This time of year has potlucks several times a week. I enjoy cooking and baking, but the timing isn’t always right.
Here is a short list of how to survive the potluck season with class when you don’t have time to cook.
Presentation is everything—now is the time to haul out all those pretty glass serving pieces that sit in your cupboard. If you don’t have any, or worry you may have to leave the dish behind, head to a thrift store and buy something for very little money.
Toss one large container of pre washed salad greens with some bottled poppy seed dressing. I use T Marzetti’s. Put into a beautiful glass bowl. Scatter 1-2 boxes of blackberries on top. They will look like jewels on top of the white/green salad.
Mustard and pretzels
Buy a pretty jar of German mustard. There are some really cute little ones in a variety of flavors. Buy a package of matchstick pretzels. Arrange on a tray with the jar of mustard.
Buy a jar of either the cream or wine herring or both if I am going to be there. Put in a beautiful glass bowl, top with some chopped parsley. The people who love herring will love you. The people who don’t won’t touch it, leaving more for those who do love it, who will love you even more.
There are never enough good non-alcoholic beverage choices. Make a pot of good tea, whatever variety or flavor you like, and bring it as a pitcher of really good iced tea.
Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad
If you can find decent tomatoes, buy a few along with some fresh mozzarella and large fresh basil leaves. Slice the mozzarella and tomatoes into ¼ inch slices, alternate them along with a basil leaf, drizzle with olive oil and a bit of rice wine vinegar and top with fresh ground black pepper. This is really pretty and Christmas colors! Hold the vinegar if you have to make this ahead as it will darken the basil. It is still good with just the olive oil.
Bread and butter and jam
Buy a good loaf of bread, some artisanal butter and a good jam. Something so simple and good. Here in Chicago, I like D’Amato’s on Grand or Palermo on Harlem, Amish Roll Butter, and blackberry jam.