"I'm going to the picnic, and I'm bringing…"

Here’s what brought to my potluck-style Thanksgiving dinner:

Fromage Fort
Seeing this recipe on Good Eats made me want to get a food processor. When I eventually did, one of the first dishes I made was this one. It does turn out a bit differently every time I make it. For example, the very first time I tried this recipe, I used some leftover Mexican cheese blend, some American slices, plain Cheddar and a bit of cream cheese. What I got reminded me of the dip served with chips at El Charro, a Mexican restaurant my parents used to take me to.
Today, I made two separate batches. The first was mainly Mozzarella and various store-brand Italian Cheese Blends, with olive oil substituted for butter. I wasn’t happy with this batch when I first tasted it, but after leaving it to stand for a while, it was much better. The second batch was Colby Jack, mild Cheddar, and a bit of Swiss, with ordinary (not unsalted) butter. Most of the eaters I asked preferred the first batch.

Tuscan Potato and Sausage Soup
I’ve made this dish before, but since I didn’t recall the exact details of the recipe while I was shopping, I made a few small substitutions this morning. For example, I used small Yukon Gold potatoes instead of large Russets. I didn’t have any mustard powder or fennel seeds, so I just added a teaspoon or so of generic Italian Herb Blend and a big dash of red pepper flakes. I also didn’t have any bacon, so I used Hot & Spicy SPAM instead. The soup didn’t taste exactly as I’d hoped, but it was very good. All the eaters raved about it, and at the end of the night, there was only about a third of the original quantity left over. I only wish I had thought to make this earlier this week when I was under the weather.
Fluxx
Not a food, but a fun card game that can be played by the entire family. It takes only a few minutes to learn, as the basic rules are very simple: draw one card and then play one card. However, play can and does become more complex as cards are played which change the rules and goal of the game. This game is much liked by the players for its unpredictability, and by myself for its short learning curve and game length.
Witch Trial
It was suggested weeks ago that I bring this game today, and I was happy to comply. This is a funny, entertaining game that puts the players into the roles of lawyers both defending, and prosecuting, the shiftier members of a proper and respectable community. The real fun comes when trying to think of good reasons why particular pieces of evidence or witnesses are applicable to the case at hand. And it’s a perfect excuse to share lawyer jokes, to make obscure references to episodes of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, and to impersonate a Hyperchicken.

I think I’ll just finish up by referring you to Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories for some interesting suggestions on ways to recycle your leftovers.

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