January 04, 2012

New Year's Eve Asian Feast & Liebster Award

I don't typically make New Year's resolutions but if I had to make one this year, it would be to use my cookbooks more often.  And now that I've received two new vegan cookbooks this Christmas full of recipes that I want to make (Vegan Planet and Appetite for Reduction), it won't be hard to keep that resolution!

I've already tried over eight recipes from the two books, and all of them turned out so well!

I actually made six of those recipes (plus two dipping sauces) from Vegan Planet all in one day for our New Year's Eve dinner, and since I loved everything so much, I wanted to share the meal on my blog!

I was inspired to create an Asian style appetizer feast after remembering a fun NYE a couple years ago with my older sister when we ate sushi.  And since I found so many delicious-sounding recipes in Vegan Planet that would suit the theme, I decided to make them all!

I was a bit worried that I was too ambitious in taking on such a big task by myself and that I wouldn't finish everything on time for dinner, but I worked pretty much non-stop all day long and had everything on the table by about 7pm in time for us to eat.

Even though it was a LOT of work to prepare everything, I actually enjoyed the process and the end result was definitely worth it (not to mention all the praise I received from everyone who ate it!)  We all thought the food tasted better than take-out, plus it was a lot cheaper!

I won't reprint all the recipes here, but I do encourage you to buy the book - I'm sure you will get a lot of use out of it! And if you already own Vegan Planet but haven't tried these recipes, I hope you'll bookmark them to make soon!

(Sorry for the dark photos, I didn't have time to take proper pictures in better lighting before we ate everything!)

Ginger-Scented Vegetable Pot Stickers

These were easier than I thought to make - I prepared the filling ahead of time (tofu, cabbage, carrots and some other flavouring ingredients processed together), then assembled the dumplings using storebought round wonton wrappers and stored them in the freezer until it was time to cook them.

Vegetable Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

This was my first time making fresh rolls and took took a couple tries to get the hang of it (as you can see, the one on the left was my first attempt). I filled them with cabbage, carrot, red pepper, cucumber, bean sprouts and chopped peanuts. And you have to make the peanut sauce for dipping them in!

Scallion Pancakes with Ginger-Lime Dipping Sauce

These pancakes are made from a simple flour-water dough and coated with sesame oil, scallions and sesame seeds. As there are no pictures in the cookbook, I wasn't quite sure how these were supposed to turn out, but I'm pretty sure they aren't supposed to look like this. Even though they didn't brown as much as I wanted them too, they had a nice texture and tasted great, especially with the dipping sauce.

Thai-Style Leaf-Wrapped Appetizer Bites

These lettuce wraps were fun to put together, although there were a lot of components to prepare. To make them, I just took a large piece of lettuce, filled it with a bit of each ingredient from the bowls (peanuts, toasted coconut, thai chilis, shallots, ginger, cilantro, limes and a peanut-coconut chutney), wrapped it up and secured with a toothpick. You could also let guests make these themselves, but I wanted to have everything prepared ahead of time.

Here are the lettuce rolls once they were already prepared. All of the filling ingredients combine to create an explosion of flavour when you pop them in your mouth!

Mango Slaw

I used the recipe in the book for Asian Cole Slaw, which includes shredded cabbage, carrot and daikon radish in an asian style dressing, and added one sliced mango to create a fusion of thai mango salad and coleslaw. The mango was my favourite part, so I recommend adding it!

Asian Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Thick udon noodles tossed with shredded carrot, cabbage, red pepper and bean sprouts (my own addition), coated in a creamy peanut dressing. I was very happy to have leftovers of this to eat the next day!

My first helping of food and a great way to end the year!

And now, a note about the Liebster Blog Award...

I was so happy to hear that Heather from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes (I always smile when I say the name of her blog!) nominated me for this award. The Liebster award is a way of giving recognition to newer blogs or those that have fewer than 200 followers. The recipient of the award then has to select five other such blogs to pass the award on to. 

To accept the Liebster Blog Award nomination one must:
~ thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
~ link back to the blogger who awarded you.
~ copy & paste the blog award on your blog
~ reveal your 5 blog picks.
~ let them know you choose them by leaving a comment on their blog.

Since I love to read other blogs but don't always leave them comments, I thought this was a great way to show my appreciation for some of the blogs that inspire me! 

In no particular order, here are my five picks:
Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes - I couldn't leave Heather out of my own list! I'm happy I found her blog  - she posts so many recipes that suit my tastes perfectly, and always leaves nice comments too :)
Fork and Beans - I discovered Cara's blog in October when she was posting daily Halloween-inspired recipes and I loved her creativity and entertaining writing style. She is a genius at turning any recipe into a gluten-free and vegan version!
The First Mess - I was hooked from the very first post on Laura's blog and I still get excited each time she makes a new post - I love her unique vegetarian recipes and gorgeous photos!
The Fig Tree - Courtney (a fellow Canadian blogger) posts lots of sweet treats and delicious vegetarian recipes and her presentation is always beautiful!
K's Veg Recipes - with a new name (previously called Not Another Cookbook) and a transition to more vegan recipes, I am definitely looking forward to seeing more recipes on this blog this year! K's posts are always so informative and helpful too


  1. I have both cookbooks and I don't think I've tried any of those recipes! I am really loving AfR right now, though.. the recipes have been great so far. :)

    Can't wait to see what else you love from the books. :)

  2. Yum, Yum, Yum! Everything looks amazing! I love the idea of an asian appetizer party! I am looking forward to making the potstickers!

  3. That looks amazing! And I like your blog picks too (um, not just me I mean!)

  4. Wow, thank you so much, seriously, for those way-too-kind words ;) I'm super flattered by your kindness, Genevieve! And you are inspiring me to get both of those cookbooks. I just ate dinner but my stomach is no joke growling for more food--particularly those potstickers--Eeeee! Beautiful.

  5. You've been Liebstered back! (I think that's allowed, right?!) Now I want those cookbooks too. I think I need to get rid of some of my old ones....!

  6. wow, you are a pro for making SO MANY recipes! your feast was amazing, i wish i had gone to your house for dinner ;)

  7. @janet @ the taste space I think it helps to have visualizations of the recipes before deciding whether you want to make them, which is one reason I did this post (especially for Vegan Planet which doesn't have pictures). So far the only recipe I've tried from AfR is the chickpea piccata, which I absolutely loved!

  8. Thanks so much for all the nice comments!

    @Courtney J - I think cooking a big meal is more fun if you have a theme around all the food, and there are so many options you can do for Asian style appetizers!

    @KL - Thanks so much for the re-nomination! I definitely think it would be worth it for you to get at least one of the cookbooks, there are tons of recipes in them, and I love that I don't have to skip over any sections like I do with other cookbooks!

    @Cara - My pleasure - I love that this award idea is making lots of people feel good! You should check out the cookbooks - I think Vegan Planet gives some gluten-free options throughout too

    @Caitlin - Thanks for the compliment! I'm sure you would have been a great guest :)

  9. This was all sooo yummy! I think I loved the potstickers most even though they had tofu in them, but everything was delicious!

  10. @Natalie Thanks, I'm glad you guys liked everything! I will turn you into a tofu-lover eventually!

  11. What an awesome spread - I am thinking I might have to invest in that cookbook...even though I told myself I need to use the ones I already have more often!

  12. @Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes Thanks! And yes, its a good all-round cookbook with a lot of variety! New cookbooks are always fun!

  13. Yummmmmm I've always wanted Vegan Planet but seeing all these amazing dishes you've made from it makes me want it immediately!

  14. @eatme_delicious Thanks - I'm happy to help promote the book! I'm going to try another recipe from AfR tonight too :)



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