Pasta potluck

As several of the ETAs are running in the marathon on Sunday, we joined together for a pasta potluck tonight to carb them up.  I’ve not been in the mood for cooking lately, so I was just planning to throw together penne tossed with olive oil, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Unfortunately, I had a brain fart at the supermarket and got a jar of roasted bell peppers instead of the tomatoes.  Continue reading


Poonchoi Potluck

In celebration of Lunar New Year, I attended a poon choi extravaganza.   It was also partially a potluck, so I decided to try making something I’d been eyeing for awhile: David Lebovitz’s pajun.  The recipe seemed like a promising, time-saving alternative to making them with dough.


They turned out floppy (instead of crusty) but rather tasty, and I whipped up a simple sweet and sour chili dipping sauce.  Next time I’ll be sure to hit the pan with more oil before cooking these in hopes that they develop a crispified exterior.

Other potluck contributions: a trio pepper platter with a kick-ass spicy hummus, nachos with melted cheese, spaghetti, and an assortment of veggie dumplings and buns.


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The main event, of course, was the poon (I know what some of you are thinking, but try and control your immature selves :P):


Getting heated up:


Digging in:


I tried some octopus, tofu skin, pork, taro, white turnip, mushrooms, and chicken. Though taste-wise, everything was kind of monotonous, I was pleasantly surprised by the chicken; the white meat looked like dark because it presumably had been soaking in all that meat juice for some time, and came out flavorful and moist. It doesn’t look pretty, but it left me satiated and satisfied. Xi nian kuai le!

Thanksgiving Potluck Rundown

Sorry for not coming up with a remotely creative title.

Being abroad is no excuse for not celebrating Thanksgiving. Like most Americans, I instinctively associate this holiday with two things: family and a buttload of food. Many buttloads, actually. Being the upstanding cultural ambassadors that we are, my ETA cohort and I thus set forth last Thursday to recreate to the best of our abilities the gloriously gluttonous feast that is practically synonymous with the fourth sing kei sei (Thursday) of every sap yut yuet (November).

We decided to host a potluck dinner with some ~50 people (many of them students experiencing Thanksgiving for the first time).  Thankfully, I was not responsible for hosting/organizing the event, leaving me free to focus on my two cents of a contribution to the food extravaganza.  I had some Chinese sausages lying around and figured they would be great in some cheesy scallion scones.  Oh, genius am I.


I figured a combination of Cheddar and cream cheese would lend the scones some pleasant creaminess and tang, and I loosely followed this recipe from Farmgirl Fare.  Since I’m a novice with bread, I had no idea how sticky the dough should have been (esp considering the cream cheese).  I ended up with a mixture that did not really resemble what I think of as bread dough, but it pulled relatively cleanly from the sides of my mixing bowl, and I figured that would do.  The cheesiness went well with the combination of onion-y scallions and sweet sausages, and though a few scones ended up more well done than I would have liked, I really enjoyed the trio of flavors.  I wish I could’ve eaten more.  Using about 4 cups of flour, I ended up with something like 45 small, loosely heart-shaped scones.

A moment of sheer narcissism:


Here are some of the other dishes made by my partners-in-crime:

A’s jam tart (lemon-lime on the left, black currant on the right):


Prepping some greenery:




At a special request by yours truly, blueberry pie! Without question, my favorite fruit pie 😀

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An ad hoc brown sugar pastry made using leftover pie dough, for pre-dinner nibbling:


W’s sweet potato bake with brown sugar and marshmellows, or, death by sugar OD:


Gots to have the mash:


More of G’s pies:

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A’s cornbread with bacon:


G’s beloved, hot out of the oven:


G’s crusty pecan pie. I am generally not a fan of pecan pies, as the gooey, nauseatingly sweet innards don’t really appeal to me, but this one was money. Crunching through the top crust layer, I found a pleasantly sweet, almost cake-like interior, which eventually gave way to a dense, rich, buttery finish…pure deliciousness.


Meatloaf and mashed potato ‘cake’:


The dessert table (from top left, homemade whipped cream, jam tart, spiced bread loves, pumpkin pies, and egg custards hiding inside the box):


Good and plentiful food would be nothing without good people to share it with, and thankfully, those were also in abundance that night. While prepping and helping out was time-consuming and mildly stressful, the event was well worth the effort. Alas, I enjoyed whittling the night away with individuals whom I’ve come to see as dear, and at the same time, felt extremely fortunate for my large, eccentric family back home. Happy belated Thanksgiving all!