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Interesting pot luck dish needed

It is almost 90 degrees here in Canada - believe it or not! Been invited to a pot luck out doors. I can make my old standby salads with various non creamy dressings, but want to do something more interesting. Was thinking of grilling zucchini or eggplant then rolling the ribbons around mozzarella and baking with a light tomato concasse on top sprinkled with fresh basil and parm. But, when the cheese is room temp, it won't be too appealing.
Then was thinking of the eggplant parm that Giada had on her Capri special. That would be good room temp.
Was also thinking of a zucchini or asparagus or potato frittata, but eggs outdoors make me nervous, even though we will be eating right away.
What about a pan bagnat? - Any good recipes? I am not sure if we want to eat a sandwich though.
Any other ideas? I would like to use some fresh, seasonal ingredients.

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  1. Sorry to sidebar, but what part of Canada? My husband and I are going to Banff next week and I hope it's not 90 there!

    On topic... what about grilled fruit kabobs? Or maybe a soba noodle salad?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Texchef

      Ontario, but jsut heard on the news that BC and the praries are in the midst of a heat wave. You are very lucky to be going; it is usually not unbearable in the majestic Rockies.

      Grilled fruit kabobs sound good, but wanted a savory dish - I know I am picky!
      Have a good recipe for soba noodle salad?

        1. re: itryalot

          Soba salad (per 8 oz noodles):

          1) tare (marinande): 3 Tbsp soya sauce, 2 Tbsp sugar, 3 Tbsp white venegar, 5 Tbsp chicken stock, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1 Tbsp hot mustard (Chinese of Japanese);

          2) gu (stuff on top); 2 egg Japanese omelette cut in thin strips, 2-3 slices julienned ham/smoked meat, 1/2 julienned cucumber, small julienned cooked carrot, 2 blanched, thinly sliced napa cabbage leaves.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            This sound good; can I make it without the egg and meat? Vegetarian?

            1. re: itryalot

              Oh, absolutely! Actually I serve the noodles in the marinade with nothing but a sprinkle of spring onion on top.

      1. try melon wrapped with a piece of proscuitto...it's traditional italian and great in the heat

        i often make quinoa salads to serve during the warm summer months. they're great with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, bacon, and a sherry mustard vinaigrette but there's an infinite number of things you can do instead (fresh peas, corn, and green onion would be nice, too)

        the fritatta should hold in the heat. in fact, it would be great at room temp if you cooked it with some basil and then served it with marinara sauce as a dip

        keep in mind that foods will hold at room temp for 4 hours safely =)

        1 Reply
        1. re: kimberlya

          I have done the prosciutto and melon thing so many times; although it is always a hit. Quinoa may be a possibility. I also have farro I can use.

        2. I love taking pappa al pomodoro to pot lucks. No one knows what the heck it is and everyone loves it. Heat up four cloves of garlic, slivered in a heavy saute pan with the best olive oil you can get your hands on. Let them go until they are just golden over low heat. Add about 6 leaves of fresh basil and allow to turn a brilliant dark green. Turn off the heat. Add blanched and seeded absolutely ripe and gorgeous tomatoes, chopped, (reserving juices) or if not available, a 28 ounce can of san marzano tomatoes that you squeeze into smoothness first with your hands before adding to the pan. Taste for salt. Bring it back to a simmer if you are using canned tomatoes and then that's it. If you are using fresh tomatoes, no need to turn on the heat again. Using really good, stale bread, remove the crusts and rip about a half pound of it into the tomatoes. Add about a quarter cup of your beautiful olive oil. The bread will soak up the tomato and should be completely soaked through with a little extra liquid, but not much. Taste again for salt and freshly ground black pepper (don't go crazy with the pepper) and then rip in a few more fresh basil leaves. fayefood.com

          2 Replies
          1. re: fayehess

            Wow that sounds good; tomatoes are good right now too.
            Served at what temp?

            1. re: itryalot

              It is best at room temperature. Warm isn't bad, but never cold.

          2. Hard to beat Nigella's waermenon salad, cool ,crisp, slightly bit of salt, salt from the ricotta would add a bit of sal too and I like the black cured olives for it. Snippets of mint and cilantro are really are very good in it too.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Candy

              I will have to do a search on this interesting salad. I remember just reading a thread on it a few days ago. It is so intriguing and unique I may have to do it.

            2. Something I've brought to a lot of outdoor summer potlucks is similar to what you were thinking with the grilled zucchini or eggplant. I grill (or soemtimes broil) slices of eggplant (I never thought of using zucchini - but that's a great idea, I'll try it) and rolling the ribbons around a little goat cheese mixed with some chopped herbs. I serve it either with the tomatoe concasse on top, or on the side to dip. It's very good at room temperature, and I almost always get requests for the recipe.

              1. I made a platter of grilled polenta and caprese salad for an outdoor pot luck, and it was a hit. It travels fairly well, since you can slap some foil or plastic wrap on it with little damage to the presentation.

                Polenta Caprese

                1 tubes prepared polenta
                1 large ball of fresh mozzarella
                Several medium vine ripened tomatoes (I like yellow for this)
                1/2 cup basil leaves, torn
                coarse sea salt
                1 and 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
                2 tablespoons sugar

                Slice the polenta into rounds, about .5 inch thick. Grill until lightly browned and crisp on the outside

                Slice the mozzarella and tomatoes into rounds, about .25 inch thick (for both cheese and toms)

                Meanwhile, reduce vinegar and sugar to a syrup.

                Arrange on a platter, alternating polenta, cheese, romatoes. I used a nice cookie sheet and arranged it in long straight lines, alternating directions from one row to another. Adorn with all that torn basil. Drizzle syrup over all.

                2 Replies
                1. re: MaspethMaven

                  This has a lot of my faves in it. Do you reheat or eat at room temp? Do you arrange like a caprese salad?

                  1. re: itryalot

                    I serve it at room temp, usually. But if you can serve it with the polenta slightly warm from the grill, its awesome. And yes, you can arrange like a caprese salad.

                  1. epicurious has a great cous cous salad with chick peas, dates, and almonds. it's great room temp and easy to make. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                    Their curried yogurt mango and quinoa salad would be great on a hot day as well: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                    1. If you wanted to stick with the grilled veggies, you could always serve a selection of these with some good homemade hummus. I see this a lot at summertime bbqs as the "veggie option." And, with a little added zip in the marinade for the veg (maybe fesh herbs, lemon, olive oil (even a little soy?), plus an interesting add in for the hummus (maybe kalamatas or roasted garlic from the grill) you can make this less "boring."

                      1. These all sound so good, I don't know which to choose. Nigella's watermelon would really be unique, but I have to make it for myself first. I can't imagine those ingredients together. I will have to search for the recipe.
                        The thai and mediterranean ideas sound great too. I think I may have to host a get together to try these dishes.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: itryalot

                          Nigella's eggplant rolls w/ feta, mint, and chilli are getting good reviews on the cookbook of the month thread, so you might consider those. If you want to make something a little different than prosciutto wrapped melon, then you can make a salad of cantaloupe chunks, good salami (cut into matchsticks), and some finely shredded mint or basil. I love this combo.

                          Another salad that I like for potlucks is panzanella. I don't make it the traditional way w/ soaked bread, but I toast the bread to make croutons which hold up well as the salad juices and vinaigrette get absorbed. I prefer to use halved cherry tomatoes (a mix of red and yellow looks pretty) as opposed to large ones.

                          1. re: itryalot

                            For a sweet option, I love a fruit salsa with cinnamon tortilla chips, kind of like bunuelos... This recipe is basic, and I alter based upon the season! http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Annies-F...

                            I have to say that I love mac'n'cheese at room temp, especially if the top is browned and crusty.

                            Instead of panzanella, try a cornbread salad http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cornbrea...

                            Don't know how many you're cooking for, but a strata is another option in the line of the frittatas you mentioned.

                            Take a salsa http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spicy-Be...

                            If you're willing to go Vietnamese, you could make these skewers, which are quite tasty http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bo-Nuong... or consider doing yakitori or teriyaki chicken skewers.

                          2. Tabouli - the mint, fresh tomatoes and cucumber are so refreshing on a hot day.