PPK Potluck: Fiesta! Fiesta!

Ok, let’s pretend that the most recent PPK Vegan Potluck had a “Fiesta” theme… That sounds way better than admitting that I’m a few weeks late with my post about our Cinco De Mayo Potluck, right?

I have to say, I absolutely LOVED THIS THEME!!! and not just because Mexican is Jeni’s specialty.  I just simply adore all the bright & fresh flavors of authentic Mexican food (a far cry from what’s served at most “Mexican” restaurants).

Since I was hosting, I wanted to provide a themed beverage, so I went with a punch-bowl full of Watermelon Agua Fresca with Mint.  I thought it was so delicious and refreshing, and it would have been really easy to make if I had simply dug out our blender instead of trying to make it in the food processor (which leaked all over the counter, since food processors aren’t really intended for drink-making).

I also made a Vegan version of Elotes.  The recipe called for rolling fresh corn on the cob through a lime-zest spiked mayonnaise Vegenaise, then sprinkling it with a mixture of chili powder & Vegan Parmesan cheese.  I opted to cut the corn off of the cobs and toss it all together, since I hate the awkwardness of having corn stuck in my teeth at parties.  For the Vegan Parm, I made the version from How it All Vegan (our April Veg Cookbook Club Selection), which was a blend of Sesame Seeds, Nutritional Yeast, and Salt.  I’m not a very big fan of Nutritional Yeast, but somehow mixing it with Sesame Seeds took it from yuck to yum.  Lately, I’ve been sprinkling this “Parm” on my popcorn, so much so that I ran out of it and then whipped up a second batch of it this week.

I also made a pot of Tortilla Soup.  I’ve always loved Tortilla Soup, but since most restaurant versions aren’t vegetarian, it’s been years since I’ve had it.  I was surprised to find a nearly Vegan version on AllRecipes.com that had a 4.5/5 star average from more than 400 reviews.  All it took to veganize this recipe was swapping a sprinkle of dairy cheese with a bag of Go Veggie’s new Mexican shredded cheese.

And I have to say I completely agree with all the reviewers – this recipe is a keeper!  Not only was it delicious, it was also incredibly simple and could easily be whipped up for a week night dinner, with ingredients almost entirely from the pantry.  I will definitely be making this again, though next time I plan to add some Black Beans to the mix to make a meal of it.

Perhaps the biggest hit of the party was the Arroz con Seitan that Nissa made from Viva Vegan.  She actually used Beyond Meat instead of the Seitan which had a wonderful texture that was right at home in her smoky casserole.

I also tried my first ever “Drunken Salsa” which Jeni made out of Tequila and Chiles.  It was really delicious and flavorful, and very different from a typical salsa – it’s more of a condiment than something to dip a chip into.

Like most potlucks, I think we had as many sweets as we did savories at this event.  Nissa made the Tres Leches Cake from Viva Vegan, which true to its dairy-laden namesake used 3 kinds of milk  – in this case, almond milk, coconut milk, and coconut cream.  Jeni made the Margarita Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  My favorite part of the cupcakes was the Tequila & Lime Frosting – YUM!!!!

Last but definitely not least, my two favorite dishes from the potluck were the Conchas that Jeni made, and the Chili Mango that Megan brought.  The Mango, which had a light sprinkle of chili powder on top, was so perfectly ripe that I didn’t stop at seconds or thirds – I had four helpings of mango!  I was so enthusiastic about it, in fact, that Megan graciously let me keep the leftovers which I mixed into a smoothie the next morning.

And I can’t say enough about the Conchas.  I’d been intrigued by them ever since Jeni posted a recipe for them a few months back (though she modified the recipe slightly for her potluck version, which wasn’t gluten-free).  “Concha” translates to “Shell”, which refers to the flavored sugar coating on these sweet breads.  Jeni made three topping flavors – Vanilla, Orange, and Cinnamon (my favorite), and I tried a slice of each flavor.  I’d love to make Conchas for a holiday sometime – perhaps Easter breakfast.  The bread was so soft and just sweet enough to taste like a treat, but not as sugary as a typical pastry.  These were absolutely worth all the hype!

And on an even sweeter note, this was my (new) cat Maple’s first potluck and she made a friend in Oliver :-) …Well, maybe the word ‘friend’ is a little too strong for their current feelings towards each other, but they did well considering their differences.  I do think this could be the beginning of a cute-iful friendship!

(photo source: thymeandlove.com)

I’m getting super excited now for next month’s Potluck Theme – we’ll be ‘cooking’ RAW!

I’d love to hear from you!

What’s your favorite Mexican dish?

Do you have any suggestions for future Potluck themes?