Monday, February 26, 2018

Biennial Olympics Party Fun!

Ice Dance Routine
Footie and Mr. VE&T are quite a skating team! 

special name tags:
which country are you representing?
what is your favorite winter Olympic sport? 

Are you an Olympics fan? I know there are all sorts of logistical reasons to be on a bummer with the Olympics, but I am a die-hard fan. I just love seeing people and faces from all around the world, all that training and discipline and perseverance, upsets and surprises, the whole biz! Every two years we throw a silly and festive Olympics party.

This is a party with rules (we know how to have fun, ha ha!). The rules are: 
 - Everyone who comes has to adopt a country to represent
and then bring a dish from that country's cuisine to the potluck
Bonus points of recognition are awarded for wearing national colors or traditional attire
Silly games will be played, so you must be up for silliness! 

doggie snowboard cross!

My dad, representing Ghana, came up with an amazing dish - Ghanaian street food called Kelewele. These are plantains tossed with spices, fried, and served with peanuts. They were unlike anything I've had before and they were very good!! 

As you can see, my dad also got Bonus Points for wearing a Ghanaian shirt! My mom's parents lived in Ghana for a couple years while serving in the Peace Corps, back in the 1970s. My grandma was a very gifted seamstress and brought home loads of gorgeous fabrics. I don't know for sure, but I suspect she must have made this shirt for my grandpa. The fabric is so amazing! 

Mr VE&T always likes to represent Croatia (his heritage), so he brought two delicious Croatian spreads: Ajvar and Pinjur. They both have a roasted red pepper base, but the pinjur also has eggplant in it. If you have an international market near you, you should be able to find these. We ate SO much of this stuff when we were in Croatia many years ago. Eating again always brings back happy memories!

One of Mr VE&T's tennis pals came and it was really fun to spend some time with him. He represented China and brought a huge container of take out Chinese food - an excellent solution after a long work week! The main dish he brought along wasn't vegan, so I didn't take a picture of it, but happily, all the fortune cookies that came with it were vegan! How fun. I got a hilarious fortune:
"You are very interested in sports, gambling, and horses, but not to excess." What on earth???

Yummers and I both love Ski Jumping
As you can see, he is very good at it

My aunt L and her partner came representing Brazil and brought a huge pot of vegan Feijoada, with accompanying limes and cilantro. Wow this was so good. Happily there was a ton of it, so I got to keep some for lunch the next day too. The sweet potato was so perfect and added a nice touch of sweet to such a savory dish.

Pasta alla Vodka

J, A, and E came representing Italy (always a good bet!), and they brought two amazing dishes: Pasta alla Vodka, and Caponata (picture below). Oh man. Italian food is definitely one of my all-time favorite cuisines. How did they think of so many amazing dishes?? The Pasta alla Vodka was wonderful - she used cashew cream for the cream in the sauce. This dish is a "pink sauce" - half creamy sauce and half red sauce - and it's so good. Not as heavy as some cream sauces and not as acidic as some red sauces. It was great! 


I'm sorry for this dark picture, especially because this dish is sooo delicious: eggplant, grilled artichoke hearts, green olives, bell peppers and tomatoes... I don't know what else is in there, but it is so flavorful and rich.  We got to keep a little container after the party was over and we savored it for a couple days. This stuff here is pretty much Mr. VE&T's dream food. He was seriously grooving on it. 

My aunt's friend E. was representing Mexico and he made a wonderful platter of vegan enchiladas. What a special contribution! I love enchiladas, but I almost never make them since they seem like so much work. Kinda like lasagana! So, it's a super special treat to have someone else make a bunch of enchiladas and bring them to our party. They were delicious! 

My aunt was representing Guatemala and brought copious chips, salsa, and guacamole. A perfect addition to the party! You pretty much can't go wrong with that combo.

Not pictured! 
My friend Connie had to be a little bit late, and actually she arrived right when we were sitting down to eat. Perfect timing! But in all my frenzy to eat my plate of yummy food, I forgot to take a picture of her contribution. She was representing Ethiopia, and brought some really fantastic Ethiopian tomatoey lentils called Misr Wot. Her dish was such a hit! I think she said this was from a vegan pressure cooker cookbook. I also got to keep a couple scoops of her lentils for leftovers and I think maybe they were even better the next day. 

As the host of the party, I also always represent the host country, so this time I was representing Korea, and I made Ddeok (using this fantastic recipe that my friend A gave me a while ago). I used tofu, ddeok (Korean rice-wheat cakes), onion, and broccolini. I also made a lot of extra sauce because I wanted it to be more saucy. This dish is so perfect - savory, a touch of sweet, a touch of spicy, veggies, protein, starchy fun -- it's got it all! I made a 1.5 batch, thinking I might have some leftovers... but no! This giant bowl of goodness was all gone by the end of the evening. Yeah! 

here is our whole spread of international dishes
ready to be enjoyed! 

"But what about drinks?" you might ask. Don't worry, we gotcha covered. I went to Bevmo, and loaded up on all sorts of sodas, fizzy waters, and beers from all around the world. So fun! J & A also brought some really nice Korean Toasted Barley Tea - you really could taste the toasted barley, and it was very nice. I haven't had tea like that before! 

Please forgive me, I didn't take any pictures of Dessert!!

My mom came representing England and brought her amazing Christmas Pudding, which she doused with brandy and lit on fire. Oh my gosh, it is so delicious and so beautiful and I couldn't find my camera anywhere, and by the time I found it, the flames had burnt out. My mom usually makes this for New Year's Eve every year, but this year we were sick and didn't get to celebrate together. So, it was so great to finally indulge! 

Mr VE&T brought some Croatian wafer cookies called Napolitanke. When we were in Croatia, we really ate a lot of these. Ha ha. Most of the flavors aren't vegan, unfortunately, but the Hazelnut ones in the red box are - and they are a fun little treat! Croatians are *serious* about wafer cookies. You know how American grocery stores have a huge long aisle full of cereal choices? In Croatia, they have that same long aisle, but it's full of wafer cookies. FOR REALZ. 

For our silly games, I made some Olympic medals of our own... I always find a high-res photo of the actual medals, and use that to create my own medals. Maximum authenticity! 

Staring Contest! 

One of our favorite Olympic games is the time-honored Staring Contest. It's completely low-skill and yet delightful! We have single elimination, so if you out stare someone, you have to find another person who has also beat one person. And so on... until we arrive at the finals - competing for the silver and gold. If I recall correctly, I think J (on the left here) was our gold medalist! 

Also, you can see my most excellent and never-ending banner of flags of the world that we draped all around the whole living room. I bought it online last year, but I hadn't opened it yet and I was amazed at how super super long it was and how many flags there were. So festive! 

Our second silly game was our version of Biathlon, one of my Olympic favorites.
In our version, each "athlete" had to spin around super fast five times, pick up a pen and draw a perfect circle, then spin around the other direction five times, pick up a pen with the other hand and draw a perfect circle. It was silly madness and was totally fun! The final scores were based on a combination of timed execution and the judges' appraisal of how well drawn the circles were. 

Snoopy sporting a silver medal, but I think you all know he has the gold medal in my heart. 


  1. Of course Snoopy won the gold! I hate pretty much all sports, but I do like food and learning about other countries. I'm never quite sure about the difference between ajvar and pinjur, but my jar of ajvar has 12% eggplant. There is also a similar dish from Bulgaria whose name escapes me.

  2. delicious looking spread! What a great idea for a party :)

  3. What a fun party! The food looks great and I love your doodles.

  4. Sounds like so much fun, you have the best parties. I would have been out quickly in both your events though. Oh well, just competing counts, right? ;)

  5. Anonymous8:15 AM

    I wish I lived by you and were your friend. Your parties sound and look amazing!

  6. Always inspiring, primarily with your fantastic images, but also with your text.
    I can see the kind of amazing time you guys had


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