Who says vegetarian has to be boring?
A real conversation starter is to serve colorful black Thai rice, studded with red and green bell peppers and bits of grated carrots, hot out of the oven in a banana leaf.
In "V Cuisine: The Art of New Vegan Cooking," author Angeline Linardis says to place the leaf-wrapped rice on a large platter and unwrap it or cut through the banana leaf for an impressive presentation that'll have your guests oohing and aahing.
The bananas leaves can be purchased frozen at Asian markets. Simply thaw a leaf, put the rice mixture in the center, wrap the leaf around it as you would a burrito and then wrap the entire thing in foil. Place on baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes in a preheated 400-degree oven.