Tidewater Kitchen - May 2010

 

Great American Potluck
by
Pamela Meredith-Doyle

In our old neighborhood in Denver, we used to have big potlucks in our courtyard. Everyone from the surrounding brownstones would bring something to share, whether it was a salad, main dish, side dish, dessert or whatever.
Potlucks are very popular, and we do it a lot here in Massachusetts on the beach in the summer. No matter where you live, having a potluck now means entertaining is possible for all of us because the work and cost are shared among all the guests.
When you entertain, how many times has somebody asked, “What can I bring?” Taking your guests up on this really takes the pressure off you. The recipes can be traditional, new wave or whatever is their specialty.
The food should be mobile and not something that will spill on your way to the party. Make sure you bring it the way you want to serve it because there may not be an oven or extra stove where you are going.
Make recipes that can be finished ahead so you aren’t making the food the hour before you go to the party.
Wrap the food according to the temperature or put it in heavy containers to transfer easily. I always put an address label on the container or platter so the host knows to whom it belongs when the gathering is over.
Save all the final touches, like tossing the salad, etc., until right before you are ready to serve it. The food will look as fresh as possible that way.
Finally, make sure that your dish can sit out for a while. If not, make sure you have a cooler or container to keep everything safe for people to eat. For example, if it is a mayonnaise-based salad, it needs to be put in the cooler or refrigerator after 45 minutes so it doesn’t spoil.

ASIAN SLAW
6 Servings
4 cups cabbage or broccoli slaw, finely shredded
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 cup red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and very thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 t. ginger, finely grated
1 t. cumin
¼ cup rice vinegar
½ t. soy sauce
½ cup olive oil
1 T. Asian hot oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped

Toss together the cabbage or broccoli slaw, carrots, onion, pepper, jalapeno pepper and garlic in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl combine the ginger, cumin, vinegar, soy sauce, oils, salt and pepper. Stir in the cilantro.
Toss the dressing with the cabbage mix, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

CHINESE CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
Serves 8
8 oz. of your favorite pasta
1 cup carrots, peeled and grated
¹/³ cup sesame seeds, toasted
5 cups poached chicken, cubed
1 cup red bell pepper, halved, seeded and chopped
1 cup green pepper, halved, seeded and chopped
1 cup yellow pepper, halved, seeded and chopped
½ cup green onion, trimmed and chopped

Dressing:
1½ cups rice wine vinegar
1½ cups olive oil
1/3 cup superior light soy sauce
1 T. dark Asian sesame oil
2 t. finely chopped garlic
2 t. grated fresh ginger
Sea salt and pepper to taste
½ t. pepper flakes
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Bring water to a boil in al large pot and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, then drain in a colander. Bring another pot of water to boil and add the carrots. Blanch until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the carrots and run cold water over them so you stop the cooking process.
In a large bowl, combine the sesame seeds, chicken, peppers, onions and carrots.
In a smaller bowl, mix together all the dressing ingredients and stir to combine. Add the drained pasta to the large bowl with the vegetables, and then pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly. I serve this at room temperature.

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS with TOMATILLO SAUCE
Serves 6
1 4-oz. can green chili sauce
1 cup chopped white onion
1 Serrano chili, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
6 Poblano chilies, roasted, peeled and seeded
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ t. salt
1 T. canola oil

Filling:
½ cup half-and-half
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups grilled chicken, shredded
¾ cup finely chopped white onion
½ t. salt
1 T. butter
12 8-inch corn tortillas, heated
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
¾ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

In a small saucepan, combine the sauce, onion, Serrano chili, garlic and stock. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
Place the pumpkin seeds and 4 T. of green chili sauce in a food processor and chop until fine. Add the rest of the green chili mixture, Poblano chilies, cilantro and salt to the food processor. Puree until the mixture is smooth.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the pureed mixture, lower the heat and stir over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Beat the half-and-half and cream cheese together in a medium bowl, until fluffy. Fold in the chicken, onion and salt.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon a thin layer of the green chili sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. To put it all together, spread a thin layer of the sauce on the tortilla. Spoon ¼ cup of the chicken mixture down the center of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla and place it seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the other tortillas. Spoon the remaining sauce over the finished tortillas.
Cover the dish with foil and bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes or until hot. Remove the foil and sprinkle the enchiladas with the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes more until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling.

STUFFED PORK LOIN with LEMON, FETA and HERBS
Serves 4
3 T. olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cleaned and stems removed
Salt
1/3 cup red pepper, seeded and sliced
1/3 cup yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 t. finely chopped garlic
1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
2 T. bread crumbs
½ t. dried rosemary
½ t. dried oregano
1 t. lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1½-2 lb. boneless pork loin

Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat about 2 T. of oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the spinach and season with a pinch of salt. Cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes, turning often with tongs. Transfer the spinach to a strainer and allow to cool. Add 1 T. of olive oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and season with a pinch of salt. Cook until peppers are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute or so. Remove from heat and allow the vegetables to cool.
Remove the spinach from the strainer and squeeze out any excess water with your hands. Chop the spinach and place it in a medium bowl. Add the crumbled Feta cheese, bread crumbs, rosemary, oregano and lemon zest. Mix well with a wooden spoon and season with salt and pepper, as desired.
Butterfly the loin of pork and season with salt and pepper.
Place the cooled spinach mixture in the center of the loin and top with the peppers. Roll the meat tightly, jellyroll style. Tie the meat tightly every 2 inches with kitchen twine.
Heat 1 T. of olive oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the pork loin on all sides. Roast the pork loin in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until it reaches 160-170° on an instant read thermometer. Remove from the oven and put some foil over it to keep it warm. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

BAKED PENNE with CHICKEN SAUSAGE
Serves 6
2 T. olive oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1 T. chopped fresh garlic
1 lb. chicken sausage, cooked and cut into pieces
3 cups crushed organic tomatoes
¼ cup chopped oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 lb. penne pasta
3 cups cubed fresh mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400°. If you use a pan from Green Apple, you won’t have to grease your pan!
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, stir and cook until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the sausage, stir and cook until the sausage is browned, about 6 minutes more.
Add the tomatoes and their juice, and simmer uncovered until the mixture thickens. Add the oregano, and season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, half the Parmesan cheese and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, which is usually 8 to 9 minutes. Drain the pasta well and toss with the cheese mixture. Add the sausage mixture and toss again. Toss in the mozzarella and pour into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

LAYERED BROWNIE TART
1-2/3 cups whole wheat white flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ t. salt
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup unsalted butter, cubed
2 cold egg yolks
1 t. vanilla extract
4 t. ice water

Brownie Filling:
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten with a fork
2 t. vanilla
¾ cup all-purpose flour

Chocolate Glaze:
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and warmed
4 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
2 t. vegetable oil

Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the chocolate. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or a food processor.
In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, vanilla and ice water. Mix the liquids into the flour with a wooden spoon until it begins to hold together as a dough. Using your hands, gently knead the dough just enough until it is well blended. Be careful not to overwork the dough or it will become tough. Press the dough into the bottom of a 10½-inch pan with a removable bottom.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Melt the bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler. Stir in the butter. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the sugar. Stir to combine the ingredients and to cool the mixture. Add the beaten eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture and mix in the vanilla. Gradually add the flour, folding until just combined. The batter will be fairly thick. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Melt the chocolate chips on low and stir until they are thoroughly melted. Watch them carefully! Add the butter and oil to the warmed melted chocolate. Cool slightly and pour onto the cooled tart, spreading the glaze evenly with a small spatula. Cover the tart and refrigerate to let the glaze set and cut into squares and serve. Yummy!

COCONUT and CRANBERRY BREAD
Combine dry:
3 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
½ t. salt
1 cup organic sugar
1 cup coconut

Combine wet ingredients:
1 cup skim milk
1 egg, beaten
1 t. vanilla
1 bag cranberries

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir. Let set for 20 minutes. Pour batter into a greased pan. Bake at 325° for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack before serving.

Pam appears frequently on QVC. To view her video, go to www.qvc.com, search for Green Apple Pans, and you will see it come up halfway down the page, clear pans with a frosted coating (click on the video and you will see her!).