Seasonal Sundays (Week 27) Summer Potluck Favorites

"What may I bring?" Welcome words, because all of a sudden you've got yourself a potluck, my favorite kind of party, big, small and in between. But isn't finding the right "dish to carry" its own culinary art? I'm here to help with seven crowd-pleasing recipes for summer, ones that are easy to make and carry and present well. Dig in, people, it's potluck week!

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Excerpted from My 2020 Time Capsule, written in the midst of the pre-vaccine pandemic, just weeks after the murder of George Floyd ...

It should be a big week in North America, Canada Day for Canadians on July 1st and Independence Day for Americans on July 4th.

But in the year that is 2020, even "big" weeks are lower-key, more casual and dare I say, more relaxing? more chill? and perhaps more contemplative?

For most of us (because we are keeping things small and safe, right???), 2020's holidays will be less about occasion and more about simply duding up the ordinary. No travel. No festivals. No parades. No pool parties. No fireworks. So be it. This shall pass, in due time.

And maybe there's upside, if we stop mourning what isn't and appreciate what is.

And maybe, as my mind veers to the split, separated and smoldering state of these not-so-very United States, I seek to see light through our cracks, crevasses and craters.

Maybe it's good to break from the traditional revelry of other years, from what we've always done, from mindlessly repeating the past, from all the made-in-China flags and bunting, from all the declarations of division and divide.

Maybe 2020 is a gift that opens up room to think and re-think who we are as a community of human beings who have no choice but to inhabit common space, from the planet itself to our very neighborhoods. To consider what we ask of our country and our employers and our economy and our relatives and our media and our friends (and ... and ... and ...) and yes, most especially, ourselves.

Just planting a seed of a thought ... a small, determined and hopeful red, white and blue flag, waving in the wind, seeking ... ... ... ... ...

Seasonal Sundays is 100% written by a real, live human, no blah-blah-bland copycat ChatGPT AI plagiarism, thank you very much. Any awkward phrase, unclear meaning, misspelled word, mistaken fact, bad punctuation or overwrought alliteration is the clean, proud product of my own inadequacy as a wordsmith and error as an eagle-eyed editor. But when that human says she's grateful that you're here, reading, well, please know, she really truly 100% means it.

In Praise Of ...

  • REPURPOSING ... Amazon reminds me that I bought this wide-mouth mason jar lid especially for sprouting, something I never got around to. But this week, I started using it to keep the fruit flies at bay, just by putting a little apple cider vinegar and a drizzle of Dawn dish detergent in a mini canning jars, then topping with the lid. Works like a charm and isn't so obviously buggy as my usual open ramekin solution.

  • PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS ... those of Canadian author Louise Penny, that is, whose A World of Curiosities I recommended back in the winter is just now out in paperback. But I really love her monthly newsletters, July arrived yesterday on Canada Day and muses on Many-Things-Canadian and shows off a brand-new puppy who has upended her life in uproarious ways. Just try not to tear up when she lies down on the puppy's bed ... here it is, July, look for a subscribe button on the upper-left corner of the page. PS Louise Penny is good friends with cookbook author and food blogger favorite Dorie Greenspan so occasionally, there's food and friendly frivolity!

Made Me Think ...

Dark Early one morning this week, the "dawn chorus" was so loud, the trees were just filled with sound! I pulled out the handy dandy free Merlin bird ID & sound ID app, expecting it to identify dozens of birds in song.


Instead, all that sound was coming from two species, Northern Cardinals and Carolina Wrens. Amazing!

That evening, the trees were much quieter but the app pinned down calls from House Wrens, Mourning Doves, Blue Jays, House Finches, Carolina Chickadees, House Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, Blue-Gray Gnatchers (what a name!) and Tufted Titmice.

There's a lesson in there somewhere ...

May I Suggest ... a Link? or Two?

Let me just presume that if you're reading this, well, you're both a cook and a recipe collector. Don't the two kinda go together? And that means you tuck aside interesting recipes all over the place and then, dang, where is that chicken recipe that looked so good anyway? Here's an idea. Start a folder on your phone, call it "Kitchen Parade" or "Alanna" or whatever makes best sense to you. Then save the recipes you're most interested in right there in one place. Easy Peasy.

SEASONAL INSPIRATION: Summer Potluck Favorites

Pickled Beet Salad with Fresh Blueberries & Mint, another quick and easy summer salad ♥, totally fresh and summery! Quick. Vegan. Low Carb. Gluten Free. WW Friendly.

Greek Pasta Salad with Creamy Feta Vinaigrette, another classic summer salad ♥, loaded with vegetables in a tangy-creamy feta vinaigrette.

Chipotle Chickpea Salad ♥, beans mixed with summer-fresh vegetables and a smidgin of heat. WW Friendly. Rave Reviews. Gluten Free.

Cooler Corn: How to Cook Corn in a Beer Cooler (or use same great technique on the stove!) ♥

Baked Orzo Casserole with Eggplant, Olives, Goat Cheese & More, another flavor-packed make-ahead summer casserole ♥ A Veggie Venture

Summer Corn Bread with Fresh Blueberries ♥, a real seasonal treat, a skillet of warm corn bread studded with fresh blueberries.

What's New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

American Flag Cake with Strawberries & Blueberries ♥, use fresh berries to decorate a poke cake with the American flag.

Looking Back ...

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from the last week ...

Fried Egg Quesadillas, another easy summer breakfast ♥ Just Three Ingredients. Budget Friendly. High Protein.
  • THIS WEEK I was fighting the impulse to pick up dinner after getting a pedicure (encouraged by my husband's joke-y text wondering how I'd manage to slave over a hot stove after such relaxation ...) and was so glad I did, these made for a great quick supper and definitely warrant addition to Pantry Meals: How to Make a Meal with What You Have since all you need are tortillas, eggs and a little cheese though I also added some avocado, salsa and sour cream on the side plus a big salad.
  • THE RECIPE Fried Egg Quesadillas A fried egg sandwich with a tortilla.

Jubilee Greens, Another Master Technique ♥ How to sauté dark leafy greens like spinach, chard, kale and more.
  • THIS WEEK I rarely deviate from the basic formula of Jubilee greens but wanted to clean out the fridge so added a small zucchini, a pepper from the garden, a few mini tomatoes, a few mushrooms, a bunch of fresh basil and mint and instead of maple syrup, used a mint syrup. "These greens are delicious." Happy face!
  • THE RECIPE Jubilee Greens How to sauté leafy greens like spinach, chard, kale & more.

Borscht Beets (Beets in Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt) ♥, simple, summery. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free.
  • IT'S STILL BEET WEEK This is a real favorite when beets are already roasted, there's just something about the combination of earthy beets and a creamy sauce. This time, I threw in a few blueberries which were swallowed up color-wise but oh, what a juicy contrast to the beets.
  • THE RECIPE Borscht Beets Russian-style beet salad with sour cream, fresh dill and caraway. Delicious!

Corn & Cucumber Salad with Fresh Blueberries ♥, intriguing & unusual summer salad. Low Carb. Vegan. Naturally Gluten Free.
  • THIS WEEK This summery salad explains why the big "Salad" tab in my 3x5 recipe box has a "C" for either Corn or Cucumber in the upper left-hand corner. It took me seconds to find the C section, scan the recipe card ... and adapt it for what was on hand, using fresh basil instead of cilantro, skipping the blueberries entirely, adding a little feta, definitely keeping the cumin. I love "jumping off" recipes!
  • THE RECIPE Corn & Cucumber Salad with Fresh Blueberries A little cumin keeps it savory.

Just Updated!

Scalloped Potatoes & Beets, another creative vegetable side dish ♥ Just four ingredients + pantry staples. Beautiful color!

Something to Read

For the life of me, I can't find a book to "fall into" -- and that means, turning to a thriller to keep my reading juices running. The Gold Coast was easy to follow, even listening while multi-tasking in the kitchen or other mindless household chores, and the characters were well-developed and intriguing. Call me happy there's a sequel!

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.