P-W In a Nutshell

Oh how the months pass by!

After forgetting the camera a few times and then being plain lazy I’ve fallen of the potluck blog. However, today I will shine again. Well, it’s raining outside, so I have plenty of time to blog.

Here goes:

P Week’s Spread:
I forget

Q Week Entrees:
Quick Bread (which turned out to be pancakes?)
I forget again!

R Meals:
Roquefort Cheese Bread
Russian shepard’s pie
Raspberry ice cream sandwiches

S’mores ice cream sandwiches

Other delicious highlights:

Pineapple upside down cake
Easter bread
Pad Thai
potato pierogies
Walnut Loaf
Waldorf Salad (s)
Sesame Seed bagels with veggie cream cheese

I have to admit I can only remember the things that I made. Yikes!

Here is a snippet of R week:

It sure was Canadian…

The weather forecasters got another storm wrong. Quel surprise! With the snow count predicted at 3-6 inches, Doug and I thought we may be having a potluck of two. However, the storm was lackluster and uneventful. So we trekked over to Meg’s.

Some of the usual suspects called out sick for potluck, but the new addition of Hadley again kept the count to five.

As an appetizer we had Original hummus with carrots, broccoli and radishes.

The entree was like this:

Steamed broccoli with orange sauce
Orrechiete pasta with tomatoes, cilantro, and feta cheese
Onion laced bread

Notice how the plate is not as full as other weeks.

For dessert we had orange creme brulee. Meg wanted to do something from Ontario, Canada, but could only find beaver recipes. With French being one of the official languages of Canada it was ok to serve orange creme brulee as a Canadian dish. I thought it was delicious. So delicious in fact that there was no time to take a picture. Just imagine a glistening sugary coating over orange creamy custard. So that was potluck ‘O’.

Due to next week being February break for Massachusetts schools potluck ‘P’ will be Feb. 24. On that day we will have a Party and celebrate!

Potluck ‘N’ seemed to be filled with new challenges and unexpected surprises.

Challenge 1:  8 people = 8 pieces of naan, but there were 2 unexpected guests.  To be polite most people had 1/2 a piece of naan, so there was actually one piece left over.

Challenge 2:  Seating.  Ten people seems to be the maximum occupancy for the table.  With a little help from fold out chairs we managed fine.

Unexpected surprise 1:  Three new faces at the table.  It’s always good to have new people share in the experience.

Unexpected surprise 2:  Three salads made an appearance on the buffet.  Where the dinner is usually lacking in light salads, tonight the leafy greens were abundant.  We had napa cabbage salad, noodle (tortellini) on spinach, and navel orange and blue cheese salad.

So this is what a plate of ‘N’ foods look like.  We had the salads and naan, New Zealand pasta made with cauliflower and a red cream sauce and nachos.  Also, you’ll notice that Graeme made “Nothing” tonight, so the empty spaces represent Graeme’s contribution.

One newcomer brought Nestle Tollhouse cookie pie, but I forgot to take a picture. Just imagine a pie shell with gooey chocolate chip cookies in the center.

And nobody made any claims to next week’s “O”s, so I think that a vegetarian French onion soup may be in store, or maybe Onion tea sandwiches. We’ll see.

As the alphabet progresses I feel that it is harder to come up with recipes.  “M” posed to be a problem because there aren’t a plethora of M veggies or meals.  However, we all managed to come up with another wonderful mix of plates.  The menu was as follows:

To start we had a mozarella spread on toasted bread:

Mediterranean couscous
Mashed potatoes
Mashed root veggies (courtesy of eggsonsunday)
Mustard delights
Monster cookies

Here’s the mustard delight on homemade poppy seed hamburger buns.

The plate of deliciousness:

Cat thinks that her plate of food looks like a face, however, I don’t see it.

And monster cookies:

I really had to stop myself from eating all of the cookies.

Ok, “N” will be a problem, right?  Are there any N veggies?  Any N cuisines?

This potluck featured dishes beginning with the letter ‘K’ or from a place with ‘K’. The menu was this:

kalamata olive tapenade and ciabatta or Triscuits to start
mushroom kugel
kickin’ chik’n sandwiches
potato wedges with homemade ketchup
Kansas City corn fritters
Korean pancakes
And just for fun– Killer cupcakes

I could have eaten the ketchup with a spoon.

Here is my plate of food.  It looks like a big mess, but a delicious one.

Dessert was vanilla cupcakes courtesy of Martha Stewart.

All other pictures will be on the respective recipe pages.

The table sat NINE

After a brief hiatus we are back to potlucking.  The theme for this week was the letter ‘J’.  I think most of us scratched our heads wondering what starts with J: jerk chicken, jambalaya, jerky, juice, jelly beans.  But none of these could satisfy such a culinarily diverse and mostly vegetarian crowd.  So the menu looked something like this:  cream cheese covered with jezibel sauce, veggie jambalaya, jerk spice rubbed veggie kebabs, Japanese miso glazed tofu, jicama slaw, jalapeno poppers, cauliflower gratin made with jarlesberg cheese, cuban sandwiches made with jarlesberg, and jeer chicken.   Travis and Susie finally made it to the festivities and their presence was awesome.

Tina made the appetizer.  We ate the dip with Triscuits and petits breads.  I liked the breads because you got more bang for the caloric buck.

Jezibel Sauce

1 jar each of Apricot and Pineapple jelly (apple jelly is a good substitute)
1/2 jar (3.5 oz) creamed horseradish
1 tsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients. Serve over cream cheese with crackers. (Also can be used to glaze meats apparently)

Doug made the jicama slaw.  He usually discovers his recipes from FoodNetwork, and especially from Alton Brown.  The slaw is from Guy Fieri.  It can be found on foodnetwork.com.

Travis and Susie’s debut was amazing.  The jeer chicken had a mild curry flavor mixed with chewy brown rice.  They also made jalapeno poppers were almost like a tempura– very light.

Pictured below are my items.  I made grilled cubans and the cauliflower gratin.  I had a head of cauliflower and decided this would be healthy (yeah right).

I didn’t follow a particular recipe.  The ingredients are:

bakery multi-grain bread (I adore the reduced for quick sale bakery items), dijon mustard, pickles, tomatoes, jarlesberg cheese, and ham (both vegetarian and carnivorous).  Assembly went as follows: spread mustard on bread, top with sliced pickles, jarlesberg cheese, ham, and tomato.  I followed that for both sides of bread and just smooshed together.  I don’t particularly care for cold tomatoes on warm food so I put it between the ham so that it stayed kind of cool.  Slather outside with butter, but only one side so you can press them without making a huge mess.  Then, when you flip them you butter the other side.

Grill those babies up on a pan for about 3 minutes per side and voila!

I used Ina Garten’s recipe for cauliflower gratin.  I used skim milk and jarlesberg cheese and the sauce was still rich.  I’ve also made this recipe for Gruyere cheese and it was also delicious.

Cat made the gigantic pot of jambalaya.  Perfect for leftovers.

Kathleen’s kebabs– that could be a restaurant name!
Plate o' potluck

Here is my plate of food.  Though it may look extremely full, don’t be surprised that I went for seconds.  Hence, 5 extra pounds since the initiation of potluck dinners.


We had a feast and Secret Santa exchange on ‘I’ week.  The menu was as follows:

Tina made the sweet dessert of Iced Island Rum Cake.

Cat made Irish Soda Bread.  We were too hungry to wait for the meal, so it made appetizer status.

Meg slaved over the stove for a delicious Italian minestrone.

Let’s take a look into her pot.

I made the Italian pantanella.  I made it with cubed Italian bread, diced tomatoes, red onion, English cucumber, and cannelini beans.  Tossed it with red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil with salt and pepper.  Top with basil just before serving.  The bread was a bit soggy; I should have toasted it first.  Oh well!

Doug made polenta.  This was quite a hit.  Cat could not control herself around this!

Doug savoring his meal.  Mmmm…..

Graeme made butternut squash ravioli with a sage butter sauce.  Holy moly was that delicious.  So delicious, in fact, that I forgot to take pictures.

Despite the snowstorm and the lack of “H” recipes, four of us stuck it out and had a very delicious dinner.  On the menu this night we had:

Challah with honey butter

Sweet potato and turnip latkes

Honduran tacos

Hearts of palm dip with pita bread

Due to the snowstorm and other work related activities, we were short two people which left us with no dessert.  The dessert was supposed to be Hazelnut cupcakes, but maybe that will be for another event.

More pictures and recipe sidebars should be added in the next few weeks.

Going for the G

The thought process behind the letter G was strenuous.  Should we have Greek or grape leaves?  Gouda, gorgonzola, or gruyere cheese?  Goat and guinea pig were definitely off the list.  So we settled for this delicious spread:

Greek Salad: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/dads_greek_salad/

Grape Leaves, Stuffed from Epicurious.  Chef’s note: this recipe may seem deceptively simple.  It is easy to make, but time consuming unless you recruit an assembly team.

Gruyere Macaroni and Cheese

Green Bean Casserole

Gazpacho Soup

Ginger Cookies with chocolate chips:

And to top it all off, Gelato.   This was not home made, but bought from our local gelato place. The flavors were Italian egg nog, pumpkin, and chocolate.

As always, we overate and unbuttoned our pants before saying our good byes.

Feta cheese dip with bagel chips, French almond macarons, fondue, Filipino egg rolls, sweet potato falafel and focaccia.  Are you salivating yet?

Filipino Egg Rolls
Lumpiang Gulay (Vegetable Egg Rolls)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium-sized onion, sliced
1 small yam, peeled and cut into thin 1-inch strips
1 medium-sized potato, peeled, cut into thin 1-inch strips
1/2 lb green beans, thinly sliced diagonally
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin 1-inch strips
1/4 part of a whole cabbage, cut thinly into long strips
2 tablespoons soy sauce
thin egg roll (lumpia) wrappers
vegetable oil for frying egg rolls

In a deep skillet over medium heat, saute garlic in oil until lightly browned. Add onion, stir for 1 minute. Add yam, potato, green beans, carrot, soy sauce, salt and pepper.
Stir and cook in medium heat for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add cabbage. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside and let cool.

If using a package of frozen thin egg roll wrappers, carefully separate wrappers into individual pieces when totally defrosted. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the vegetable mixture in a line along the middle of wrapper. Wrap into rolls securely (see tip below). Wet edge with a little water to seal.
In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, fry egg rolls in vegetable oil until browned on both sides. Place cooked egg rolls upright in a colander to drain excess oil. Serve while warm and crispy with vinegar sauce on the side.

Tip: To wrap mixture in egg roll wrappers, place a sheet of wrapper on a plate.
Diagonally place filling in a line on the middle of wrapper. Fold bottom edge up to the filling to cover it, then fold the right and left sides. Roll securely towards the other edge. Wet edge with a touch of water to make it stick.

Vinegar Sauce: In a sauce dish, mix 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

Tina made foccaccia:

Combine 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp yeast and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water.  (allow to ferment)

Mix 3 cups flour, 1 tsp salt and water mixture.  Knead, adding flour as needed until the dough is smooth.

Place dough in an oiled bowl and allow to rise until doubled, approximately 1 hour.

Punch down and flatten onto an oiled sheet pan, it should be at most one inch thick.  Brush with oil and let sit until doubled, approximately 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with crushed rosemary and 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt.

Bake at 400* for 20 minutes or until browned.