Exploring Maryland

At the southernmost tip of the state of Maryland on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay sits the site of St. Mary’s City. Today it is a large, state-run historic area that includes a reconstruction of the original colonial settlement, a living history area and museum complex. These comprise half of the area, the remaining half is occupied by the campus of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a public honors college.

St. Mary’s City, the first governing seat of Maryland, is also considered the birthplace of religious freedom in the United States, the earliest North American colonial settlement ever established with a specific mandate of being a haven for religious freedoms of both Catholics and Protestant Christian faiths.

In 1633 George Calvert, the First Lord Baltimore and holder of the grant to the new Maryland Colony, gave specified instructions that all settlers were to practice religious tolerance. These instructions further encouraged Catholics to be reserved about expressions of their faith in order not to antagonize the Protestants. These instructions became the first laws passed in Maryland, known as the Maryland Toleration Act of 1649. Unfortunately, this did not last. In 1692, with Protestants in control, Catholics in the Maryland Colony lost the right to vote. Catholics were also no longer allowed to worship in public. Maryland also placed restrictions limiting Catholic immigration to the colony. In 1695 the new Protestant Maryland Governor, Sir Francis Nicholson, relocated the capital from St. Mary’s City to a more centralized location, Annapolis. The colonial statehouse in St. Mary’s was converted to a Protestant Church that same year.

Although a Catholic’s right to vote in Maryland would be reinstated by the state assembly some decades later, other forms of discrimination against Catholics continued through most of the next century. Catholics were not allowed to serve in the Maryland Militia yet when money needed to be raised for the military, Catholics were taxed double what Protestants were. Wealthy Catholics continued to practice their religion in secret, sending their children abroad to get a Catholic Education. Poor Catholics could not afford this, and were venerable to discrimination practices. Consequently, over time many Catholics converted to Protestantism in order to avoid discrimination. By the late 18th Century, the Catholic population in Maryland had dropped to 9%. The religious tensions in Maryland were felt all the way through to the election of John F. Kennedy.

We learn from our past. Prejudices are born of ignorance and misunderstandings. The more we learn, the more we realize that we are all the same, deep down inside. As the saying goes, we all put our pants on one leg at a time. And we all bleed red. We mourn and love and long for peace. It’s the human condition in us all.

Celebrating Maryland’s Flavors in Four Courses
Appetizer –
Grilled Old Bay Wings Recipe

Soup Course –
Simple Crab Bisque
with Buttermilk Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Main Course –
Pork Chops with Honey-Garlic Sauce
Caramelized Onion Green Beans
Scored Baked Potatoes

Dessert –
Lord Baltimore Cake with 7-Minute Frosting

Grilled Old Bay Wings Recipe
3 lbs Chicken Wings, separated
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 cup Butter
1/4 cup Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
Old Bay Seasoning (lots!)
2 Lemons, juiced
1 cup Blue Cheese Dressing
1 cup Ranch Dip Dressing

Heat grill to medium-high heat, about 425-degrees. Pat wings dry, set aside.

For the sauce, in a small, thick-bottom pot, melt the butter, whisk in 2 tablespoons of Old Bay, lemon juice, and hot sauce, then let cool.

Set aside half of the sauce, and toss the wings in the remaining lukewarm Old Bay sauce.

Grill wings over medium-high grill 20-25 minutes, turning frequently, until chicken is cooked completely and SKIN is deliciously crisp.

Toss the wings in the remaining sauce. Arrange on a platter, serve with choice of dipping dressings.

Simple Crab Bisque
2 large shallots, minced
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
3 cups Chicken Stock
2 cups Heavy Cream
Kosher Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Sweet Hungarian Paprika
8 oz refrigerated Lump Crab
8 oz refrigerated Crab Claw Meat
1 tablespoon minced Roasted Garlic
1/4 cup Dry Sherry
1/4 cup Marsala
Fresh Ground Pepper at serving, if desired

Peel and finely mince shallots, set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and cream, and season with kosher salt and white pepper. Bring to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the crabmeat. Add Cayenne, paprika and garlic. Gently stir to blend.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Stir in the sherry and wine and simmer for about 10 minutes longer. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle the soup into warmed shallow bowls and garnish with fresh pepper if desired.

Note: Bisque can be made in advance, then gently warmed when ready to serve.

Buttermilk Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Biscuit Dough
3 cups Flour
2 tablespoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) Butter, cold and chopped
1-3/4 cup Buttermilk
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1-1/2 cups Sharp Cheddar, shredded

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Chop butter into small chunks. Add butter to the mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to combine, starting slow and working your way up to medium speed, until you’ve formed a dough with pea-sized lumps. With the mixer on low, slowly add in milk. Mix until a dough forms.

Fold in garlic powder and cheese. Use a spoon to place 2-inch drop-biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Topping Finish
1/2 cup Butter
1 tablespoon fresh Parsley
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder

While the biscuits are baking, melt butter in the microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted. Finely mince parsley, stir into the melted butter. Season with garlic powder. Stir to blend well, set aside.

When the biscuits are baked, remove from the oven and immediately brush melted butter mixture on top of each biscuit . Serve piping hot and delicious.

Pork Chops with Honey-Garlic Sauce
4 bone-in Pork Loin Chops
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Honey
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Lemon for garnish

Season pork chops with salt and pepper.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray, heat skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops and cook a thermometer reads 145-degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Remove; cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Peel and mince garlic, add to the empty skillet. Stir in lemon juice, honey and soy sauce. Cook over medium for about 3 minutes.

Spoon sauce over pork chops. Cut lemon into wedges to garnish the serving platter.

Caramelized Onion Green Beans
4 strips Bacon, chopped
2 large Yellow Onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 lbs fresh Green Beans, trimmed
3 tablespoons Cider Vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Stack bacon, chop and set aside. Peel and cut onions into 1/2-inch wedges, set aside. If using fresh Green Beans, pick through, trim and set aside. If using frozen Green Beans, place in a colander, rinse with cold water and let drain.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan.

In drippings, sauté onions over medium heat until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until deep golden brown, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and brown sugar. Let simmer while the green beans are cooked.

In a pot of boiling water, cook green beans, uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes; drain. Add to onions; increase heat to medium and cook 1 minute, tossing to combine. Stir in bacon; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Scored Baked Potatoes
4 large Baking Potatoes
2 tablespoons Butter, melted, divided
1/8 teaspoon Paprika
1 tablespoon minced fresh Parsley
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350-degrees.

With a sharp knife, cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Slice each half widthwise 6 times, but not all the way through; fan potatoes slightly.

Place in a shallow baking dish. Brush potatoes with 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with paprika, parsley, salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, in the heated oven for 50 minutes or until tender. Drizzle with remaining butter.

Lord Baltimore Cake with 7-Minute Frosting
Lord Baltimore Cake
4 Egg Yolks
3 cups Cake Flour
3-3/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 cups Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1-1/2 cups Milk
3/4 cup Butter, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons Lemon Extract

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans with a thin coating of butter and flour. Set pans aside.

Separate eggs. Place yolks together in a single bowl. Place 1 egg white in a bowl for the cookies, remaining 3 egg whites in a bowl for the frosting. Set separated eggs aside.

Sift flour and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer.

Fit mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour mixture, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Add 1 cup of the milk, butter and lemon extract to the flour mixture and beat just enough to moisten.

Add the eggs and beat on medium-low for 2 minutes. Slowly add remaining 1/2 cup of milk if batter appears too dry.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.

Carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake, place a wire rack on top of the cake and then invert rack with the cake so the pan sits on the wire rack. Lift pan from the cake. Repeat with the other cake. Let cake cool completely.

Almond Macaroons
4 oz Almond Paste (about 5 1/2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
Pinch Kosher Salt
1 large Egg White
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup sliced Almonds

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimed baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the almond paste, sugar, and salt on medium speed. Mix until crumbly, about 3 minutes. Add egg white and vanilla. Mix until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes.

Drop batter by tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet, space cookies 2 inches apart. Place 2 almond slices on each mound of dough. Bake until cookies are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting Filling
6 Almond Macaroons (above)
2/3 cup Candied Cherries, chopped
1/2 cup Almonds, chopped
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon Cherry Extract
2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
Half of 7-Minute Frosting (below)

Crush enough Macaroons for 1/2 cup crushed cookies, set aside.

Chop candied cherries, almonds and pecans, set aside.

DO NOT mix filling together until frosting is made and cake is ready to assemble.

7-Minute Frosting
1-1/2 cups Sugar
1/3 cup Water
1-1/4 tablespoon Corn Syrup
1/8 teaspoon Salt
3 Egg Whites
1-1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a double boiler, combine the all the ingredients except the vanilla extract. Beat with a hand mixer on high for 7-10 minutes or until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

Remove from the heat and blend in the vanilla extract.

To Assemble Cake:
Divide frosting in half. In a large bowl, fold half of the frosting with crushed macaroons, 2/3 of the candied cherries, 2/3 of the almonds, 2/3 of the pecans, all of the cherry extract and lemon juice. Set aside.

Carefully slice each cake layer in half to create 4 layers. Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake board or cake plate.

Place 1/3 of the frosting filling on the cake, spread evenly over the top. Place second cake layer over the first, repeat with 1/3 of the frosting. Place third cake layer over the second, spread remaining 1/2 of the frosting filling. Top third layer with final layer of cake.

Frost top and sides of the cake with remaining half of the 7-minute frosting. Scatter remaining chopped cherries and nuts over the top of the cake. Serve and enjoy.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

3 thoughts on “Exploring Maryland”

  1. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. My family had a place in Compton, MD, just outside of Leonardtown. Ryken HS is near Leonardtown, a brother school to my HS Good Counsel in Wheaton, MD. My aunt lived near St Mary’s City, on Piney Point. And we had swim meets at Pax River Naval Station, on the base. It has been 30 years since I was down there, but such find memories. And lots of crabs!!

    Liked by 1 person

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