In six days, ModernPotluck will be out in the world. It’s hard to believe this journey started more than two years ago, when my daughter was not yet two years old, and I could (technically) say I was in my early 30s.
Things have been quiet around the blog lately, but behind the scenes, I’ve been aligning pieces to make sure as many people know about my book as possible. My hope is that you’ll hear about it in one place, read about it in another, and be so sick to death of it that you go and buy the book. Then you’ll love it so much that you’ll tell your friends and write reviews and host more potlucks and post about them on Instagram, and feel a little bad that you were annoyed in the first place. 😉
In my forthcoming book, Modern Potluck, some of the recipes involve a bit of effort. My theory is, if you’re going to only make one dish, it should be a good one, and sometimes, good things take time. There are a few gems for the laziest or busiest of times, and this drink is one of them. Many of the cocktails in the book require citrus squeezing or making an infusion. This one merely requires you to slice some limes and cucumbers and mix a few things together. For the simple syrup, you can make a big batch to refrigerate for potluck emergencies, or simply substitute agave nectar.
The result is the type of cocktail that’s the perfect blend of sweet and tart. It’s also immensely refreshing and dangerously easy to drink. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
This pitcher drink is immensely refreshing and easy to make, with no citrus squeezing required. For a crowd, you can easily double or triple the quantities and serve it in a punch bowl or one of those multi-gallon drink canisters. Recipe from Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016).
Author: Kristin Donnelly
Serves: 4 to 6
1 (750-ML) bottle dry Riesling
¼ cup gin
¼ cup simple syrup (see Note)
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber (2 to 3 ounces), thinly sliced
In a large pitcher, combine the wine, gin, simple syrup, and sliced lime and cucumber. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour. Add 1 cup of ice cubes and serve in ice-filled glasses.
NOTE. To make simple syrup, combine ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for 1 month.
POTLUCK PREP. The Riesling, gin, and simple syrup can be combined and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Add the lime and cucumber within 4 hours of serving.
When I was growing up, I could take or leave deviled eggs. They were usually made with a little too much mayonnaise, just a whisper of paprika, and not enough salt. Then I tried chef April Bloomfield’s version at her New York City restaurant, The Spotted Pig, where the eggs are luscious and punchy at the same time, and I became a convert.
In my forthcoming book, Modern Potluck, I devote a section to deviled eggs along with four recipes for different fillings, including my favorite, the Bloody Mary Deviled Egg (see the filling on the left).
Transporting deviled eggs seems tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Here, some tips:
For the minimalist cook: Set the assembled eggs in the cups of a muffin tin or in ice cube trays and cover them loosely with plastic. This option is best if you’re not concerned about perfection, you’re not going far, and you plan to eat the eggs as soon as you get to the party.
For the deviled egg obsessive: If you’re the one who always bring the eggs, it might be worth spending the $10 to $20 for a deviled egg carrier, which you can repurpose to hold kitchen odds and ends when it’s not in use.
For the perfectionist foodie: Bring the egg whites in an airtight container (you can stack them) and the filling in a resealable plastic bag or a piping bag (see above). At the party, arrange the eggs whites on a platter, snip off one of the bag corners, and use that bag to pipe the filling into the egg cavities. Or you can do like I did last year after the book photo shoot and bring the four fillings in bags, set out the whites separately and let people pipe in the filling themselves (or even mix and match!).
From Modern Potluck. (Clarkson Potter 2016) Photo by Yossy Arefi.
I just folded last week’s laundry, and it was full of sweatshirts. Eight days ago, I wondered if I’d ever be able to put away my winter hat. Now, I’m sitting in shorts and a tank top and dreading the fact that I need to turn on the oven later. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, summer showed up overnight here in the mid-Atlantic, and it looks like these temperatures are here to stay.
In time for Memorial Day weekend (and all your summer picnics), I am thrilled to reveal a recipe from my forthcoming book, Modern Potluck. It’s a new take on a seven-layer salad, which I love in theory because it can be assembled in advance, and the vegetables stay crisp, sealed under a layer of creamy dressing. The problem, however, (for me!) is that the bacon bits, sharp cheese, and raw scallions in the traditional recipe tend to overpower the salad so much you can barely taste a vegetable. (I understand this is part of the appeal for some people!)
For my version, I take a cue from the Middle East, adding a layer of vibrant fresh herbs, a sprinkling of toasted spices and a yogurt dressing that’s based on the white sauce you find at New York City’s street meat carts. (You know the stuff, right? Like ranch dressing, it has that perfect balance between creaminess and tanginess and makes whatever it touches almost impossible to stop eating.)
For the other layers, feel free to play around. For example, later in the summer, you can add tomatoes in addition to or instead of the cucumbers and radishes. Instead of the iceberg, you can try salt-massaged kale or shredded cabbage. Instead of the gluten-free quinoa, you can substitute 6 cups of cooked bulgur or freekeh (a chewy smoked green wheat). Both grains are found throughout the Middle East and will make this inauthentic salad somehow more authentic.
½ teaspoon each cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and yellow mustard seeds
2 cups plain greek yogurt (preferably full-fat or 2%)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
ASSEMBLE THE SALAD: In a large, heavy pot, cover the quinoa with the water, add 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes. Uncover the pot, top with a clean kitchen towel or a layer of paper towels, and close the pot again; let stand 5 minutes. (This will help ensure the quinoa is dry and fluffy.) Spread the hot quinoa out on a platter or baking sheet and let cool to room temperature. (This sounds like a fussy step, but it helps the quinoa cool without overcooking.)
In a very large glass or clear plastic serving bowl, spread the iceberg lettuce in a single layer and season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the herbs on top, followed by the quinoa. Spread the radishes on top, followed by the cucumbers, pushing them toward the edge of the bowl if you don’t have enough of each vegetable to form a complete layer.
MAKE THE DRESSING: In a dry skillet, toast the spices over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar or a bowl and let cool. Use a pestle or the bottom of an ice cream scoop to lightly crush the spices.
In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt with the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and vinegar. Season with salt. Spread the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with the spices, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
POTLUCK PREP: The salad can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours before serving and can stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours or in hot outside temperatures for up to 1 hour. (Set the bowl in a tray of ice if you want to leave it out longer.)