Thursday, September 6, 2007

A Labor Day Potluck, In my Kitchen, & NYC!

Please head over to my new blog at, where you'll find this post & more!

Gathering with friends is always something I enjoy & I used Labor Day Weekend as an excuse to have a potluck! An awesome range of friends attended & I was excited many members of the "vegan brunch cartel" were able to make it. The culinary prowess was at an all time high & the food was insanely delicious! As planned, we all ate far too much, yet there was still a ton of food on the table! Luckily, I had my empty Earth Balance containers ready & sent people home with leftovers, as there was no way we could consume what was left!

For the bash, I whipped up Vanilla Cupcakes from my own recipe & topped them with both Lemon Cream Cheese frosting & Mocha Mousse frosting. No one guessed they were vegan, so I believe I'm finally happy with my vanilla cupcake recipe & will be sharing it here in the near future!
By request, another round of Lolo's Donuts were made, this time in Maple & classic Pink Glaze with Sprinkles. I'm done making these for awhile, I adore them, but there's so many other treats I've been meaning to make!

In the savory department, I made tamales, thanks to Dr. Stonielove! I have a constant craving for tamales, but had never made them myself, but her recent recipe gave me the courage to do so! One batch contained black beans, soyrizo, & jalapeños, the other was filled with corn, red & yellow bell peppers, & chilies. I was VERY happy with these & snuck some in to the freezer to enjoy later. We also made Tempeh kabobs to grill along side all the veggie dogs & burgers people brought!

As a joke, I decided to use vegan gelatin to craft a giant cupcake. Sadly, it's not the most stable product out there, so it started to melt pretty quickly. I shoved it in to the freezer, only to find it solid & much shorter than when I initially assembled it when I went to retrieve it. Use your imagination & we'll say it started out glorious & mind blowing, okay?!

Other attendees brought delicious dishes like Bruschetta, the Get Sconed version of New Farm Mac and Cheez, Curried "Chicken" salad in Endive wraps, Hummus with pita & cucumber, Spinach-Artichoke dip, & as you can see, an amazing display of Fruit Kabobs! (This is what happens when a caterer attends your potluck!)

I had a fabulous time & I can't wait for the next excuse to gather around a diverse setting of food with various people! I think I may have a potluck obsession & I'm perfectly OK with that!

In other news, I've been going crazy in the kitchen lately! I've been so inspired by all the blogs I've been reading, as well as the PPK, all I've wanted to do is try new recipes (& make sorbet, of course)!

Recent recipes have included Celine's L & H Seitan O'Greatness, which was used to make Lolo's Crispy Sweet and Sour Seitan. I'm also a tester for Joni's new cookbook about burgers, so I made her Ortega Burgers on homemade whole wheat french bread with oven fries. A desire for something besides Tofutti in the morning yielded Bryanna's Lemon Curd & let me tell you, it is FABULOUS! My crumpets will forever be covered with this insanely addictive spread!

On the sorbet front, I made a wonderful Strawberry Sorbet that we gobbled up quickly! Yesterday in a 12 hour span I managed to make Watermelon Sorbet, Yellow Peach Sorbet, & Bartlett Pear Sorbet! The plan is to have some in the freezer to be consumed when the mood strikes, but it seems to disappear pretty quickly around here! I'm happy to see others have caught the sorbet bug as well, like Amey at Vegan Eats & Treats!

In travel news, I'll be headed back to one of my favorite places, NEW YORK CITY! woo.
While I've been there many times, I'm always looking for restaurant & activity recommendations, especially of the vegan persuasion. I'm not a greasy spoon diner type (I can make a veggie burger at home), but I love a range of tasty foods, especially healthier vegetable heavy items or ethnic fare, so bring it on! I'll be in town for 2 weeks in late October / early November, so there's plenty of meals & fun to be had!
Hey NYC, let's have a Halloween themed Potluck!


Celine said...

why can't we live closer so that I can come have some of your wonderful foods, already??

springsandwells said...

oh yeah!!
That looks like a super awesome potluck. I love the carved out watermelon & the crazy kabobs. Plus the endive scoopers are a good idea. So much tastiness!

Yes, I have the sorbet making disease 100%. I cannot stop. With my funky little maker, I can only make 1 batch per day, sigh! Last night I made watermelon & it was crazy crazy good. Next up will be peach. I might also try apple, since I've got so many apples.

This post reminds me about two bloggie recipes I wanted to try - tamales & the lemon curd. Very cool!


Emilie said...

HOTT Damn! Wow. Did I say, Damn? Everything looks fantastic and creative and wonderfully warm and welcoming and fun. Seriously, if you ever want to convince someone that they need to be your friend, just send them the link to this post.

tracy said...

new york in so jealous. I wish i could fit in your suitcase. :(

urban vegan said...

What a fun post. I love the gargantuan agar cupcake.

Vegan_Noodle said...

What yummy looking food...all of it!! I'm especially fond of those donuts.... Aren't potlucks the best?

maybepigscanfly said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Too bad I didn't know about the vegan brunch cartel. I would love to meet other vegans in the city. Everything at the potluck looks great!

I haven't yet been to the FM at UN Plaza, as I usually only go to the one at the Ferry Building. Thanks for the tip-maybe I'll check it out. Have fun in NYC?

What part of the city do you live in- if you don't mind me asking?

Vegan_Noodle said...

Just wanted to say thanks soooo very much about the advice on vegan makeup. I didn't realize that mineral makeup doesn't do well in photographs. Your tips were much appreciated!!

steph said...

that's quite a spread! i'm sure your tamales were fantastic. if i knew where to find masa in sydney, i'd make them in a hearbeat.

i am sooo jealous of your 2-week trip to NYC. have you been to the raw food restaurant pure food and wine on irving place? it's by no means cheap, but what they do is fascinating. have heard blossom in cheasea is good, but haven't been myself.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

celine- You're welcome here any time! I wish we were closer as well!

Amey- All the cool ideas came from a friend who's a caterer & I'm totally stealing them! hehe.
Sorbet mania! I actually branched out & did a banana ice cream & it is SO good. Tell me how the apple sorbet goes!

Emilie- Thank you so much! I love the beauty that comes from your kitchen!

Tracy- I'll bring a bigger suitcase, come along!

urban vegan- Thanks so much! I only wish I had captured the cupcake at its best!

Anonymous said...

I just can't get over what an awesome potluck spread that is. You've got some great veggie friends there.

I just printed out the recipe for the lemon curd. How did I miss this when Bryanna first blogged about it? It sounds wonderful.

Anonymous said...

oh wow, what a wonderful post! celine is right - too bad you are miles away!

R2K said...

: )

Hooker Numero Uno said...

Melisser, this entry is awesome! I was so honored to be at your delicious potluck!

I have many NYC recommendations but let's talk about it at game/snack night on Thursday! Also, you can maybe make it to Jersey to go to the new bakery (vegan and non vegan)...i can't remember the name now...Sweetcake bakeshop or some shit??? the chick has a blog. i am up working and am braindead. What is the name of that place?? Anyway, I think you might have to take the train out there! We talk more on Thursday!!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

vivaciousv- I hope you enjoy the lemon curd, it's great! I am totally lucky to have friends who like to potluck, many of them are omnis who play along!

stonie- We need a vegan bloggers potluck! :)

Lauraaaa- You are welcome to come stuff your face in my home ANYTIME.
I totally want to try Sweet Avenue Bakeshop. I tried to figure out where it is, but no luck. Maybe I can get some NYC vegans to venture out there with me?!

D++ said...

your potluck ruled... thanks for having me... good thing i brought beer and not some kind of real food because that could have ended up in disaster.

i'm thinking about spending the entire summer of 08 in new york... i like it there too...

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

D- I'm so glad you could make it! Your Hello Kitty bow was awesome! ;)

natalilly said...

that table looks scrumpdilly-ocious!! I would looooooooooooove to attend a vegan potluck; seems like pure heaven. In fact, I wish, just once or twice, someone would cook for ME :)

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

I just realized I missed some people here! doh.

vegan_noodle- I love potlucks! No problem on the makeup advice, I hope everything works out!

maybepigscanfly- Are you on Yelp? If so, ADD ME! I'll keep you posted about future potlucks.
While I like the Ferry Building market, it's just too expensive for me! I can get things for 1/4 of the price at Heart of the City or Alemany.
I live in Lower Pac Heights, up the hill from Japantown.

Steph- If you have any hispanic markets, find that masa! They're so good!
I've been to Blossom, but not Pure Food & Wine, I'll have to check them out, I love raw foods!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

mmm, your food looks so delicious & creative! The doughnuts look festive, but I must admit I came over to drool over your famous sorbet.

tippitappi said...

the hedgehog watermelon looks fantastic, It must have been hard work, but worth it I bet. DO you have someone helping you or were you on your own?

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

if you happen to see this, i have tagged you for a Meme. check out my blog for details.

dailycraft said...

Looks like you had one fantastic potluck! Everything looks so good :)

Veganista said...

Hi! I've just discovered your blog--good stuff here! Thanks for dropping by mine and leaving such a flattering comment. What a great spread in this post! It all looks incredibly yummy, but I MUST HAVE one of those donuts.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

natalilly- If you ever come to San Francisco, I'll have a potluck for you! :)

vicki- Thanks so much! The sorbet is so fun, isn't it?!

tippitappi- I can't take credit for the hedgehog, a friend made it! The food was brought by a bunch of people!

dailycraft- Thanks so much! I love potlucks!

veganista- I'm glad you found your way here! Indeed, you MUST try the donuts- they're great!

vko said...

okay Melisser- now that I am playing blog catch up, you need to email me - not only will I have a ton of places you need to go to but we will have to meet for vegan eats!

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