 200 degrees, bake cheesecake on lower rack for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove cake from oven and use toothpick to pierce any bubbles that have risen to surface. Return to oven and continue to bake until center registers 165 degrees, 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 hours longer. Remove cake from oven and increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.
When oven is at 500 degrees, bake cheesecake on upper rack until top is evenly browned, 4 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes; run paring knife between cheesecake and side of springform pan. Let cheesecake cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and firmly set, at least 6 hours.
To unmold cheesecake, remove sides of pan. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cheesecake onto serving plate. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
To slice, dip sharp knife in very hot water and wipe dry between cuts. Serve.