|Marcy with her Mac and Cheese Style Cauliflower. Recipe link below.|
Growing up in Minnesota, potlucks erupted in the Lutheran church basement a couple times a year, and as I recall:
- They were called "covered-dishes" and/or "hot dishes."
- A lot of the dishes included corn.
- Jell-O with miniature marshmallows was a given.
- Sometimes the Jell-O included sliced celery or grated carrots, health food.
- Women (always women bringing those covered dishes) prided themselves on casserole cozies, little blankies to keep their dishes warm.
- Spam was not prohibited.
- Coleslaw was sweet. Exceedingly sweet.
- Cakes were made from box mixes.
The potluck idea, sadly, didn't transfer to my parents' social life, but it has somehow become a significant part of mine. Our rural Southern Oregon potlucks bear little resemblance to the church potlucks of yore.
- First, they are parties, an excuse for friends to eat and drink and rant. Dance, play ping pong, bocce ball, watch the Ducks on TV. Talk. Cry. Philosophize.
- Bringing something good to eat tis he price of admission.
- Guests with the time and inclination knock out dishes that are Sunset-magazine worthy, even with made-up recipes. There's always at least one drool-inducing, rave producing creation on the buffet table.
- Fine wines have been known to appear. And then quickly disappear.
We partied around potluck food last weekend. Gail, the hostess, sent an email to let us know what she was making and asked guests to weigh in with their culinary plan so we all didn't bring dessert. A relatively small group, here's how the accidental menu shook out:
THE POTLUCK MENU
with notes, kudos, jabs, and a recipe or two
Smoked pork roast with BBQ sauce, fantastic. But you need a Traeger (smoker) grill to follow this recipe. Also, Gail ALWAYS tweaks. "I smoked two fresh picnic roasts all day before the party. Cut them up and just reheated in the crock pot with a bottle of what ever bbq sauce we had on hand."
|Gail's spectacular smokey baked beans.|
Hot and smokey baked beans. STAR of the show! Best baked beans ever. Of course, Gail added her own touches such as using more bacon, cooking the beans hours longer than the recipe specified, but at 250 degrees, AND adding the pork roast bones to the pot. Wow. She also started with dried beans and soaked them overnight. Recipe here.
Morel-and-truffle gratinee, appetizer This sounded like a great idea but Gail was the first to say it was disappointing. The mushrooms were from the local woods, too. Emeril doesn't usually produce a clunker, but this one? Clunk.
|Gail also made the benches around|
the bocce ball court.
|Dr, Mike and his mushroom soup.|
Mike's Mushroom Soup. He most often contributes something mushroom, always tasty, because he's the mushroom king, founder and chief scientist at Mycorrhizal Applications, Inc, an international company based in Grants Pass, OR. His is a fascinating and inspirational story and I could literally write a book about this guy. Here's what he says about his soup and the shrooms.
What's in it: Wild rice, chicken stock chicken, carrots, celery, spinach,
garlic, yellow feet chanterelles, belly buttons, hedgehogs, maiitakes, and oyster mushrooms with shiitake powder to thicken. Many of these mushrooms grow in nearby woods and are sold at the local farmer's market. Plus Mike, and many other friends, are avid and successful mushroom hunters.
Why mushrooms? Mike writes: "Shrooms have a lot of micronutrients and about a dozen complex polysaccharides that stimulate your body's ability to fight rogue cellsand pathogens."
How does he know? Aside from the fact that he's a Ph.D mycologist, Mike was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer more than five years ago, practically a death sentence. He underwent all the surgeries, radiation, and chemo of traditional medicine plus accupuncture. But he also treated himself, and continues to do so, with a a variety of mushrooms plus antioxidant foods including an enormous amount of dried strawberries. He eats or drinks something every three hours to keep the rogue cells at bay, plus he keeps himself physically, mentally, and emotionally fit.
Fruit and cheese plate
Eileen , Mike's wife and business partner, brought the ubiquitous cheese and fruit plate, but this one was top notch: gourmet cheeses, super sweet crisp apple, and a pressed date/fig/nut thing. It all disappeared quickly.
Ok. So there's always the person who didn't have time to cook, but going to Safeway? No problem! Dave, usually a fine kitchen performer, brought those fine white buns. And don't give him any crap about it.
Mac and Cheese.Style Cauliflower. Super! Marcy included some broccoli, and the bread crumbs were gluten-free.
And, a couple hours later, the recipe!