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Nov 8, 2011 08:44 AM

Get Together Go To - Your Signature Dish

What is that special something folks always ask you to bring? Perhaps it is something simple as marinated olives, or maybe the dessert that people pick up first to make sure they don't miss out on. OK, tell us what you fix that you know everyone will like. You name it, we would like to hear about it.

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  1. People seem to go nuts about my mac salad... macaroni, diced red peppers, green onion, celery, cheddar cheese, frozen peas. Dressing: Miracle Whip, squirt of catsup/mustard, celery seed, pepper, and sugar. yep.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wyogal

      The mac salad sounds wonderful...would go good with some brisket. Thanks.

      1. re: cstout

        It's soooo easy, and apparently, satisfying! and really homey, not fancy at all. Goes good with burgers, brats, ham, any kind of sandwich, really.

    2. Hmmm. I think that would be several (if I may include my man, who is quite talented in the kitchen) -- my potatoes au gratin come to mind, yuvetsi, tres leches flan, peanut noodles....

      Of course, since we're the hosts for 95% of our get-togethers with friends, WE ask people to bring some of their special dishes.

      3 Replies
      1. re: linguafood

        What is yuvetsi? The peanut noodles have my to share the recipe?

        1. re: cstout

          Yuvetsi is a Greek dish -- braised lamb shanks with orzo in tomato sauce, topped with just a bit of kasseri (Greek cheese). It's a fantastic winter dish & great for (non-veggie) company.

          I don't follow this recipe to a T, but here's what I base my peanut noodle concoction on:

          1 lb angel hair pasta, rinse w/cold water and drain

          --the sauce contains the following ingredients:  peanut butter, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, chili sauce, maggi sauce, garlic, green onion, brewed green tea.

          5 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter
          4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
          1 tablespoon of sugar
          3 tablespoons of soy sauce
          1 tablespoon of maggi sauce
          1 tablespoon of sambal oelek)
          5 cloves of finely chopped garlic
          3 stalks of chopped green onion
          1 small cup of green tea (not the leaves!) 

          simply mix everything really well and pour over the noodle.  Mix the noodle with the sauce thoroughly.  Right before you serve, sprinkle some cilantro over the dish.

          1. re: linguafood

            Very similar to my "go to" dish. It was so popular that I got a call from a woman who hated me, begging for the recipe because her boyfriend liked it so much (I gave her the recipe). You can't lose with this one except for the occasional fussy eater.

      2. Corn casserole, loaded mashed potatoes, prime rib, grilled chicken (it's the marinade of soy sauce, garlic powder, brown sugar, ground ginger, and sesame oil), thin mint brownies (add peppermint and chopped Andes mints or mint M&Ms to your brownie batter), banana pudding, and boozy punch.

        3 Replies
          1. re: isadorasmama

            Jewel Punch

            It's delish...even though it's a Rachel Ray recipe.

            1. re: attran99

              she'd say it is "delish" as well. ;-).

          1. re: sunflwrsdh

            Me, too. That's what I always bring to potlucks, and any occasion where I'm expected to bring a dish to share. There's something magical about a good mac and cheese made with real cheese--many kinds!--in a world where many people have only tasted the boxed stuff. Not that I'm knocking the boxed stuff. Having grown up with the homemade variety, I have a bizarre affection for the boxed mac and cheese--the more day glow orange and fake, the better.

            When we entertain, we always make pizza in the wood fired oven I built in the backyard. Always. I can feed 10 adults (fabulously!) for under $60, we can cater to any taste preference or dietary restriction, and it's a fun activity to make the pizzas and watch them cook in 90 seconds.

            1. re: modthyrth

              Was the wood fired oven hard/expensive to make? I think that would be heaven to have one of those....wish we could see a picture of it. Do you have a favorite pizza dough recipe you would like to share?

              1. re: cstout

                There are a couple pictures of the oven in my profile:

                And lots more on the forum thread about my build here:

                I got the free plans from, and the entire outdoor kitchen project cost me about $5,000. But that includes the stone veneered pizza oven, granite work peninsula, giant grill unit, paver patio, and raised herb garden. Considering that I got a bid for just a plain concrete/stucco raised herb garden for $4,000, I think I built a lot of sweat equity! ;-


                I'd never done masonry before I started this project, and I was pregnant for most of the build. If I can do it, anyone can! (At least with the fabulous plans and help of the community on the forno bravo forums.)

                I always use the pizza dough recipe on the Forno Bravo site. It's really simple, but absolutely perfect. Using the Caputo 00 flour really does make a big difference, too.

                1. re: modthyrth

                  My gosh, that is flat beautiful. I am so impressed. I now have a new personal goal.

                  1. re: BoneMan214

                    Thanks! We just had a gathering with about 20 people tonight (about 8 more than we expected this morning!) and it was easy to scale up, too. I love my wood-fired oven!!! I'd encourage anyone to make one.

                  2. re: modthyrth

                    Wow that photo with all the twinkly lights and candles is beautiful!

                      1. re: modthyrth

                        modthyrth, sorry for the late reply, yes that was a great price & I am amazed you did this, surely you had help, bless your heart. I bet that baby is going to love Pizzas. Thanks for posting the pictures, always fun to look at the real thing.

                        1. re: cstout

                          I let my husband (and a couple neighbors) help me pour the concrete slab, but otherwise it was all me! The neighbors got a pretty good deal, considering all the pizza I feed them. ;-)

                      2. re: modthyrth

                        Me too. And I make it using different recipes, too, not always the same one. Depends on my mood, what cheese I have on hand, etc. The most recent recipe I used was from some challenge Emeril did on Good Morning America, and it was really good. I added some aged gouda to it, and it called for cheddar and gruyere, and there was parm/reg in the crumb topping, which also included bacon. There was also a whole head of roasted garlic in the sauce. Yum!
                        Your wood-fired pizzas sound great too!

                    1. 7-layer dip made with FRESH ingredients (including the refried beans), which is a revelation to people who've only had the canned/boxed versions. Potato casserole after Edna Lewis, which is incredibly simple and it's wonderful how a total hush descends over the table while people shovel it in - also absolutely delicious with ANYTHING. Good old retro Spinach dip, but I add extra dill and chopped drained cucumber to mine to lighten it up. And if I have kitchen access, I'll bring pre-breaded (at home) coconut shrimp with a sweet/hot coconut dipping sauce. And depending on the crowd, a big, big batch of chopped livah and cocktail sour seeded rye bread.
                      And if I'm feelin' a little lazy, why I just buy me up a honey baked ham and some biscuits and mustards and let 'em make their own ham biscuits. If I'm feeling NOT TOTALLY lazy, I actually undertake to make the biscuits myself, but all that just depends.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: mamachef

                        Mamachef!!! I was just wondering tonight where you've been, and thinking how much I missed reading your posts! Your go-to's sound wonderful. I love the fresh 7-layer dip, and the chopped livah is good too. For several years, I tried to duplicate a local restaurant's chicken liver pate, and finally came close enough to make me happy...secret is lots and lots of garlic and kind of a lot of brandy:) nice to hear your voice again!

                        1. re: sunflwrsdh

                          Well thank you so much for the welcome back!! And between you and me and the other million CH'ers on here, it's (TOTALLYTOTALLYTOTALLY) UNTRADITIONAL (Grandma Ida's rolling in her grave over this one...) I add just a titch of brandy and a good bit of white pepper to mine as well, but the biiiiig secret is to caramelize the hell out of those onions; drench them in schmaltz and just bake them instead of making yourself cuckoo-bunny standing over a hot stove and stirring, stirring, stirring. In the oven( for about an hour, 375) they'll only require a few stirs.

                          1. re: mamachef

                            like sunflwrsdh said, it's SO GOOD to hear you back on here again.

                            1. re: mamachef

                              Here, here! Missed ya! It's soooo good to see your smiling Betty Crocker face!

                              1. re: mamachef

                                That's how I do my onions too. I usually buy large bags of chopped onions at Smart and Final and then just throw them in the oven with some good oil and let them go for several hours til really brown. I use it for my chopped liver, also adding to kasha and varneshkes, rice, farfel, etc. They also freeze well.

                                1. re: paprkutr

                                  do you mean after browning, they freeze well?

                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    Yes, this way I have some on hand and I can add it to anything I want.

                            2. re: mamachef

                              I am off to find that recipe for the potato casserole. I think you are a great cook. The 7 layer dip never made my skirt fly up, but I bet with all the fresh ingredients, I could get interested. I shall revisit that recipe to see how I can "freshen it up". Thanks for the ideas.

                              1. re: cstout

                                Mamachef, I am only finding Edna Lewis recipes for Sweet Potato that the potato recipe you are talking about??

                                  1. re: cstout

                                    jennymoon nailed it. That's Miss Lewis' recips, and the secret's in the slicing. They have to be super thin, so a mandoline is nice unless you have time and really even knife skills - I prefer the mandoline. This is SO worth trying.

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  dill with the spinach dip really does brighten it up.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    It does, for sure. Oh, and sometimes for fun, diced water chestnuts.