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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are a couple pictures of the oven in my profile: http://www.chow.com/profile/155583/ph...
And lots more on the forum thread about my build here: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/n...
I got the free plans from fornobravo.com, 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Shrimp ceviche. Soooooo delicious. A pound of shrimp (chopped), jalapeños, tomatoes, lots of fresh cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. I serve it with tortilla chips. We all love it.
a ridiculously easy faux ceviche - faux because the tuna is cooked.
canned tuna in olive oil - 2-3 big cans
a whole onion diced
2 whole bunches of cilantro
a large tomato diced
small can of diced ortega chilis
diced whole jalapeno (or 2 if you like it hot)
juice of 10-14 limes
couple pinches oregano
olive oil - enough so that the whole thing is moist and not dry
few dashes of hot sauce (again, if you like it hot, which i do - we use habanero)
mix all together, keep tasting, seasoning, adding more limes and cilantro to taste. serve with tortilla chips. people love this stuff. good for picnics/casual parties/bbqs.
also, beet & goat cheese salad. just gold and red steamed beets,cooled & sliced, arranged on a platter, slices of avocado also arranged, sprinkle crumbled goat cheese or feta, chopped chives and toasted pine nuts, and a very lemony/dijon/shallot vinaigrette over the top. beet-haters have been converted with this one.
also, steamed french lentils, chilled, avocado slices, arugula, eighths of hard-boiled eggs, all tossed together with that same dressing. something about the textures in this....
Roasted Chipotle Corn Chowder
12 ears of corn, shucked and cobs reserved
9 scallions sliced
2 tsp or so sea or kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
2 1/4 c almond milk, unsweetened
1/2 -3/4 tsp chipotle in adobo
1.5 oz unsalted butter
-Roast about 1/2 an ear of corn at 375 til charred. Reserve.
-Put corn cobs in water, at least 3-4 cups, and simmer while you do the rest to make a "corn stock."
-Melt butter in a stockpot. Add scallions, reserving a couple of tablespoons for garnish, salt and pepper. Simmer a few minutes til translucent and softened.
-Add corn, chipotle in adobo, almond milk and corn stock. Simmer for 15-20 until corn is soft.
-Using immersion blender or processor, puree the soup. I then run it through a food mill, to create this velvet texture.
-Return to heat and adjust seasonings. Serve garnished with reserved roasted corn and scallions.
a little laborious but always gets raves.
Bonnie's Buffalo Chicken Dip (it's all over this site, but here is the basic and i'll post my variations after...)
2 pounds of poached and shredded chicken breast (I have used canned from Trader Joe's too)
1 12 oz bottle Frank's hot sauce
1 16 oz bottle ranch dressing
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup celery
8 oz cheese, mix of cheddar and jack
Combine chicken and hot sauce and spread in a 13x9x2 pan.
Combine cream cheese and dressing over heat, stirring til smooth.
Pour over chicken. Sprinkle celery over top.
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 minutes more, being careful not to burn the cheese.
sometimes i add diced onions or diced mushrooms;
varying the dressing between ranch or blue cheese,
or sometimes i'll make my own less herbacious ranch and add mushrooms and gruyere cheese to the mix...
also, i always just stir the celery in rather than sprinkling on top. i've also moved to just stirring the chicken/hot sauce mixture into the cream cheese/dressing mixture along with the celery and putting in pan to bake.
great served with veggies or breads or..
re: Cheese Boy
I've done lots of things. Parents were in the business, so I grew literally making dumplings by the thousands (all from scratch), making hand pulled noodles, and odds-and-end things like baos, Chinese-style turnovers, etc.
Some of my favorite filling combos:
- pork and Chinese chives (a classic)
- shrimp, pork and scallops, with some nappa cabbage
- Sole and Chinese chives
- Vegetarian (tofu, mushrooms, bean sprouts, cabbage, rice noodles, ear fungus, and fried tofu)
I ate an order of 30 pork/chive dumplings over the weekend and i don't know when I've been so happy lately. It put me in a good enough mood to make won-ton soup with ground chicken, a bit of pork to bind, chives and water chestnuts. Then just because there weren't enough carbs yet, I added rice vermicelle. Jealous as hell of your knowledge/experience, but I know you're a sharin' kinda person so I'll feel free to ask if I may.
Jealous as hell of your knowledge/experience, but I know you're a sharin' kinda person so I'll feel free to ask if I may.
What would you like to know?
I've actually posted alot on the Home Cooking Board re: making dumplings. I did a quick and dirty search of "dumpling" and posts by me. Here are the results. http://goo.gl/Djyun
Scroll through some of the threads, and let me know if you have follow-up questions.
Ipsedixit, newfound respect. I was just commenting to someone very recently that prior to college I mixed countless batches of mortars and concrete for my father's business and that most of them were by hand ... very few by machine. I'm saying this because I can relate to your dumpling reference >> 'all from scratch' <<. Hand pulled noodles are still a favorite of mine, ... I want to try my hand at making wontons and dumplings. Thanks for the inspiration.
Talk to me, momma. This sounds like something the boys would enjoy when I eventually decide to go back to work after L.O.A. I've made the classic stroganov, and the ground beef fakeanoff, but this is interesting; never seen one made with tomato soup and since I for one have no prejudice about using canned soups in recipes (especially when timing is an issue) I'd love the recipe.
I think this would definitely be a recipe you could easily make for a bunch of hungry guys. Here ya go, with the caveat that measurements are very approximate and my mother probably considers it an abomination that I would even post this recipe since it is a bastardization of her original. :-)
1 white onion, chopped
1 to 1-1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
Several cloves garlic, minced
2-3 T butter or oil for browinging
2 lbs ground beef (Can be substituted for strip steak, round steak, etc.)
Approx. 4 T worcestershire
Optional: 1/2 cup or so red wine
3 to 4 cans tomato soup
36 to 48 oz sour cream
To taste: salt, pepper, italian seasoning
Saute onions, butter, and garlic in butter or oil until onions are a nice light brown and soft. Add ground beef and brown; drain off excess fat. Add worcestershire sauce, wine, soup, salt, pepper and stir, bringing to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for one to two hours. (This amount of time is not necessary but does improve the flavors.) Add sour cream before serving and stir in thoroughly. Serve over egg noodles (my fave) or brown rice.
My mom uses round steak, cuts it in strips and dredges in a mix of flour, salt, pepper and then fries in oil. Then she goes on with the recipe. I have found that the meat gets too tough (maybe it is just my incompetence?) and people seem to like it best with ground beef, which saves a ton of time. When making it with 2 lbs of beef in strips, I would cut down the rest of the ingredients by 1/3 to 1/2 or there will be too much liquid.
In all honesty, I have had the most rave reviews on this recipe when I sub in Morningstar veggie crumbles instead of using real beef. The texture is better and I think the flavors are better absorbed into the fake meat. I can't even tell you how many people I have fooled doing this and the only reason I do it is because my husband is a vegetarian and sometimes I just don't want to make two versions of the same thing.
The recipe above (using 4 cans of soup and 48 oz of sour cream) probably makes about 20 normal person (not growing college-aged boy) servings.
Pimiento Cheese. I grew up in Texas but now live in the Midwest. I have a whole group of Midwestern Pimiento Cheese converts.
Always always ALWAYS my eastern North Carolina style, vinegar-based BBQ pulled pork shoulder. I just saw a friend recently who asked me for the recipe...and she had it 3 years ago. I also make a pretty good ricotta muffin but the pork wins by far (always with cheap generic-brand white buns and deli-made cole-slaw!)
Oh man, I totally eyeball it and taste as I go. Its something like this:
equal parts white vinegar and apple cider vinegar
brown sugar (more than you think!)
red pepper flakes
tobasco/texas petes hot sauce
The sugar is the important part, and its gotta be brown...white sugar tastes gross. Shake it all together and dont taste it for a few hours to let it all blend. Then adjust as needed.
Also, I find it important to make a nice dry rub for the shoulder- then when you remove the skin and bone after cooking all those spices are in the juices. Same types of spices as above (no hotsauce) and a LOT of cumin!! Cumin is critical. I usually cook the shoulder in the crockpot for 12-15 hours on low, adding a healthy dose of the bbq sauce during the last 2-3 hours
As a Texas boy, I had the opportunity to live in North Cacalacky, and BBQ there was a revelation. The regional differences are stark, and I think most people don't get the variations. Yours sounds like the type I learned to love there, pork with a vinegar based sauce, as opposed to Texas style, which is beef with a tomato-based sauce. It is so bad here in Dallas that there is a chain, Red Hot and Blue, where they almost won't serve it to you Memphis style, I suspect because of the complaints. Anyway, everyone should try the regional variations.
depends on the occasion and who's eating, but the things i most frequently get asked to make/bring:
- various dips (spicy black bean; white bean & roasted garlic w/sun-dried tomatoes; hummus; spiced carrot) with homemade chips
- kale with spicy peanut dressing
- wild mushroom ragout
- salad dressing
- muffins & granola
- various desserts (molasses ginger cake; dark chocolate tart; pumpkin pie; peanut butter brownie pie...)
Annoyingly, my most requested "dish" is totally un-Chowish but people go crazy for my honey-mustard cocktail sausages. A bag or two of frozen cocktail sausages, a jar of honey, a jar of mustard. All mixed together (still frozen!) in a foil tray and baked til golden. It's barely even cooking!
I live in Toronto and have lots of Montreal expat friends (my wife is also from Montreal). More than anything else, I'm known for my homemade Montreal Smoked Meat which is a pain in the ass to make, taking 2 weeks from start to finish, but ends up being on par with (if not better than) anything that Montreal has to offer and superior to anything Toronto's come up with.
My NC-style pulled pork comes a close second and fried peanut butter, strawberry jam, banana and crispy bacon sandwiches are a must when we visit for brunch.
I have a different dish for each season - macaroni salad in the summer, broccoli and artichoke casserole in the winter, easy fruit salad in the spring. Since I do some work for Wasa crispbread, in the fall I've started bringing Wasa with baked brie, brown sugar and walnuts when friends are hosting parties. It's a fun twist on the usual cheese and crackers! And all you have to do is top the brie with the sugar and nuts and bake for 20-30 mins!
Bring Rice Balls made from the Sopranos Cook Book to your next party. They're always a big hit!
1. Stupid Meatballs ~~ frozen homestyle meatballs, heinz chili sauce, and grape jelly
King praws with chopped chilli, garlic, ginger, olive oil, lemon juice & chopped fresh coriander. Sling on skewers & bbq or griddle.
My potato salad.
as a middle age single guy, i seem to attend a lot more "pot luck" holiday meals these days, so i concocted a marinated vegetable and bean salad that is Vegan Kosher low.salt low.sugar peanut.free glutton.free* easy to chew and can be left out all day at room temperature, all from cans or jars equals no liability on my part - so nobody has an excuse not to eat this;
Goya Low Sodium canned beans: Black, Pinto, Red Kidney, Pink and Chickpeas
drain the can liquid (do NOT rinse) and dump all beans into a 1gal Ziploc baggie.
add half a cup; Mrs. Dash Marinade: Lemon Herb Peppercorn flavor, and set aside.
open jars, drain liquid from, and chop into Chickpea 1cm size pieces with the following;
sweet marinated red peppers, cocktail onions, gherkin pickles, baby corns, pitted dates,
dump the diced contents into a second 1 gal Ziploc baggie and set aside.
(keep refrigerated till use) my serving suggestions require a bag of raw leaf spinach;
cover with a single layer of spinach leaves on a flat appetizer plate or shallow dish,
using a soup ladle or deep ice cream scoop, portion beans over the spinach
then half as much marinated veggies centered on top of the beans.
serves 40-60, ingredient cost $20-30, preparation time about a half hour.
-OR- cover the bottom and sides of a deep salad or punch bowel with a layer of spinach,
make a tube out of a flexible cutting board and stand it up in the center of your bowel,
ask a friend to ladel in the marinated veg into the center, then dump the beans around
the sides of the bowel, then pull the flexible plastic out. the bowel contents should
look like a doughnut of veg in the hole, beans around the ring, spinach framing the edge.
the raw spinach absorbs the excess liquids and tastes wonderful, so I usually leave an
open bag with tongs so people can line their own plates before spooning out veg/beans.
I also leave out a sprinkle jar of soy based bacon bits for those who want a smoky topper.
* check jars/cans carefully for anything that may be glutinous.
My recipe for Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa. I used to make it just in the summer when tomatoes are the best, but now I just buy the tomatoes about 4 days ahead of when I am going to bring this dish and let them sit on the counter. When I cut up the tomatoes, I remove the seeds and pulp, just using the meat and salting them release extra moisture. Pat dry before placing them in the dish, to avoid the salsa from getting soggy. I also use TJ's roasted corn (frozen) and skip the step and the extra oil for this dish. There is plenty of dressing to go around.
This salsa gets rave reviews and I am always asked to bring it to every get together. I even made it and split in half, brought one dish to Christmas Eve at my niece's and the second Christmas Day to my son's.
~ Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa ~
1 pound package frozen roasted corn (Trader Joe's), rinse and drained well.
1 Tblsp. salt
1 Tsp cumin powder
6 Tblsp fresh lime juice
2 Tblsp cider vinegar
1 bunch chopped cilantro
1/2 large red onion red onion, minced
4 large plum tomatoes chopped
1 jalapeno peppers chopped
1 red pepper chopped
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 large avacados chopped
~ Combine salt, cumin, lime juice, oil and vinegar. Shake well in a jar.
~ In a large bowl, combine rest of chopped ingredients. Add beans and
corn. Add avocado, and dressing last and toss gently.
~ Refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Serve same day you make it. If you don't serve it the same day, then don't put the dressing on. Just toss it on about an hour before you are serving it. If you pat the tomatoes dry, it stays fresh for a couple of days in the fridge.
~ Serves 15-20 people
Here's my recipe:
I frequently make candied peanuts from David Lebovitz' recipe to have on hand as a snack for visitors, and occasionally bring those to add to appetizer plates -- we're not so fancy. I also am usually asked to bring cheese biscuits based on smitten kitchen's recipe for blue cheese scallion biscuits -- I've actually never tried them with blue cheese, partially because I have a slight aversion but mostly because I just never have blue cheese around. I tend to use a combination of ricotta and cheddar or mozzarella, whatever's on hand. The ricotta makes the biscuits really moist and fluffy. I also tend to bring sweet quick breads or simple everyday loaf cakes (lemon yogurt cake, zucchini carrot bread, etc.) and drop cookies.
I'm around a lot of people who rarely cook or only cook semi-homemade so they are easily impressed...