No matter whether your political beliefs lean to the left or to the right, we all can agree on two things: This year’s campaign cycle has been particularly contentious; and yet, we can always rely on one thing to hold our great republic together — and that’s great food. If you’re hosting an election party, consider making it a potluck. What better way is there to practice diplomacy in our own homes than to put our heads together and create a menu that appeals to everyone at the table? We can’t think of one. Better yet, give a nod to our nation’s defining eats by featuring native foods from each of the United States’ eight regions. Here are a few of our favorite shareable recipes that will cover all of your bases.
Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.
Potlucks are always a delicious choose-your-own eating adventure, but this time of year seems to bring out particularly comforting dishes. For fall and winter gatherings, many chefs draw inspiration from memory-lane-tripping family recipes, while others rely on tried-and-true party tricks to ensure that their dish is a hit. Here’s what pros around the country can’t wait to make for cold-weather potlucks. Read more
If you’re headed to a cookout this weekend, don’t even think about showing up empty-handed. When choosing a dish to take, however, there are a few criteria that must be met to make transporting and serving a breeze.
Rule #1: Bring your dish in the same vessel you’ll serve it in.
Don’t take a bag of salad greens, then ask your host for a serving bowl, and don’t take a cake and ask for a stand. Pack up everything in (or take along) whatever you need to serve your dish. (Label anything you’d like back, or use disposable platters and bowls.) Bonus points if you take disposable serving utensils.
You don’t need to speak with a delightful drawl or live in a house with a wraparound porch to tuck into some serious Southern comfort. In fact, Trisha Yearwood’s Southern Comfort Potluck menu should be next up on your roster no matter where you call home. Complete with a few unexpected twists, these down-home favorites are notable for their convenience — and then some. Let us list the ways!
Meatballs were not a regular menu item in my childhood home. My mom thought they were overly fussy and opted to make meatloaf or meaty tomato sauce when confronted with a pound of ground beef.
Because meatballs were a rarity for me, of course I longed for them. When I was older and cooking for myself, I added a pair of meatball recipes to my dinnertime rotation.
The first recipe I made was with ground lamb, feta cheese, minced red onion and a splash of red wine vinegar. We eat those meatballs with big green salads topped with roasted peppers and onions.
The second recipe is one my friend Joy invented. It uses ground chicken, ricotta cheese and minced onions, and the resulting meatballs are gloriously tender. I like to eat them over a bed of sauteed kale and topped with buttery marinara sauce.
Every year when summer rolls around, I find myself on the hunt for a fresh, seasonal potluck dish. The requirements for the winning dish are that it needs to travel well, taste good whether warm or at room temperature and must not require immediate refrigeration upon arrival at said potluck destination.
Several years ago, I made many batches of a barley salad that included chunks of feta cheese and chopped cucumber. Through summer 2010, I fixated on a dish of made from chickpeas marinated in a vinaigrette made from olive oil, lemon juice and minced rosemary. Last summer, I opted for halved grape tomatoes, red onion and basil dressed lightly with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
Each of these salads did an excellent job throughout their particular season, but by the time the cooler weather rolled around, I was ready for something more autumnal.
Happily, I think I stumbled across this summer’s salad just this last weekend, and with the hot weather we’ve been having, its arrival couldn’t be timelier. It’s Rachael Ray’s recipe for Tuscan Pesto-Dressed Penne With Crispy Kale. It’s light and tastes terrific freshly made or after a night in the fridge (I’ve tried it both ways and it’s a winner). The next time you have a summer potluck to attend, stir up this Weekender.
Once three o’clock strikes, time seems to go to warp speed. Some days I feel like I’m on autopilot, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. It’s far too easy to get caught up in the monotony of motherhood — it’s okay to admit we don’t love every part, like homework and that whole work-life balance.
For this very reason, I make a conscious effort to not over-schedule my daughters with afterschool activities. I’m a firm believer in letting them have some time to wind down and enjoy the simple pleasure of playing at home. Still, I find myself exhausted come dinnertime these days. I may not be zipping from dance class to soccer every day, but suddenly thrown into single motherhood means I need to find new ways to ensure dinner doesn’t become boring — for me to cook, and for the girls to eat.
On key holidays, some FN staffers fire it up and throwdown — potluck-style. Thanksgiving is a huge holiday at Food Network so our potluck last week was nothing short of mouthwatering. Top prize commanded $25 bones and novelty kitchen tools were awarded for other categories — best side, best main, most apropos, fan favorite etc.
See if you can guess each pictured dish…