My friend Amey has the BEST potlucks. Whenever Amey hosts, I’m happy to make the drive down to Santa Cruz because I wouldn’t want to miss it!
Back in July, the Santa Cruz PPKers had the brilliant idea for a Dumpling Potluck. Anything was fair game, as long as it was in dumpling form. The turnout was smaller than usual, but the food was great.
My contribution was “chicken” and dumplings, a reinvention of a dish I used to enjoy every year at Thanksgiving with my very southern family.
I based the soup on this recipe, and used a baked chicken seitan recipe for the chicken part. I wasn’t thrilled with how the seitan came out, but the dumplings and broth were dead on. Fantastic.
Chinese Barbecue Seitan Buns with a Spicy Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce
Some sort of tasty, doughy dumpling with a German name and delicious tomato herb gravy.
Mini Farmer’s Market Tamales with Pico de Gallo
Savory plate. I liked that everything was mini-sized.
With some chicken and dumplings and blood orange soda.
Mini Cherry Pies with Marzipan
Mochi Daifuku with Red Bean Paste
Lavender Berry Cream Pie. The crust on this pie was so good!
Dessert plate, with vanilla ice cream.
For a more timely and detailed account, check out Amey’s post here. While all of the food was supremely delicious, we quickly realized that it was all very beige and didn’t exactly leave us feeling light in our loafers. Someone came up with the idea of a rainbow theme for our next potluck, with the goal of more colorful and less carby food in mind.
So, a few weeks ago we got together at Amey’s house again to taste the rainbow. We tried to go for a double rainbow of both savory and sweet, in tribute to the double rainbow video. I came to the color-claiming party late, and accepted a challenge by choosing a blue savory dish. I wasn’t really sure what blue foods I could use other than blue cornmeal, and then I learned that you can dye foods blue with red cabbage water. Red cabbage basically acts as a pH indicator, and turns colors depending on its pH. Fun with science!
Then I refried the beans with onion, garlic, cumin and coriander.
Then I used cabbage water for the liquid in making the pupusa dough. I tried to make the curtido blue as well by cooking red cabbage in baking soda water, and it turned the cabbage a beautiful teal color. Unfortunately, when I added the vinegar-based dressing the acidity turned the cabbage back to purple. It was actually kind of fortunate, as the violet portion of our rainbow would have been lacking otherwise.
Amey decorated the table with construction paper and color-matched beverages. From left to right:
Red – Borscht and berries
Orange – Annato-coconut soup
Yellow – Mini Corn Muffins with Maple Frosting, Mac n’ Cheese, Mini Lemon Bundt Cakes
Green – Green Tomato Bruschetta (on a snail plate!) and Basil-Coconut-Lime Ice Cream
Blue – my Pupusas, which actually turned out kind of blue, and Blueberry Cocoa Cupcakes
Violet – Red Cabbage Curtido and Lavender Simple Syrup hiding in the back.
Gorgeous Rainbow Salad to finish things off.
All together now, with rainbow steamer.
I made less pupusas than there were people, so I cut them in half to reveal the pretty blue insides.
Savory plate, with both soups. Everything was so fresh and tasty! We definitely had more veggies than usual due to the color requirements. The mac n cheese was based on the VegNews recipe, and it was one of the best I’ve ever had.
Dessert plate, upon which everything was awesome! The standout was the basil-coconut-lime ice cream, which was outrageously good. The lemon bundt was also intensely lemony and wonderful.
Sadly, I don’t have any people pictures from either party, because once I sat down with all the delicious food I just wanted to eat and enjoy the company. Amey has more details and some people pictures on her blog post here. Can’t wait for another Santa Cruz potluck!