Cool, brisk mornings and a changing landscape of color…fall is clearly upon us. But before we leave summer behind, we’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Iowa State Fair – Iowa Big Four Competition winners.
This year the Iowa State Fair was back live and in-person. Annually, the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation honors Iowa’s agriculture industry and its biggest commodities – corn, soybeans, pork, and eggs through our Iowa Big Four Cooking Contest. Before we dive into the winning recipes, here is a quick snapshot of Iowa’s agricultural landscape.
Iowa Agriculture Facts
When it comes to helping feed, fuel, and clothe the world, Iowa has a lot to be proud of.
- Iowa has some of the richest and most productive soil in the world so it’s no surprise that Iowa is a major contributor to agriculture.
- Did you know? One in five Iowa jobs is tied to agriculture.
- Iowa ranks first in the U.S. in corn production and second in soybean production.
- Iowa leads the nation in pigs, egg, and commercial red meat production.
- More than 30 percent of the nation’s pigs come from Iowa (24.8 million or 7 hogs per person!).
- Iowa has 47 million egg laying hens that produced 12.4 billion eggs in 2020.
- Iowa produces enough eggs to feed every American one egg per day for 52 days.
- Iowa ranks second in total agricultural exports. Iowa farmers exported $12.6 billion work of agricultural products in 2020.
Iowa’s Big Four Contest is both savory and sweet
At our food competition, aspiring chefs from across Iowa prepare a sweet and/or savory dish using at least two of the big four Iowa commodity ingredients or by-products of corn, soybeans, pork, or eggs. The entries are judged by a panel of experts representing the commodity organizations that are responsible for helping farmers. This year, Anne Rehnstrom (Iowa Pork Producers Association) and Carrie Dodds (Iowa Corn Growers Association) served as our judges.
Iowa’s Big Four Winner – Sweet Category
This year’s winning recipe in the sweet category was Flyover State Doughnuts submitted by Alisa Woods from Des Moines. The recipe uses eggs, corn, and bacon. The second place prize went to Olivia Smith of Winterset with her Iowa Chocolate Orange Cake Pops. Rita Cashman Becker of Fort Madison came in third place with her Candied Bacon Lemon-Lime Strawberry Bars.
1 and 1/8 cup Whole Milk, Warm
¼ cup Sugar
2 ¼ tsp (one package) Active Dry Yeast
2 whole large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, melted
4 cups All-Purpose Flour
½ tsp Salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Place the milk in the microwave for 45 seconds – 1 minute. Add to the bowl of your stand mixer with the sugar and yeast and stir to combine. Let it set for 5 minutes.
To the stand mixer, add the eggs and butter, then stir.
Using a dough hook, slowly add the flour and salt while the mixer is running and mix for 5 minutes.
Let the dough stand for 10 minutes before turning out into a large, greased bowl. Cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
Once the dough has chilled, roll out on a well floured surface and cut circles with a large biscuit cutter. Don’t cut the middle circle of the doughnut because this is going to be a filled doughnut. Cover and let them rise for an hour. Preheat your oil to 350 and fry until golden brown on both sides, flipping halfway through.
Sweet Corn Pastry Cream Ingredients
2 cups Whole Milk
1 ear of Corn, Kernels cut off and reserved
6 large Egg Yolks
½ cup Sugar
1/3 cup Cornstarch, sifted
3 ½ tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened
Sweet Corn Pastry Instructions
In a saucepan, combine the milk, kernels, and cobs of the corn. The cobs hold a lot of flavor so don’t leave them out. Bring the milk to a slow simmer and set aside for 5 minutes. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Whisk well. Remove the cobs, leaving the kernels, and slowly pour into the yolk and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk as you return it to the heat. Let it heat until it starts to thicken, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Place that bowl in an ice bath and stir in the butter as the mixture cools.
½ cup Butter, melted
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Maple Extract
4 cups Powdered Sugar
3 tbsp Heavy Cream
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
8 slices of Applewood Bacon
¼ cup Brown Sugar
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the bacon on a greased tin foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with maple and brown sugar. Bake 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick your bacon is. Let it cool and chip into small pieces.
To assemble, fill the doughnuts with pastry cream, making sure to fill the whole doughnut. Dip the top in the maple glaze and sprinkle with bacon bits.
Iowa’s Big Four Winner – Savory Category
This year’s winning recipe in the savory category was Iowa’s Breakfast Burrito submitted by Brooklyn Sedlock of Indianola, Iowa. The recipe uses pork, corn, and eggs. Jacqueline Riekena of West Des Moines placed second with her Summer Corn Salad recipe. And, Larry Mahlstedt of Des Moines came in third place with his Pig Powder Party Iowa Mix recipe.
4 tsp Soy Sauce
1 large Yellow Bell Peppers (1 cup)
1 large Green Bell Pepper (1 cup)
1 small white onion (1/4 cup)
6 small Russet potatoes (4 cups diced)
1 – 12 oz package Ground Breakfast Pork Sausage
3 tbsp Olive oil
2 ears Iowa Sweet Corn
1 tsp Cilantro
4 flour burrito shells
4 tsp Goat Cheese
3 tsp Greek Seasoning
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper
4 large eggs
¼ cup half and half
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ tsp black pepper
In a large skillet add 2 tbsp of soy sauce and the 12 oz package of ground pork sausage. While the pork is cooking, dice up the peppers and onion. In a medium stockpot, boil water and add the 2 ears of sweet corn. Boil about 3 minutes or until cooked. Then cut the corn off the cob and set aside. When the pork is almost done add the peppers, onion, corn, and last 2 tbsp of soy sauce in with the pork. Sauté until everything is cooked. Drain any excess soy sauce from the pan.
In a medium skillet, put the olive oil. Dice up the potatoes. It should be about 4 cups and place in skillet with olive oil. Finely chop up the cilantro and sprinkle over the potatoes. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to the potatoes. Cook until tender.
Now add the potatoes to the pork and veggies. Stir together and add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper and the Greek Seasoning. Heat on low if it has started to cool off.
Cook your eggs as directed below to make scramble eggs.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, and salt. Mix until it is uniform in color and is light and foamy.
Melt the butter in a small non-stick pan over medium heat until the butter coats the pan and begins to foam. Add the eggs to the center of the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. Wait until the edge barely starts to cook. Using a rubber spatula, gently push the eggs from one end of the pan to the other. Continue doing this until the uncooked egg has all settled on the warm pan. Gently push any liquid to form curds. When the eggs are mostly cooked, make big folds but still look wet, fold the eggs into itself just a few times bringing the eggs together. Remove from heat when the eggs shimmer with some moisture. Finish with pepper.
Warm the burrito shell in a small skill about 20-30 seconds then begin to assemble. Put ¼ cup of eggs and ¼ cup of potato veggie mix about ¼ of the way from the bottom of the burrito shell. Dice up about 1 tsp of goat cheese and crumble on top and fold the sides in first then the bottom and continue to roll until in burrito form. Wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm if not eating right away.
Makes 4 burritos.
Fresh Sweet and Spicy Salsa (spicy salsa with a hint of sweet)
3 medium size Early Girl Tomatoes
1 medium Yellow Tomato
1 medium White Onion
1 large Jalapeno Pepper
1 large Yellow Bell Pepper
1 large Green Bell Pepper
3 tbsp Cilantro
1 large Peach (sliced)
1 ½ tsp Salt
1 ½ tsp Pepper
Wash all the fruits and vegetables. Then remove cores of the tomatoes and quarter, cut peppers in 4 pieces and onion as well. Blanch the peach 30 seconds to remove skin then remove pit and slice. (I use my Tupperware quick chef and throw all the ingredients in and it chops them up finely.)
Makes 2 pints.
All the veggies and herbs in the burrito and salsa came from my personal garden.
If you have a great recipe that features corn, soybeans, pork, or eggs you can enter it at the 2022 Iowa State Fair in the Iowa’s Big Four Competition! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for details next spring.