Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting
by McGonaGirl, Dumbledwarf, Hagrid, Hermi2

Menu: Spinach Salad With Mandarin Oranges and Almonds with Apricot Sesame Dressing | Super Simple Trifle for a Busy Witch | Over-Inflated Rice & Clam Casserole | Wolfsbane Honey and Summer Berry Smoothies | Cloudlike Soufflé au Fleurine | Disappearing Fruit Salad | Ginger Ade Potion | Dreamtime Fairy Cakes | Fountain of Youth Oracle Juice | Grilled Mushroom and Tomato Bruschetta | Warm German Potato Salad, Grown Cold | Positively Antarctic Gazpacho With Ice Cubes | Strawberry Congealed Salad in Layers | Mama's Red Cabbage | Half-Giant Strawberries in Chocolate Cloaks | Rather Clever Double Crusted Fruit Pie

Shortly after the mid-summer solstice, the teachers of Hogwart's are required to return to the school for a couple of weeks for the all-important pre-term faculty meeting. It is at this time that they discuss new admissions -- known wizard family children with demonstrated magic abilities, as well as children that had come to their attention from non-wizard homes. Letters are composed, and plans made for which teacher will accompany which students to Diagon Alley and to Platform 9¾ -- it wouldn't do to have these new students unaware of what was expected of them.

They also discussed and submitted lesson plans, chose prefects and head boy and girl, and cleared the air about anything at all. Preparations for the school year had to start many weeks in advance of the students arriving. They also considered any news in the wizarding world, and new dangers or cautions, policy changes by the Ministry of Magic, new candidates to join them on the faculty, etc. The did all the various things, both big and small, that were necessary to keep Hogwart's running smoothly.

To make the tasks less arduous, the teachers have little gatherings and parties throughout the time they are sequestered without students at Hogwart's. The one that breaks the ice most effectively is the first "pot luck" -- many of the witches and wizards come flush with ideas from their vacation travels, and the dishes they bring are good conversation starters. It was a casual way to report what they'd done over their summer vacations, as it were! These are the recipes for the most popular or memorable contributions over the years.

Menu: Spinach Salad With Mandarin Oranges and Almonds with Apricot Sesame Dressing | Super Simple Trifle for a Busy Witch | Over-Inflated Rice & Clam Casserole | Wolfsbane Honey and Summer Berry Smoothies | Cloudlike Soufflé au Fleurine | Disappearing Fruit Salad | Ginger Ade Potion | Dreamtime Fairy Cakes | Fountain of Youth Oracle Juice | Grilled Mushroom and Tomato Bruschetta | Warm German Potato Salad, Grown Cold | Positively Antarctic Gazpacho With Ice Cubes | Strawberry Congealed Salad in Layers | Mama's Red Cabbage | Half-Giant Strawberries in Chocolate Cloaks | Rather Clever Double Crusted Fruit Pie

Spinach Salad With Mandarin Oranges and Almonds
Professor Sprout spent one vacation is Florida; she had always been intrigued by a place named for plants -- it must be a diverse, interesting place, indeed. Even though Muggles and local wizards had changed the native flora profiles, she still found much to interest her. Of the most interest was actually the domesticated food crops of the area -- hydroponic gardening (nutrients, but no soil!); huge, vast orchards (nothing like tidy English gardens and greenhouses she was used to), where oranges were sprayed with water to keep them from freezing during cold snaps; nut trees of many types, with fragrant flowers perfuming the air as she flew on her broom over them. She really loved the pale-purple flowers of the sesame plant -- she learned that the oils extracted from the tiny seeds were commonly made into margarine or a condiment.

She came across this salad in many restaurants -- both Muggle and wizard -- everywhere. Being a conservationist by nature, she admired the use of local produce. It's just as well that she never found out that in the US, food is not always locally produced. Often, items are transported from across continents and oceans, even though the very same item is grown in the consumer's back yard!

    Apricot-Sesame Dressing
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 11 oz/ 300 g apricot nectar (approximate)
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
In a saucepan, combine cornstarch, garlic powder, and ginger and cook with stirring over medium-high heat. Stir in the apricot nectar, vinegar, honey, and oil and continue heating. Stir constantly till thickened. Add the sesame oil and seeds and cook another 2 minutes. Place in a lidded container (like a clean jelly or mayo jar) and chill. Shake before serving. Makes about 2 cups of dressing.

    Salad Assembly
  • about 1 lb/450 g fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and dried (bagged leaves are fine)
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • ¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • apricot sesame dressing
In a large bowl, place the leaves, oranges and almonds, and toss to distribute evenly. Just before serving, drizzle about half the jar of dressing over, or to taste. Feeds 8 to 10 as a salad course.

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Super Simple Trifle for a Busy Witch
Minerva McGonagall tends to spend her vacation time doing administrative work. She certainly deserves to take it easy, but it's not in her nature. As second in command to Headmaster Dumbledore, she could be called upon to take charge of the school at any time, in any capacity. As such, she often attended seminars, workshops, and conferences -- as well as festivals, Ministry business, criminal trials, and the onerous job of hiring new faculty! She was very, very busy witch, indeed.

Long ago, Professor McGonagall fretted about not having a special enough dish to bring to the faculty pot luck, for she never traveled to exotic locales for the culture. When she did go abroad, it was always for business, not for "refreshment" like her colleagues did. Eventually though, she realized she had nothing to be ashamed of -- she had a good, solid, simple recipe for a summer trifle. She brought it year after year without apology, and to her satisfaction, she always returned home with an empty bowl, and the new professors would always ask for her recipe!

  • 1 angel food cake, store-bought is fine
  • 3 oz box of vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 8 oz/225 g container of Cool Whip or whipped cream
  • 1 pineapple, skinned and cored, or a large can of pineapple chunks
  • 1 quart strawberries, hulled, sliced
Cut the Angel Food Cake into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Cut the pineapple and strawberries into bitesized pieces and add to the bowl. Prepare the pudding mix according to the package directions. Fold the prepared pudding into the Cool Whip, then pour it over the fruit and cake and mix well. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Back to the Menu: Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting

Over-Inflated Rice & Clam Casserole
Gilderoy Lockhart was hired to fill the ever-empty Professor of Dark Arts position, based on his reputation as a hunter of dark creatures and wizards, recounted in detail in his many best-selling books. As we now know, he was full of himself and had not told even part of the truth of his adventures and exploits. But the summer he arrived, the faculty was divided between those who rolled their eyes at having to sit through another of this colorful descriptions, and those who openly adored the man.

He brought a suitably flamboyant dish to the potluck faculty meeting, filled with what initially appeared to be many types of seafood. When asked about the recipe, he explained how he'd caught each creature, how he cooked each according to its temperament and environment, how he had obtained the sauce recipe from a secretive hermit who owed him gratitude for a daring rescue, how he gathered the rice from alligator-infested darkest Africa with the aid of Hottentots who's children he had saved, how the cheese was made from the milk of cashmere goats who had been possessed by the Devil, how the peppers came from a rare plant in Japan. It was pointed out to him that Africa had no alligators (just crocodiles), and that Hottentots don't raise rice, and that hermits aren't known for sophisticated sauce-making abilities, and why did it seem there were canned clams and no other seafood in this casserole (besides, clams were not known to be particularly evil or dangerous), and isn't this Cheddar cheese (why use goats from Kashmir when other goats give better and tastier milk), and did Japan actually have any native hot capsicum plants???

Lockhart smiled sympathetically, and simply told them he felt sorry for the complainers, who obviously knew so little of the world that their facts were based on heresay, and not REAL field experience! (Well, at least the casserole was good!)

  • 3 cups cooked rice, long-grain (leftovers are fine)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalopeño chilies, minced (canned is fine, be sure to drain these)
  • 1 cup cooked clams, chopped (canned is fine, keep the juice)
  • 1 cup heavy cream, or canned evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs, seasoned
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Heat the oven to 350°F/160°C. In a bowl, mix together the rice, onion and chilies. In another bowl, mix together the undrained clams and cream or milk. Place the rice mixture in a greased casserole, then pour over the clam mixture evenly. Sprinkle over with breadcrumbs and cheese. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Serves 8 as a side dish.

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Wolfsbane Honey and Berry Smoothies
Remus Lupin is an eminently qualified and likeable man, and was briefly Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwart's. It looked like the school would finally have a permanent teacher in that position, but as we know, it was not to be. The year he was hired, he came to the faculty meeting with chilly thermoses filled with a spiced yogurt and honey fruit smoothie. The staff oohed and aahed over the pastel-colored refreshing treats. Lupin explained he'd been traveling through "la prairie" -- or border area between the US and Canada -- recently, where he learned to make this refreshing drink from local berries. There were unusual native berries growing throughout, and he used lowbush blueberries from Maine, huckleberries from Oregon, marionberries from Michigan, saskatoons from Saskatchewan -- just saying the names evoked a sort of distinctive wildness to his drink. The sweet/tart taste was very refreshing.

Severus Snape, Professor of Potions, sniffed suspiciously at the purplish-pink concoction, and refused to sip any. He growled to his former classmate that the honey used to sweeten the drink contained wolfsbane pollen -- and all parts of the wolfbane plant are toxic to humans! How dare Lupin put them all at risk! Fortunately, Madame Pomfrey, the school nurse, interrupted and scolded Snape for not knowing that tiny amounts of wolfsbane pollen in honey might be stimulating their nerve endings a bit, but none of them would be in danger at all. She would have recommended that they not drink more than two or three tumbler-fulls to be safe, but while Snape had been grousing, the lucious potions had been consumed, and darn the consequences! Whatever happened, everyone agreed the "smoothies" were completely worth it.

(Snape used the wolfsbane honey when developing the potion he fed to Lupid to keep him harmless while the Dark Arts professor was forced to live in his wolf form ...)

  • 3 cups berries, frozen (blueberries, huckleberries, strawberries, etc. or a mixture is nice)
  • 2 cups sliced peached, frozen (canned is fine, too)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
In a bowl, combine the berries, peaches and milk. After they are well-mixed, add the yogurt, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. Half-fill a blender bowl with the mixture (you will have to do this in batches, as the average blender is not big enough). Pour into chilled tumblers. Yields 8 servings.

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Cloudlike Soufflé au Fleurine
Madame Hooche spent her summer holidays in France, researching the effect of the "mistrale" on flight and aerodynamics. Though the trans-continental wind blew in winter, it was a simple matter to just look at it's effects on the trees, rocks and the people. She was particularly interested in aeolian erosion, where small wind-lofted particles would weather rocks, pitting and wearing down the surface and occasionally creating caves and overhangs. She had heard there were examples of "air caves" in the mountains of France near the Mediterranean Sea, and she wanted to see them.

However, the caves turned out to not created by winds, but by tectonic movement of the earth's crust, which caused the collapse of the Combalou Mountains. The tumbling masses of rock resulted in pockets and caves throughout the region. She was disappointed but visited the caves anyway, and was told that the caves were cool, damp, and perfect for curing a unique cheese made from sheep's milk. The cheesemakers told her the sweet winds that entered the caves through the deep network of fleurines -- the "flowering cracks" -- which allowed the cave to "breath" and produce the fine, pungent cheese. So Madame Hooch had discovered something made by the wind, after all!

While in Roquefort, she ate the impressive local cheese in many guises, but this recipe was most impressive. A soufflé is nothing more than a custard held aloft by hot air -- much like a cloud. Treat that phenomenon with respect, and it's a hot, tender cloud, flavored with the best bleu cheese -- like the warm summer breezes of the French town where Madame Hooch finally found her air caves!

    Baking Pan Preparation
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup parmesan or other hard cheese, grated fine
Heat the oven to 350°F/160°C. These are nicest served in individual ramekins (straight-sided oven safe bowls, about 1 cup in size each), but two 2-quart soufflé dishes would work too. Whatever you use, grease with 2 tablespoons of softened butter, then sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese (like buttering and flouring a baking dish for cake baking). Set aside.

    Sauce Bechamel au Fromage Bleu
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk, heated
  • 8 egg yolks (8 eggs, separated, and keep the whites for later in this recipe)
  • 2 teaspoons powdered mustard
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1½ cups blue cheese or goat cheese, crumbled or chopped
Melt the butter in a round-bottomed sauce pan, if available (it's not for nothing this style of pan is called a saucier.) Add the flour, a ¼ cup at a time, with constant stirring -- you are making a roux. Cook till the flour is cooked and the mixture bubbles and thins out a bit. Add the hot milk and stir like mad, or use a whisk -- anything to prevent lumpy sauce. turn off the heat, then add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking between each addition. You are now making a custard. Season to taste with salt and better. Add the cheese, then stir to melt it through. Set aside to cool, and chill in the refrigerator.

Whip the whites and cream of tartar or salt in a clean, dry, room temperature bowl till soft peaks are formed. Place about a third of the beaten whites into the Sauce Bechamel and fold it in. Then carefully fold in the remainder of the egg whites. You don't want to lose the air in the whites, thus the gentle folding action.

Fill the dishes about ¾ of the way up, then place on a cookiesheet or flat pan and put into the middle of the oven. Cook till the soufflé is puffy and rises over the rim of the ramekins or baking dish. The soufflé should be browned and still jiggly in the center a bit. Don't overbake, don't slam the over door, etc. The whole point of this is to present a hot, puffy, cloud. Remember, your guests should wait for the soufflé, NOT the other way around! On cooling, the soufflé will collapse.

Back to the Menu: Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting

Disappearing Fruit Salad
Albus Dumbledore always looked composed, despite his full schedule. It was a wonder he could find the time to sleep; indeed, no one had ever observed him sleeping, so that was just conjecture that he partook in somnabulence. But he could be a bit forgetful from time to time, which frustrated him no end. It's not that he was growing old or senile -- it's just that every time he made this fruit salad, it tended to disappear before he knew it. Had HE eaten it? Or hadn't he?

At least when he brought this delicious bowl of fruit to the pot luck gathering for the faculty, he knew that he was not the only one eating it. He'd change the contents depending on what was ripe and looked good, and would even occasionally add dried, frozen, or canned fruit if it wasn't the right season for all the components. And quite frankly, he liked some canned versions of fruit better than their fresh brethren, anyway. (He got this idea from former headmaster, Armando Dippet.)

    Note: You can change/add/subtract as the season, your larder and your tastes dictate!
  • 2 pineapples cut into bite-sized chunks, or two large cans of pineapple bits, drained
  • 1 cantaloupe, chopped into bite-sized chunks or scooped out with a melon baller
  • 1 honeydew melon, chopped into bite-sized chunks or scooped out with the melon baler
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 4 cups seedless grapes, red or green
  • 2 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 4 peaches or nectarines, washed, unpeeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups strawberries, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 5 or kiwifruits, peeled, cut into slices or chunks
Mix all of the cut fruit in a large bowl and keep chilled till you're ready to serve. Feeds about 20!

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Fizzy Ginger Ade Potion
Severus Snape was a curious one -- if he wanted the Defense Against the Dark Arts position so badly, why didn't he simply apply for the job? Still, everyone agreed that he was certainly a talented and dedicated master of potions, dark arts or not. On his last holiday, he spent a lot of time all over Asia, digging up plants and splitting open animals in pursuit of the rare ingredients he'd need for his various potions and spells. He brought back trunks and trunks of rhizomes -- he probably had samples of every kind of ginger-type plant ever grown. His fellow faculty wondered why he needed so much of it, and were pleasantly surprised when he showed up with corked bottles of a spicy smelling substance -- was it ginger beer? No, not quite -- it wasn't alcoholic and the bottled didn't explode like ginger beer usually does; it didn't have that nasty yeasty flavor that most ginger beers have, but it still fizzed impressively. It was just like Snape to concoct something that the others couldn't figure out. Oh well, they decided, the potion was wondrous and the faculty enjoyed the refreshment, hoping Snape would never get around to applying for that Dark Arts position!

  • 6 oz/160 g fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 to 3 lemons or limes or oranges, or a mixture
  • 1 quart spring water or sparkling water or seltzer (depends if you want it fizzy, or flat)
Grate the ginger coarsely -- you can use a box grater or a food processor. (You can leave the skin on if you like, but I prefer to remove it before grating.) Put the ginger pulp into a bowl and sprinkle with brown sugar. Remove the rind from 2 of the citrus fruit (I like to use a vegetable peeler, but use a knife if you prefer and don't get any white pith), and put them in a pestle (the bowl part of a morter and pestle). Add a couple of tablespoons of ginger pulp, then pound the skins with the morter, but don't over-pound them -- you are not looking to make a slurpee. Dump the stuff in the pestle to the ginger, and mix very well. Squeeze the juice from the citrus into the bowl (pits are okay), then pour in the water. Stir and leave for about half an hour at room temperature. Adjust the flavorings by adding more sugar or lemon juice to change the sweetness. Filter through a sieve into a pitcher, in which you've dumped some ice to chill the drink. If you're that type, add sprigs of mint to garnish -- it's very pretty and adds a nice scent and flavor.

Back to the Menu: Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting

Dreamtime Fairy Cakes
Professor Flitwick spent his holiday in Australia, where he attracted children of every sort. The adults assumed it was his diminuitive size that was the cause of the children's fascination, but that wasn't so. It was because the professor was conversant with fairies -- tiny flying sprites who escaped detection by most -- but seen by very small children. His studies in levitation had become so deep that his collision with fairy folk became inevitable. In his conversations with them, he found out that they were responsible for the Aborigine perception of "Dreamtime," or the time before the world as we see it now was formed.

There is a beautiful, dainty looking cake baked in Australia that is a great favorite among children, called butterfly cakes, so named because the cupcakes were decorated with two half-round slices upended in the icing, making the cake look like it has wings. In actual fact, the cakes are the creation of fairies, as a reward to good children, and thus should actually be called Fairy Cakes. They explained how they determine which children are good in great detail to the professor, detailing how during Dreamtime they had "programmed" humans and beasts to behave the way they currently do. Unfortunately, he wasn't paying attention as well as he should have, because he was eating many of these lovely cakes -- they were so good! He did, however, come back to Hogwart's with the recipe, and the faculty clapped their hands with glee to see the tray of little iced, decorated cakes, one for each of them!

  • ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar (not powdered, use regular granulated white sugar if you can't get superfine or castor sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
Heat the oven to 350°F/160°C. Cream together the margarine or margarine with the sugar. Beat in eggs into the butter mixture, one at a time, combining very well. Stir in the milk. In a separate bowl, mix or sieve together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.

Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners (kids love this, and it saves you greasing the muffin pan!). Fill the pans about ½ to ¾ full. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes till they cakes are golden brown in color and when a skewer or toothpick placed in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack. (It will be easy to remove these from the muffin pan wells.)

    Buttercream Frosting
  • 4 oz/125 g butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 oz/125 g powdered sugar, sieved
Beat together the butter and sugar, then add vanilla extract and beat again.

  • cupcakes
  • buttercream frosting
  • strawberry jam (or other jam will do, as you prefer)
  • colored sugar crystals or sprinkles
When the cakes are cooled, slice off the top (not a big bit, a thin one is better) and cut each top in half-circles. These will make the butterfly (or fairy) wings. Spoon a bit of jam and icing onto the cut surface, then insert the cake slices at an angle (look at the drawing) to make it look like the cupcake has wings. Decorate with sprinkles or sugar crystals.

Note: If you do need to store them for any length of time, put them into an airtight container, and try to keep them upright. But they are best eaten soon after being made.

Back to the Menu: Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting

Fountain of Youth Oracle Juice
Sybil Trelawny spends her holidays at the Fountain of Youth. Spanish explorer and wizard Ponce de Léon tried to find the Fountain in Florida, but that's not where he found it. It's actually to the east, and slightly to the south ... Ever wonder about the Bermuda Triangle? The famed youth-giving spout is at it's center, several leagues below the ocean. With spells similar to those that protect Hogwart's from accidental discovery, the Fountain is surrounded by powerful spells; to assure it is not discovered, anyone stumbling on it is sucked into it's invisible vortex and is never seen again.

The fountain is more than just a youth formula dispenser -- it's also a portal toward "enlightenment." Some talented diviners claim the future can be discerned, courtesy of the souls of all those who were lost part of their pasts and futures in exchange for a draught. Léon himself drank the waters and remained eternally youthful, but lost his memories. Diviners in the presence of what was called "The Oracle" often got lost in trances and might not consume anything. Those who gained permission to enter the meditation chamber had to be reminded to eat now and again -- but nothing too heavy. Rich, caloric foods distracted the diviners, pulling blood from their brains to their bellies. This cold potion has less than 150 calories per serving, but it's sustaining and refreshing, and doesn't have a single drop of liquid water from the Fountain in it. Serious Diviners never touched that water, despite it's benefits. However, it's known that Professor Trelawny once gave in to a bit of vanity and did use some drops of the Fountain's water. While she gave her report, the other faculty sipped the guilt-free concoction she'd brought back, and all wondered that if this "juice" was perhaps the reason why Professor Trelawny is so thin and so air-headed?

  • 1 cup cantaloupe or honeydew or water melon, cubed
  • pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup lemon or orange or melon sorbet
  • 1 teaspoon frozen orange, lemon or lime juice concentrate
  • 2 to 4 large ice cubes
Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend till its smooth and thick. Pour into a glass. This is one serving.

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Grilled Mushroom and Tomato Bruschetta
Professor Alastor Moody made people nervous, not only because of his non-enchantable eye (thus his nickname, "Mad-Eye"), but also because he frankly didn't trust others. He carried a trunk with many chambers of various size and properties, including rooms he could even live in for periods of time, rather than partaking of more traditional accomodations. He wouldn't stand in a crowd, inspected rooms and furniture before he sat down in them, and most of all, he wouldn't consume food or drink prepared for him by others. He wouldn't even cook food he didn't somehow procure himself or by some trusted source.

In his trunk, he actually grew mushrooms -- the dark environment was ideal -- and carried a hibachi grill with him. He also grew some herbs and vegetables, and always had some oil on hand he had procured from Greece; he had helped plant the trees and personally watched the fruit being cold-pressed into oil for him. He also baked his own particular bread, which he called 'crust.' Moody preferred a thin, crusty bread, baked on the same hibachi -- the less soft white crumb, the less likely something would be hidden within. He also used a sourdough yeast starter, milled his own flour, etc. He even researched and visited particular Muggle dairy farmers for the way they raised and fed their cows, so he could procured untainted milk and cheese -- the better to protect himself from edible spells and charms! (You cook the "crust" in an oven -- it's much nicer that way! Mad-Eye would have too, but he didn't have an oven in his trunk. Actually, it'd be simpler if you just trust your bread purveyor and BUY it!)

Whatever the man's paranoia and quirks, his char-grilled mushrooms and tomatoes on crusty bread was very tasty indeed. True to form, Moody ate only his dish at the faculty pot-luck, but generously made enough for everyone else, too.

    Grilled Mushrooms
  • 1 lb large, flat mushroom caps -- portobellos or "stuffing" white mushrooms are good
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • lemon juice, or basalmic vinegar, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons green herbs, minced (parsley, thyme are good)
  • 1 lb/450 g ripe tomatoes, diced
  • additional salt, to taste
Heat the grill so it's nicely hot. If the skin of the mushroom is tough, peel it. Remove any stem. Rub the mushrooms with oil, salt and pepper, then place on the grill, top down, for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn over and cook on the other side till tender. Season with lemon juice or vinegar, and herbs.

To make the "Salsa":
Chop up the mushrooms with an equal quantity of chopped tomatoes and mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Grilled Bread
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted(1 stick)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (sweet or hot, your preference)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried is fine
  • ½ teaspoon cumin, ground
  • sourdough bread loaf, or Italian bread, sliced ½ inch thick
Cook the butter and garlic together till the garlic is softened and just starting to go a bit brown (don't let it brown too much, or it will go bitter and gross). Add the paprika, oregano and cumin. Keep this mixture melted while you are heating up the grill. Using a pastry brush, brush one side of each slice of bread, and place on the hot grill. Watch it carefully to prevent it from burning. When it gets crispy and has some nice charmarks on it, put aside, charred side up.

  • grilled bread
  • mushrooms and fresh tomato salad
Pile a tablespoon or so of salsa on the bread, and serve one per person. Feeds about a dozen or so.

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Warm German Potato Salad, Grown Cold
Madame Pince is the librarian of Hogwart's, and seemed to fit the profession's stereotype -- she seemed to be a stern, humorless spinster. No one suspected that over the summers, the strict witch had had a torrid love affair with a visiting German wizard. Concerned with preserving her image, Pince would only meet her paramour in the Restricted Section of the library, so no one would observe the two "visiting" with one another. (To her blushing embarassment, some of the books whistled and hooted whenever she came in alone, having witnessed this little tryst.)

Alas, poor Madame Pince eventually found that her lover was untrue -- he was a married man, with many children at home! Discovering him to be a cad, she enchanted the library so that he could not come to see her there, and refused to enter -- or let others access -- the now forbidden Restricted Section for a long, long time. She not only couldn't bear to be where the adulterous affair had taken place, but the teasing by the boks was completely delibitating to her. Fortunately, she had her stern reputation to protect her, and no one questioned why the Restricted Section had suddenly become forbidden.

He wrote to her, begging forgiveness, but she ignored his pleas, destroying his notes without even reading them -- except for one. He had told her about a delicious German potato salad, so much different from the ones he'd tasted in England. He had promised her the recipe, but had never delivered; he hoped by sending it to her, she would at least talk to him again? He clearly labeled the note: "Recipe for My Darling Fraulein" so she wouldn't destroy it.

But the masher had obviously did not understand the depth of Madame Pince's hurt. She did keep the recipe, but tore everything else up. And she was decidedly close-mouthed about from where she had gotten this delicious formula when she brought the dish to the faculty meeting. During her turn to report, she simply explained that it was supposed to be served warm, but it had "grown cold."

  • 5 pounds small red potatoes (about 2 inches in diameter), washed well
  • 20 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (about 1 pound)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth (canned is fine, or make from boullion cube or powder)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves plus extra for garnish
Put the potatoes into a large saucepan and add water to cover them by one inch. Add salt and simmer until just tender, about 20 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, in a medium heavy skillet cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring often, until browned and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, place the bacon on paper towels to drain. (Alternatively, you can put the bacon in a pan and place in the oven, but you'd still need to stir so it doesn't all stick together when cooked.) Save the grease in the skillet.

When the potatoes are soft (run a fork or skewer through it to test) drain them and let stand in the colander. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut potatoes into wedges (eighths) and in a bowl, combine them with the fried bacon. Keep the mixture warm by covering with foil, or a lid.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat from skillet and sautÉ onion with stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, half the vinegar, and the broth and simmer 2 minutes. Add the onions to the warm potatoes, then toss gently with the parsley and remaining vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve potato salad warm or at room temperature, and garnish with more parsley if you like. Feeds about a dozen people. Great for a picnic, since it doesn't contain mayonnaise!

Back to the Menu: Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting

Positively Antarctic Gazpacho With Ice Cubes
Professor Quirrell was said to have encountered vampires in Albania, and the experience broke his spirit. He ever after had an odd odor about him, and people attributed it to the garlic he stuffed in his turban to protect him from the blood-hungry undead creatures. Of course, we all know that this was not really the case, and that smell was the essence of none other than the former Tom Riddle, the darkest wizard ever known. But Quirrell let the tongues wag, and even acted meek and nervous, to propagate that tale.

The year of Quirrell's final faculty meeting, he brought a garlic-laced Andalusian soup. It had been very hot that summer, so he put in ice cubes to chill the soup further. He even put in a few shots of vodka, to help loosen the mood; in truth, he needed a few shots himself, having acquired the parasitic soul of his dark master on his personal self. The other faculty all commented on the spicy richness of the soup -- the ice cubes were the perfect counterpoint, so refreshing, and the perfect appetizer for a picnic! One of his colleagues referred to the soup as "positive antarctic" and the name stuck. As he nervously gave out the recipe, he prayed he would not be discovered before his master could acquire a body of his own ...

  • a handful of fresh herbs (a mixture is nice, but use what you can get -- they must be fresh: parsley, thyme, tarragon, basil, etc.)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon, juice (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 sweet onion, minced
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs -- soft white crumbs are nicest
In a food processor or mortar, grind together the herbs, garlic, pepper and tomatoes. Whisking well, add the oil slowly (it's a bit like making mayonnaise). Beat in the lemon juice. Beat in the cold water, then stir in the onion, cucumber and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill for four hours. To serve a crowd on a hot day, put an ice cube in the bottom of a mug, then ladle the cold soup over it. Serves 4 bowls, or 6 to 8 mugs.

Back to the Menu: Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting

Strawberry Congealed Salad in Layers
Given Poppy Pomfrey's profession, she can be forgiven for bringing sickroom food to any pot luck party. She can be forgiven for having some awful names for her recipes, too. But truth be told, she was a sensitive healer and tried very hard to make her dishes comforting as well as healing and restorative. And it can't be anything if the patient doesn't eat it, right?

She spent time in war-torn Boznia-Hertzegovina helping out, but primarily, she was interested in learning as much as she could about healing traumatic stress. The Tri-Wizard Tournament was coming up, and she knew the chosen candidates and their supporters and staff would be stressed. In addition, jealousy and ill-will can infect classmates.

She met American soldiers assigned to "peacekeeping" missions. They were from the Deep South who told her that when the tensions ran too high, some liked crunchy, hard foods they could chomp and noisily destroy. But for real comfort, they went for jiggly, soft, melty jello with fruit chilled right inside. To be patriotic, they sometimes used blueberries for a red, white and blue effect, if they could get them. But usually, they went for frozen and canned and dried provisions which kept well.

The only thing regrettable was the name. The school nurse reported that the young men and women told her that back home, "Jello molds" are called "congealed salads." Despite the name, the faculty raved over this recipe.

  • 1 packet strawberry gelatin dessert (Jello), 6 oz/175 g
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 lb/450 g frozen strawberries, undrained
  • 1¼lb/600g can pineapple pieces, drained (optional)
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (optional)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or 2 packets artificial sweetener
Mix Jello and water and let cool. Add mashed bananas, pineapple, and undrained, still-frozen strawberries. Pour half the mixture into 13" x 9" x 2" pan (like a lasagne pan) and chill 30 - 45 minutes in the refrigerator. Mix the sugar into the sour cream then spread the mixture over the first Jello layer. (*Note: If you are watching your calories, you may use any artificial sweetener in the sour cream because this layer does not get heated or cooked.) Add the remaining fruit and Jello mixture, chill until firm, and cut into squares.

Serves one greedy gut ;) -- or 8 to 10 reasonable humans!

Back to the Menu: Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting

Mama's Cabbage and Apples
Igor Karkaroff is headmaster of Durmstrang School, and in preparation for the Tri-Wizard Tournament, he and Beauxbatons headmistress Olympe Maxime attended the Hogwart's faculty meeting over the summer. They hadn't been warned about the pot luck party, since they were guests of the school, and they weren't meant to bring anything. But Karkaroff caught wind of the tradition and insisted on bringing one of his mother's famous cabbage dishes. He promised that unlike the others, this was was good! What's better, there was nothing "exotic" about it, so he could bring it with confidence.

Fortunately, it really was a good recipe, and everyone commented how well it went with the meats and main courses provided by the house elves. In addition, it's a nice, scary purply color, not a bad thing to feed stubborn children. (None of the faculty wanted to imagine Karkaroff as a child, though. It was commented that they were surprised he had a mother -- they had more or less assumed he's been hatched or something ...)

  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, chopped (tart apples are best, never use red delicious for cooking)
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • ½ teaspoon caraway, fennel or dill seeds
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 head red cabbage, shredded/sliced
  • juice of one lemon, to taste
Heat the butter in a large pot, then add the apple pieces and sauté till browned slightly. Carefull add the cider (adding it too fast might cause the fat to spatter, never a good thing), seeds, salt and pepper. Stir well, then add cabbage and toss to coat with the liquids. Cover the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes. Correct the seasoning -- add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Serves 4 liberally.

Back to the Menu: Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting

Half-Giant Strawberries in Chocolate Cloaks
Like Karkaroff, Madame Olympe Maxime came to Hogwart's the summer before the Tri-Wizard Tournament to discuss matters that pertained to the education of her charges at Beauxbatons. Also like her Durmstrang colleague, she was unaware of the tradition of the pot luck faculty meeting. Groundskeeper Rubeus Hagrid mentioned it while showing her to her rooms, where she would stay for the week of her visit. Panicked despite Hagrid's assurances that a contribution was not expected since she was a guest, she desperately tried to think of something she could bring.

On such short notice, she really didn't have many options. She always traveled with a stash of chocolate -- she found it soothed her temper if she felt she was going to be angry -- and she decided to make use of it now. But what to do with it? She knew the English countryside grew very nice strawberries, but the season for them had passed. She thought about dispatching an owl to a grower she knew in South America, who specialized in cultivating fruits for off-season consumption in the northern hemisphere. Her friend grew especially large specimens, which appealed to Madame Maxime (who was often called "big-boned" but in fact was genetically half-giant).

The return owls showed up as she finished her preparations, with several containers of large, perfect berries, hulls still intact. Quickly dipping them in the melted chocolate, she had only minutes to spare to the meeting! Worried that the owls would not return in time, Maxime had thought to procure some cherries, grapes, apricots and apples as well, but didn't need to, after all. The resulting "frais en chemises" were so charming and so delicious, everyone at the gathering groaned with delight and marveled at her cleverness and skills. The dish became an instant favorite!

  • 12 oz/325 g semisweet chocolate pieces (baking chips are fine)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • about a pound of strawberries, (try not to get them too big, you want to try and keep theb "bite size") with hulls intact, washed and dried (just use a salad spinner and a paper towel -- they MUST be dry, or the chocolate won't stick to them)
Line a cookie sheet,or a 9" X 13" pan with wax paper. If you don't have wax paper, use some aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Place the chocolate in a 2-quart glass bowl, with the butter in the middle; the butter will make the chocolate go all glossy. Cook on medium power for 2 minutes, then stir. NOTE: The chocolate may not look melted, but may be inside. As you stir, it will smoothen up. If it doesn't, cook again on medium power for 30 seconds to 1 minute more, stirring every 30 seconds until all melted and smooth.

When the chocolate is smooth and liquid, hold a strawberry by the stalk or it's leaves, and dip into the chocolate. Twirling helps to coat the chocolate all over, but don't worry if you don't cover the whole berry -- just a bit is fine if that's what you prefer. Place hull side down on (so to not spoil the coating you just worked so hard to achieve) on your lined surface. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up the coating. Eat as many as possible, and try to share... In our place, it serves one little piggy, but as a luxurious dessert, should feed 4 to 8.

Back to the Menu: Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting

Rather Clever Double Crusted Fruit Pie
Former headmaster Armando Dippet actually initiated these ice-breaker pot luck meetings. It was a very nice way of receiving the reports from teachers concerning their activities over the summer. He was also a gourmand and accomplished amateur cook, and enjoyed hearing about foreign climes and the dishes that his staff tasted and experienced. Like Dumbledore, Dippet did not have the time to travel in a leisurely or academic manner, so this was his way of having the teachers bring the world to him.

He always brought a juicy fruit pie, and everyone marveled that his crusts were never soggy, and that he seemed to be able to conjure one up in very little time. In truth, he was always prepared -- he kept frozen pie crusts (made with pure vegetable oil and bought by the dozen from a Muggle supermarket) and kept a stock of canned and fresh fruits especially for pie making. He'd make a cooked filling, so that all the cooking wouldn't all take place in the oven. No one could say Headmaster Dippet was ever unprepared, and everyone does love a nice two-crusted pie. How did no one discover his deception? He always baked and served the pies in his mother's celtic stoneware, and since people eat with their eyes before their mouths, they were convinced the homey crockery contained completely homemade concoctions!

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 apples, peeled, chopped
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 whole nutmeg, grated
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup maraschino cherry juice or reserved syrup from peaches
  • 4 cans peaches in syrup, drained, chopped (juice reserved) (60 oz/1½ kg total)
  • 4 pie crusts (store-bought and frozen is fine, or homemade if you prefer)
Heat the oven to 400°F/185°C. Thaw the pie crusts.

Melt the butter in a large pot. Sauté the apples till softened, then sprinkle over with flour, and add nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar. Stir and keep an eye on everything. Cook till the flour isn't raw anymore, about 3 minutes. Add the cherry juice and peaches. Keep stirring till it's all thickened, adding more peach juice as needed.

Pour the hot filling into two of the pie crusts. Turn the other two thawed crusts upside down over the pies, to form a top crust. Using a fork, crimp the edges together. Cut slits into the top crust to let out steam and to make it decorative. (Alternatively, you can turn the crust out onto a floured surface, cut it into strips, and weave a lattice top crust. Crimp with a fork, see the illustration.)

Place pies on a foil-lined cookie sheet (to catch drips) and put into the middle of the oven for about 30 to 45 minutes, till the crust is browned and the filling is bubbling.

Cool on racks and serve the pies at room temperature or slightly warm, with whipped cream or ice cream. Or it's nice on it's own. Makes two pies, serves 16 slices.

Back to the Menu: Hogwart's Mid-Summer Pot Luck Faculty Meeting

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