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Potlucks are common for family, church gatherings

Potlucks are common for family, church gatherings

August 27, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

Labor Day weekends equal get-togethers with friends and family equal potlucks.

You can never have enough recipes for a potluck, so we called around to a few churches, putting the word out for good potluck recipes.

We received several responses from Haven Lutheran Church in Hagerstown as well as a recipe for buttermilk brownies from Zella Shank, who attends St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Clear Spring.

Shank, who got the recipe from her sister-in-law in the 1970s, says the brownies are similar to Texas sheet cake. In her recipe, she specifies a couple brand names - Blue Bonnet margarine and Crisco oil. She's found that different margarine affects the consistency of the frosting.


"I gave it to a lot of people and they say, 'Mine doesn't turn out like yours,'" Shank says. She made it once with a different margarine than Blue Bonnet and it tasted different.

Another dessert that impressed us was "Dirt," which some of us had heard of and others were puzzled by. Pam O'Connor prepared the dessert. It looked like a potted plant.

The "dirt" was crumbled Oreos, which topped a cream cheese-pudding mixture that served as soil. Planted in the soil was an artificial flower.

Pam O'Connor, who lives east of Hagerstown, says she got the recipe from a family friend. Some people, she says, add Gummi worms to the soil.

Other spins on the dish are "Sand" and "Litter." For Sand, use a sand bucket instead of a flowerpot and crushed vanilla cookies as a topping. For Litter, use a litter pan with a topping of crushed Oreos, O'Connor says. Garnish with Tootsie rolls.


Black-eyed bean salad

3 medium-sized red peppers
1 small red onion
4 10-ounce to 15-ounce cans of black-eyed peas
Two 10-ounce packages of frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 large tomatoes

At least 3 1/2 hours before serving:

Dice the red peppers. Chop the onion and rinse the black-eyed peas. Drain well.

In a large bowl, toss the red peppers, onions, peas, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours to blend flavors.

To serve, cut tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices and arrange with black-eyed pea salad on a large platter

Serves 16.

- Courtesy of Carolyn Brogunier of Hagerstown and a Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital cookbook

Sweet potato salad

5 medium-sized sweet potatoes (peeled, cooked tender and cut into cubes)
1 orange (yields about 1/2 cup juice and 1 tablespoon of orange zest)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

Boil the potatoes until tender and cut. After potatoes have cooled, toss all the ingredients together and chill.

- Courtesy of Charlotte Loveless of Hagerstown


Two 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
2 cups 10X sugar
Two 4-ounce packages of vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk

24 ounces Cool Whip
2 teaspoons, vanilla
Two 1-pound-2-ounce packages of Oreos
2-quart flowerpot
Wax paper or aluminum foil
Artificial flowers
Plastic wrap

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and 10X sugar until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat pudding and milk together until it thickens. Then add the Cool Whip and vanilla to the pudding mixture. Fold the pudding and cream cheese mixtures together.

In a food processor, crumble the cookies finely.

Line a clean flower pot with wax paper or aluminum foil.

Layer the crumbled cookies and cream mixture alternately in 1/2-inch layers, starting and ending with the cookies.

Wrap the stem of the flowers with plastic wrap. Plant the artificial flower in the "dirt."

Chill in the refrigerator overnight. Take to the potluck in a cooler packed with ice.

Cook's note: For extra effect, place Gummi worms in the dirt. To make "sand" instead of "dirt," substitute vanilla cookies for the Oreos and use a sand bucket instead of a flower pot. For "kitty litter," use Oreos and follow "dirt" recipe; layer in a clean litter pan and garnish with Tootsie Rolls.

Serves 15.

- Courtesy of Pam O'Connor, who lives east of Hagerstown

Buttermilk brownies

1 stick margarine (see cook's note)
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil (see cook's note)
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine margarine, water, oil and cocoa in saucepan. Bring to a boil.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar and salt. Pour margarine mixture over flour mixture. Stir until well mixed.

Add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla, mixing well after each addition.

Pour the batter into a greased, floured, 10-inch-by-14-inch pan.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Cook's note: Shank uses Crisco oil and Blue Bonnet margarine.

- Courtesy of Zella Shank, who got the recipe from her sister-in-law, Polly Beard


1 stick Blue Bonnet margarine (see cook's note)
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup cocoa
1-pound box of 10x sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 heaping tablespoons, smooth peanut butter (optional)

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