Potluck Tips From the Party Pros
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Every day, across the Washington area, dedicated men and women transport covered dishes of prepared food to parties large and small. These are the catering professionals who know how to make and present food and beverages that have mass appeal. And that's why we called them, for tips on successful potlucks, from preparation to presentation, in seven categories.
Hardy greens -- such as romaine lettuce, radicchio, endive and frisee -- hold up well.
Instead of creamy dressings, use a vinaigrette -- it's safer for warm weather.
Place the dressing in the bottom of the bowl, place the greens on top, toss when you get to the party. (Thanks to Steve Dunn, Well Dunn Catering)
Make the salad vegetarian-friendly by adding garbanzo beans and French white beans.
For added flavor, toss in some sliced black olives, whole Spanish caper berries and lemon zest. (Anita Ellis, Avalon Caterers)
For the potluck meal-in-one: Use a sesame noodle salad as a base, add grilled shrimp or grilled boneless chicken breast as well as shredded raw carrots and broccoli, julienne snow peas and blanched asparagus tips. (Deborah Allen, Federal City Caterers)
For deep potato flavor, roast the spuds instead of boiling them and proceed with your regular recipe. Or, for a change, use sweet potatoes with diced yellow bell pepper, red onion and either cilantro or parsley. Mix with a simple peanut dressing made with peanut butter thinned with a little vegetable oil and vegetable broth. (O'Rourke)
Don't use canned soup; instead, bind ingredients together with cheese, eggs or a simple white sauce. (Maria O'Rourke, RSVP Catering)
Think round. Round shapes are more attractive and tend to hold up better. (Ellis)
If the fruit isn't perfectly ripe, toss the cut pieces in a little orange liqueur.
For a refreshing summer salad: Mix orange and grapefruit sections with chopped candied ginger. (Dunn)