CTA Translators Celebrate Summer at the Pool

potluck panorama food

By Marion Rhodes, CTA Social Media Coordinator
and Thais Lips, CTA President

Thank you to everyone who came to our Summer Pool Party in Centennial. We had a group of about 25 translators and their family members, and it was very nice getting to know our colleagues on a more personal basis. Everyone was asked to bring a dish from his or her favorite country, which turned this picnic into a truly cross-cultural potluck. We got to sample Brazilian hot dogs, Spanish egg omelets, German pumpernickel bread, Russian cabbage rolls, Colombian arroz con pollo, Dutch stroopwafles, Chinese dumplings and other goodies. Mery Molenaar also brought a set of Viking Kubb, a simple lawn game for all ages that had several of our members trying to knock over wooden blocks by throwing wooden batons at them.

If you missed the party, don’t worry: We have attempted to gather as many of the recipes as possible from our attendees, so you can try your hand at some international fare at home. If you were at the party and your recipe is not included here, please post it in the comments or email it to me at gro.bew-atc@rotanidroocaidem.


PicMonkey Collage


potluck truffles

Brigadeiro is known in English as Brazilian Truffles. According to Thais Lips, in Brazil, a party is not a party if there are no Brigadeiros, especially children’s parties. “It is an easy recipe if you get the right point to roll them on without sticking in your hands,” Thais explains. “For me, it is a lifetime expertise, because I used to help my great grandmother to roll them up for my birthday parties.”

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
4 full tablespoons of Nesquick
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of honey, maple or agave syrup
Butter to spread on your hands
Sugar in a plate to rub in

Mix all ingredients together in a pan and cook in medium heat for about 20 minutes. Stir often; don’t stop stirring after it is boiling. It is ready when the mix sort of stirs altogether and you start seeing the bottom of the pan.

Let it cool down for several hours before you start rolling them up. I prefer to wait until the next day, it makes rolling much easier.

Rub in butter in your hands and, with a teaspoon, get morsels of the truffle mix and start rolling them up. Rub the truffles in sugar and place them in a doily on a plate. You can make them a few days in advance and keep them refrigerated.


potluck hotdogs

With her Brazilian hotdogs, Thais brought an international twist to a popular potluck staple. Thanks to the sauce, these hot dogs don’t require any additional toppings such as ketchup or mustard.

12 wieners
¼ cup of olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper
3 minced garlic cloves
6 fresh soft tomatoes
1 tablespoon of dried tomatoes
¼ cup ketchup
12 hotdog buns

Caramelize the onions in olive oil; add the garlic and the bell peppers. Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes in the blender and add to the sizzling onions. Add the wieners and cook for up to 15 minutes. Serve the hotdogs in a bun with lots of sauce.


potluck espanola

In Spain, Rachel Sinn says, these Spanish egg omelets are omnipresent. Whether you’re invited into someone’s home, going to a bar, or hitting up a street vendor, you’re likely to encounter Tortilla Espanola at some point during your stay in Spain.

6 eggs
2-3 potatoes, thinly sliced
Yellow onion
Olive oil
Additions: You can use chorizo, mushrooms, peppers, really anything

Slice the potatoes cross-wise so they form thin discs (like you would make potato chips, but a bit thicker). Dice the onion. Add plenty of oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and onions. Oil should coat everything very well, there is no such thing as too much oil here. Cook until potatoes are soft, which will depend on how thick you cut them.

Beat eggs in a small bowl. In a separate, smaller skillet (8 inch or smaller works well), heat oil over medium-low heat. Add potato and onion mixture. Add beaten egg, and press any pieces of potato sticking up down into the mixture. Let cook until bottom is slightly browned and the top is slightly congealed, not runny. If the top is not cooking as fast as you want, you can use a lid to speed up the process. When ready, carefully slide a flat plate over the top of the skillet. Move to sink, and flip! Pull skillet away so just tortilla is on the plate. Then replace skillet on stove and slide tortilla back in to cook the other side. Cook for a few more minutes. Better if the middle is still slightly runny/soft.

You’re done!

*Note: the size of the skillet makes a difference for the egg part because it lends the dish its signature shape.


Instead of a German dish, Kathy DiCenzo brought a dessert from the deep south, a rich and creamy buttermilk pie from her “other favorite ‘country’… New Orleans.” The recipe comes from the famous The Cabin Restaurant in Burnside, Louisiana.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 oz melted butter
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk

Mix the first seven ingredients on slow speed until well blended and uniform. Add the buttermilk and mix well. Pour into an unbaked 9″ pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until set and brown on top.


potluck boterkoek

This delicious, soft butter cake was brought by two of our members, Maria van der Heijde-Zomerdijk and Mery Molenaar. But, as Mery pointed out, “You can never have too much buterkoek.” It is a common treat in the Netherlands, where it is usually served with a cup of hot coffee. Below is Maria’s recipe.

2 cups (250 grams) flour
2 sticks (225 grams) unsalted butter, cold
2/3 cup (150 grams) sugar
pinch of salt
grated rind of one lemon
1 tablespoon milk or cream
(candied ginger in syrup, or sliced almonds)

Combine flour, sugar, salt and lemon rind and cut the cold butter with two knives in little
pieces. (I use the Cuisenart for this step.) Knead it all with cool hands to a ball. Press the
ball in an 8 inch round baking pan. (I use a special baking pan with a contraption on it
that slides under the cake to cut it loose from the bottom.) Flatten the top with your hands
and brush with milk. Score a diamond pattern in the top with a paring knife, and decorate
(if you wish) the top with sliced candied ginger in syrup. (This is not so easy to find,
you can also just not decorate the top. Sometimes oriental stores stock it.) You can also
sprinkle slices almonds on the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Add a couple of minutes of top is not browned.

When you take the pan out of the oven, press the top of the cake down with the back of
a spoon. Let cool. Take the cake out of the pan before the butter completely solidifies,
otherwise it gets difficult to get it out.


potluck linzertorte

My contribution to the party was Linzer Torte, a nutty cake topped with red currant jam or plum butter and adorned with a lattice design made of narrow strips of dough. It is common throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. When I grew up, there was hardly a holiday without someone bringing a homemade Linzer Torte. To me, it is the perfect cake – not too sweet, not too dry, and above all: easy to make! The oldest known recipe for Linzer Torte dates back to the 17th century, making this one of the oldest cakes in the world. This is my mom’s recipe, and in true European fashion, it requires a kitchen scale:

200 g unsalted butter
200 g sugar
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 tablespoons schnapps (I used cherry schnapps)
½ teaspoon baking powder
200 g ground hazelnuts (or almonds)
250 g flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
Plum butter or red currant jam for the topping (I’ve also used grape jelly or lingonberry preserves in a pinch)

Beat the butter, sugar and egg until creamy, then add the rest of the ingredients one by one. Mix well, then use about 3/4 of the dough to line a greased baking pan. Spread plum butter or other topping on top of the dough. Using the rest of the dough, arrange thin strips in a lattice design across the cake. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.