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Potlucks are a great way to build community. What is your favorite dish to bring to a potluck?

The following responses are available on AALLNET only. For the responses published in the September/October 2012 issue of AALL Spectrum, please see the issue in its entirety.

I like to bring Lug (it’s actually called Galuska, and it’s Hungarian)it’s been a family favorite for many years. The recipe is simple:

Ingredients:
1 pound bacon
1 head cabbage
1 (12-ounce) package lasagna noodles, broken into bite-size pieces and cooked according to package directions

Fry a pound of bacon; crumble it. Keep the grease. 
Cut up a head of cabbage; fry the cabbage in the bacon grease until softened. 
Add crumbled bacon to the cabbage; toss in noodles.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Variation:  add ½ cup minced onion to cabbage when frying it in the bacon grease.

-Stacy Fowler, technical services librarian at St. Mary's University School of Law Sarita Kenedy East Law Library in San Antonio

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My favorite potluck dish for summer get-togethers is strawberry avocado salad. It is a refreshing and different salad to bring. There won't be 15 of them on the buffet table, so make a big one!
 
1-2 pints strawberries, sliced
2-3 avocados, diced
1 head red lettuce, chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
Poppyseed dressing
 
Combine produce, toss with poppyseed dressing. 
 
Easy and quick! Perfect for busy library professionals!
 
-Cindy Beck Weller, law librarian at Cooper White & Cooper LLP in San Francisco

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Heather’s Mom’s Shortbread Recipe. This recipe always gets rave reviews!

12 oz. flour
8 oz. butter (two sticks, sliced); do NOT substitute marge, it won't work. Make sure the butter is cold, right out of the fridge. Do not allow to soften.
4 oz. sugar
(Amounts are given in ounces by weight, not volume.)

Using a heavy-duty electric mixer set on the lowest speed, combine all the ingredients. It takes a long time, 15 or 20 minutes. Eventually the dough will start to stick together; a clue that you have reached the right consistency is that it will start to make a "clunking" noise. Turn out the dough onto a countertop and divide into quarters.

Gently mold each quarter into a slightly oblong shape, about a foot long. Lift it up off the counter 10-12 inches and drop it gently on each side to make the corners more square.

Slice into 1/2-inch squares. Carefully poke a fork into each piece three or four times.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the refridgerator for about 10 minutes to chill. Bake for about 30 minutes at 375 F. It's sometimes hard to tell when they are done . . . they should just barely turn very light golden brown. Take out of the oven and put on a wire rack to cool.

While you are waiting for them to cool, put about two inches of water in a sauce pan and put it on to heat, but don't let it boil. Break up a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate, and put several pieces in a cup or small bowl. Place the cup in the water to melt the chocolate. Be very careful not to drip water into the chocolate. When the chocolate is melted, lift each shortbread out of the pan. Dip one end of each piece of shortbread into the chocolate, and then lay it on a piece of wax paper to cool. Put them in the freezer for a few minutes if you are in a hurry.

-Heather Braithwaite Simmons

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Potlucks can be challenging for me as a vegan, so I’m always sure to bring a dish that I can make a meal out of in case there are no vegan options. One of my favorite dishes to bring to a potluck is a platter of organic veggies, pita bread, and homemade hummus. This recipe cuts down on the fat and sodium but tastes delicious and fresh. Served with whole wheat pita bread and organic veggies, this recipe is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and protein. It’s also incredibly easy to make!

Healthy Hummus & Veggie Platter

1 can of chickpeas (Eden Organics brand is BPA-free)
2 tbsp. tahini
Zest and juice of 1 large organic lemon
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin

Blend hummus ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender. If hummus is too thick, add more lemon juice. Slice whole wheat pita bread into triangles to serve on the side. Arrange organic veggies such as baby carrots, brocolli florets, and peppers on a platter with hummus.

-Laura Hartnett, faculty services law librarian at Northeastern University School of Law Library in Boston

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My most recent homebrew.

Abt 12

2 gallons 160 F water
1 lb. Cara Munich Malt
8 oz. Aromatic Malt
8 oz. Biscuit Malt
4 oz. Special B Malt
2 oz. Chocolate Malt
2.25 lb Belgian Pale Ale Malt

Tea 155 F 45 minutes

2.3125 qt. 170 F sparge water

9 lb Extra Pale Extract
2 lb D-90 Candi Syrup
4 oz. Malto Dextrin

60 minute boil

1.5 oz Glacier 60 minute
.25 oz. Glacier 15 minute
.24 oz. Glacier 15 minute

Cool to 80 F
White Labs Trappist Ale 500

Fill to 5 .25 gallons,

1 week primary
1 week secondary
3 months bottle condition

-John M. Perkins, reference services librarian at Furman Smith Law Library, Mercer University School of Law, in Macon, Georgia

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For a work potluck, I have a go-to dish: guacamole. Sure, sounds simple—but—there is a fine art to the proper proportions of tomato to cilantro, to lime, to avocado, and finally, to salt. And the trick is—don’t measure. It’s all up to taste. You never know how potent cilantro is going to be, nor how limey the limes. I personally love cilantro, and I love lime, so I tend to use a lot of both. That tends to go over well. I grew up in a Mexican household, and this was something that was just always around—nothing special, just something that went with everything, like rice. I also add salt, pepper, and chipotle—but all those are up to who’s at your table. You can add onions, but I usually don’t, and people don’t seem to miss them. They can overpower the rest of the flavors. But the amazing thing with guacamole is you can make whatever you want out of it.

-Daniella Lee-Garcia, Thomas M. Cooley School of Law

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My favorite dish to bring is baked beans. This recipe contains a combination of three types of beans and several other flavorings and is a nice variation on the typical baked beans recipe. I like it because not only is it delicious, but the measurements don’t have to be exact, so you can be creative every time you make it. I just keep adding ingredients until it tastes right. This dish is always a hit!

Fabulous Baked Beans

1 15 oz. can Great Northern or other white beans, drained
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 15 oz. can light or dark pinto or kidney beans, drained
½-1 lb. bacon (depending on how indulgent you are feeling)
1 medium onion, diced
¼ c. honey
¼-½ tsp. chili powder (depending on how much zip you want)
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. ketchup or barbecue sauce

Fry and crumble bacon. Saute onion in remaining bacon grease until soft. Add bacon and onion to beans and remaining ingredients. Bake in covered casserole dish at 350 until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Serves 6-8.

-Donna Fisher, law librarian at Senniger Powers LLP in St. Louis