Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympics Party

Last night we had a party to celebrate the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.

We had an international potluck - everyone was meant to bring an international dish. A "Potluck of Nations," if you will! Then, you were meant to pick a country to represent and wear your national colors. It was pretty fun, my grandpa even showed up in his Ghanaian shirt from when he was in the Peace Corp.

We had our own Olympic Competitions, complete with medals ceremonies:
Staring Contest, Thumb Wrestling, and Rock-Paper-Scissors.
The medals were Dutch Spice Cookies, edible of course!

I made Mujaddarah, following the recipe from "Healthy Hedonist." A simple, and delicious way to prepare lentils. I'll definitely make this again. It's basically brown basmati and brown lentils cooked together, with caramelized onions. YUM.

Jane & JP & Bella represented Italy and brought a giant platter of their **amazing** Cherokee tomatoes with pesto. They were quickly devoured.

The Italian delegates also brought a lovely pesto salad with broad beans and tomatoes from their farm. Note to self: invite Jane & JP & Bella to all future potlucks.

Here's the table as it was starting to fill up. We ended up really busting at the seams - food was on every flat surface! You can see my mom's Mexican Bean Salad in the foreground - I love that salad! Also, on the orange platter in the background, you see the little fried Yuca Cakes with Mango-Chipotle Sauce that I made from "Healthy Hedonist." DAMN those babies were good! And they disappeared before I could get a proper photo! The red-orange dip in the middle is Ajvar from Musty, representing Croatia.

With all successes, there are bound to be a few failures. I veganized a recipe for Kabbu Bamia, an Iraqi dumpling dish with okra. Everything seemed like it was going to turn out great, I was very optimistic! But the recipe was quite imprecise, so I knew from the beginning that it was a leap of faith. In the end, the dumplings were hideously gummy, so I fished them out and served the okra with the thick tomato sauce. Not the worst thing anyone's ever eaten, but I surely won't bother trying again either. Oddly though, my dad loved it.

Suzanne (an authentic Australian) and Greg brought cucumber sandwiches and Vegemite sandwiches. Whoa!

Aunt Sara was representing India, and brought a delicious pot of Red Lentil Dal.

I made a delicious batch of Chinese Almond-Sesame Cookies. Mmmmm.

These are the "Chickpeas with Charmoula" from "Healthy Hedonist" - really powerful flavors. Garlic, paprika, cilantro, parsley, cumin... smoky, pungent, and with a touch of heat. Very nice!

Yer basic Middle Eastern Salad.

One more stunning recipe from "Healthy Hedonist" - Turkish Tomato Salad. I'll definitely make this again, it was superb. Walnuts, olives, scallions, cherry toms, jalepeno, toasted walnuts, and a few other goodies - with a lovely pomegranate molasses dressing. Wow, what a decadent combination of flavors.

I know there are all sorts of political concerns about China and such, but I am a serious sucker for the Olympics. I completely love the Parade of Nations, and watching the tiny teams come from small countries in their beautiful native outfits... it's just such a lovely display of humanity and good will. And our party was lots of fun too!


  1. Coolest. Potluck. Ever. Period.

    That Cherokee tomato & pesto dish looks phenomenal - and those medal cookies are so fun!!

    I'm with you - despite the controversy surrounding this year's Olympic games, I'm still enjoying them!! :0)

  2. What a creative potluck!! All of the food looks delicious.... sounds like you represented quite a few countries there!

  3. What a cool idea for a potluck! I wish I would have gone to one!

    Ooh, the yuca cakes and the turkish salad would have gotten my gold medals. That Healthy Hedonist cook-book is jammed with great ideas.

    The only thing that wouldnt have made it to my plate is the vegemite sandwiches. I just can't bring myself to try it...

  4. this looks like so much fun! i went to an olympics potluck recently also, but the food was no where near as veg-friendly. anyhoo i have some questions for you.

    do you have a recipe for the Dutch Spice COokies?

    what is vegemite?


  5. That is so cool! The medal cookies are especially cute.

  6. Anonymous2:59 PM

    That's such a great idea! And all of the food looks fantastic.

  7. Anonymous8:31 PM

    Those edible medals are too cute! Now that's an award I'd love to win. :)

  8. What a cute idea! Leave it to a vegan blogger to turn the Olympics into an awesome potluck event. Now I wanna do it too!

  9. Anonymous11:52 AM

    I have never heard of an Olympics party, but you and your family sure know how to do one up right! I adore those medals and am amazed at all the different foods. I bet it was so much fun!

  10. Anonymous6:07 PM

    What a fun party. I love your olympic medal cookies. Weren't the opening ceremonies just amazing!
    Love, Carey

  11. I love the potluck idea, and everything looks so fresh and yummy!

  12. I LOVE that you had an Olympics potluck party! You've probably been to lots of those little countries, but aside from enjoying the events, I get a real geography and social studies lesson.

  13. The international food potluck is a great idea, and really the most positive thing that can come of the Olympics!

    Tofufreak, vegemite is a very important culinary element of Australian culture and identity. It's concentrated yeast extract -- absolutely packed with vitamin B, and great for vegans -- and I think it's made from beer tailings (but that could just be an urban myth). We feed it to our children from the moment they can eat solids, and if you ask an Australian what they miss most when living overseas they'll invariably say vegemite (unless they have a secret supplier). Apparently it's an acquired taste though, and perhaps you need to have been eating it from the cradle to enjoy it.

  14. This is SUCH a cool party idea! I love it! The food looks wonderful too. Amey, you are awesome!

  15. of course I had to jump straight to the cookies, which are totally smashing by the way. lovely spread!

  16. What a great idea! Everything looks so delicious! :-)

  17. I want to go to your next potluck! (Haha) Everything looks amazing. I love the Olympics, too. I also love your blog! :)

  18. The Turkish Tomato Salad looks amazing! Great colors.

  19. That is seriously the coolest potluck theme I've heard of. I would love to sample every single one of those dishes! What fun!

  20. Anonymous4:36 AM

    This was absolutely a gold medal winner for nifty potluck. What great friends you have to bring so many groovy dishes. I love this. All the people I know are omni's in this one horse town and most of them are terrible cooks too. Obviously I will have to move to where you are!

  21. That is such a great potluck idea! All of the food looks wonderful and you got to sample so many different types of cuisines.

  22. Awesome idea for a potluck! I love the cookie medals.


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