Potlucks were so much a part of my childhood holidays that it wasn’t until much later in life that I realized some families didn’t celebrate the way that we were used to. Never did any one family make all of the dishes; instead, each family was responsible for one or two sides, while the host prepared the turkey.
As such, I marvel at those families (like Mack’s grandparents) that do put all the food on the tables themselves, but I have to say, I am very happy that the potluck tradition continues – both in my family, and at work.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing
One of the teams I am a part of at the office decided to put on a holiday lunch for the rest of the staff, in recognition of their service to the agency. Most of my colleagues volunteered to bring mains or side dishes, so I figured the dessert table could use some additions.
I chose Trish Magwood’s recipe of buttermilk chocolate cake for the base of my cupcakes. Her recipe should really be called the one-bowl, no-fail wonder, for how reliable it is in producing a moist, fluffy product. It’s a fabulous chocolate cake (and with cocoa powder from Kerstin’s, just chocolate-y enough).
I topped them with Ina Garten’s peanut butter icing and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts (my office is void of anyone with peanut allergies – probably an anomaly in the city).
Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing
I’m happy to say they were a hit with the staff, with several people asking for the recipe the next day. A special thanks to Jill and Kat for transportation help – it would have been a rather comical trudge through the snow with 50 cupcakes in hand!
I turned to another Ina Garten recipe for our annual Christmas Eve potluck with family friends. I borrowed her newest book, How Easy Is That? from the library a few weeks ago, and after seeing her recipe for scalloped tomatoes, thought it would make a good vegetable side dish for the dinner.
Mack did most of the grunt work for the dish, which involved dicing 15 plum tomatoes. After that, it was really easy to pull together – sautéing the tomatoes with crisped-up bread crumbs, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper, then baking it off with some basil (we threw in almost two cups), parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil.
In the pan
Our condo smelled of summer while the tomatoes baked, and the dish came out beautifully, with a crust of golden-brown cheese on top.
Scalloped tomatoes (of course, running late, I didn’t get a chance to take the photo at our place)
I thought the dish could have used a little more sugar (the tomatoes were a little tart for me), but as a whole, it was a solid vegetable side, and one I would consider making again.
Do you have a go-to potluck dish?