How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Maryland Day 2015

We have a special affinity for the state of Maryland as it is the place where we met and married. We have celebrated the anniversary of day that Maryland became a state for many years, and it was one of the highlights of the year we celebrated all the states' anniversaries. Nowadays, most state anniversaries come and go with nary a mention at our house, but Maryland always gets its due.

This year we made Chèvre Croquettes on Spring Field Greens, a recipe from FireFly Farms found in our Dishing Up Maryland cookbook (which we bought on Nantucket - go figure), and for dessert a Lady Baltimore Cake.

The salad was easy to prepare, especially since we skipped what would have been the most time-consuming part - cooking the beets. Neither one of us is crazy about beets, so we just decided not to include them at all. The Croquettes were prepared using soft goat cheese mixed with a bit of chopped thyme, some garlic salt, and pepper. I formed the mixture into four small medallions and dipped each in a beaten egg, and then corn meal. They were fried in olive oil for 3 minutes and then placed on a bed of greens with chopped red, yellow, and orange peppers and a minced shallot. The vegetables were dressed with a light vinaigrette made from red wine vinegar, olive oil, and Dijon mustard. The salad was quite tasty and was a meal unto itself.

The Lady Baltimore Cake was a much bigger project than the Croquettes. Neither one of us even knew such thing as a Lady Baltimore Cake existed until Pam saw mention of one in Beverly Cleary's book Emily's Runaway Imagination (which takes place in Oregon) earlier this year.

We baked the cake the night before the celebration as we realized that we would need a bit of time for this project. We used recipes we found on the site for the cake and the frosting. This is a triple layer cake, and while we do have three round cake pans, one of them is 9 inches, while the other two are eight. I used all three and then cut off the excess from the larger cake. This gave us a fun taste test. We felt like kids dipping the cut off pieces of cake into the leftover frosting - there was way more frosting than we needed for the cake. One thing about this cake is that it uses A LOT of egg whites (six for the cake itself, and four for the frosting), so if you make it you may want to have some plan for all the yolks. I attempted to make an omelet the next day with all of them, but it was awful - extremely dry, even though I added two whole eggs to the saved yolks before cooking them. The cake though was yummy, and turned out not to be as sweet one might expect when the frosting recipe calls for 1/4 c of corn syrup and 2 cups of sugar.

The dinner -- and especially the dessert -- was perfectly paired with a non-Maryland wine: a Blanc de Blancs from our favorite local vineyard.

Our celebration was muted, sadly, by the unraveling of our beloved Baltimore in the wake of the murder of Freddie Gray, whose memory we toasted at the outset of the dinner.

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