I was recently the victim of a bad potluck. Well, in sense, a potluck is a success if everyone shows up and has a good time. But only in a sense. The true measure of success is how stuffed you get and how many leftovers there were. But what happened at this one was by the time I was done putting out the food, there wasn’t really enough of anything left for me to put together a decent plate.
So, yeah, a few potluck rules of thumb.
1) Coordinate with others so that not everyone is bringing sweets.
2) There has to be at least one lasagna.
3) Bring your A-game, spend a few hours in the kitchen, now is the time to impress, not to cut corners.
4) Bring something! And not a little bag of chips, either. If you absolutely can not cook something, then call the host and see what is needed – drinks, fresh fruit. Something. But if more than a few people are doing this, that makes for a crappy potluck.
5) Don’t plan on cooking at the host’s house. What the hell is that about? If you have to do that, then call the host and see that it’s okay. Warming up is absolutely permitted, but preparing your whole dish there without warning? No. Just no, never, no.
6) Bring big portions. Some people have said they bring enough for 6, but why? Is it really that much harder to cook for 12? Like I said, now is the time to go all out. Make time in your schedule, prioritize the potluck. Mean business!
7) Help the host clean up. Or at least offer to. They will probably say no.
8- The host should not be doing most of the cooking. As the host it’s your job to really bring it because it’s your kitchen, but it isn’t your job to bring…all of it.
Potlucks are so easy! I didn’t even realize that any rules were needed for one. But I guess I struck the jackpot of potluck faux pas here in Portland. I mean, bring a bunch of something delicious. Now is the time to break out the comfort food; the mac and cheese, the tamale pie, the BBQ tofu, the potato salad. It’s not the time to wow the crowd with the latest in sliced cucumbers. Unless they’re accompanied by a tupperware full of roasted garlic hummus, then we’re good.
Okay, done bisqueing. Now I want to share a great potluck dish that is going to be in the upcoming brunch book. It’s a quiche!
Everything about quiche is appealing, from its spelling (it’s got a Q!) to its shape (it’s a pie!) to its color (who doesn’t love the seventies?) I also like that it’s delicious served at room temperature and reheats wonderfully, so it’s perfect for a potluck. It doubles well, too. I’ve been using these great prepared spelt crusts from New Seasons here in Portland, but you can use whatever crust you like. It’s wheat free if you have a wheat free crust. It’s a tofu base and cashews make it deliciously creamy.
I love using baby tomatoes of any sort to decorate the quiche with. While they do taste great baked, my main objective is to bring a little color to the dish. You can also use thinly sliced tomatoes, red pepper rings or roasted red peppers.
Tip: The broccoli pieces should be tiny, anywhere between the size of a pea to the size of a dime. As you chop, the florets might become crumbs. That’s just fine! Scrape them up with your knife and use them.
Classic Broccoli Quiche
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups finely chopped broccoli (see note)
1 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
healthy dose fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1 pound extra firm tofu
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (dijon or regular, most anything will work)
a handful or cherry or grape tomatoes for decorating (optional)
1 9 inch prepared pie crust
Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake pie crust for 10 minutes, then remove from oven. In the meantime, start preparing the filling.
Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil for about 3 minutes. Add the broccoli, thyme, tarragon, tumeric, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, until broccoli is soft. If it starts to look dry add a tablepoon or 2 of water.
Meanwhile, process the cashews in a food processor into fine crumbs. Give the tofu a squeeze to get rid of some of the water, then crumble it into the food processor along with the mustard. Process until relatively smooth. When the broccoli mixture is done cooking, add one cup of it to the food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the rest of the broccoli mixture and combine. Taste for salt. Use a rubber spatula to get everything into the pie crust and smooth the top out. Place cherry tomatoes around the perimeter of the pie and one in the center for maximum Good Housekeeping adorableness. Bake for 40 minutes, until edges of the pie are lightly browned.
I suggest letting the quiche sit for 20 minutes before you dig in. I think it tastes best when it is moderately warm, not piping hot. It’s also great at room temperature.