Swing state dishes
Every election we hold a no partisan political discussion to educate each other about all ballot items - and of course we throw dinner for 30-50 people, served buffet style. We've done Mexican several times, California cuisine, middle eastern.
This year I thought it would be fun to do a "swing state theme"
Here are the swing states - help me identify dishes that are unique to those states. OK if you don't have a recipe.
Florida: Key lime pie
Ohio - Johnny Marzetti, a macaroni type casserole dish using tomatoes, ground beef and lots of cheese.
2 cups Dry elbow macaroni (or 3 cups cooked macaroni)
1 tbsp Vegetable oil
1/2 cup Chopped onion
1 cup Chopped green bell pepper
1 lb Lean ground beef
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1/4 cup Slivered sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
One 28 oz can Diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1/4 cup Chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add dry macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain.
In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat, add onions and peppers and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add ground beef, salt, Italian seasoning and Worcestershire sauce and sauté mixture until meat is thoroughly cooked, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add sundried tomatoes, diced tomatoes and parsley and simmer on low heat for 8 to 10 minutes.
Sprinkle in Parmesan cheese and gently mix. Top all with cheddar cheese
As a native Wisconsinite, I'll weigh in on that one: Cheese curds are great, but if you are doing a buffet, it will probably be hard to fry them and keep them tasty. I think an easier option might be a cheese plate of Wisconsin cheese--and cheese curds. Or, if you would rather incorporate the cheese into the dish, I'd suggest a macaroni and cheese, or a beer-cheese soup. Of course, bratwursts would also work here, with a good sauerkraut. Or, you could always go dessert and do Wisconsin's 'official dessert' -- cream puffs.
PA- eastern part of state:soft pretzels with mustard (+ coffee= a popular Philly breakfast), Italian hoagies, scrapple, roast pork with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone on a roll, tastycakes
Western Pa: kielbasa and kraut, giant fish sandwiches, chipped ham BBQ, Sarris' candy, fried provolone sticks ( not mozzarella!!) long peppers stuffed with hot sausage, covered with red sauce and cheese and baked, smiley cookies from eat n park.
This is a great idea, although I think the map is a lot less expansive than the media popularly holds. That said, I'd go for:
Colorado - Coors beer
Florida - oranges
Iowa - pork tenderloin
Michigan - cherry pie
Ohio - Cincy chili
Pennsylvania - Pepper pot or scrapple
New Mexico - Green chilies
Nevada - funeral potatoes
North Carolina - Pulled pork
Wisconsin - Fried cheese curds or brats
Virginia - Virginia ham or peanuts
Florida: grouper chowder, Minorcan chowder, Cuban sandwich (Tampa vs Miami style is a whole 'nother debate topic!), Greek salad Louis Pappas style
Iowa - Loose meat sandwich
Michigan - cherry something
North Carolina - bbq, Brunswick stew
Wisconsin - fried cheese curds! Hot dish
Virginia - Cream of peanut butter soup, Smithfield Ham
Also, conch fritters and conch chowder for FL.
Great call on the Iowa loose meat sandwich (AKA Maid-rites). I spent a year in Gainesville FL, and there was a loose-meat sandwich shop run by an ex-Iowan. Really good and reasonably healthy.
Here in VA, we just refer to Peanut Soup. I was quite dubious, but I like it a lot.
For NC, you've gotta pick a style of bbq -- Eastern or Western/Lexington.
Buckeyes from Ohio, of course. (Peanut butter candy half-dipped in chocolate.)
NC barbecue no question
When I think of Iowa I always think of rhubarb pie, which is a constant in the restaurants around Amana or at least used to be.
Michigan - pasties
Lots in New Mexico and Pennsylvania - others will have specifics.
Wisconsin CHEESE, of course!