Third Thursday Potluck: September Menu
This month our favorite foodies in Nashville, Tenn., featured a plum barbecue sauce, buttermilk corncakes, Marrakesh carrots, and a blueberry-peach coffeecake at their monthly gathering.
Welcome to The Third Thursday Potluck, a monthly supper club that meets every third Thursday in Nashville, Tenn. Gigi Gaskins and I started this extraordinary potluck in June 2009 as a way to foster community. Now headed into its fourth year, Third Thursday continues to bring together a cross-section of folks bearing delicious local, seasonally driven dishes. There are no assigned dishes. No RSVP! We enjoy the creative sparks that tend to happen in a less formal structure. True to the notion of “Potluck,” there’s an element of surrender in that, but it always works out.—Nancy Vienneau
In the week leading up to potluck, Gigi Raskin and I get together to brainstorm our part of the meal. While the element of surprise is a hallmark of our gatherings, we try to balance that uncertainty with at least one anchor dish. Our choices can spring from a craving for an ethnic cuisine (Mexican! Let’s have a taco bar) or be sparked by a trend (Sliders! We’ll grill mini-burgers and make baby buns).
More often than not, inspiration comes from whatever is flourishing in our gardens, or in this month’s case, our backyards.
Plums. Growing conditions were beyond ideal this year, and my little tree yielded basketfuls of ruby fruit. I’d already made preserves, vinaigrette, crumble and chutney. While processing them, it struck me that plums could also make a terrific barbecue sauce.
Indeed—and with ease. Simmered with onions, brown sugar, vinegar and spices, plums transform into a savory-sweet sauce, perfect for slathering over grilled chicken, ribs or roasts. We chose pork loin.
Marinated overnight, the meat cooked to charred succulence on my Big Green Egg. While the smoker was still hot, Gigi piled on ears of corn. We kept the kitchen cool and contributed two delicious dishes for the feast.
By Nancy Vienneau, a food writer in Nashville, Tenn.
A heady blend of North African spices transforms simple carrots into an exceptional dish.
The flavor of these potatoes is enhanced by boiling them in water seasoned with garlic, bay leaf and celery leaves. Show off the appealing layers in a glass bowl.
Stoneground cornmeal is key to these flavorful puffs. A fleck of black pepper gives them the right bite.
Fiori di Sicilia extract imparts a beguiling citric and floral essence to the batter. You can substitute 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon orange extract and 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract.