Friday, June 6, 2008

Potluck a la Martha

It's prime potluck season, and the June issues of Martha Stewart Livingand Everyday Food are loaded with easy, unique, portable dishes.

For this summer's first potluck invitation, I turned to both magazines for new twists on classic cookout favorites: potato salad and loaf cake.

Red Bliss Potato Salad with Blue Cheese, Bacon and Chives
Serves 4 to 6
from "Martha Stewart Living", June, 2008

  • 1 1/2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 ounces Danish blue cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish
  • 8 bacon strips, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  1. Place potatoes and the salt in a medium saucepan. Cover with water, and bring to a simmer. Cook until a knife pierces through potatoes with little resistance, about 12 minutes. Drain, and let cool slightly. Halve potatoes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix blue cheese, buttermilk, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl until well combined.
  3. Combine potatoes, dressing, chives, and almost all of the bacon in a large serving bowl. Garnish with blue cheese, chives and remaining bacon.
Potato Salad with Blue Cheese, Bacon and Chives
I wasn't able to locate Red Bliss potatoes, so I substituted red creamers which worked fine.

This is a perfect make-ahead dish, as the dressing does better when it has time to set for a few hours in the refrigerator.

Coconut-Pineapple Loaf Cake
Serves 10
From "Everyday Food", June, 2008

  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice, drained well
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, tossing occasionally, 6 to 10 minutes; set aside. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch (8-cup) loaf pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low, and alternately add flour mixture in three parts and sour cream in two, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until combined (do not overmix).
  3. Using a rubber spatula, fold pineapple and 1 cup coconut into batter. Spoon into prepared pan, and smooth top; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup coconut. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 65 to 70 minutes (cover pan with foil halfway through). Let cake cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (To store, keep at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, up to two days.)

Coconut-pineapple cake
As you can tell from my photo, I should have been a bit more careful with toasting my coconut. If you get overzealous like I did, you should probably cover the cake with foil for the entire baking time.

While yummy on its own, I think this cake would be really great with this hot buttered rum sauce recipe.

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