The February FBM potluck marked the 5th such potluck that I have been fortunate enough to find friends generous enough to share both their food and their homes with me. We returned to the location of our October potluck for this low key, minimal attendance event – it was over a long weekend, so a lot of people had prior engagements.
Since the kind people who do PR for Nespresso were generous enough to send me a CitiZ Nespresso to test, I decided to bring the whole thing over to BeerBoor’s for everyone to test during the potluck. The machine isn’t tiny, and given my limited counterspace and my limited time in the mornings, I thought it’d be easier to have everyone give it a go and then get their feedback. I set up a coffee bar of sorts – you can see the machine, along with the built in milk warmer and frother on the right-hand side, some of the pods that were sent with the machine, a jar of homemade orange-scented sugar (and there are candied orange peels in the sugar as well), and a bottle of Bailey’s to doctor coffee as people wished. Unfortunately, given the propensity of… some people who shall remain nameless to put things on the table that didn’t belong there, and the lack of foresight on my part to put out cups on the coffee bar so people could easily make their own cappucinos as they liked… I think only TC tried the coffee, so I’ll have his feedback in comments. But no worries: BeerBoor retrains possession of the machine, and will be weighing in with his own post once he’s gone through the coffee and can form his own fully explored opinion.
Note: I really like the idea of having a coffee bar for parties though. It seems like a really keen idea, as long as you make sure to put out cups as well, and with pod-style machines, there’s less waste as each cup is brewed fresh as people want it… All accompaniments can be customized as you please too, perhaps a small container of non-dairy creamer, even the flavored ones, would make this super fun. Of course, it’d be even better at a brunch-style get together, or at the least one where not everyone intends to get hammered… 😉
I’d originally intended to only make one contribution, but wound up making a bunch of things. First up: chocolate surprise cookies, from a Martha Stewart recipe in the Cookie Book, which is posted online here.
What’s the surprise? Well, there’s a marshmallow hiding in there underneath the frosting/glaze. I think the recipe needs a little work – I followed it exactly – because the cookies didn’t taste very rich-chocolatey, and the icing is way too sugary sweet. I mean, all you taste is sugar, not flavor. Disappointing, since these are, to date, the most ambitious baking recipe I’ve tackled (three stages: cookie, marshmallow insertion, and icing!). Ah well. At least I know I did it right!
I also made garlic tarragon bread again, this time adding way more garlic and a bit more tarragon to try to increase the flavorings of these coming through in the bread itself. Unfortunately, that didn’t work, though this was very moist and tender bread… and I think it goes really well with the tapenade I made (but for some reason, I forgot to take a picture of that or the artichoke parmesan garlic dip I brought and put in my totally adorable double server. Ah well, you saw the server in the other post about the tapenade, and the other dip was store bought).
I also made deviled eggs topped with bacon bits. Deviled eggs is a great party food – especially an indoor one during cooler months – and I’ve mentioned many times just how much my family loves them. These contained egg yolk (duh), mustard, mayo, lemon juice, minced onion, diced celery… and then were topped with bacon that I cut into small pieces and rendered the fat from for a long time over slow heat, for crunch. I think this worked really well because at the end of the night, there were none left. Plus, the bacon’s smokiness didn’t overwhelm the egg, which made it better for me, and the onion/celery maintained its juicy crunch… yep, this might be the new way to make my deviled eggs. If I can get SWSNBN on board, next Feisty Family event, you’ll see these again…
My darling KC outdid herself this time as well. Oreo truffles, which, during the holidays, she taunted us with many descriptions! but she actually made a box for us this time.
Just goes to show she really does love us 😉
Here’s a shot of the inside. That isn’t my hand.
Oh, and here’s a shot of the home-fried tortilla chips I asked BeerBoor to make to go with the artichoke-parmesan-garlic dip I brought (store bought items are generally frowned upon, but I made an exception both to fit my double-server and because it is REALLY, REALLY good… and bought at Costco, and I don’t want such a huge tub laying around my apartment!). Basically, you take corn tortillas, cut them into 1/8ths, and deep fry for a few minutes until GBD in fryer’s parlance. In layman’s terms: Golden Brown Delicious (though with corn tortillas, you want it more Golden than Brown). Speaking of corn tortillas: don’t try this with flour tortillas. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.
Since there have been some unfortunate changes in Beer Boor’s home, I was given permission to bring Keywee to join the party. Happy to oblige, since she loves meeting new people and everyone knows how important she is to me, they were all eager to meet her as well, this is a shot of her looking up at someone (clearly not me), hoping a morsel of yumminess will be dropped. And she behaved, for the most part; the mystery of who dropped something she wound up eating? is still unsolved. How do I know she ate something? Well, I noted to everyone “Do not feed the Keywee; she is on a strict diet because she has food allergies and she is not to eat any human food at all. Anyone who feeds her is going to take her for the 12 hours following the potluck and deal with the mess that happens when she eats stuff she shouldn’t be eating!” So I believe in my heart that no one intentionally fed her… but nonetheless, she began yakking (as animals sometimes do, so non-pet owners, don’t freak out) and didn’t stop. Poor Beer Boor… he took it remarkably good-naturedly, though (Keywee says sorry again!).
KC also made a big tray of eggplant parm. More on that later.
One of my ramekins that I brought over. Beer Boor wound up using it to hold the sauce for his offering… I forget what went into the sauce, and asking him is pretty much impossible (sometimes he says “Oh, I don’t know, some of this and lots of that” but other times he’ll actually list out some ingredients)… maybe putting this up here will make him respond.
Another press gift – a bottle of the fabled Kraken… inside the box was also a scroll of a sort, a kraken tooth, a book about kraken, a wax-sealed letter of authenticity, and…
… the bottle of Kraken! I actually didn’t have a chance to try this, though judging by how much remained (about a half inch in the bottle) and how merrily everyone drank the bottle, I imagine people liked it. So I guess I did well to bring it to the potluck! (Any of you who imbibed, please feel free to share your feedback in the comments! Thanks!)
As I said, KC really outdid herself and brought a whole assortment of goodies. A tray of her dessert bruschetta:
Butter, topped with peach preserves and crushed amaretti cookies…
Lightly sweetened ricotta and lemon zest topped with chocolate shavings and chopped pistachioes…
And strawberries soaked in balsamic vineger on top of lightly sweetened mascarpone with lemon zest and vanilla extract. So good!
Beer Boor deepfried garlic for everyone. I thought these came out pretty well – tender and soft on the inside, while crisp and crunchy on the outside. Barely needed any dipping sauce, really. Maybe some mints for afterwards, though…
Here’s yet another adorable shot of Keywee. She took to hiding behind the coffee table for a little bit while more people arrived and set out their contributions… this is her “There’s so much food, and you won’t even share one teensy little morsel with me? Selfish…”
After CT’s trip to South Africa, TT bugged her to make the bobotie she wrote about for us. Well, she did, and while she said she felt she overcooked the top part, I thought this was excellent. I can totally see making this in a smaller batch and just eating this with…
rice cooked with turmeric and cinnamon, with raisins added. Yum. The slight sweetness of the bobotie mixed with the neutral rice spiked with raisins was really just perfect, especially on a cold night. Comfort food.
Ahhh… this is actually what was going to be my sole contribution – well, I made a whole pitcher, but that apparently wasn’t enough for my lush friends. Elderflower martinis – recipe to come – went down a little too easy, I think, as I wound up getting wayyy more smashed than I’d intended, and may have yelled at people (I don’t recall doing this, but everyone seems to think I was really angry that night, and aside from being competitive, I don’t think I was!). In any case, I think they were well received, and I highly recommend making a pitcher of these for parties you throw. I also left out the splash of seltzer until each glass was served, to keep it fizzy-ish, which helped it keep its sparkle. Love! The pitcher ran out way more quickly than I thought it would though… oops.
TT made a bacon quiche.
Beer Boor also made corn dogs, semi to order. I don’t remember trying one, though by this time, things are getting really foggy. (Put it this way: there are pictures on my camera – and on Hungry’s – that I don’t remember taking…
Here’s my first plate! A little pit of everything.
Here’s an inside shot of a corn dog. (If you think this is proof that I ate one, normally, you’d be correct, except I distinctly recall TT handing me his corn dog and asking me if I wanted to take a picture. Not a bite, but a picture.)
Hungry made bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers, which were thankfully not too spicy for me. She posted the recipe on her own site so go over there to find out how to make them.
She also made lobster rolls with just butter…
and with mayo!
And of course, Keywee wanted some. She usually sits by whoever has fed her – if she keeps moving around, it’s because everyone has and she’s not sure who to expect food from next, or because no one has and she’s just hoping. But if she parks herself next to someone, it’s almost a sure sign that she knows for a fact that person will feed her, has fed her in the past, or wants to feed her… (Fact: no matter how long it’s been, if I bring her to BF’s house and we’re eating, she will go and sit next to him and stare him down for food, and not even bother with me. Why? Because I don’t feed her people food, and she knows this.) Can you guess whose feet those are? (I know the answer.)
Here is the lobster roll I ate. There wasn’t too much mayo, which, though I love mayo, is something that really bothers me with some lobster rolls. However, and this is entirely personal preference, I wanted it more lobster-y. To make it more lobster-y, I would add the tomalley and roe (if there was any) into the mayo and mash it altogether… which some people probably find super unpleasant. Like I said, though, it’s personal preference… (and I make my lobster salad this way, though these are not lobster salad rolls, they’re lobster rolls!)
After its spin in the oven, KC’s eggplant parm came out. Crispy on top, with lots of melted cheese, amazing sauce, just overall wonderful… I was fighting with Beer Boor over who would get to take the leftovers… soooooo good /cry
TT also made this corn tortilla quiche, which I liked a lot and intend to make myself soon… though it’ll be difficult, given that I live alone and shouldn’t be eating that many eggs and that much cheese, ha.
MadJac’s first potluck and she brought us salad! I actually didn’t try any of this, possibly because by that time, I was pretty drunk, done eating, and I don’t tend to favor arugula. Those who did try it said it was good, though. And here’s the recipe:
Roasted chicken (shredded/cut up)
Red onion (sliced thin)
Cherry tomatoes (halved)
Parmigiano (thin slices)
Arugula (cleaned and bug free)
Garlic croutons (or bread with a nice crust drizzled with olive oil,
rubbed down and topped with garlic, salt, pepper and toasted)
Directions: Mix that sh*t up
Directions: Mince garlic, add to olive oil first (so the garlic
doesn’t turn colors), add balasmic (I think it more vinegary so I like
30%-40% compared to the olive oil) add mustard to desired thickness
A picture of the entire table, with the makeshift ‘bar’ in the background along the window! I think we’re at the point where we practically have a full bar just from each potluck to potluck with what’s purchased, sometimes not drunk, and then brought to the next one… nice.
Nommables brought arancini.
And oh my goodness, these were good. He shares his general recipe here:
2 cups medium grain rice
1/2lb meaty pork belly, skinned (optional: soak pork in cold water for an hour to remove porky stink)
1 tsp fennel pollen
2 tsp dry rosemary
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter
~6 cups mushroom stock
2 small shallots
— Sautee rice in butter. Cook risotto-style with mushroom stock until desired doneness (I made them slightly al dente). Grate about 1/2 cup romano into rice and mix well. Adjust with salt as needed. Spread out risotto evenly in the pot, going up the sides as well, and put pot in fridge to cool.
— Score meat. Rub with minced garlic, rosemary, salt, and fennel. Roast until exceptionally caramelized, about an hour, flipping the meat once if using the toaster oven like I did. 400 degrees for the first 30 minutes, 350 for the rest.
— Cut meat into 1/2 inch cubes, with meat-to-fat ratio of 2-to-1. Cut mozzarella into 1/4 inch cubes.
— With plastic wrap in palm of hand, drop about 2 tbsp in middle of palm, and make a dimple. Drop in 2 pieces of pork and 2 of mozz. Close it up, adding more risotto if necessary. Roll in breadcrumbs and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Repeat until too lazy to make more. Deep fry at 375. If desired, sprinkle more pollen on balls as they come out hot from the fryer (I didn’t do this).
As the night wore on, it turned dangerous when Hungry reached into her bag and said “I have beignet dough! Let’s fry!” because have you ever watched drunk people deepfry in a deepfryer vat of hot oil, and then serve even drunker people piping hot fried dough? Well, it’s not pretty.
As evidenced by the photos I won’t share with you of me covered in powdered sugar. I was really drunk, and without even realizing it, I looked up and it was suddenly three beignets later… I haven’t had beignets, the real kind, since I went to New Orleans in 2003, and I fell in love. Cafe du Monde is world famous for a reason. Sigh. And Hungry admitted she made a misstep here, so these tasted more like zeppoles than beignets, and that’s still yummy… but not a beignet. I think she and I are similar in that you can say all you want “but it still tastes good” and it doesn’t matter because the fact is we were aiming for something else, even if this is good, it’s not what the goal was. Ah well. I ate three.
She kindly posted her recipe here.
Our other dessert was provided by MadJac, and these are her hilarious instructions:
Ghetto green tea parfaits:
Green tea ice cream
Red bean paste
Directions: Plop and drop
I’m sure they were good, though I don’t remember eating one (you don’t believe me? I was really drunk).
All in all, another wonderful, lovely potluck… this was definitely one of the best yet, a lot of comfort food, a great game of President, drunken shenanigans and just a great group of friends. Awww, I love you guys!!!