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Jun 30, 2010 07:13 PM

Potluck Showstopper Needed

Family reunion is coming up. Typical fare is delicious, but nothing too surprising. There are always doubles (at least) of 9 Bean Salad, BBQ Meatballs, Chicken Wings, Hye Rollers, chili and too many desserts to mention.

Last year I brought summer rolls and they were well received. This year I'm not coming up with anything stellar. I just want it to be something a little different.

Considering the Lox dip with sliced bagels from
(sounds very yummy


Any other suggestions?

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  1. Are you leaning towards hot or cold?

    3 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Leaning toward cold, but hot is also doable.

      1. re: WhatThePho

        Oops, forgot: how many people? Any budget?????? (I always have a budget!)

        1. re: c oliver

          Weellll the number of people is thus far a rough estimate. Probably around 50. But Grandpa has 11 siblings so the sky's the limit. Either way, there is ALWAYS way too much food. :) I made 25 rolls last year. They were cut in half but all disappeared. Could make more food this year I guess...

          Budget is around 30 or 40 bucks. About what I'd spend on meat and cheese platters.

    2. heh :) i grew up on bagels, lox (actually nova) & cream cheese so of course that sounds wonderful to me...but it seems like it would be out of place with the other dishes you mentioned.

      how about a charred corn salad inspired by elote (Mexican grilled corn)? or a really killer guac? or a nice & vinegary German potato salad?

      14 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Out of place I don't so much mind. I get the feeling I'm not the only one who gets a little bored with the food at these things. :)

        Guac is on my mental list too. Thanks!

        1. re: WhatThePho

          well, if you want to do something unexpected or non-traditional with the guac, look at the varieties on the menu at Momocho restaurant in Cleveland. Guy Fieri featured it on an episode of DDD, and i wanted to get on a plane *immediately* and try EVERYTHING...

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            guacamole / smoked trout / bacon / chile poblano

          2. re: WhatThePho

            Ah, so you've got some non-weinie eaters? What about $30-40 of steak tartare?

            1. re: c oliver

              Tartare? Ah! I have never had tartare. Carpaccio, yes.

              Beef source?
              How do I keep it cool?
              What happens when great aunt Judy stuffs herself sick of potato salad and blames my tartare?

              c, stop being more adventurous than me!! :) No, don't.

              1. re: WhatThePho

                I'm struggling to find a recent recipe. I'll check with some Chow-friends and get back to you. I'm older than most, therefore more adventurous.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Well that's really why I came here to ask. It's not a complaint. :)

                  There is a three hour drive between me and reunion, but I have a kitchen at my disposal when I arrive. If I keep the beef uncut and on ice till I arrive it should be doable. Yes?

                  I am looking at the recipe right now. Not so frightening.


                  I wonder what the old folks will say about raw beef at a potluck? Heehee, I am giddy in a terrified sort of way.

                  1. re: WhatThePho

                    I can't remember if I've actually fixed this or only talked to people who have :)


                    Yeah, I'd definitely assemble just ahead of time and serve in a bowl on a bed of ice.

                    They're not ALL old, are they? Wait! I'm 63. What do you consider old?

                    1. re: c oliver

                      The members of the Dozen that are still with us are all 85+, and their spouses. Actually the kids of that generation are the ones I worry about. Early retirees who mostly eat at family style restaurants. Grandpa's younger at heart than they are. They will probably not let him eat this as they feel he is fragile. (he stopped cutting his own firewood last year..draw your own conclusions)

                      If you were making this yourself, would you do the cutting of the sirloin yourself or ask your butcher to do it?

                      1. re: c oliver

                        And many many many more people with common sense will be there, which is why I'm considering this at all. :)

                        1. re: WhatThePho


                          I hope this opens alright. I had to take a circuitous route to it :) alanbarnes is one of my main go-to's when it comes to meat. I wouldn't have the butcher do it but that's just me.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            the link works, and nice sleuthing! sounds good to me :) i'm definitely for adding fresh parsley at the end - Italian flat leaf, minced *very* finely.

                  2. re: WhatThePho

                    Keep it cool: place it in a bowl in a bowl of ice.

            2. I just made this red cabbage cole slaw with apple, mint, and cinnamon tonight, and it was fantastic.


              Actually, I didn't even make the pickled carrot & daikon part, which would make the dish even more interesting. The sweet/sour dressing with red wine vinegar, sugar, zippy mustard, cinnamon, and mayo is killer. I left the peel on the green apple which was very pretty mixed with the red cabbage, as was the green mint. I didn't include the raisins (guest pref) but I think they would be great too.

              I found the sweet/sour dressing utterly addictive! Yum.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                That sounds like it could be just the ticket to top a pulled pork sandwich. Maybe with a sesame ginger barbecue sauce?

              2. What about a terrine? I like this one from Nigella. It's much better than you'd think, great when the flavors have had a chance to meld and very pretty. Serve with crackers or bagel slices if you're into the bagel idea.


                1 Reply
                1. re: chowser

                  I bet that looks gorgeous when it's done.

                2. just had a random thought...since you were considering the salmon spread first, and now the discussion has turned to steak tartare, how about a compromise...tuna tartare? i had an *unbelievable* rendition at Gotham Bar & Grill in NYC with miso, ginger, shiso leaf and a cucumber salad.

                  ooh, you could do an escabeche!

                  i know, i get way too excited about these projects :)

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I also love salmon tartare seasoned with a wee bit of sesame oil, soy, lemon juice, toasted black sesame seeds (I've gotten overly fond of those. Paired with small cubes of avocado seasoned pretty much the same way.

                    ETA: I make the salmon tartare with smoked salmon not raw but that would be fine also for me.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Ah.. that MIGHT just be the perfect happy medium. Smoked salmon might tempt this group a bit more than tartare. Just safe enough.

                      So now, do we serve it with toasts? What kind? Would wasabi fries be over the top?

                      I'm thinking tartare gets moved to one of my vino parties with the girls. You're all effing brilliant.

                      1. re: WhatThePho

                        I think smoked salmon would be great. I'm not sure about tartare sitting around at a potluck for hours, especially in the summer. You could serve smoked salmon on endive leaves or even cucumber rounds, peeled like zebra stripes. Or, maybe on crostini. If you're thinking wasabi and smoked salmon, you could do deviled eggs w/ that, although I have done a smoked salmon capers deviled egg for a potluck that disappeared in a second. Second to a bacon, tomato and cheese deviled egg.

                        1. re: chowser

                          I'm liking cucumber rounds. I'm gonna think more today.

                          1. re: WhatThePho

                            I hate cucumber so I'm resigning from your family :) I've recently been using some crackers (there are a number of brands) that I describe as having the thinness and mild flavor of a communion wafer :) Not everyone here will know what I'm referring to.

                            I think if whatever the salmon is being served from is sitting on a bed of ice, it will be fine. I'd just have the cucumbers (blech ) or crackers or whatever in a bowl or something beside it with tiny spoons or spreaders (Crate & Barrel has them cheap)

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I'm away from home for a few days but this MIGHT be a recipe I've fixed. The "tartare" is put into little new potatoes.


                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Not quite tuna tartare, but close - how about ahi poke?

                      It's a traditional Hawai'ian dish made with raw (or occasionally seared) yellowfin tuna marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil. Ono grindz!

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        i was thinking poke as well...or ceviche. but i decided to try and exercise some restraint before Pho's head started spinning with all the additional possibilities!

                        but forget that idea now. suddenly i'm also thinking about gazpacho...tomato gazpacho, white gazpacho with grapes & almonds, gazpacho with avocado...