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Mar 6, 2011 04:12 PM

Non-refrigerated potluck ideas needed

On Thursday, I'll be attending an event about an hour or so from home and afterward (about 5 hours!) there is a potluck planned. We've been asked to bring items that don't require refrigeration. Huh? I'm stumped. Any ideas on what I could take? I may be able to take a cooler with ice packs and leave it in the car. Temps will be in the high-40's that day so it might be okay. At any rate, does anyone have any good ideas for me?

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  1. I'm assuming that you are worried about spoilage? For the life of me, can't think of a food that would spoil THAT quickly...I think you can do ANYTHING, except for something that might get soggy because it has set too long. LEEPA, is there a theme to your potluck? You could do lasagna...any dip...pretty much any side dish....salads might get soggy depending on what you do...potato salad or coleslaw or pasta salad will be great! But a green salad with dressing might get soggy in that time frame. I know other CH'ers will help out here.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Val

      Thanks, Val. It'll need to be something that would be okay making it that morning and serving that evening with no refrigeration in between. I'll be attending a workshop/lecture by a number of Chinese master potters at Penland School of Crafts. The potluck is after the afternoon of the workshop. There will be a lot of people there so the dish doesn't have to be big. Something vegetarian would be nice, but not required by any means. Actually, I'm thinking of making Spicy Cold Soba Noodles by the Two Hot Tamales. Usually, I add in some shredded carrot and sometimes edamame to the recipe to fill it out. Here's that recipe.

      I am still open for suggestions however. Bring em on.

        1. re: Leepa

          Can you share more information about the Chinese potters? I just looked at the Penland web site and I can't find any information about this event. Will Ah Leon be participating?

          To answer your question... Most Middle Eastern spreads and pita bread would be great. Everyone knows hummus and baba ghanouj. My favorite, a roasted red pepper and walnut spread, would introduce folks to a delicious but less familiar dish. Here's a good recipe for the red pepper dip.


          Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.
          Yield: Makes about 1 3/4 cups

          a 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
          2/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
          1/3 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
          2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt

          1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
          2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses*
          1 teaspoon ground cumin
          1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
          3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
          toasted pita triangles as an accompaniment

          *available at Middle Eastern markets

          In a food processor blend together the peppers, the bread crumbs, the walnuts, the garlic, the lemon juice, the pomegranate molasses, the cumin, the red pepper flakes, and salt to taste until the mixture is smooth and with the motor running add the oil gradually. Transfer the muhammara to a bowl and serve it at room temperature with the pita triangles.

          1. re: Indy 67

            This link sounds like the event:


            The muhammara sounds great!

            1. re: meatn3

              Thanks! I was just about to post that same thing.

        2. re: Val

          By the way, Val, food that needs refrigeration really should not be eaten after 4 hours outside of the cold. Bacteria can actually grow that rapidly to harmful levels to make people sick. This is why we should have Home-economics back in schools so that people know and understand basic food safety.

        3. Hi Leepa,

          As Val asked, is there a theme?

          For a non-theme potluck, just about any kind of dessert such as cake, pie, cookies would be fine.

          Perhaps a quiche-type casserole that's good at room temperature. I'm thinking of green chiles, jack cheese and custard here.

          If there will be heating facilities at the potluck, any kind of dried bean dish would be great. All the better for being made ahead.

          If you take a green salad, just take the dressing in a separate container and add it right before serving.


          1 Reply
          1. re: I used to know how to cook...

            I like the idea of the quiche, Lucy. That'll be something I can do ahead, too. Hmmm.

          2. Cake, salsa and chips, cookies, breads. If you're taking a cooler, you could make slaw or salad, and put the dressing in the cooler until you're ready to serve it.

            5 Replies
            1. re: basketwoman

              Slaw is a good idea, too. I make a killer blue cheese coleslaw that always goes over well.

              Thanks so much for the additional ideas, everyone. Just what I needed.

              1. re: Leepa

                Leepa, would you share the bleu cheese slaw recipe?

                Chinese chicken salad. In your cooler, chopped cabbage, iceberg lettuce, celery, green onions (if you like them),shredded cooked market chicken in different containers. Dinner time, toss all together with Soy Vey dressing and top with crunchy Chinese noodles.

                1. re: Gail

                  The slaw recipe is not my original recipe but one I found online several years back. I do make a change or two to the recipe. I use slivered red onion instead of the white onion and I cover the bowl with the cabbage with something (I use my cutting board) after pouring on the hot dressing. It wilts the cabbage just a bit and makes it more tender. Generally, I use Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue cheese in it. If I don't have any or can't get it at the market, I use Buttermilk Blue cheese and add a drop of pecan liquid smoke.


                  A chef friend of mine and I had a cole slaw throwdown and I made this recipe and he made his BBQ coleslaw recipe. He now calls me the Goddess of Cole Slaw. Hope you like it!

                  1. re: Leepa

                    "Goddess of Cole Slaw", thank you. It sounds great!!

                    1. re: Gail

                      Hope you enjoy it. It's not that usual gloppy mess that blue cheese coleslaw is.

            2. how about something that would benefit from some time to sit... like a four or five extra long muffaletta sandwiches? get long loaves, load em up, wrap em up, and slice before serving.

              or you could do a sweet potato or corn spoon bread, as these serve well at room temp.

              1. Sesame noodles, potato salad. I like the mufalatta sandwich idea. You could do a salad, maybe even a fruit salad as long as you don't dress it until the last minute. Well, fruit would need some lemon juice or vitamin C or something to prevent browning.

                Avocado dip or Quacamole would work if you didn't slice or mash the avocado until the last minute. Everything else could probably be precut an bagged..

                I don't know much about them but what about these bulgar or quinoa salads everybody on CH brags about?

                How about deviled eggs? You can get pretty fancy with those, too.