Potlucks are easy ways to gather for a meal. They’ve been around for years, and will continue for many to come.
One way to hold a potluck is to give no rules, and just see what turns up. There have been stories of twelve bowls of green salads lined up, with nothing else. Or the transformative Thanksgiving dinner we held at a shared house; we offered to do turkey as the hosts, and left the rest up to the ten or so guests to do the rest. We had a great dinner of turkey, stuffing, gravy and 6 different versions of pumpkin pies.
What I recommend doing, is to look after the meat & dessert. Let everyone else bring side dishes or appetizers. At least this way the meal will have a bit of structure.
There are times that I pull out all the stops and work to create something memorable. However if time is limited, there’s nothing wrong with doing a simple dish, as long as it is presented well, is yummy, and interesting! This is easy to make, and can be served cold or at room temperature. As you can see, I served it in my bamboo steamer, but here’s a tip if you don’t want to worry about dishes. Line a foil pan with an oversized sheet of parchment, tuck in some herbs or flowers at one side, and you can just walk away from it at the end of the meal.
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Makes enough for 10 – 12 side dish servings.
4 c water
2 c basmati rice
1 t salt
1 large lime, zest & juice
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
1½” chunk of ginger, peeled & grated
1 T minced lemongrass (I use the tubed paste)
⅓ c soya sauce (or Tamari for Gluten Free)
3 T canola oil
2 T honey
1 T sesame oil
3 green onions, chopped diagonally
2 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise, and then chopped
1 c frozen peas
Mix the rice, water & salt together in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil, uncovered and stirring occasionally with a fork.
When at a boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, stir once more, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let sit, still covered, for 5 – 10 minutes.
Make the dressing while the rice cooks.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, minced garlic, grated ginger, lemongrass, soya sauce, canola oil, honey & sesame oil. Alternatively, put these ingredients into a processor and blend. If using a processor, you won’t need to mince the cloves, or grate the ginger, just chop them up, and let the processor do the work.
Add the green onions, celery, and peas to the dressing. Toss to coat well.
When the rice has finished resting, empty it into a large mixing bowl. Toss gently, just a few times, with a large spoon or rice paddle, while it cools a bit, for about 5 minutes.
Pour the dressing with vegetables onto the rice.
Carefully fold the mixture so that all the rice has been dressed. Don’t overwork it, or you’ll break the rice grains.
Place the bowl of rice, uncovered, in the fridge, to chill. As soon as it has chilled, cover tightly with wrap, or move to a container with a lid. The salad will keep for up to three days.
If you want to serve it at room temperature, place the salad into a suitable serving bowl, and serve within the next 1½ hours. After serving, cover leftovers and chill.