May the Fourth Star Wars Day

Star Wars Day

The Fourth of May is my son Lennon's half birthday, the fact that it is also Star Wars Day makes that easy to remember. Since this fell on a Thursday this year we decided to throw him a little birthday party! Lots of kids, swimming, sandpit, and Star Wars themed finger foods. We had a lot of contributions this week!! My super talented friend Danielle made the best signs at her place of employment, our most professional looking dinner party to date.

..the plate..

This was a full plate..and it was even missing a few things!! Here's a list of everything we had on offer this week...

Now that is a ton of food, which is good because we had a ton of people here this week. Felt like one of my summer parties I was all over the place and it made it kind of hard to be present and participate. Not saying I didn't have fun, because I did! Everything was delicious as well!

Let's start with what I made...

..Jar Jar Links in a Blanket..

Oh heavenly crescent roll. Thank the gods you are vegan. I used Trader Joe's brand crescents for these mini carrot dogs. I actually used the leftover broth from when I marinated the carrots for Iceland's Pylsur. I boiled the mini carrots and put them in a ziplock bag with the leftover broth and shoved them in the freezer. So these little rabbits were sauced up and ready to roll in no time! I took them out of the freezer Tuesday night, flipped them a few times in my fridge for good measure, wrapped them up and they were as tasty as they always are. Always a favorite! Most kids don't even realize they are carrots. I always think it's curious that kids would rather eat a dead animal than a mini carrot. Most children don't realize where their food comes from, I think if they did there would be a lot more vegetarians!

..R2-Tofu Nuggets..

This is one of my creations. In a bowl I mix together ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, and spices. Toss the cubed tofu in that saucy mix, then I put some breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast and poultry season in a large bowl with a lid and shake shake shake it. Pour that onto a baking pan with parchment and cook them up. The secret to the oil free crispy is to leave them in the oven for 10-20 minutes after they are done cooking. I do this with my potatoes as well. I really can't do fried foods, as tasty as it is, it makes me feel so gross afterwards. This is a wonderful alternative. Give it a try and let me know what you think!!! Here's the recipe for my Oil Free Crispy Tofu Nuggets.

..Nacho Father Queso..

This was my favorite sign that Danielle made! Don't forget the chips!!!!

So this is my go-to nacho dip. I've probably made it 100 times and it's known as YOCHI'S cheese. I made this one chunky style. I doubled the recipe and used one can blended and one can to chunk it up a bit. I served this today with some fresh cauliflower and broccoli since we had a few chip dishes on the table. The cauliflower I bought was perfection and they went together like a match made in heaven. Click below to get this amazing recipe.

Nacho Cheese Dip

..Bow-Ba Fett Pasta..

First just take a moment to notice the pasta coming out of that weapon. Danielle cracks me up!!!

So I made a special request for this pasta this week. When I was online looking at Star War's food puns I came across a Bow-Ba Fett Pasta, which essentially could be any pasta salad using bow-tie style pasta. Last month I went to Wendy's sons birthday party and she made this amazing BLT pasta from Elephant Journal, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. She was nice enough to indulge my craving and make me this pasta dish. She uses Sweet Earth's Benevolent Bacon instead of tempeh, it's so delish!!!

..Jango Mango Salsa..

This mango salsa also had a hidden veg in there, jicama! Wendy found this recipe at Allrecipes, but added extra mango, used agave instead of honey and added some jalapeno for an extra kick. This week we had a mango salsa and a mango guacamole (more about that below), and I ain't mad about it. Love mango!!! Unrelated, this week I also had a mango curry, very similar to my Crazy Meat Knockoff, but with mango instead of pineapples, the week of mangos. Anyway, this salsa ruled, as does Wendy, and as does Danielle for making this sign with Mango from Saturday Night Live. Isn't she a creative one?

..Vader Taters..

Is that a Mr. Potato Head he's presenting?!

"I find your lack of starch disturbing"

Julie keeping her mega jew theme strong, made these awesome latkes/potato pancakes for her vader taters. She initially wanted to make them into darth vader shapes, but her cookie cutter couldn't cut it.

..Wookie Cookies..

Is that Chewbacca or the Cookie Monster?!

Julie also made these sweet treat meringues. She has a stand mixer, so we will be getting lots of desserts from her! Nice to have some sweets on the table. I personally have a little issue with not knowing how to stop with sweets, so I don't tend to make sweet things myself. I welcome the new addition.

..Solos Flavor Blaster Spring Salad..

Danielle is a talented digital artist and cook. You'd think, oh this is just a little salad, but honestly, this was my favorite of the night!

she also made the...

..Chew-Baklava..

Voted best name of the night...Chew-Baklava! Danielle was kind enough to write a little something about her inspiration and share her recipes with us..

"H'chu apenkee, pateesas! Or for those of you who dont speak Huttese, or dont want to Google WTF that meant, Greetings, friends! It is now Cinco de Mayo, but yesterday the force was with us on an overcast May the 4th here in sunny Florida. Nevertheless, it was a terrific day filled with wonderful people and delicious vegan fare. I must say, I was really inspired by the Star Wars theme which offers so many pun-tastic opportunities for creativity. Im no master of puns, but I really enjoy creating silly pictures that illustrate puns or plays on words either through putting pencil to paper or firing up Photoshop. I also love of preparing food, and Im so grateful to have the opportunity to satisfy both urges through Yochis May the Fourth be with You dinner party. Thank you to those of you that brought a dish for allowing me to artistically render your punny foods. I know I missed a couple of items due to time constraints, so hopefully I get you guys set up with something next time.

Now, for the TL;DR folks and those that just want to get to the nitty gritty, here are the recipes!

Chew-baklava

This is a Baklava made with three different kinds of nuts and Agave nectar instead of honey. I got the recipe from Leites Culinaria. Its not traditional, but it is delicious. Also, feel free to use only walnuts in the interest of saving your fingernails from the shelling of pistachios! Definitely worth the effort though.

The salad...

Its spring time in Florida, despite what the oppressive Florida heat tells you. What better way to beat the heat than to have your taste buds blasted with clean, refreshing flavor? This salad is a Danielle original as far as the mix is concerned. The dressing came from the internet as did pickled fennel, but the decision to combine those things with everything else came from the old noggin and several infographics on how to build delicious salads.

TL;DR: My pedantic nature compels me to explain the reasoning for making a salad such as the Flavor Blaster, so hang in there if you want to know or just skip to the recipe below. Unintentional rhyming, b-t-dubs.

So, while shopping for my ingredients for the Chew-baklava, I thought Baklava is very Mezzo, so wouldnt it be nice to accompany it with a Greek Salad?. Woah woah woah, you say, Greek salad has feta cheese, and that is not vegan! That is correct. Its not vegan. Neither am I. As Sherrie would say, Im not a vegan, but I play one on Thursdays. Its true. Im not a vegan. Im omnivorous and I love cheese. No no, I LOVE cheese, especially feta cheese. Before you start with the there are vegan cheese alternatives talk, let me just explain my logic here. I know there are ways to make vegan feta. I have seen recipes that use tofu as the main ingredient and I have seen recipes that use almonds. They all sound delicious. While I am fully willing to experiment on everyone with salads, soups, or sweets, there are certain things that I need to vet for myself before I subject anyone else to them (Im looking at you Quinoa Pilaf!) That extremely sound logic (its sound, right?) is what forced me to go a different route with this salad. Still, I couldnt help but crave that tangy, umami flavor that you get from feta cheese in a salad and I somehow had to make a salad work with a Star Wars theme. A classic photo of Han Solo wielding his blaster was worthy inspiration.

I wanted a salad that blasts the taste buds with flavor, utilized the fresh produce of spring, and was an explosion of color--a delight to the eyes--like a star going supernova or a nebula birthing new stars. Tying Han Solo into it seemed appropriate since his long-time companion is the lovable badass Chewbacca. Thus, a spring salad was born. I took a few things I had on hand like fresh basil and lemons, added a few other ingredients, and a refreshing salad was the result. Without further ado, the recipe:

Solos Flavor Blaster Spring Salad

Greens:
Arugula (2-3 hands full)
Curly Endive, stalks removed (2-3 hands full torn leaves)
Radicchio, shredded
Umami:
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
Sunflower seeds (2-3 hands full)
Sweet:
Sugar snap peas, blanched then chilled in ice water
Sweet & Sour:
Quick Pickled Fennel

Dressing:
Lemon Basil Vinaigrette (original recipe here -- uses white balsamic vinegar instead)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

First, make the quick pickled fennel according to link above. Let the fennel pickle and start working on the rest of the salad.

Make the vinaigrette and set aside.

Blanch the snap peas in boiling water for two minutes. Drain, and immediately transfer to ice water bath. Pat dry and add to salad bowl.

Open your can of artichokes, drain, rinse and pat dry. Add to salad bowl.

Shred the radicchio and endive. Add to bowl along with the arugula.

The fennel should be done or close to done by now. Drain it from pickling liquid and quickly rinse it off in a strainer and shake excess liquid off. Add to salad bowl.

Sprinkle sunflower seeds onto salad and toss. Pour on dressing and toss again.

Enjoy!"

..Princess Leia Buns..

Watch out! She's got a rolling pin! Ann made these scrumptious buns. They really turned out beautiful don't you think? No hair in them though, so not very authentic. hehe.

"Thank goodness for accidentally vegan Pillsbury's Crescent Rolls, am I right? I followed the directions on the first batch and the "mini" cinnamon buns were cute, but I wanted bigger ones so on the next batch I doubled up on the recipe, spreading out the crescent roll, doubling the amount of vegan butter, cinnamon, and chopped walnuts. Then I did another layer on top of that, just the same. This made it a little harder to roll and then cut, but was worth it to get the size I wanted.

Those who know me know that my time management skills utterly suck and I found myself in a hurry and running late, so I didn't use the exact measurements for the icing. I just used my judgement and think it turned out nice. The glaze was not very appealing to the eye whilst in the bowl, but looked fine on the buns. It didn't look like "icing" but gave the buns a nice glaze.

Overall, it was a quick, cheap, tasty, and easy recipe with ingredients that were not at all hard to find. I bought everything from my local Publix. Hope this helps!"

..Storm Trooper Pooper..

If you know Rachel Lloyd you know her mind is always in the toilet. No surprise that she chose to bring poop for her Star Wars contribution. Rachel just moved, and isn't a huge fan of cooking, so she got her brownies from Market on South's Valhalla Bakery. These are the Nanaimo Bars. Apparently these hail from Canada, and now I'm full of regret that we didn't have these featured on our Canadian Groundhogs Day. Major Fail!

..Mangokin Skyguacer..

Yummy Mango Guacamole! I met a mom named Abby at a hiking for toddlers event at Mead Gardens about a year ago, we chatted for about an hour and our kids had a ton of fun playing together. We said we'd meet up again but never did. Fate brought us back together in swim class this spring, and this was her first time coming to our weekly potluck. She made some awesome mango guacamole she got from this salmon taco dish atAmbitious Kitchen. I had never had guacamole with mango before, major keeper. She also made the...

..Obi-Wan Kabobies..

..the drink..

Sherrie was going to make a cocktail, but the liquor store didn't have the stuff she needed, so a bottle of vodka it is!

Woo, well I think that's it. This was a fun collaborationand the kids had a blast!!! I wish I took more pictures of the people action, I need to get better at that. All the kids went swimming, the pool is officially open for the season. Pros and cons on that one, we really gotta be on guard when the kids are in the pool.

Look at that sweet Storm Trooper and Boba Fett.

Next week we'll make food for Waisak/Vesak Day (Buddha's Anniversary) in Indonesia.

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