Minnesotan meals

Several times I have cooked for Cyril’s family to thank them for their hospitality and welcome. His relatives are so kind to us and always inviting us for dinner or over the weekend.

When I cook for them, I try to make dishes they never have eaten before, which are very American (or even better Minnesotan), and yet which I can make with ingredients that I can find in France or bring with me easily when I go in between the two countries.  Grocery stores offerings are not at all similar in France.

My favorite dish to make for Cyril’s family is wild rice hot dish. It is my favorite hot dish of all time, one that my brothers and I would beg my mom for growing up. She got it from an old Lutheran church cookbook.

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Minnesotans have a love affair with wild rice, and it is not really available in France (I did find it in a rice mix once). When I make it, I explain the concept of a hot dish to my French family as well.

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Wild rice is so beautiful!

Here is the recipe; I recommend trying it! The ingredients sound a little strange, I know, (who ever thought to mix sour creme and soy sauce together?) but it is to die for.

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I never add salt because I find that it already has enough thanks to the soy sauce! Also I suggest sauteing the mushrooms, onion, and celery longer than five minutes (perhaps 20) because then they aren’t so overwhelmingly crunchy in the finished dish. Stirring every 15 minutes is important to keep the rice on top from burning. Bon appétit!

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For an appetizer, I have made deviled eggs several times. For me deviled eggs are a staple of potlucks, something quintessentially Minnesotan. One time I had even been to a wedding where the dinner was a potluck. (Best wedding dinner I ever ate!)
I didn’t realize this before I made them here, but apparently they are very similar to the French dish egg mimosas: same concept, but with a few more ingredients and a different presentation. For mimosas, the egg  is cut in half and the yolk is taken out. The egg yolk cavity is filled with mayonnaise and then the egg yolk is crumbled over the top. Deviled eggs go over well because for them it is a fun twist on a familiar comfort food.

photo credit: http://skinnyms.com/deviled-eggs/

Here is the recipe I use for the deviled eggs. The first time I made it for Cyril’s family, I used french mustard because that is all that is available in France, and now that is what I prefer to use. French mustard is much spicier than yellow American mustard. I find that it gives the deviled eggs a nice kick! You can find French mustard in the US labeled as Dijon mustard.

Recipe

6 eggs
1/4 cup mayo
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1.5 teaspoon dijon mustard
a pinch of salt and pepper
paprika for garnish

Place eggs single layer in a saucepan and cover with water so that there is an inch of water above the eggs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off heat and cover for 8-10 minutes. Then rinse the pan and eggs under cold water for 2 minutes.
Peel the eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks to a bowl and mix them well with the mayo, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
Spoon the egg yolk mixture back into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from the food network- ‘classic deviled eggs’


I enjoy making tortilla chip stew for French family and friends because the tex-mex flavors are quite novel for them. I don’t have any Hispanic heritage but I think it is a very cool example of American melting pot culture!

Photo credit: http://www.thebrunettediaries.com/tex-mex-food-different-from-mexican/

I make the stew in my crock-pot, which is perfect when entertaining because then I am not stuck in the kitchen when we have guests over. Also the timing is very easy with this. I can rest easy knowing that I can keep it warm even two hours after guests arrive. The French love long meals; when we have people over we also serve an aperitif and/or an appetizer so it is not easy to time the main course!

I don’t follow a recipe for this one- I just throw in whatever my heart desires.
Normally it is a variation on this theme:

A can of salsa (important)
Chicken breasts, cut into bite sized peices
Canned or frozen corn
Unspiced tomato sauce
Cans of red/black beans and/or chickpeas
Diced fresh or canned tomatoes
Chopped onion
Dried red pepper flakes

Serve over a bed of crushed tortilla chips and garnish with shredded emmental or cheddar cheese, olives, cilantro, avocado, and/or sour cream.


Last but not least: JELL-O!
This is something that French people have usually only ever heard of, but never actually tried. It is hilarious to watch them approach this strange jiggly substance that seems alive. They tend to giggle uncontrollably when faced with it. Either as a dessert or as jello shots, it is always a hit!

Photo credit: http://natashaskitchen.com/2011/04/12/raspberry-pretzel-jello/

I would love to hear your thoughts and recipes for classic, unique, delicious, American dishes. I am always looking to introduce something new to my French family and friends!

 

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