What to Bring to a Potluck

In Bring It!: Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Casual Entertaining, Ali Rosen shares tips and tricks for bringing the right dish to any occasion. 

Kara Rota
2-minute read
Episode #188

bring it! potluck book by ali rosen

The word "potluck" may inspire memories of church dinners and mysteriously covered dishes. But today's potlucks are essentially outsourced dinner parties, which make gathering around a shared table a cinch. Ali Rosen knows that the best parties come from teamwork and good planning, and her new book offers offers tips and tricks for portable dishes to bring for any occasion. 

Each recipe includes a note called "How to Bring It," for make-ahead, reheating, and transport instructions. Flavors are designed for maximum impact, but won't take hours to cook, or require special ingredients.

Bonus recipe: Ginger Beef

Any time you serve meat at room temperature, you need a sauce that makes people forget they could’ve eaten something right out of the oven. With only a few major ingredients, this sauce gets the job done. You can use this sauce on a lot of different proteins (I’ve yet to find something that doesn’t go with it), but it marries particularly well with steak. The bold, bright sauce perfectly complements the robust nature of beef. After all, who could ever argue with steak?

30 Minutes

1 Day Ahead

Fridge to Table


  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cups finely chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 pounds sirloin steak
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

Make the sauce: Combine the ginger, scal­lions, soy sauce, vinegar, and olive oil. Set it aside. (I think the sauce gets better the lon­ger it sits, but at least let it sit while you cook the steak so it has time to settle together.)

Then make the steaks: Generously salt the steaks on both sides. Place a cast-iron or nonstick pan on very high heat and add the oil (only use half if you are making the steaks in two batches to keep from crowding the pan). Let the oil get hot and cook each steak for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the size of your steaks and the desired level of done­ness. You will want to flip each steak every 30 seconds or so to ensure that it cooks evenly: it will cook better this way rather than flip­ping it only once—I promise.

Remove the steaks and let them rest for at least 5 minutes. Slice off the fat and cut the steaks lengthwise into ¼-inch-wide strips. Add the sauce on top and serve.


This dish is great hot or cold. If you are serving it cold, you can keep both the sauce and the cooked meat in the fridge for a day before serving (the sauce can keep for 3 days). If you are going to refrigerate the meat for later, don’t slice it after cooking: wait until you are about to serve it so the moisture in the meat stays intact. If you want to serve the meat hot, undercook it a bit when making it and then reheat it from room temperature in an oven at 350°F for a few minutes to get it up to temperature. You can microwave the sauce to get it hot if you like.

Reprinted with permission from BRING IT! © 2018 by Ali Rosen, Running Press

About the Author

Kara Rota

Kara Rota headed children’s programming at Chicago’s Green City Market and studied food politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Kara has been a featured speaker at numerous venues including Food Book Fair, the Roger Smith Food Conference, and the Brooklyn Food Conference. She has written about food for Irish America Magazine, West Side Rag, Recipe Relay, and Food + Tech Connect, and is the former Director of Editorial & Partnerships at Cookstr.com.

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