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Seasonal Chef: Holiday Party Pot Luck, Part 1: Bringing a Dish to a Dinner Party
Posted By Maria Reina On December 12, 2012 @ 9:58 am In Features,Recipes,Seasonal Chef | 3 Comments
Mention four little words “can I bring something?” and many people shudder when the answer is “yes.” What is it about Pot Luck dinners that turn the most confident person into a quivering mess? Thoughts of creating a four-star restaurant quaility dish permeates your brain and you’re toast.
Thinly Sliced Zucchini with Ricotta and Fresh Herbs
Mixed Green Salad
More after the jump …. more->
If you pick one of the other options be sure to check in with the host ahead of time if your dish needs to be finished or warmed in the oven. They will need to take that into account for the overall plan of the evening.
Bûche de Nöel
I find now that I cook professionally hosts tend to be apolgetic when I arrive, saying they are sure the food is not up to par. Let me let you in on a little secret: Chefs truly enjoy being invited to a friend’s house for dinner. The idea that they have the night off from cooking is a real bonus.
For me the reverse tends to happen. When I’m invited to a dinner I almost feel like doing something simple (which of course would be completely ideal after working so hard) would be perceived as taking the easy way out. So I got to thinking, what could I do that is simple, yet dramatic and full of flavor, for my next Pot Luck invitation? Over the weekend I was noodling around on the internet and came across a couple of salads that had some similar themes and looked really special. First up is from my vegan buddy JL Fields. She has a delicious looking breakfast bowl  using quinoa, cranberries and nuts. Then I came across a Mark Bittman recipe using sweet potatoes and quinoa . I happen to have a bag of quinoa in the cabinet, so I thought why not use that as my main ingredient?
After a quick check of the pantry and ‘fridge I pulled together a few other things and got to work. Quinoa is just as easy to cook as rice. You basically add it to boiling water and cover. This particular brand only took 12 minutes to cook, and 5 minutes to rest.
While that was happening on the stove I combined the rest of the ingredients on a baking sheet and put them in the oven.
I had an orange in my fruit basket so I thought why not use that too, and make a simple vinaigrette to bring it all together?
I had a little arugula in the ‘fridge, but I think baby spinach would work really well with this too.
Larry and I decided that while is was quite tasty warm, it was significanty better once it got cold. What could be more ideal to take to a pot luck party? This can be made ahead and assembled just before you leave the house.
With the holiday season is in full swing I thought I would end with a fun television segment I remembered seeing on The Chew. Here are some additional tips for party going from Clinton Kelly .
Check back next week, for my second part of Holiday Pot Luck I’m going to be talking about appetizers.
A light and citrusy make-ahead salad for your next Pot Luck dinner
Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina  comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She’s an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmers, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog , which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook , Twitter  and Pinterest .
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URLs in this post:
 Image: http://food.lohudblogs.com/files/IMG_1612.jpg
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 Roasted Carrots and Apples: http://www.bellacucinamaria.blogspot.com/2012/09/with-rosh-hashanah-just-around-corner-i.html
 Image: http://food.lohudblogs.com/files/IMG_1997.jpg
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 Spinach and Bell Pepper Salad: http://www.bellacucinamaria.blogspot.com/2012/05/eat-your-spinach.html
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 breakfast bowl: http://jlgoesvegan.com/hot-holiday-breakfast-bowl-vegan-news-you-can-use-12912/
 sweet potatoes and quinoa: http://content.markbittman.com/node/22
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 Clinton Kelly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq6ag2lE7Vk
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 Maria Reina: http://www.bellacucinamaria.com/
 blog: http://www.bellacucinamaria.blogspot.com/
 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bella-Cucina-Maria/16353308626
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