Block Party Buffet

It’s that time of year, where streets all over America get closed off for the annual block party.  Unfortunately, not in my neighborhood, but in other, more fun neighborhoods.  😛   Luckily for us, the last couple of years we’ve been officially invited to crash another block party held in our friend’s cul-de-sac. 

Burgers, hot dogs, soda, and beer are served, but then each family is also asked to bring one covered dish— appetizers if your last name is at the beginning of the alphabet, side salads for those in the middle, and desserts for those at the end.  I couldn’t wait to see what people brought.

What I love about potluck is that people always bring whatever it is they consider to be their specialty dish, so everything is always really good.   One friend is famous for her Buffalo Chicken Dip, another is known for her colorful green salads, always chock full of fruit, nuts, and cheese.  I  like to mix it up a little, but have often been asked to bring my black bean salad with cilantro, which I brought to this party too.

The buffet table started out filled with pepperoni and sausage bread, chips and homemade dips, chicken wings and blue cheese, and many more deliciously fattening foods.  Once the grill got fired up for burgers and dogs, the salads came out.  There were no mayonaise-laden potato or macaroni salads (thank goodness!), and surprisingly no green salads (which I always feel wilt on buffets anyway–so it was just as well!).  Instead I found a few healthy pasta salads (a Greek-inspired orzo salad with feta, another with asparagus), two bean salads (including mine), and a couscous salad.  They all held up well throughout the evening, and very little was left over, so I guess they were all hits.

After the many cookies, brownies, pies, and cupcakes were gone (plus a keg or two got kicked), the grill was fired up again for the neighborhood late-night block party specialty:  Hot Dog, Egg and Cheese Sandwiches.   Hey, you gotta have at least one vice.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

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