Monday, February 22, 2010

Potluck Engagement Party

From the City

On Friday night we hosted an engagement party for some good friends of ours and in true Amelia fashion, I made it a potluck. I've often thought that when Simon and I make the trip down the forever aisle, we'll make it potluck. Mainly so I can have my sisters famous bread combined with Simon's Aunt's lasagna, anything my brother and law has ever made all capped off by one of my cousin Anna's weird and wonderful trifles, it is the wonderful combination of so many people's hard work, all piled up on your plate, that I really really love.

Here are some more reasons why I love potlucks:
  • it forces people to think about food and be creative
  • it is the perfect conversation starter for a group of strangers
  • the surprise of what will be on the menu
  • it gives socially awkward people something to do as opposed to making actual conversation with people (I am one of these people)
  • for me, potluck's are all about picking away and eating slowly, which I love. There seems to be no rush and people can leisurely take their time eating and savoring.
  • Food is a community event and potlucks are the ultimate symbol of this, it is traditionally the bringing together of harvests from different areas or in our case bringing together different people's strengths. Like for example, I would never bring a stir fry to a potluck because I may possibly make the worst stir fry on the face of the planet, but a blueberry pie, I would definitely bring a blueberry pie to a potluck. You get what I'm saying here right?
  • It is a great way to distribute the cost of the sometimes daunting food budget that usually accompanies a party
So back to our potluck. We had a cheese board, two different types of hummus, pear and brie flatbreads, olives and a couple of bottles of red wine to wash it all down.

I made pizza cause I really like pizza, like, a lot. I might even go as far and say that I'm a bit of a connoisseur. You name it, the crust, the cheese, the toppings, all very integral to the creation of the perfect, delicious, mouthwatering pizza.

For my potluck pizza, I roasted a whack of vegetables; peppers, cauliflower, mushrooms and zucchini. I picked up some goat cheese and artichokes and made my favorite super easy pizza dough. I make this recipe with the kids at work all the time and it works out every time. You can also make a lot of substituting to it in terms of the flour you use.

Here's the recipe, make it for your next potluck.
1/2 cup light cider or lukewarm water
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp honey or sugar
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil


In a bowl, combine the cider, water, yeast and honey. Let stand until frothy, about 5 minutes.
In a different bowl, mix the flour, salt and oil. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add the yeast mixture and mix until a soft ball is obtained. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead a few minutes while flouring to avoid sticking.

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour in a lukewarm area, away from drafts.
Using your hands divide the pizza dough into two equal parts.
Use the dough immediately or lightly oil before storing in a plastic bag. It can be refrigerated up to 12 hours or frozen.

Note: To activate yeast, the temperature of the cider and of all other liquids is important. The temperature must be between 41 and 46?C (105 and 115?F), which means that the cider must be heated a little. The liquids should not be too hot as this will kill the yeast and not too cold, as the dough will not rise.

Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil and a dusting of cornmeal. Roll out dough and drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle of cornmeal


  1. I love potlucks but haven't been to any lately!
    You know what else would be fun? a baking bee with a bunch of friends. You never know who is gonna bring what at a potluck party and that is the fun part. I had a friend (steph) bring baked potatoes with all the fixings on the side. I always thought that was a great thing to bring potluck style. Laura

  2. Ever been to a potluck on a military base?? Some of the best ones I've ever been to, we had Korean, Hawaiian, German, Italian, vegetarian, American, Mexican and others that I cannot recall at this time, but it was SO delicious, my mouth is watering at the thought. I love potlucks too! I love the variety!

  3. That sounds amazing! What an incredible assortment of food there must have been...

    L; a baking bee sounds like such a fun idea..we should do it.


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