Tuesday, January 19, 2010


A few weeks ago we had our first potluck of 2010. It was varied, delicious and warming for the body and soul as all potlucks should be. It was so warm in fact, that we had to open the window in the kitchen what with all the body heat and oven used in re-warming all the hot dishes everyone brought.

I decided to break out the enameled cast- iron roaster santa (mom) brought me for xmas. There's something extremely comforting in knowing I will own and use this roasting pan for years to come and it's so durable I will probably be able to hand it down to my progeny, if I so choose to reproduce and am lucky enough to create a mini cooking aide.

I contributed baked beans to the potluck. They are super super easy to make, but the reason I guess most people buy canned baked beans is because they don't have time to stick around while they cook for 3 hours. I have to admit felt a bit imprisoned by the beans...but it forced me to stay home and study.

What you do is the night before, soak a pound (450g) of navy beans in water. When you wake up the next day, rinse them while making coffee and cover with fresh water. Boil those suckers for 5 minutes and rinse again. Stick them in a casserole, pan, or anything oven proof--you don't even need a lid. Add a 1/2 cup of sweet stuff (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, agave, whatever you like), 1/4 cup of ketchup, a small can of tomatoes, 3 gloves of chopped garlic, a chopped onion, some bay leaves, a splash of tamari, a couple big plops of mustard and salt and pepper. Cover with an inch of water over the beans and stick in a 350 degree oven for 3 hours. That's it, just don't let them dry out...just add more water. These babies went mighty quickly, they were a hit!

Here's what they looked like after a few hours of just marinating in their own beany goodness.

Rocky contributed an amazing dish of baked trout in coconut milk, ginger, garlic, and veggies...amazing! I overheard lots of people asking who made this, everyone really enjoyed it.

Jen brought bread and cheese and olives and tomatoes...mmmmm. What's great about potluck is you also get lots of leftovers the next day. I love that people bring things I wouldn't necessarily buy...like delicious melting camembert.

Prashant brought a beautiful leek and tomato quiche. Store bought but tasted home made.

Dominic brought home made pizza! I ate like 3 pieces. Pure joy I tell you.

This salad was an impressive hit, by Rosemary. I specifically requested this salad because she made it the first time I met her. Spelt udon noodles, aduki beans, chopped veggies and toasted black sesame and pumpkin seeds with a lime and sesame dressing. Winner.

Here she is, working on dish #2, apple crisp. Did you know you can toast the flour and oats in the frying pan to help with digestion and to bring out the flavours? So good.

Rosemary also brought us a 3rd dish, some mini spanikopita we re-toasted in the oven. Mmmmm.

Happy leftover transformations are great to add to the mix. I blended leftover spicy chili with a can of refried black beans and some chopped tomatoes and voila! Spicy bean dip.

Here's the spread! It was really nice to have everyone over, and the best part was that random people I had only met once way back when I first moved here came over. Thanks for coming and I hope you'll be here for the next potluck fiesta!

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