Friday, July 28, 2017

Rainbow Potluck! Eat the Rainbow!

It's the most colorful time of the year:
Double Rainbow Potluck! 

Next month, one of my beloved besties is moving all the way across the country. She is also one of the founding members of our glorious annual Rainbow Potluck. We usually hold our rainbow potluck in late summer, but this year we decided to push it up a bit, so that we could squeeze in one more potluck together. We had almost everyone there* and it was really a wonderful gathering. Each year our food gets better and our friendships deepen, and it just gets better and better. 

In case you don't already know about the annual Double Rainbow Potluck, it is a very special event, in which we collectively aim to prepare both a savory dish and a sweet dish from all six colors of the rainbow. Colorfulness should be achieved primarily with plants (not just by adding food coloring), but of course creativity is allowed and rules are meant to be broken! We all sign up ahead of time for the dishes we want to make, and then it's off to the races! 

(*We missed you Alana, Jake, Enzo and Kendra!!!)

Red Savory: Flatbreads featuring Tomatoes and Bell Peppers
(gluten-y and gluten-free varieties)

Our pal Nikki staked her claim to Red Savory and Red Sweet this year! For the savory dish, she made these beautiful and delicious little flatbreads. After I took this picture, we cut them into little pizza slices, and I'll admit that I went back for seconds. Such a wonderful combo: pizza crust + fresh tomatoes = heaven on earth. Also, those beautiful and perfect cherry tomatoes were from her garden. What a treat!! 

Red Sweet: Plum Compote (and Plum Syrup to be mixed with Fizzy Water) 

For Red Sweet, Nikki made this lovely and perfectly simple Plum Compote. Plums have a natural tartness and they were just perfect cooked with a bit of sugar. They were so delicious. It's fun having the Rainbow Potluck a bit earlier in the year than we usually have it because we had different produce to choose from! 

Orange Savory: Orange Tacos!

I signed up for Orange Savory. Sophia and I were fondly remembering the year when I made all-green tacos, and I decided to try again, this time with All-Orange Tacos. They were so fun to make and were super tasty. I mean, really, it's hard to go wrong with tacos! Here's what I put in them:

orange taco fixin's
I know it mostly looks yellow, but just pretend with me, okay?! 

For orange tacos, I made homemade tortillas, and made the masa orange-y by adding tomato paste and some rehydrated sundried tomatoes. I thought it would be easier to dye the tortillas orange with some annatto and chili powder, but those ingredients just disappeared into the tortilla batter. The tomatoes did the trick! I also made: homemade pico de gallo salsa using orange tomatoes, the sweet-potato-based Nacho Cheeze Sauce from DIY Vegan, roasted orange bell peppers, and the Cauliflower Taco Crumbles from "The Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Substitutions." I love those Cauliflower Crumbles so much! They are spicy and flavorful and delicious! To make them more orange-y and more flavorful, I used some annatto oil instead of regular olive oil. 

I was super happy with how my orange tacos turned out! 

Don't color-police us! We call this yellow! 

For Yellow Savory, Sophia made a Polenta Tart with Tomatoes, Summer Squash and Meyer Lemon. She is always a creative cook, and this pizza/tart creation was so good - she used baked polenta as the crust, put on some homemade cashew cheese, and then the veggies on top. The cheese had a great tangy funk to it (in all the right ways!) and was so good with the bright acid from the heirloom tomatoes. 

color police are not invited to the potluck

bowl of flavorful goodness

We had two solid contributions for Green Savory, both from Kenan. First he made this huge batch of Turkish Green Beans (even served in a beautiful green dish). They were so perfectly seasoned (enough to make them interesting and special, but not to take over or dominate the natural goodness of a green bean!). He just got home from 9 months in Turkey, so it was extra lovely that he brought a Turkish dish to share with us! 

you gotta have salad! 

It's generally a good idea to have a nice Green Salad at a potluck, and I was so glad that Kenan brought an extra Green Savory salad - it was so good: baby salad greens, avocado, broccoli, and a few other green goodies. A proper potluck is an indulgent affair, and it feels morally good to get in a good serving of salad at the same time. This salad was also super delicious and I went back for seconds! 

super special green drinks

Hannae signed up for Green Sweet and brought this Tonic with Cucumber, Mint, and Gallia Melon. Hannae is seriously gifted in art of tonics with fruits and veggies and fresh herbs, and I always love her concoctions. She also brought along a big bottle of fizzy water to mix with it. So lovely and refreshing. I gotta remember to make more special drinks like this! 


oh ho! What's this??

Blue is always the hardest potluck color. There just aren't many (any?) naturally blue foods. I mean, we all know what "blue corn" looks like, and let's just say it's not bright blue. Many years ago, Max mentioned some fancy blue flowers that you could order from Thailand that would turn things blue... but the shipping took months and we never got it together to try. UNTIL THIS YEAR.

I have been following some blue pea flower companies on Instagram, and finally made a purchase on Amazon - I went for the flowers themselves (which are used for tea, and for dying foods blue naturally), and I found a brand that wasn't prohibitively expensive, and that would arrive relatively quickly. And so it came to pass that we have our finest submissions ever in the blue category!!


For Blue Savory, Max made this absolutely beautiful and super-delicious Homemade Blue Pasta! On top was a simple and perfectly summery mix of fresh basil lightly sauteed with garlic in olive oil. Oh man, this pasta was so fantastic. This picture doesn't really show how blue it was. It was bluer than this, and you couldn't taste the flavor of the flowers at all - it was just delicious, toothsome fresh pasta. What a treat! And so fun to eat! 

Check that blue biz out!

For Blue Sweet, I made Blueberry Sticky Rice - basically I followed the instructions for Mango Sticky rice, but I used my blue flowers to dye the coconut milk mixture blue, and then I used blueberries instead of mango! I had seen some pictures of blue rice online and it was just kinda blue and also kinda grey. I did not want that. I wanted BLUE. 

You guys, this picture is totally what these sticky rices looked like! And they were so good! I was quite chuffed with my creation. Blue dreams do come true! 

These are the flowers I bought to dye our food blue. You really don't need too many to get a super, super blue effect. So, I have lots left, which means that I can continue to experiment with the joys and oddity of blue food! I'll probably try some as tea too, because it seems like they have a nice aroma on their own. 

I'm sorry to be "one of those bloggers" but I am going to make you look at another picture of my blue sticky rice because I am so very pleased with myself. Can you believe that this is actually what they looked like??? I swear to you, this is not a filter! It was actually kind of alarming and weird to eat something so blue.

my favorite color always and forever

fading traces of purpleness

For Purple Savory, Max made Purple Green Beans sauteed with Red Onions. When he bought these at the farmers market, they were deep purple. Isn't it odd how purple beans turn green when you cook them?? So I took this picture as soon as I got to the potluck and you can see that many of the beans still have a touch of purpleness... but by the end of the evening, they were mostly all green. Science! Either way, it was a beautiful and delicious contribution to the meal, and I got some to take home with me too! 

Purple Sweet: Plum Bonbons

Sophia made these bonbons with plum jam (I think!?) and chocolate. They were soft and super, super plummy and actually quite tangy! You know how a plum can be quite tart? These bonbons somehow preserved that bright, tart experience of a fresh plum, along with the richness of chocolate. They were also soft and fun to eat! 

Purple Sweet: Lemonade with Beet and Lavender

One of the vendors at the farmers market has been selling this beautiful lemonade, and I decided to take a $5 splurge and buy some for the rainbow potluck. Oh man, it was so incredibly lovely and SO beautiful. I don't think these pictures do justice to the amazing color of this lemonade. As we were enjoying our potluck dinner, the warm summer light of the end-of-the-day was coming in the windows and our glasses of purple lemonade were *glowing* with color. It was pretty mind-blowing! Would drink again! 

rainbows are great 
and arranging things is rainbow order is also great and emotionally satisfying

Rainbow Desserts Plate:

Somehow I forgot to take a picture of my very colorful and jam-packed dinner plate, but I didn't forget the desserts. It's a good thing too, because there are two desserts here that I didn't get proper pictures of on their own:

Orange Sweet: Hannae made a very perfect and summery Peach Crisp. I had been thinking about fruit crisps, and how it had been too long... and then this showed up at the party! Perfect! A good peach crisp is truly one of life's joys and this was so delicious. She also brought along some Coconut Bliss Vanilla ice cream, because everyone knows that fruit crisp and ice cream are a match made in heaven... but guess what?...

For Yellow Sweet Sophia made Sweet Corn Ice Cream! How cool is that? (no pun intended). A long time ago, I tried to make corn ice cream and it wasn't a big hit or very successful, but of course Sophia's was amazing! And SO good with the peach cobbler!! What a lovely summer pairing. 

a blurry overhead shot of our beautiful, colorful, delicious feast! 
complete with rainbow socks!

Such a great potluck - beautiful and creative food, such a great array of flavors and colors and textures and fruits and veggies... definitely a wonderful way to celebrate the beauty and variety of nature's bounty, and of vegan food! And especially wonderful in the company of this excellent group of people who I love and admire! I hope you are also enjoying the glory of summer produce! 

Eat the Rainbow!!
my beloved rainbow pals


  1. I always love your rainbow potluck posts - such a great idea! That blue rice is seriously glowing. It is a little concerning, haha!

  2. I look forward to this post every year. And I am in awe of your blue!

  3. YES! I love the rainbow potluck! I am very excited by the blue sticky rice (genius!) and the corn ice cream. I had some corn ice cream in Thailand during the vegetarian festival a couple of years ago and it was some of the bet ice cream I've ever tasted. I loved it! The blue pasta is amazing too and the flatbreads and tarts are right up my street.

  4. I was hoping you were having another rainbow potluck this year! Wow, the blue sticky rice is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Nice to see the plum foods; I have seriously neglected the plum this year in favor nectarine everything.

  5. It's the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR! I love this post. Those blue sticky rice cakes look AH-MAY-ZING! So are the noodles. When I saw the first picture I assumed you just used regular old dye! Just a suggestion- maybe next year you can make purple basil lemonade? It makes a very pretty purple-y-pink drink.


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