Potlucks are one of the best forms of a social gathering. Friends, coworkers, or colleagues all get together and each share a homemade dish, a perfect opportunity to try a variety of food. It makes it even more special since everyone has put effort and love into making their dish, whether it be an old family recipe or their own. Growing up at home, my family and I would go to tons of family friends’ houses for potluck gatherings so it’s nice having them 0nce in a while at school.
This past weekend, our Spoon University members had our first potluck. Once all the dishes were arranged on a table, we all stood around ooh-ing and ahh-ing, taking photos and strategically planning which foods we wanted to try first. There was a nice balance of savory and sweet – pulled pork sliders, honey glazed meatballs, alongside apple crumble, pumpkin donuts, mini oreo pies and much, much more. We were all feasting with our eyes and by the time we were done eating, we were all slipping into food comas.
My contribution to the potluck was a butternut squash and caramelized onion flatbread, a dish that I think is a potluck staple. It can be cut up into small bite-sized pieces to eat with your hands and it is mess-free. I had bought almost all of the ingredients earlier that day at the farmer’s market, including homemade dough. I was originally going to buy pre-made pizza crust from the store but the pizza vendor at the market gave me 2 homemade rolls of dough for $2! Another reason to love farmers’ markets
- 1/2 butternut squash, cubed
- 1/2 large white onion
- 1 pre-made pizza crust or 2 small rolls of homemade dough
- 2 tbsp fresh sage, cut into strips
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel squash and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes.
- Thinly slice half an onion. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on low heat and add onions. Stir periodically for 30-40 minutes, until caramelized.
- When squash and onions are finished cooking, put onto the crust. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until crust is brown.
- While flatbread is baking, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small pan and lightly saute sage leaves.
- When the flatbread is finished baking, top with the sage leaves.
I know summer isn’t completely over yet but I’ve already found a pretty good meatless dish for the Fall. It’s a light salad with roasted vegetables and is full of protein from baked chickpeas.
Salads often get a bad rep cause they remind people of “rabbit food” as my roommate likes to say. It can be hard to find a good balance of flavor and texture without adding too many unhealthy additives like croutons and creamy dressings. Our dining hall has a great salad station that students love, but it can get repetitive since it’s the only good salad bar on campus.
I’ve made this salad in my kitchen about 3 times this week and I’d say its a couple steps up from “rabbit food.” It has a lot of flavor and crunch and is very simple to make. You’ll need an oven for roasting the vegetables, but you could also use a toaster oven, stir-fry them, or steam the vegetables in a pot or microwave.
ROASTED VEGETABLE SALAD
1/3 butternut squash, diced into small cubes
1/3 head cauliflower
1 cup chickpeas
2 handfuls mixed salad greens
1/2+1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut butternut squash into bite-sized cubes and cauliflower into small florets. Place veggies into a baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp cumin, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until golden brown.
Drain chickpeas and pat dry. In another baking tray, toss chickpeas with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Coat evenly and roast for 30 minutes, also stirring once halfway through.
For the dressing, mix 2 tbsp olive oil with 2 tbsp lemon juice.
To assemble the salad, mix the greens with roasted vegetables and the dressing. Sprinkle on the chickpeas.
adapted from To Her Core
Brussels sprouts are one of those foods everyone hates as a kid but then loves as they grow older. I know I used to avoid them at all costs because of their bitter taste and because all my friends hated them. Now, I absolutely love them. My favorite way to cook them is with bacon, which I taught to my cooking class in the beginning of the year. I’ve also tried them roasted with cinnamon but they ended up being too dry for my liking. This recipe, however, solves that problem.
My friend Keri, who is on the Spoon University at Hopkins team with me, is actually the creator of this amazing recipe. When she first mentioned “pumpkin spice” and “Brussels sprouts” in the same sentence I was a little thrown off. I usually associate pumpkin spice with fancy Starbucks lattes and Fall desserts but never would I have imagined to combine it with a vegetable. So of course, I had to try it and see for myself.
One bite of these sprouts and I knew this was my new favorite recipe for these veggies. The flavor was so complex, delicious, and new that I was completely blown away. The sweetness from the spice and maple syrup perfectly counters the bitter sprouts and the spiciness of the Dijon mustard ties it all together. I bet even the little kid version of myself would approve.
DIJON PUMPKIN SPICE BRUSSELS SPROUTS
2 ½ cups Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon + ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped pecans (optional)
¼ cup cranberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Trim Brussels sprouts and cut in half lengthwise. (Make sure sprouts are patted dry so they will get soggy when cooking).
In a medium bowl, mix sprouts with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
Bake for 25 minutes or until edges start to brown.
While they’re baking, whisk together Dijon, maple syrup, and remain olive oil and pumpkin pie spice.
Take sprouts out of the oven and drizzle the mixture over the sprouts. Add optional nuts or dried fruit and bake for another 10 minutes.