Potluck: farm community edition
July 31, 2019 7:54 AM   Subscribe

A neighboring farm does a “First Friday Potluck,” and I’m finally attending this week. Yay! I also work on a farm and am excited to get more into the community. But what dish to bring?

Okay, so: I’m a fairly good cook and have access to damn fine ingredients from the farm I work at—pork/bacon/sausage, chicken, eggs, lamb, and beef, along with all the summer veggies you’d expect. For cheese or anything else, my landlord owns a farm produce shop. I’ve also gotten into foraging, and have wild spinach, mint, wood sorrel, and maybe oyster mushrooms on hand. So I’m covered there.

My first inclination was to make something spectacular, as the meetup is for foodies and farmers, but I don’t want to come across as Too Thirsty for Making New Friends, y’know? So, now I’m thinking something simple (or deceivingly simple), well-made, a little creative, with good ingredients, and that represents my farm’s produce well. (Yes, I’m totally overthinking this, for sure!)

So, yeah—I can get amazing ingredients. I have the time and gumption to make something fun and a bit time consuming. I guess this is a “paradox of choice” kind of question.

The only constraint is the usual potluck one—that the dish has to travel well. Another idea I had was a simple/easy mini chicken-wrapped-in-bacon-with-goat-cheese-and-fresh-herbs-on-toothpicks situation, but I can see them getting all congeal-y and greasy and gross when cold.

What say y'all?
posted by functionequalsform to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Deviled eggs (fancied up however you want) are a great potluck food. They travel well if you slice a tiny bit off the bottom of each cup to give it a stable base, and put the filling in them at the very last minute before you leave (you can make the filling ahead of time and keep it closely wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge).
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 9:08 AM on July 31, 2019

If your goal is to connect to the community, I say to bring something simple (not deceptively simple, genuinely simple) and focus your social effort on telling everybody else how fantastic their food is. Scope it out, see whether people are showing off or just sharing, and make a plan for next time based on your better information of context.

Quiche bites with sausage and sorrel. Any difference between "meh" and "wow" will be entirely your culinary interpretation, doesn't come off as terrifically show-off, travels pretty well, good warm or cold.
posted by aimedwander at 9:12 AM on July 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

Just to clarify - there's no way of keeping the dish warm once you get there? So somewhat like your mini chicken idea, I was thinking a sort of elevated popper - jalapeno peppers made with goat cheese and your bacon. The most recent time I made them I put a single fresh blueberry on each popper (which was speared onto it with the toothpick, much like a pickle is speared onto a hamburger bun) and got raves...that touch of sweetness is fantastic and also looks beautiful atop the cheese. If you have say, farm made blueberry jam or honey, that would be beautiful and delicious too, drizzled atop the poppers. If your farm grows another kind of pepper you could use that instead. My initial thought though, was a really great mac and cheese with your best cheeses and your bacon or sausage (or any of your meats), topped with fresh herbs. Both of these things travel well and will be good at room temp for a while.

Also, if the farm pot luck has an IG you can peep it to see what others have been doing ;)
posted by the webmistress at 9:15 AM on July 31, 2019

Any particular produce that is in full peak right now? I'd use that as a starting point. Something like corn, with some unusual toppings (compound butters or the like. Corn doesn't travel well, so you'd have to pick something else though. Wild spinach, dressed well, with local in season fruit/goat cheese?

If your tomatoes are in season, brushchetta is always a hit. I bring a huge bowl of it, and some great bread cut into slices, and a hunk of Parmesan to grate over.
posted by Ftsqg at 9:19 AM on July 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

Quiche or egg bites (people are wild for egg bites now), definitely. Mushroom, bacon and tomato, goat cheese (I always put goat cheese in my egg dishes, it's a tinge sweet and will caramelize if you put it on top). Great hot or room temp.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:43 AM on July 31, 2019

Stuffed summer squash and/or peppers. Easy to make a couple of trays of different kinds to showcase different ingredients, lovely to look at (especially since you have sorrel and probably good herb garnishes as well), can work as finger food depending on the type/size of peppers and squash you choose.

I forage but I'm not sure if I'd bring foraged mushrooms to a potluck unless I knew the crowd really well. I'm surprised by how much anxiety there is about wild mushrooms even among the foodie crowd, even for easily-identified varieties.
posted by xylothek at 9:52 AM on July 31, 2019

Everyone assumes someone else will be handling the drinks, so you could make an herbal mint iced tea if it'll be hot.
posted by Cris E at 10:08 AM on July 31, 2019

Some ideas...

-Grilled sausages and homemade sauerkraut/german red cabbage
-Veggie or Sausage/veggie frittata
-Braised brussel sprouts with candied bacon
posted by jraz at 10:23 AM on July 31, 2019

Fresh corn fritters drizzled with honey butter set on a bed of your best grilled vegetables.
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 1:33 PM on July 31, 2019

Does your farmer have local milk? Ricotta cheese is dead simple to make - really, dead simple - but can be gussied up beautifully with herbs and whipped with cream to make a luscious spread for all your beautiful vegetables.
posted by citygirl at 2:34 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

This turned up on my newsfeed: 23 Zucchini Recipes to Use Up Your Summer Bumper Crop Everyone wants to know what to do with all those zucchinis.
The other day I had a very positive experience. We were celebrating my daughter, and her stepmother, who is a professional chef with 20 years of experience specializing in organic farm to table food was there. My daughter had chosen the menu of all her favorite dishes and I overheard her stepmom whisper to our mother-in-law: ooh, here's mumimor's cauliflower salad, I use this recipe at work and at home all the time. I had to go out into the kitchen to happy-dance.

The salad is actually like a slaw, very easy to make. First, mix 1/2 cup of mayo with a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of French mustard, two finely chopped spring onions, and chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Let that wait in a cool place for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour. Then mix in a head of cauliflower separated into little bite-sized flowers. Let rest for up to an hour. Garnish with something contrasting. The original recipe which is not exactly like this had tiny halved tomatoes and caviar (!) so I think it might be a Russian recipe originally. I sometimes use fresh peas, or just chives. Or all of the above or some other combination. Maybe capers would be good, too.
posted by mumimor at 3:04 PM on July 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

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