Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Mexico - #47, January 6, 1912

New Mexico became a territory of the United States following the Mexican War in 1848, with the last piece of the puzzle coming with the 1853 Gadsden Purchase. Since 1945, New Mexico has been a leader in energy research and development with extensive experiments conducted at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and Sandia Laboratories in the nuclear, solar, and geothermal areas.

The state of New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics and the second highest percentage of Native Americans (after Alaska).  The tribes in the state consist of mostly Navajo and Pueblo peoples. The flag of New Mexico is represented by the red and gold colors, which represent Spain, as well as the Zia symbol, an ancient symbol for the sun of that Pueblo-related tribe.

The current Governor of New Mexico is Susana Martinez, a rising star in the Republican Party and the first Hispanic female governor of a state. Both Senators for New Mexico are Democrats, Jeff Bingaman, and Tom Udall. Senator Bingaman is retiring from the Senate and will be replaced by Congressman Martin Heinrich (D).  The New Mexico Congressional delegation has three members, two Democrats and one Republican.
Prominent New Mexicans - (here's a few lists to peruse, one and two)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tomboy Cake

From a recent issue of Bon Appetit . . . I would eat this . . .  you know, my birthday's coming up . . .

The Tomboy Cake
Bon Appétit | October 2012
by Janet McCracken and Alison Roman
Inspired by a style of cake from California's Miette bakeries, we frost the top and middle layers of this stunner but leave the sides naked to showcase the almond cake. Don't have a pastry bag or star tip to frost the layers? Fill a resealable plastic bag with the frosting, snip off a corner, and pipe away. 

Yield: Makes 8 to 12 servings

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more 
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more 
  • 1 cup slivered almonds 
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar, divided 
  • 4 large egg yolks 
  • 6 large egg whites 
Lemon cream:
  • 1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin 
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces 
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream 
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar 
Frosting and assembly:
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3 large egg whites 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2/3 cup strawberry jam 
Special equipment:
  • Three 8"-diameter cake pans with 2" sides
  • a candy thermometer
  • a pastry bag
  • a large star piping tip

For cake:
Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment-paper rounds; butter paper. Pulse 2 1/2 cups flour and almonds in a food processor until almonds are finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in baking powder and salt; set aside.

Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat 2 cups sugar and 1 cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add egg yolks and continue to beat, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, until pale yellow and fluffy, 4–5 minutes. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. (Do not overmix or cake will dome and be dense.)

Using an electric mixer with clean, dry beaters, whip egg whites in a medium bowl until light and frothy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Beat meringue until medium peaks form, 3–4 minutes.

Fold 1/4 of meringue into batter just until incorporated (this will lighten batter, making it easier to fold in remaining meringue). Gently fold in remaining meringue until fully incorporated. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Smooth tops.

Bake cakes, rotating from left to right and top to bottom halfway through, until golden brown and the sides of cakes begin to pull away from pans, 40–45 minutes. Transfer to wire racks. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; peel off parchment and let cool completely.

If needed, use a long serrated knife to trim dome from each cake (about 1/8") to create a flat surface. DO AHEAD: Cakes can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. 

For lemon cream:
Place 2 teaspoons cold water in a small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.

Whisk lemon juice, sugar, and eggs in a medium metal bowl; place over a large saucepan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens, 5–6 minutes. (Do not allow bottom of bowl to touch the water or mixture will cook too fast and eggs may scramble.)

Remove bowl from heat and transfer mixture to a blender. With blender running, add butter 1 piece at a time until butter is completely incorporated. Add softened gelatin and blend 30 seconds longer.

Transfer lemon curd to a medium bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Chill until cold and set, 3–4 hours or overnight.

Using an electric mixer, beat chilled cream in another medium bowl until soft peaks form (warm cream will not whip up). Add powdered sugar. Continue to beat until medium peaks form, 2–3 minutes. Whisk curd to loosen; gently fold in whipped cream; set aside. DO AHEAD: Lemon cream can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. 

For frosting and assembly:
Bring 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook without stirring until candy thermometer registers 240°F, 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a medium bowl until light and frothy (be sure to keep a close eye on the sugar syrup). Beat in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and cream of tartar.

With mixer running, gradually add hot syrup in a thin stream, allowing syrup to drizzle down side of bowl into egg whites. Beat until egg whites are tripled in volume and meringue is very fluffy, cool, and opaque white, about 12 minutes with a stand mixer and up to 20 minutes with a hand mixer. (Frosting made with a hand mixer may not be as firm as that made with a stand mixer.) Add vanilla and mix 1 minute longer. Use meringue immediately.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with large star tip halfway with prepared meringue.

Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or platter. Spread 1/3 cup strawberry jam over, leaving a 1" border around edge. Spread 1/3 cup lemon cream over jam, keeping 1" border. Pipe a ring of meringue frosting over 1" border around edge. Place second cake layer atop meringue, pressing slightly to adhere. Repeat process with second cake layer, jam, lemon cream, and meringue. (Cover and chill remaining lemon cream for another use.) Place remaining layer on top. Using offset spatula, generously spread remaining meringue frosting on top layer of cake. Chill up to 4 hours.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Oklahoma - #46, November 16, 1907

First of all, a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to all those out there in the United States.  The Brave Astronaut clan is likely sitting down to our Thanksgiving feast at the beach.  I hope wherever you are, you are enjoying good food, friends and family.  Now on to today's State of the Union - we are down to the final five!

We have arrived at the final five states of the Union (to date) and the first of the states to be admitted in the 20th Century.  When the area was still a territory, on April 22, 1889, the first day homesteading was permitted, 50,000 people swarmed into the area. Those who tried to beat the noon starting gun were called “Sooners,” hence the state's nickname.

In April 1995, the state capital, Oklahoma City, was the site of the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history, when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, killing 168 people, including 19 children. McVeigh was sentenced to death and executed in June 2001 and Nichols was sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole.

The current Governor of Oklahoma is Republican Mary Fallin. Both Senators for the Sooner State are Republicans, Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn. The Oklahoma Congressional delegation has five members, which is also now completely Republican after the retirement of the 2nd District's Dan Boren.

Prominent Oklahomans - (here's a few lists to peruse, one and two - a lot of astronauts from Oklahoma!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Roasted Potatoes with Bacon, Cheese and Parsley

The Brave Astronaut is spending Thanksgiving at the beach this year, as we did a few years ago.  We are looking forward to it - as there is definitely something special about the beach in the off season.  We will also be interested to see what remains of the beach after Hurricane Sandy a few weeks ago.

We are busy packing up items to bring with us to help with our feast on Thursday - we will head to the grocery store Wednesday to pick up those items that don't travel that well (the turkey, etc.).  Of course, a traditional Brave Astronaut Thanksgiving involves too much food and a lot of desserts.  I am working hard to dial it back at Mrs. BA's request.

There will be turkey and all the trimmings though - mashed potatoes, vegetables (sorry, but there will likely be a box of pearled onions, too) and desserts.  While the mashed potatoes are a staple - I would consider these as an alternative.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!  Thanks for stopping by!

Roasted Potatoes with Bacon, Cheese, and Parsley
Gourmet | November 2007
by Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez 
You've encountered a million potato-bacon-cheese combos in your lifetime, but in retrospect they all seem to be rehearsals for this one, a classic of Miraglia Eriquez's Calabrian grandmother Mary Pacella, who immigrated to Brooklyn in 1934. Crispness abounds, from the bacon to the slight crust on the roasted potatoes, yielding to creamy, very potatoey interiors. 

Yield: Makes 8 (side dish) servings
Active Time: 30 min
Total Time: 1 1/2 hr

  • 3 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 inches in diameter) 
  • 6 ounces bacon (about 6 slices), halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 
Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in lowest position.

Generously cover potatoes with cold water in a 4-quart pot and add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a small sharp knife, about 12 minutes. Drain. Cool potatoes to warm, then peel and cut in half crosswise.

Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until cooked through but still flexible. Drain on paper towels, reserving fat in skillet.

Brush bottom of a 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan with oil and half of reserved bacon fat. Sprinkle potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and arrange, cut sides down, in baking pan. Bake until undersides are golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Turn potatoes over, then sprinkle with cheese, bacon, and garlic and drizzle with remaining bacon fat (if fat congeals, reheat briefly over medium heat). Bake until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Cooks' notes:
  • Potatoes can be boiled and peeled 1 day ahead and chilled in an airtight container.
  • Potatoes, without cheese, bacon, garlic, and bacon fat, can be baked 6 hours ahead and kept, loosely covered, at room temperature. Turn potatoes over and proceed with recipe, baking a little longer. If baking at same time as stuffing, leave oven temperature at 425°F.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Utah - #45, January 4, 1896

In 1890, Wilford Woodruff, president of the Mormon Church published his Manifesto reforming political, religious, and economic life in Utah. This led to the admission of Utah as the 45th state in 1896. The first (148) Mormon pioneers had arrived in the Utah territory in 1847. Brigham Young was named as territorial governor by President Millard Fillmore in 1850. Controversy soon arose when word reached Washington that Mormon leaders were disregarding federal law and engaging in polygamy. Young was removed as governor in 1857 by President James Buchanan and sent troops to Utah. After Woodruff's Manifesto renounced the practice of polygamy, the stage was set for Utah to become a state. Utah is the most religiously homogeneous state in the Union. Approximately 63% of Utahns are reported to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS (Mormons), which greatly influences Utah culture and daily life, and it is the site of the Salt Lake Temple.

The first transcontinental railroad was completed with the driving of a golden spike at Promontory Summit in 1869. Utah is the only state that produces gilsonite, a pure form of asphalt used in dark colored printing inks and paints, oil well drilling muds and cements, asphalt modifiers, foundry sands additives, and a wide variety of chemical products.  Utah is a popular vacation destination, with 11,000 miles of fishing streams and 147,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs.  Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The current Governor of Utah is Republican Gary Herbert, who was reelected on November 6.  The Senators for Utah are also both Republicans, newly reelected Orrin Hatch and the junior Senator Mike Lee. The  Congressional delegation now has four members (having picked up a seat in the decennial census redistricting).  Reps. Bishop, Chaffetz, and Matheson were all reelected.
Prominent Utahns - (here's a few lists to peruse, one and two)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dark Pot Roast Chili

Today is Veteran's Day and a day off for many.  The Brave Astronaut clan is planning on celebrating with some other families - we often have a "play date" on these federal holidays.  With the weather turning colder (shh, don't tell Mrs. BA - she hates the fall), it's getting to be chili weather.

There was a good article in the Washington Post food section a few weeks ago, which included this recipe.  It sounds like it's worth a try.

Dark Pot Roast Chili
The Washington Post, October 24, 2012
Summary: The flavors of this chili, intense and deeply dark from cocoa and espresso powders, mellow during its low and slow cooking. Cooking the chuck roast whole gives you the option of serving it as pot roast (that gravy would be incredible over mashed potatoes) rather than shredding the meat for chili. And you can use your oven or break out the slow-cooker (see NOTE). 

If you're a chili purist, omit the beans, but Process columnist David Hagedorn says they give the dish extra body and protein, plus eye appeal. Salvadoran crema, richer and thinner than sour cream, makes a great accompaniment, along with traditional garnishes of grated cheese and chopped scallions. 

A chef's secret: Anchovies add an extra element of depth to a dish, as well as salt. 

MAKE AHEAD: The chili improves if it's made a couple of days ahead of time so the flavors can meld. It can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. 

Makes about 13 cups (8 servings)

For the spice mix:
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
For the chili puree:
  • 6 dried ancho peppers (4 ounces total)
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, such as La Morena brand 
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth, heated, plus 5 cups broth at room temperature 
For the chili:
  • 3-pound chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and patted dry with paper towels
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped (4 cups)
  • 6 ounces canned tomato paste
  • 4 ounces canned green chili pepper, such as Hatch brand
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 small bunch thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
  • Two 15-ounce cans no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 8 tablespoons Salvadoran crema or sour cream, for garnish 
  • 1/2 cup grated pepper Jack or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, for garnish
  • 4 whole scallions, trimmed and chopped, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish 
For the spice mix: Combine the chili powder, cocoa powder, smoked paprika, espresso powder, garlic powder, minced onion, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano and salt in a medium bowl.

For the chili puree: Heat the ancho peppers in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium high-heat, turning them often, until they soften, puff up and char and blister slightly, about 2 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a plate to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the stems and seeds and transfer the peppers to a blender along with the chipotle peppers, garlic, anchovies and 3 cups of hot beef broth. Remove the center knob from the blender lid and hold a clean kitchen towel over the opening to contain any splash-ups. Puree for 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth.

For the chili: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Season the roast generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the roast to the Dutch oven and let it cook undisturbed for 5 to 7 minutes, until it is well browned. Turn the roast over and brown for 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the roast to a plate or a slow cooker.

Add the onion, spice mix and tomato paste to the Dutch oven. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the spices to bloom. Stir in the chili puree, the remaining 5 cups of beef broth and the green chilies. Submerge the roast in the liquid and add any juices from the plate. Add the bay leaf and thyme. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 4 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender, occasionally skimming off any fat that floats to the top.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes. Use two forks to shred the meat into bite-size chunks. Return the meat to the Dutch oven with the cooking liquid, add the beans and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

To serve, discard the bay leaf and thyme bundle. Garnish each portion of chili with crema, grated cheese, scallions and cilantro.

NOTE: To make this in a slow-cooker, place the roast in the slow-cooker after browning it. After cooking the onion, spices and tomato paste and adding the chili puree, broth and green chilies, stir to combine and pour over the meat in the slow-cooker. Add the bay leaf and thyme, cover the slow-cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 1/2 hours. Shred the meat as directed, return it to the slow-cooker with the beans and cook for 20 minutes.

Recipe Source: From The Process columnist David Hagedorn.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wyoming - #44, July 10, 1890

As with so much of the midwest, the US acquired the land comprising Wyoming from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. John Colter, a fur-trapper and part of the Lewis and Clark expedition, is the first white man known to have entered the region. In 1807 he explored the Yellowstone area and brought back news of its geysers and hot springs. Robert Stuart pioneered the Oregon Trail across Wyoming in 1812–1813 and, in 1834, Fort Laramie, the first permanent trading post in Wyoming, was built. Western Wyoming was obtained by the U.S. in the 1846 Oregon Treaty with Great Britain and as a result of the treaty ending the Mexican War in 1848.

When the Wyoming Territory was organized in 1869, Wyoming women became the first in the nation to obtain the right to vote. In 1925, Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first woman governor in the United States.

The current Governor of  Wyoming is Republican Matt Mead. Both Senators for Wyoming are Republicans, John Barasso and Mike Enzi. Wyoming (like other sparsely populated states) has only one At-Large member, Cynthia Lummis (R).

  • State Capital (and largest city) - Cheyenne
  • Date of Admission - July 10, 1890
  • Area - 97,814 sq mi (10th) 
  • Population (2011 est.) - 568,158 (50th) 
  • State Motto - "Equal Rights" 
  • State Nickname - The Equality State 
  • State animal - bison
  • State bird - western meadowlark
  • State dinosaur - triceratops
  • State fish - cutthroat trout
  • State flower - Indian paintbrush
  • State gem - jade
  • State sport - rodeo
  • State tree -  cottonwood
  • State University - The University of Wyoming
  • Wyoming State Archives
  • Wyoming State Historical Society 
Prominent Wyomingites - (here's a few lists to peruse, one and two)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day - Get out and Vote!

Today is Election Day in the United States.  Unless you have been living under a rock - you are aware of this.  Even more so if you have been living in the "tossup states."  As a federal employee I cannot really discuss politics regarding the campaign - but those of you who know me well - know who I am voting for today.  Whomever you are supporting - I urge you to exercise your democratic right and get out and vote.

Tonight I will have access to both of these beverages.
One would make me happy and the other sick.
Tune in tomorrow to find out how I am feeling.

Here's a few events from history to remind you of the gravity of today and your civic responsibility.
  • 1860 - Abraham Lincoln elected 16th President
  • 1861 - Jefferson Davis elected to 6 year term as Confederate President
  • 1888 - Benjamin Harrison (R) beats President Grover Cleveland (D), 233 electoral votes to 168, Cleveland received slightly more votes 
  • 1900 - President William McKinley (R) reelected, beating William Jennings Bryan (D)
  • 1928 - Herbert Hoover (R) beats Alfred E. Smith (D) for President
  • 1956 - President Eisenhower (R) reelected, defeating Adlai E Stevenson (D)  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Spinach Ravioli

REMINDER:  In case you forgot (if you live in a swing state - you most certainly know it) - tomorrow is Election Day - GO VOTE!

I will point out for the record, I am not a vegetarian.  But some very nice people that I know are.  Occasionally, I see a vegetarian recipe that I like and would even eat.  This is one of them.

From Saveur (via my next door neighbor)

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli
Saveur kitchen assistant Jeanna DeMarco shared this family recipe for tender ravioli filled with spinach and cheese, topped with a tangy tomato sauce bolstered with mushrooms, zucchini, and squash. "We were a vegetarian household," she says. "This was our special-occasion dish."

SERVES 10–12

  • 4 oz. mozzarella, shredded 
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese 
  • 2 tbsp. thinly sliced basil leaves 
  • ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 1 (10-oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed completely dry, and finely chopped 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • ⅓ cup olive oil 
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp. ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • ¼ cup tomato paste 
  • 8 oz. white button mushrooms, finely chopped 
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped 
  • 1 medium yellow squash, finely chopped 
  • 2 (28-oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand 
  • 20 6 ½" x 5 ½" fresh pasta sheets (2 12-oz. packages) 
  • Finely grated parmesan, for serving 
1. Combine mozzarella, ricotta, basil, nutmeg, spinach, and salt and pepper in a bowl; refrigerate filling until ready to use.

2. Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, and carrot, and cook, stirring, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add fennel, chile flakes, and bay leaves, and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, zucchini, and squash, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1½ cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until thick and slightly reduced, about 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper and let sauce cool.

3. Lay one pasta sheet on a work surface and lightly brush with water. Place 2 tsp. of the filling in the upper left-hand corner of the sheet, and repeat with three more portions, forming a grid of 4, each portion about 1" from the edge of the sheet and spaced about 2" apart from each other. Lay another sheet of pasta on top of the filling portions, and press down around the filling to press out any air and push the two pasta sheets together. Using a crimped pasta cutter or knife, trim the border of dough, and then cut a cross in between the 4 mounds of filling to create 4 ravioli. Repeat with remaining pasta sheets and filling to make 40 ravioli.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add ravioli, and cook until al dente and filling is heated through, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ravioli to serving bowls and spoon sauce over top of each serving; sprinkle with parmesan.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Idaho - #43, July 3, 1890

The first permanent settlement in what became Idaho was established by the Mormons at Franklin in 1860. That same year gold was discovered at Orofino Creek in 1860 and prospectors swarmed into the territory., but they left little more than a number of ghost towns. Mining and lumbering have been important for years. Idaho ranks high among the states in silver, antimony, lead, cobalt, garnet, phosphate rock, vanadium, zinc, and mercury. The state produces about one fourth of the nation's potato crop, as well as wheat, apples, corn, barley, sugar beets, and hops.

The current Governor of Idaho is Republican C.L. "Butch" Otter . Both Senators for Idaho are Republicans, Mike Crapo and James Risch. There are two Representatives for Idaho, also both Republicans.
  • State Capital (and largest city) - Boise
  • Date of Admission - July 3, 1890
  • Area - 83,570 sq mi (14th) 
  • Population (2011 est.) - 1,584,985 (39th) 
  • State Motto - "Esto perpetua" "It is Forever" 
  • State Nickname - The Gem State
  • State bird - mountain bluebird
  • State horse - Appaloosa
  • State flower - syringa
  • State fish - cutthroat trout
  • State gem - star garnet
  • State tree - western white pine
  • State vegetable - potato (duh)
  • State University - The University of Idaho
  • The Idaho State Archives are found at the Idaho State Historical Society 
Prominent Idahoans - (here's a few lists to peruse, one and two)