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Rock the Pot Luck


I won’t be doing much cooking this weekend. For the first time in years, we’re going away for Labor Day. The friends who so graciously invited us to their mountain house also provided a very specific shopping list to each invitee (my list included: “6 baking potatoes, beer, apples/peaches, salsa and milk”), which I think is pretty awesome. No thinking required on my part. I love being officially off-duty as party planner, chef, and cleaning crew, although of course I can’t show up just with the things on the list. My additional contributions, in addition to all the ingredients for frozen grapefruit martinis, will be two killer items I would suggest making and bringing to any BBQ, pot-luck, or weekend in the mountains — especially if you definitely want to be invited back.

  • Tangy Peach and Roasted Tomato Salsa

If you went a little overboard with the peach purchasing (or if you have a generous friend with a peach tree in her yard) and you’ve already made the fab peach recipes I recommended a couple weeks ago, here’s another peachy idea that is deliciously summery and super fresh tasting. This “crude” salsa can be eaten with chips or as a side salad. It also tastes great on grilled chicken, fajitas, and fish tacos.

When you start with this, pretty much anything you make is going to be amazing, right?

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lbs. fresh peaches (blanched in boiling water for 1 min. then peeled)
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 Anaheim or other green chili pepper
  • 1/4 onion finely diced
  • small bunch of cilantro
  • lime juice
  • pinch of salt

Give the peaches a quick ice bath after blanching them, so they stop cooking.

In a pot of water, boil the corn (I usually cook several ears while I’m doing this) with a few drops of milk in the pot. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Quarter the tomatoes and place in a small roasting pan, skin side down. Put green chili in the pan, too. Drizzle with a little olive oil and salt. Roast about 15 minutes. While it’s still hot, put the roasted chili pepper in a plastic bag to “sweat.” While the tomatoes are roasting, dice the peaches and onion. Cut the corn from the cob with a serrated knife. Chop the cilantro leaves a bit but don’t worry too much about how big they are. When the tomatoes are cool enough to touch, chop them, too. Remove the pepper from the plastic bag and peel it, then finely dice it. Dump everything into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and a few drops of lime juice, and gently combine with a spoon. If you want more heat, I suggest a couple drops of your favorite habanero hot sauce (try Marie Sharp’s).

Just about everything that comes off the grill tastes better with this. Plus, it will impress your friends.

Best. Guac. Ever.
(a.k.a. “avotadi,” which is what my son named it when he was just learning to talk; funny how those things kind of stick…)

I don’t usually brag, but I really do think I’ve found the secret to perfect guacamole. It’s simple: Less is more. In addition to showcasing the creamy deliciousness of perfectly ripe avocados, this guac requires no chopping, so it can be whipped up in a minute. I promise it’s divine.

Everything you need for guacamole. Really.

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados
  • pinch chili powder (I use ancho chili powder from the Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company in Tumacacori, AZ, which by the way, also sells an amazing green hot sauce.)
  • pinch garlic powder
  • pinch of salt
  • a few drops lemon juice
  • a few drops of hot sauce (see above)

Cut avocados and scoop from skins with a spoon (this is a very fun task for 5-year-olds, by the way). In a bowl, combine all ingredients and smash together with a fork. Adjust seasoning to taste (who knows, you might like more than a “pinch” or a “few drops” of something). Try to keep fingers out. Yeah, good luck with that.

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This post has 3 comments

  • Barb says:

    I gotta ask…milk in the pot while boiling the corn? Have I been living under a rock? Never heard of this and so curious why, especially with my new-found dairy allergy. Am thinking coconut or almond milk isn’t the same? Do tell.

    • It’s probably an old wives’ tale, but I’ve always thought it brings out the sweetness of the corn if you add a tiny bit of milk to the cooking water. It’s certainly not crucial, and I agree it doesn’t seem like almond or coconut milk would have the same effect.

  • Wet Saw · says:

    i admire party planners coz they really know how to make a great and memorable party “

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