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It's a Chowhound potluck or dinner party.. two dishes (with a caveat) and a wine, beer or cocktail if you wish

So we're having the world's largest dinner party and/or potluck (there are some who would object to this idea, so it's dinner party all the way for them) and you're thinking of two dishes.

One is the one dish you'd make to help represent your presence here on the boards. The other, though, is that dirty secret. The one you make frequently but would never, ever bring to this table for fear of rejection, ridicule, too-heated debate or whatever Chow-ish tomfoolery springs to mind.

I'd bring fried chicken. So simple, so perfect. And because I'm just "like that" I'd make pina colada jello shots.

I would never, ever subject my bolognese to you all. It's too bastardized at this point to be recognized as anything Marcella would endorse, and even though I make it all the time (including right now, which prompted this navel-gazing) I just couldn't share it.

Any takers for the next dishes?

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  1. Our town is vying for the world's largest potluck tomorrow!
    I'd bring my Church Potluck Beans (cans of various beans, doctored up), but I can't tell if that's the first dish or the one that would be rejected by CH'ers. ha!
    Maybe my beer cheese soup made with MGD and Velveeta....

    1. Dang you shanagain!! You done stole mah frahd chicken!!

      Oh well. That being the case, I'd have to bring chicken Sebastopol: BSCB rolled and tied around a stuffing that includes walnuts and tart diced apple along with the usual. It gets browned and then braised in really good cider; sometimes hard, sometimes not.

      My cocktail would be a really good large bowl of rum punch, presuming we're talking nice weather.

      My dirty secret dish would be the classic layered salad: shredded lettuce, thawed frozen peas, diced bell pepper, diced hardcooked egg, crunchy bacon, sharp cheddar; sealed off with mayonnaise mixed with parm. and a tad of sugar, and held overnight.

      Love this. Folks would sneer, but you know what? They'd eat it like a house afire.

      7 Replies
      1. re: mamachef

        LOL, your chicken sounds amazing, and yup, I'd be all over the salad. There are just some things that are good, even when they're bad. (Kind of like wyogal's beer cheese soup above - how good does that sound??)

        1. re: shanagain

          I worked at a restaurant in college where we made something very similar, albeit not w/ velveeta, but some other process cheese. And that stuff was GREAT. We garnished with a handful of hot buttered popcorn.

          1. re: mamachef

            Yep, popcorn. I think I had it for the first time in Fargo, ND in 1976 or '77.
            and I love the layered salad. I bring it to functions and everyone goes nuts over it. I use red pepper, shredded carrots, lettuce, green onion, sliced celery, frozen peas (not in that order, but peas on top), then frost it with a thick ranch, yes from the packet, with more sugar, topped with the shredded cheese and bacon on the very top.

        2. re: mamachef

          mamachef! Man your at it again.... I get your wavelength with that layered salad. That is a naughty go to for gatherings in the summer. People just love it, me included.

          Now, thinking cap goes on for my dirty secret bring-along...

          1. re: mamachef

            I make the layered salad as well! My family actually asks me to bring it! Mine is lettuce, celery, water chestnuts, diced pepper (sometimes green, sometimes red just for color), peas, mayo, shredded parm and sugar. Never any left, no matter how big I make it! I always make it the night before so the peas are still frozen when I put them on, but are thawed by the time it gets tossed.

            1. re: mamachef

              hey mamachef - been thinking 'bout you - hope you're well and the boys are keeping you busy -- thanks so much for reminding me of that classic 7 layer salad - i think I might just bring that around for our memorial day BBQ! It's been years ---- but am salivating remembering it!

              1. re: smilingal

                smilingal, I was thinking about you yesterday! Oh, do make the salad - you know you want it!! And I know that people will looooooooove it! Do it ! yum!

            2. the one dish to represent my presence would be a beautiful large oval white platter with several rows; a row of sauteed fresh broccoli w/garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, a row of baked cauliflower, a row of fresh roasted red and yellow bell peppers dressed in excellent olive oil, and a row of sliced fresh Italian rolls accompanied by fresh unsalted butter and olive oil.

              My dirty secret dish would be (day after) fried in butter spaghetti and meatballs.

              And my 7 layer salad is chopped lettuce, frozen PETITE peas, chopped sliced water chestnuts, grated hard boiled eggs (must be grated), chopped crisply cooked bacon, a layer of grated cheddar cheddar, all topped with Best Foods Mayonnaise sealed to edge of dish and refrigerated 24 hours.

              2 Replies
              1. re: laliz

                can't have the salad, laliz; it's mine!! : ) Love the platter, though...

                1. re: mamachef

                  oh, I'm not bringing the salad, was just expounding on the many variations thereof

                  You are bringing the salad.

              2. To represent your presence- A Moqueca de Peixe Bahiana, made with the freshest sea bass and shrimp and plenty of Dende oil.

                My dirty secret dish- Taco Bell-style enchiritos which are quite tasty, but I have to eat them in private in order to avoid the ribbing I'd get.

                And a wine, beer or cocktail- A top-noch German Spätlese, such a Hessische Staatsweinguter Kloster Eberbach Rudesheimer Hinterhaus. It would go great with the Moqueca.

                1. To represent my presence- pulled pork tacos. Slow cooked in the oven. The recipe is based on a slow cooker taco recipe from Food Network. It is one of my family's favorite meals.

                  My dirty secret- Velveeta and rotel queso served with Tostitos scoops

                  Cocktail- keeping with the Mexicanish theme I've got going, I would have to bring margaritas. Fresh squeezed lime juice, grand marnier, good tequila and my secret ingredient St Germaine liqueur.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: suburban_mom

                    Your "dirty secret" works well with Frito's scoopers too! :-)

                    1. re: suburban_mom

                      love the st. germaine - have to try it in a margarita - have you noticed how many bars are adding it to their drink menus!

                    2. My presence: My chicken and dumplings. Yes, it sounds like a prosaic dish, but I can't make enough of it when I serve it and it's probably my most requested dish. I leaven the dumplings a bit with club soda (I have no idea why that works), chive and a little bit of locatelli -- a scant bit. You almost can't taste it, but it makes a big difference.

                      The dirty secret: Kapusta -- at least that was the family name for it, though I think that only means "cabbage." Start with salt pork or bacon or fatback or whatever cheap fatty meat you got. Even saved bacon grease is fine. Brown an onion, then just wilt the cabbage in the fat/onion. Add canned tomatoes and juice, a toss of carraway and let it sit and stew on low flame for as long as you need. It's a dirty secret because it took almost 20 years of cooking for people other than family to bust that out -- I guess because, to me, it's just one of those things we ONLY served to family.

                      1. I would have to bring my sausage rolls - family recipe, super easy but very delicious, there have been borderline riots over them at a number of parties I have made them for.

                        My dirty dish and my cocktail are one and the same - cosmopolitan champagne punch, known at my house as lethal punch (it tastes very sweet and mild, but really packs a punch - I always warn the uninitiated when serving it!). Half a bottle of cheap vodka, half a bottle of cheap triple sec, a bottle of cranberry juice and a bottle of the sickliest, sweetest sparkling wine you can find (here in Aus we have an abomination known as Passion Pop which is perfect), and a few thinly sliced limes. I would be ashamed of it, but bring it anyway, because while it is dirty, you would all love it!

                        1. I would bring you a loaves of my homemade peasant bread. I would bring some beautiful eggs, salted butter, and some black pepper and a big jar of Hellmans mayo to make you some fresh fried egg sandwiches....a thin layer of mayo is spread on both slices of toast.

                          And I'd bring Diet Coke and Pabst Blue ribbon (not mixed, separate), and hug you on arrival.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pinehurst

                            Actually, this is very lovely. Thank you!

                          2. The dish I'd choose to represent my presence would be my braised short rib sandwiches - texas toast, red-wine braised, pulled short ribs (day old leftovers mixed with the leftover gravy), grated muenster or havarti cheese, & deep amber caramelized onions. Assemble the sandwiches, butter on the outsides of the bread & toast until golden brown & the cheese is melted. To. Die. For.

                            My dirty little secret would be Cherry Fluff- canned cherry pie filling, crushed pineapple, & cool whip mixed together & chilled. Yeah, completely trashy but everyone loves it.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: jcattles

                              I'd eat ever' last thing you brought, jcattles.

                              1. re: mamachef

                                :) Awe mamachef, I'd spend a day in the kitchen with you any time. We'd have us some serious good eats!

                              2. re: jcattles

                                God those sandwiches sound amazing, even at 9am!

                              3. Well, to represent my presence; I would bring my Moroccan chicken tagine with olives, prunes and preserved lemons. Best dish I developed when teaching for PCC Cooks! here in SEA. At dinner parties, it always brings raves, and has been requested for birthday dinner's by several friends. Alongside are a dish of special roasted vegetables with Souk flavors, and couscous with pine nuts.

                                For my dirty secret, probably my broccoli salad; broccolli cooked till done but still bright, drained, dried. Tossed with a thick ranch dressing, quick-pickled (cold water, salt, sugar, chill) thin-sliced red onion, raisins, and topped with chopped roasted peanuts. Always a huge hit at summer parties!
                                If I needed a dessert to bring, then my best-damn-lemon-icebox-pie-on-earth, topped with blueberries and frozen. Only use of cool whip EVER in my house:)

                                Cocktail; my sangria, with peaches and melon. Or, Homemade ginger beer with Australian rum and fresh lime wedges over lot's of ice!

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: gingershelley

                                  Jeeza Louiza, girl. That's wonderful. Loving the brocc. salad. I could eat something like that all day long.

                                  1. re: gingershelley

                                    gingershelley I'd love your broccoli salad. I don't know who ever tried to convince the world to eat raw broccoli in salad. me no likey.

                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                      I'd love the recipe for the Moroccan chicken tagine!! Sounds wonderful!

                                      Your broccoli salad sounds great too!

                                      1. re: gingershelley

                                        Yum, I'd definitely eat the good and the dirty!

                                      2. I'd bring some involtini! Thinly sliced grilled eggplant wrapped around little bundles of spaghetti pomodoro and stuffed with a chunk of mozarella, then baked.

                                        ...and brownies...the dirty little secret is inside...but I won't tell you! HA!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Novelli

                                          It better be a food ingredient, Novelli. Otherwise, not cool not to tell, not cool at all.
                                          I do get (hope that you're just joking, but...)

                                        2. for my presence, navy beans baked New England style for many hours with salt pork, molasses,onion, ginger, a little tomato.
                                          Dirty little secret: taco layered dip: refried beans, shredded jack cheese, jarred salsa, doritos.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: magiesmom

                                            I want taco layered dip right now!! RIGHT NOW!! GET IN MAH TUMMY!

                                            1. re: magiesmom

                                              Rolling over mamachef's reply! :-)

                                              You had me at "salt pork".

                                            2. Item to represent me - Grilled Key West Pink Shrimp with dipping sauce and roasted pepper salad.

                                              Dirty Secret : Dessert - Dirt Cake or Ho Ho (little debbie swiss cake) Pudding.

                                              1. Fun topic. I would bring my carmelized salmon with cilantro garlic potato salad (thanks Emeril!) I have made it so many times that I know the technique and everybody loves it.

                                                For my dirty little secret, I would make my feel better soup. Take two packets of Lipton Oodles of noodles dry soup mix, cook it with about half the water it calls for, and drop bisquick dumplings into it to cook overed. Eat with a Serving spoon and pads of butter.

                                                For my drink, I would make a pitcher of dark and stormy's. It'll cut the saltiness of the salt lick that is FEEL BETTER SOUP.

                                                1. Crisp hot banana fritters, sauced with sweet-silky-spicy-cinnamon sauce would represent.

                                                  Ham salad sandwiches (ground ham with mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish etc. on white) for dirty secret.

                                                  "Red Beer", a delicious drink: beer and tomato juice or V-8 -- I like it half beer, half juice.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                    Wow. All this AND Red Beer? Love the way you think.

                                                  2. Fresh catfish filets....cut into strips....rolled in Cream meal....deep fried in hot Peanut Oil. ~ Finger lickin good!!

                                                    Sara Beth's Cookie Pie ...... Hush!!.....tis a secret.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                      Oy,Unca Bob. Get your Southern catfish-frying self to the partay instanter.
                                                      If you can't give the Cookie Pie recipe, can you at least please describe it so I can think about it and drool? I promise not to be gross. I drool discreetly.

                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                        Well it takes a heap of dem thar Oreo Cookies.... a big bucket of that thar Kool Whip and..... can come a little closer to me darlin,.. an I'll whisper it in ya 'year'

                                                        1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                          Unca Bob!! (grin) sounds awfully tasty, and it definitely qualifies as a dirty lil' secret because of that there Cool Whip. Yum.

                                                    2. Great topic!

                                                      My dish to represent myself would be a Grand Aioli, homemade aioli served with a big platter of poached salmon, prawns and escargots (as it's a chowhound potluck after all) and lots of lovely bits and pieces for dipping - boiled new potatoes, green beans, radishes, hard boiled eggs, baby carrots..

                                                      My dirty little secret would be the honey mustard cocktail sausages made with the cheapest frozen 'oles I can find. Baked until golden and sticky, don't think about it too hard!

                                                      Cocktail would be campari or aperol spritz

                                                      1. Glad you invited me. I'll be drifting into town on my trusty donkey, wearing a big sombrero & setting up a Cantina with some Mex Tex foods that will blow the seat of your pants out.

                                                        Mexican layered dip (first layer - guacamole, second layer - taco meat, third layer - chile con queso. Pico, sour cream, & hot sauce for garnish & fresh fried corn tortilla chips for dipping.

                                                        Borracho beans

                                                        Cheese enchiladas....(dirty little secret is the cheese filling is that gloppy Velveeta cheese with lots of onion)...you won't even know it's that cheese because I will slather it with some really delicious chili con carne.

                                                        Besides, I will be serving lots of Perro Salados to make everything go down better. (double shots).

                                                        And if you're still around in the morning, I shall be serving big bowls of menudo to take the fuzz off your teeth. I can tell by all these "dirty little secrets), there will be serious need to resurrect, the mind, body & soul from this hellacious "POT luck".

                                                        Yes, I think there will be quite a bit of navel gazing before it's all over.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: cstout

                                                          Baaaahahahaha! I'd bet you're right. And I'll be gazing with the best of 'em.

                                                        2. Simple clean flavors can sell:
                                                          Salmon Croquettes with a Lemon Garlic Butter Herb dipping sauce

                                                          Simple clean flavors a la lazy can still taste good, but i don't want to tell you why or how:
                                                          [Microwave] Roasted Vegetables with a Reduced Miso Balsamic dipping sauce

                                                          Either way I'll show up with a lot of cookies and brownies. And maybe a bottle of Menage a Trois

                                                          1. To represent my presence, either my take on saucisson aux lentilles (with roasted fennel, butternut squash and red onions in a vinaigrette) or my rustic porcini, sausage and roasted vegetable stuffing. Neither has ever encountered a single hater!

                                                            For my dirty secret, though, I have both an appetizer and a drink. My mother's recipe for vegetable pizza: roll out crescent roll dough onto a high-sided cookie sheet and bake until golden. Spread with a mixture of cream cheese, mayo and ranch salad dressing powder. Cover with a layer of vegetable confetti (made by processing raw carrots, broccoli and cauliflower in the food processor). Top with shredded cheddar cheese and serve cold.

                                                            As for the drink, I call it Crazy Lady Punch because I got the recipe from a totally insane woman at a friend's bridal shower a few years back. I think she had been drinking a bowl of it a day for the last 30 years, hence the crazy. Anyway, it involves cheap sparkling wine (or ginger ale), pineapple juice, frozen lemonade concentrate, raspberry sherbet, sliced frozen strawberries, apricot brandy and rum or vodka (if you want it extra alcoholic, which Crazy Lady DEFINITELY did). It is sweet and tart and packs a SERIOUS punch. I think the key ingredient is the lemonade concentrate - it keeps it from being cloyingly sweet, so you keep coming back for more!

                                                            1. This looks like a fun one to to resurrect. To represent my presence (albiet scant lately due to illness in the fam) I would bring a yum woon sen. Thai glass noodles salad with big, fat shrimp. Grey Goose and tonics for everyone.
                                                              My dirty secret one (oh dear god) would be a delightful cheesy dip. 1/4 lb. of browned, not drained spicy ground sausage mixed with a bottle of Tostitos smooth n cheesy dip, a big spoonful of restaurant style salsa, and a few drops of tabasco with chips. And some Shiner Bock. Lots of beer because that crud is salty!

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: alliegator

                                                                Dinner sounds great, but please to make a double batch of your dirty dip so the other people can have some. :9

                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                  Will do, and I'll keep it warm in the fondue pot for ya!

                                                              2. Representing: Pigs in blankets (hot dogs and crescents, not the breakfast ones)

                                                                Dirty secret: Pigs in blankets (ah, damn, same)

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                  Duchess, if you made the second batch w/ the breakfast biscuits instead of the Crescents, which elevate PIB to lofty heights (especially if you use Little Smokies, and spread the insides w/ hot-sweet mustard) you could totally work around it.