Sunday, July 31 –
Our first potluck was a HUGE success. We had 13 people show up to our house and everyone made amazingly delicious food. I made pulled pork, mango and avocado salsa, rice, grilled peaches with honey and honey-nut cream cheese, and lime cheesecake with mango coulis. Other people brought two different kinds of ceviche, one that was shrimp and scallop based with tomatillos and lots of other fun veggies and spices, and the other was tuna based with cucumber and coconut milk. There was also mojito shrimp and grilled veggies, banana bread with zucchini and coconut, pasta salad, a spicy okra dish, and rum – lots and lots of rum. We managed to work around my crohn’s intolerance to food as well as a gluten and soy intolerance, and an amine intolerance. Talk about pretty talented cooks! (The photo below doesn’t really do the table justice, because people showed up in stages so food got devoured and more food got added to it. But it’s a good picture of the ceviches and dips.)
I’m keeping track of the ideas that we came up with for our potlucks, including all the stuff that I wish I had time to make. Potluck Ideas.
Pulled Pork: I used pork shoulder, because the lady at the meat counter thought that it would be better than my usual tenderloin choice. I put the pork into the crockpot with enough rootbeer (yes, rootbeer) to cover it and I put it on high for four hours. At about half way I flipped the meat over and checked to see if the meat was ready to start pulling yet. It wasn’t, and seemed really tough still. So I waited until I had a half hour left and I checked again, and still no pull. So I grabbed a cutting board, cut the pork into bite sized pieces and put them all back into the pot. I finished out the four hours, strained the rootbeer from the meat, and put the meat back into the pot and covered it all with premade BBQ sauce. I love Sweet Baby Ray’s personally, and I use it when I don’t have time to make homemade sauce. I let that simmer on low until people showed up and it was ready to serve. Even though it wasn’t “pulled” as I had hoped it would be, the pork was amazingly tender and flavorful. It wasn’t what I expected it would be, but I’m very pleased with the outcome none-the-less.
Mango Salsa: I used two tomatoes, half an onion, one avocado, one mango, juice from one lime, garlic salt, black pepper, seeded jalapeno, and a handful of cilantro. Delish. It was like the best of salsa and guacamole and mango all smooshed together.
Cheesecake: I took three different recipes and blended them all together to make a lime cheesecake with mango coulis. It was a firm, baked, zested New York style cheesecake with the coulis on top. It almost vanished as soon as I set it down. Definitely a recipe that I will make again.
Things I have learned: Left to their own devices, people will usually bring side dishes to potlucks. I need to focus less on the fun little things for the side and make three times as much protein as a main dish. The pulled pork was gone in less than a half hour! Also, asking specific people to bring drinks was definitely genius. Hoping that enough people bring drinks with the food can be a very hit-or-miss issue. This way, they got to eat lots of yummy food and the cooks got to drink yummy drinks and most everything was well divided. And finally, one of my friends recommend that when serving cheesecake it is easier to cut it into squares than slices, and that way there was less mess and everyone got a chance to try it. Absolutely the way I will serve cake to large groups of people in the future. So easy and so smart!
Also… the map is up! I have the first three pins in it with strings leading to tags that say what I’ve cooked so far. I hope to have all of the pins leading to the tags all the way around the cork board by the time I’m done… 229 countries to go!
Next up for this week is American Samoa: marinated ahi tuna, veggie ceviche, and banana doughnuts.