How to Bring Beloved Regional Delicacies to Your Kitchen

I can’t believe that until just recently I’d never heard of a Dutch Baby—a wonderful culinary offering that is a regional staple in the Seattle area. The irony is that I grew up on Spokane, Wash., a mere 400 miles to the east.

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Another regional favorite I’ve discovered is the a popular dessert, Texas Sheet Cake that feeds a crowd.

Charleston, South Carolina is famous for its She Crab Soup. Fantastic!

Oh my, you are going to love all of these fabulous recipes—each one easy to make right in your own kitchen.

What’s the favorite in your region? If you send the recipes, I’ll do all I can to let the secrets out of the bag so we can all enjoy, no matter where we live.

Dutch Baby

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour bread flour* or all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place a large, heavy ovenproof frying pan (cast iron is ideal) in the center of oven. In food processor (or large bowl), beat the eggs until light and frothy; add milk, flour, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon; continue processing (or beating) for 5 minutes longer. Batter will be thin, smooth and creamy.

Carefully remove skillet from the oven; add the butter; tilting the pan to melt and coat the skillet. Once completely melted, pour batter into the hot skillet all at once and immediately return to the oven.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove the puffed pancake from the oven, transfer it to a plate or shallow bowl. Pour on melted butter, sprinkle on lemon juice, and dust with powdered sugar. Cut and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

*Bread flour helps the pancake rise. The results will not be as spectacular with all-purpose flour.

Texas Sheet Cake

Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Frosting: 

  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 10×15 inch sheet pan (like a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides). In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix in sour cream. Beat in the eggs. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in the water and 5 tablespoons cocoa. Bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly, then stir cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing until blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 F. for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Icing: In a large saucepan, combine the milk cocoa and butter. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, then fold in the nuts, mixing until blended. Spread frosting over hot cake as soon as you remove it from the oven. This is imperative. Yield: 35 servings.

She Crab Soup

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half cream
  • 4 teaspoons finely-grated onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest (rind)
  • 1 1/2 pounds flaked blue crab meat*
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • yolks from 2 hard-cooked eggs, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon finely-chopped fresh parsley leaves

* If you live in parts of the country where blue crab is not available, other types of crabmeat, such as Dungeness, snow, king, or rock crab may be substituted.

In a large, heavy pot over low heat, melt butter; add flour and blend until smooth. Slowly add milk and half and half cream, stirring constantly with a whisk; cook until thickened.

Add onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, white pepper, mace, cayenne pepper, and lemon zest. Bring just to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, add crabmeat and crab roe or crumbled hard-cooked egg yolks; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes (if the soup appears about to boil, remove the pan from the heat for a minute or so, then return). Remove from heat and add sherry, stirring to mix. Let sit for 3 to 4 minutes before serving.

To serve, pour the soup into individual heated soup bowls, dividing the crabmeat equally into each bowl. Garnish with crumbled egg yolks and parsley. Serve immediately. Yields: 4 servings

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  • Deb

    We had Dutch Babies (aka German pancakes) in the mid-west, too. I love my recipe. It has less flour and a good hand beating of the eggs gives it lift.

    3 eggs
    1 Tb sugar
    1/3 C milk
    1/3 C regular flour

    Put iron skillet n 425° oven & preheat for about 5 minutes.
    Beat eggs, ad rest of ingredients, and mix well.
    Put 2 Tb. butter in hot pan. When melted pour in batter.
    Bake for about 13 minutes or if you are at a higher elevation (like me in Colorado) about 10 minutes.

    Traditionally served with lemon juice & powdered sugar, but you can serve it with pancake syrup.

  • Shari

    My favorite coastal Georgia recipe, Shrimp and Grits. This a hearty meal that stretches 1 pound of shrimp to feed 4 an ample meal. The ultimate in southern comfort food.

    4 cups water

    Salt and pepper to taste

    1 cup grits

    2 tablespoons butter

    1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

    1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined. Cut into bite size pieces.

    6 slices bacon, chopped

    1 tbsp lemon juice

    1 red bell pepper, chopped

    1 sweet (Vidalia) onion chopped

    1 large clove garlic, minced

    1 ½ cup chicken broth

    1 tbsp corn starch

    Start grits:

    In a sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir often. If grits begin to get too thick before the shrimp is ready, stir in a little more water. Just before serving, remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.

    While grits are cooking:

    Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well then chop..

    In bacon grease, add onions and peppers. Sauté on medium heat for 5 minute, add garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes.

    Wisk corn starch into broth. Pour this into the pepper & onion mixture. Turn heat to medium high, cook and stir for about 5 minutes or until gravy begins to bubble and thicken slightly . Add shrimp, lemon juice and chopped bacon. Cook and stir until shrimp turns pink. DO NOT OVER COOK! As soon as shrimp turns a uniform pink, it’s done! On medium high, this will take between 3 and 5 minutes.

    Stir butter and cheese into grits. Spoon grits into individual bowls. Top with shrimp mixture. Serve immediately.

    *for the full southern experience, drink sweet iced tea with your shrimp and grits.

    Serves about 4

  • lisette

    A lot of regional and ethnic dishes are very easy on the budget. Here in the south, beans and cornbread with a side of collards; my grandmother’s colcannon, bubble and squeak, and rumbledethumps; pierogi and beets amd cabbage; our immigrant grannies had ways of feeding the clan without breakong the bank.