Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Picnic/Potlock ... Ideas?


jspatchwork
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've been sitting here perplexed and thought I would throw this question out there. Next week is my husbands last softball game of the spring season. I was just told they usually have a picnic/potluck get together afterward. For some reason I am drawing a blank on what to bring.

This is going to be at the softball field, so I won't be able to heat anything (don't feel like busting out the hibachi unless absolutely necessary). A cooler would probably be easy enough to bring, but I didn't want to have to do too much prep or assembly.

I thought I would bring both a sweet and a savory. The sweet is easy - I figure anything individual will do... cookie, cupcake, brownie, etc.

But now the savory. I figured my fall back would be some sort of pasta salad, but that seemed SO boring and expected. It can't be anything too crazy since there will be a few kids and more than a few unsophisticated palates.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Muffaletta sandwiches; salami, mortadella, artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers, fresh basil, and olive tapenade. You can get a long batard or larger baguette, slice off the top third, scoop out the inner bread, replacing it with all the ingredients; mush it down and keep it whole until you get to the picnic - then slice and serve!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How bout something like a Thai noodle salad? Not as predictable as "traditional" pasta salad but easy enough. Or Vietnamese salad rolls? Gazpacho or some other cold soup?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Muffaletta sandwiches;

That's a good possibility. I moved from NJ to SC last year and I'm still getting used to the bread down here. If I can find something half decent, that might work.

Hmm, if not, maybe some sort of antipasto skewer.

How bout something like a Thai noodle salad? Not as predictable as "traditional" pasta salad but easy enough. Or Vietnamese salad rolls? Gazpacho or some other cold soup?

I don't know if I can picture some of his teammates eating Gazpacho, but Thai noodle salad might work.

Edited by jspatchwork (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My current potluck dishes of choice are:

1) larb/laarb (you'll find a whole thread devoted to it on eGullet) -- basically, a Thai dish of seasoned ground meat or poultry served with lettuce leaf wrappers (I've also brought along flour tortillas).

2) a riff on Rachel Ray's stuffed artichoke appetizer, minus the artichokes. The stuffing is chopped fresh tomatoes -- she uses Romas; I use halved cherry or grape tomatoes -- minced garlic, "EVOO" and lemon juice, minced fresh basil, mint, and Italian parsley (be generous), capers, and cubes of fresh bread (she uses Italian, but I've even used rye). Mix them all together and serve at room temperature. This is even good the next day.

Everyone likes both of these and asks for the recipes. They're familiar enough that people will eat them, yet "different" enough to be special.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been sitting here perplexed and thought I would throw this question out there.  Next week is my husbands last softball game of the spring season.  I was just told they usually have a picnic/potluck get together afterward.  For some reason I am drawing a blank on what to bring. 

This is going to be at the softball field, so I won't be able to heat anything (don't feel like busting out the hibachi unless absolutely necessary).  A cooler would probably be easy enough to bring, but I didn't want to have to do too much prep or assembly.

I thought I would bring both a sweet and a savory.  The sweet is easy - I figure anything individual will do... cookie, cupcake, brownie, etc.

But now the savory.  I figured my fall back would be some sort of pasta salad, but that seemed SO boring and expected.  It can't be anything too crazy since there will be a few kids and more than a few unsophisticated palates. 

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

I just saw an episode of The Barefoot Contessa yesterday while I was at the gym....yes, I know that doesn't really go together. Had the iPod ready to go as I got onto the elliptical machine, but then saw that Ina was making something that looked delicious, so had to watch that instead. More than one person commented on what I was watching...:)

But, it might suit your picnic well. She made three salads to take on a beach picnic, one was a cold shrimp salad with a mayo/white wine/dill based sauce and veggies and pasta, another was a pasta, pesto with peas, and the last was cherry tomatoes and feta in a greek inspired vinagraitte. Dessert was a lemon loaf cake that soaked up a lemon syrup for extra moistness.

The whole meal looked delicious, and easy and she packed it all up into individual chinese takeout containers....and they ate with chopsticks!

Here's the link w/recipes. I am definitely going to make these soon, they looked that good.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_ig/ep...1_21273,00.html

:) Pam

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just saw an episode of The Barefoot Contessa yesterday while I was at the gym....yes, I know that doesn't really go together. Had the iPod ready to go as I got onto the elliptical machine, but then saw that Ina was making something that looked delicious, so had to watch that instead. More than one person commented on what I was watching...:)

:) Pam

Pam,

That is too funny. My gym just got new treadmills with individual tv's. Just the other day my husband came over and said, aren't you ready to go? ... but I told him I needed to run 10 more minutes to see how Ina was going to finish off her Cheddar Corn Chowder.

Thanks for reminding me of that episode though, I've seen it and everything did look great.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have had great success with a riff on Chinese Chicken Salad using young Nappa cabbage( more green and soft head versus a whiter firmer head). I find the cabbage holds the crunch longer, but iceberg works too. Instead of a fried wonton crunchy bit, I use the fried noodles sold in any market in the "Asian" section. The salad can be dressed at the park and the crunchy noodles sprinkled on last. Very light and because of the sweetness and crunch it seems to appeal to even timid eaters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the Asian noodle ideas and the Vietnamese salad roll idea.

If this might be too "adventurous" for your group (I live in the South and I know plenty of folks that would find a cold sesame noodle salad just plain weird), you could make a cheese tortellini salad with herb vinaigrette and veggies (broccoli, grape tomatoes, etc.). That would be a little different from the usual pasta salad, but not so far out there as to be frightening to the "more than a few unsophisticated palates" that you mentioned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a soft ball game, you need something that goes well with beer! :biggrin:

You might also want something that can be eaten with one hand so that the other one can be used to cheer or tap on the shoulders of your teammates.

I personnaly think that some kind of giant sandwich made from a large baguette or even a large round country bread sliced like a pie is ideal. You can add all kinds of deli meat, or roast chicken... top it with cheese, roasted veggies or anything you fancy. A pot of pickles makes a great sidedish.

A large spanish omelet stuffed with sliced potatoes could be very nice too and you can serve it cold or better, room temperature.

I am a bit fan of white bread, butter and radish sandwiches or cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches for putluck in the summer but I am not sure it would go that well with beer :wink:

Sometimes, a watermelon is just what you need for a great potluck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a variation on the pasta salad idea, but somehow it doesn't come across as the same ol' same ol'. The last time I made it for a potluck, people liked it and asked for the recipe. One woman said it reminded her of the food she ate in Rome (?!). My adaptation of "Ravioli and Tomato Salad with Masses of Basil" from Deborah Madison' s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone:

Combine 1 lb cooked cheese ravioli; 1 lb peeled and cut-up fresh tomatoes; 8 oz jar of artichoke hearts, drained; 1/2 cup pitted and cut-up kalamata olives; 3 TB capers, rinsed; and a red wine vinaigrette. Just before serving, toss in a couple handfuls of fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread is a treasure trove of great ideas. Thanks, all.

After years of potlucks I have two words: Deviled Eggs. One handed, go great with beer, and they will be gone before you have a chance to worry about the mayo/heat thing. They take nicely to a garnish (um, I make mice: tiny black olive eyes, and a chive tail) but a benediction of paprika works well too.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maggie, the problem with deviled eggs is that they never make it out of the house. It's the "oh, I should just have one. Which turns into way more than one; and let's not forget that the cook needs to taste test several of them to assure quality control.

BTW, cumbled bacon bits make a nice garnish as well.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems to me that Anna Thomas, in the original Vegetarian Epicure, made deviled eggs with sour cream, dill and fried them a little until they were crusty brown. Anybody rememeber that?

I'll see if I can find the recipe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, I found it.

It is "Parsleyed Eggs on the Half Shell" and it calls for 6 eggs and 7 TB butter, parsley , S&P.

Hard boil the eggs, gently cut the eggs in half, smoosh up the innards w/the butter, chopped parsley and S&P, put BACK in the shells and smooth.

To serve, add MORE butter to a pan and cook flat-side down until browned ( 10 min or so).

Wow, the 70's. :smile: I LOVE Anna Thomas :wub:

(Oh, the sour cream one is one the facing page--just eggs, dill, sour cream, S&P...............so good.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not to blow my own horn , but I do a "Main Dish Pasta Salad" that tends to dissapear very quickly, and it makes a TON!

1 pound of Barilla Gemilli cooked by the directions

A couple of medium sized red onions, halved longways, then cut into thin strips, to mimic the size and shape of the pasta

Two celery hearts, cut as above (or you can slice them in a food processor, or on a mandoline, but I like the long thin sticks)

About 12 oz. of decent Provolone Cheese, slices about 1/4" thick, cut into matchsticks

Same of decent Salami

Marinated button mushrooms, drained (optional)

Marinated artichoke hearts (ditto)

Roasted red peppers (ditto)

ETC.

Dress with Hellman's Mayo, or homemade, then thin a bit with Newman's Own Original Salad Dressing or Newman's Italian.

Remember, the pasta will soak up a lot of dressing as it cools.

Chill overnight for the flavors to blend and serve cool or at room temp.

:rolleyes:

HTH!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...