*We’re giving away a copy of Modern Potluck! Leave a comment to enter.
It seems were on a bit of a trend with last week’s post and this week’s: How to feed people without losing your mind.
In her new book, Modern Potluck, Kristin Donnelly writes, “Like most people who write cookbooks, my greatest wish is to bring people together around food in a way that’s as easy and fun as possible. The secret to doing this is to share the work with your guests. And, as it turns out, guests love it that way, too.”
Kristin, after having her first child, felt her social life slipping away as the thought of fancy dinner parties like the ones she wrote about in Food & Wine seemed out of the question, as did going out to restaurants. It was then she remembered the potlucks of her own childhood. “What a brilliant idea!” She writes. “I could focus my energy on making one dish and get a full meal in return, all the while hanging out with my friends or meeting my neighbors.”
I remember potlucks from my childhood too, like Kristin I adore the idea of them, but the food doesn’t appeal to me in the same way it did then. I once loved those miniature cocktail hot dogs simmered in a crock pot filled with grape jelly and ketchup. They don’t excite me in the same way today. There are no long-simmered grape jelly hot dogs in Modern Potluck, instead Kristin writes of Green Bean Salads with chiles and walnuts, Cornmeal-Crusted Oven-Fried chicken, Pumpkin Beer-and-Turkey Chili, and Caramelized Kimchi Corn Bread. Not the sort of potluck food I remember but exactly the sort of potluck food I want.
Her point is to gather and she’s giving us the easy-to-follow road map for how to do so.
*A winner has been selected and notified. Thanks so much to all of you who entered.
Of course you could always ditch the idea of a large gathering and simply make these recipes for your family. That’s exactly what I did with these Late-Summer Vegetable Enchiladas. It was the first time in awhile where dinner was more than a doctored up bean salad or something – anything – stuffed into a tortilla. And while we are a family of five and the appetites of my littles have grown right alongside them we still were able to enjoy leftovers for days. Potluck or not, the recipes inspire and are right in line with how I want to eat everyday.
To celebrate this stunning new book I would love to send a copy to one of you. Simply leave a comment below and I’ll choose a winner by next Friday, September 2. (HOW IS IT SEPTEMBER NEXT WEEK?!)
In the meantime go raid the garden or the market for all that zucchini and enjoy some enchiladas.
Late-Summer Vegetable Enchilada Pie
from Modern Potluck
Serves 8 to 16
For the sauce:
1 1/2 ounces dried Ancho Chiles (2 to 3)
1 cup boiling water
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the filling and pie:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1 pound zucchini or other summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
2 medium ears of corn, kernels cut from the cobs (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 3/4 cups cooked black or pinto beans or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
12 (6 to 7-inch) corn tortillas
1 1/4 pound Monterey jack cheese, grated (5 to 6 cups)
Make the sauce: In a large, deep skillet, toast the anchos over medium-high heat, turning frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. When they’re cool enough to handle, stem the chiles and shake out the seeds, tipping the chiles if you have to. Transfer the chiles to a blender (or a cup that’s heat-safe if your blender jar is not) and cover with the boiling water; let stand until softened and cooled. Add the tomatoes and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Make the filling and assemble the pie: In the same skillet used to toast the anchos, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeños and cook until fragrant and softened, about 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, until tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and beans and cook, mashing the beans slightly, until hot and stir in the lime juice and 1/2 cup of the cilantro.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the pan (about 1/2 cup). Arrange one-third of the tortillas in the baking dish, tearing them in half as necessary to create an even layer. Spoon half of the filling over the tortillas and top with one-third of the cheese. Top the cheese with another layer of tortillas, followed by half of the remaining sauce, the rest of the filling, and another one-third of the cheese. Finally, layer more tortillas, followed by the remaining sauce and the remaining cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the edges are starting to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes, and then serve.
A few things to note: I cut down on the amount of jalapeños from two to one as my children are quite spice averse. I also skipped the curry powder and added a bit of cumin a touch of chipotle powder instead. In place of jack cheese I used sharp cheddar as that’s what I had on hand. The best recipes are adaptable – this one was perfect.