The word potluck conjures up different images for different people, but some of the usual trappings are never far away: Grandma's potato salad, church functions on the lawn, neighborhood parties in the park, and not always (but sometimes), an excessive use of mayonnaise.
It's time we give the potluck a modern twist. A new cookbook was just released that will help you embrace community cooking in a whole new way this summer (and any time of year, really). Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook by Nancy Vienneau is a breath of fresh air, and I'm excited to be able to share it with you!
It all started when two friends in Nashville, Nancy Vienneau and Gigi Gaskins, met at a local summit on food security. Instant friends, they had an idea to host a once-a-month gathering that became "a potluck like no other."
The rules are simple. Dishes aren't assigned, RSVPs aren't collected, and the whole thing feels casual and relaxing. In reading through the cookbook, I loved the story of the very first potluck. It was like the first day of school, a mix of excitement and nerves.
The collection of stories speaks to the splendor of gathering in any season, and the personal recipes like Maggie's Refrigerator Zucchini Pickles, Caroline's Warm Eggplant Salad, Mark's Fifteen-Spice Steak Rub, or Amy's Ginger Cookies (below), will provide inspiration for all your gatherings to come.
What do you bring when you're invited to a picnic, potluck, or summer barbeque? To enter the giveaway for a copy of the Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook, leave a comment sharing your favorite potluck foods before Friday, June 20th. (Winners in US and Canada only.)
AMY'S GINGER COOKIES
Since I wasn't making ice cream sandwiches (although a smear of lemon ice cream would be divine), I halved the recipe, making about 12-15 cookies.
Recipe slightly adapted from Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook by Nancy Vienneau
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup tubrinado sugar
1/4 cup molassas
1 large egg
In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper together. In an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, 1 cup sugar, and molasses together until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time. Cover and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place remaining sugar in a small bowl. Scoop up rounds of dough and shape into a ball. Roll each ball in the sugar and place on the baking sheets, slightly flattening. Leave 2 inches between each cookie. Bake on the middle rack for 12 minutes.