Whether you want to admit it or not, at least one of your friends is a hipster. You might not believe it at first, but take a good look: the glasses, the mom jeans, the ironic T-shirts. And now they’ve invited you to their loft for a potluck party.
So what do you bring to this shindig? For starters, no tuna casseroles or Jell-O molds — unless they’re shots. Here’s how to rock the potluck, no matter which course you’re asked to bring.
These should be little, easy to assemble and super tasty. You want to avoid making appetizers that require many steps. After all, you don’t want to be sweating like an old guy in a sauna while assembling and frying homemade mini egg rolls. While delicious, mini egg rolls will have you spending more time in the kitchen than the actual host, and that ain’t fair. Instead, opt for crostini with lots of flavorful ingredients like my crostini with creamy goat cheese, pesto and sweet figs. Everyone will love them, and you won’t show up to the party smelling like a fast food joint.
Sides don’t have to be boring nor do they have to live in the shadows of the main dish. Sometimes I like sides better than the main dish anyway! That being said, I think dynamic dishes are the way to go. Take boring salads up a notch by throwing in fruits and nuts, like in my Candied Pecan and Strawberry Salad (pictured above) or this Blueberry and Pomegranate Salad. You can even have some fun with veggies: Wow people with a French Green Bean Salad, loaded with walnuts, bacon bits and cherry tomatoes. Just be sure that all of your ingredients are organic and locally sourced or whatever.
The answer is always pasta. You’ve lucked out if you were assigned the main dish. Why? Because you can whip up a Penne al Forno or a lasagna in no time. AND you’ll get so many props that you’ll be renowned amongst all of your foodie friends as the guest who made a bangin’ pasta dish. Whatever you do, don’t get fooled into making this dish vegan or gluten-free. “Oooh, I really love this gooey rice-cheese!” said NO ONE EVER.
Dessert can be tough. It needs to be so awesome that people will risk indigestion by trying it, even when they are stuffed beyond capacity. It also needs to be big enough for a large amount of people. I suggest my Raspberry Trifle; it has pound cake, berries, custard and whipped cream. It’s too inviting to be rejected. Everyone will want to try some, even that annoying chick who swears off all sweets and prefers to snack on celery.
There you have it: I’ve solved the great potluck debacle. The trick is to whip up something easy, yet memorable. And, no, that doesn’t mean an ambrosia salad — people will want to forget that one.