The Cooking Chronicles: Holiday Potlucks

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 Cookies

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!

Scalloped Tomatoes

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.

Scalloped Tomatoes

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

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?

4 thoughts on “The Cooking Chronicles: Holiday Potlucks

  1. WOW – look who has been cooking like crazy lately!!!! I am charmed by the tomato dish. I must read the recipe!
    Do I have a “to go” dish – not usually. I am almost always asked to bring a dessert. That is easy – as almost all can be made a day (at least) in advance.
    I almost never take salads or sides. It seems it is the appetizer, a main, or a dessert. I love taking appetizers. But, they are the most work. In my Greek Phase, I was always asked to bring domates with tzatziki. Then, it was tiramisu. (I also went through an Italian phase). Now, I would say, it is my homemade yogurt cheese balls most request. I just do what I am told.
    (big grin)
    I am eager to hear from others on this topic!
    🙂
    valerie

  2. Thanks for great blogs in 2010, Sharon. You are appreciated. All the best in 2011 to you and your significant other. Look forward to another year of vicariously living the good life of an Edmonton foodie via the excellent OHFTF.

  3. Valerie – not cooking like crazy; just making more recipes that are new and mostly blog worthy :). Have I tried your homemade yogurt cheese balls? That is the request I make to you for the winter solstice dinner :).

    Kim – thanks for the lovely comment, and for reading this year! All the best to you and your family as well.

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