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Awesome things to take to a potluck

Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User
edited January 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
On Monday night, I am going to a potluck. It will be a fairly small affair, 8-10 people - my Old Icelandic prof and his wife are hosting it, and there are only eight students in the class, so it's not going to be crazy party time or anything.

My prof is providing the main course (as yet unknown), and a pavlova for dessert. Us students have been asked to provide "a pre-dinner snack or light dessert type."

What should I make to impress my colleagues, dazzle my prof, and delight my own tastebuds? I don't have any cookbooks in my little apartment here, and googling "awesome appetizers" is kind of needle-in-haystack. Does anyone have any personal recommendations for delicious foods?

I have a full kitchen, a pretty good array of cooking utensils, and there are big grocery stores in town that would probably have anything I might need in terms of ingredients. Nobody involved is allergic to anything, though one person does strongly dislike mushrooms. I would describe my current cooking skill level as intermediate - I make a great risotto, I'm pretty comfortable with baking cookies and muffins, the only thing I'm really weak on is meat (I'm always afraid of undercooking it and dying). Trying to construct some multilayered phyllo pastry confection of Byzantine complexity might be a bit beyond me, but pretty much anything else is fair game. Also, super bonus points if the food is in any way Icelandic/Viking/Scandinavian, provided it is also delicious - I'm sure I could theoretically find an obscure little shop that sells pre-soaked lutefisk, but I don't think anyone would actually want to eat it.

tl;dr - going to a potluck at my Icelandic professor's house, give me ideas for awesome (optionally Scandinavian) appetizers or light desserts!

Kate of Lokys on
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Posts

  • UsagiUsagi WOMP WOMPRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    the first thing that comes to mind is lefse but they are very time consuming

    other dessert items that are easier and very tasty are kringle and Danish apple cakes

    if all else fails you can make Swedish meatballs!

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  • AtheraalAtheraal Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I've found and made some pretty great Swedish cinnamon bun recipes online. And you seem somewhat experienced with baking, so you probably won't accidentally use the wrong kind of yeast, as I did the first time I made them. :x

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  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Beverages.

    Seriously. Nobody ever remembers to bring enough beverages.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • BrotherVoodooBrotherVoodoo Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    If it doesnt have to be icelandic, pies aren't very hard, not to mention a single pie should serve 8 people.
    Feral wrote: »
    Beverages.

    Seriously. Nobody ever remembers to bring enough beverages.

    Boxed Wine! (Wait you don't want to get drunk and accidentilly sleep with his wife do you?)

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  • AtheraalAtheraal Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Good call on the beverages, how about some mulled wine, or spiced cider?

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  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Not really addressing your main question, but there's no need to be afraid of cooking meat. Buy a digital instant-read thermometer, look up a table of cooking temperatures, and just cook the meat until it reaches the appropriate temperature (most recipes will give the temp to you). Chicken cutlets, you can just cook them until they feel firm.

  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Atheraal wrote: »
    Good call on the beverages, how about some mulled wine, or spiced cider?

    Mulled wine is amazing. It is a very Christmasy thing (for me at least) so it might not fit. But then again, I'll bet its fucking cold up there.

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  • xa52xa52 Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Swedish Almond Cake

    I had this in a Swedish bakery one day, looked up recipes online, picked this one at random and made it, and it turned out pretty much the same as the one in the bakery. It's tasty, and Swedish, but may not seem as authentic as something involving pickled fish or lingonberries.

    It's pretty easy to make, but make sure you grease the pan well (use parchment paper if you have some) as it's pretty soft and you don't want to bust it up too much getting it out of the pan if you're taking it somewhere.

    I've got one in the kitchen right now, calling to me.

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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    If Ikea's Almond Cake is any sort of standard, almond cake is amazing.
    The biggest problem I can see with the win is how do you transport so much hot liquid, and are you really going to keep it on the stove at the party to keep it warm?

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    i made a homemade tapenade that was sundried tomatoes (the kind that come in a jar of oil) and kalamata olives. You chop them up very fine, in between a paste and chunky, and the sweetness of the tomatoes goes excellent with the tang of the olives. You can then put it on table water crackers (like the ones from Carr's) with a thin slice of mozzarella and a thin slice of tomato. Or mix & match.

    You can get fresh basil and tear pieces of to mix in with the stack (under the tapenade, usually), or you can just shake some dried basil over the assortment (from 1ft height or so, so they sprinkle nicely).

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  • xa52xa52 Registered User
    edited January 2009
    If Ikea's Almond Cake is any sort of standard, almond cake is amazing.
    The biggest problem I can see with the win is how do you transport so much hot liquid, and are you really going to keep it on the stove at the party to keep it warm?

    Bring the unopened wine, the necessary spices, and a crockpot. Plug in, assemble, and heat when you get there.

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  • ElinElin Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I made scones yesterday. Easy, lightly sweet, looks complicated but absurdly simple. http://www.recipezaar.com/simple-sweet-scones-66409

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  • NewtonNewton Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    It isn't at all Scandinavian, but a really good and easy appetizer is to take either green olives or pitted dates and wrap them in a piece of bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick and then just broil for a few minutes until the bacon is crisp. It's really good, but best when they are served hot, so if you can you should cook them at the party.

  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    My favorite "party tray" thing to include - this is less potlucky but may be what you want b/c the main dishes are being served, are little skewers of a green apple slice, bleu cheese and a candied pecan or walnut. delish!

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  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    You could make drunken spicy shameless shrimp, they can be served cold but are messy (but really good), just PM me if you want the recipe.

    You can always bring sushi rolls too, or a fruit bowl, just chop up a bunch of fruit and mix it together.

  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Buy some smoked salmon, crab, tiger prawns, sweet chilli sauce and cream cheese. Chop prawns up small, mix into cream cheese (I prefer Quark, though) with crab meat and a squirt of sweet chilli sauce. Put a blob of the mixture into the middle of 1/2 a slice of smoked salmon, roll up and secure with a cocktail stick. Dip into more sweet chilli sauce. Mmmmm

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