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Food on a Stick Challenge...I want to crush my competition :)

My office recently started a monthly, informal food competition. I won last month's salsa cook-off with a pretty good roasted tomato salsa. This month's theme is 'food on a stick' and I'm completely stumped. Does anyone have ideas?

The parameters that I need to work in:

Works well on a stick (duh)
Can be served cold or room temperature....I don't have any way of heating up my dish.

I was thinking about finding some popsicle molds and whipping up some coconut milk/fruit frozen bars. Still, I would like to have more options, like an elegant, tasty appetizer or something like that.

Can anyone help me brainstorm?

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  1. Mushroom, pearl onion and pepper cabob.

    3 Replies
    1. re: billieboy

      I just did mushrooms stuffed with herbed cheese a grape tomato on a stick for a party I attended.

      I have also done mozarella balls dipped in pesto and wrapped with pancetta (but you said vegetarian) They were great room temp

      Stuffed pepper would be great roast slightly and stuff with a soft herbed cheese
      Figs but that is pretty generic stuffed, but always good

      I have let peaches marinade in a balsamic and honey reduction with fresh mint. Spread with some cream cheese and dip in fine crushed pecans on a stick. Nice sweet but the balsamic gives it some tang

      Along that line I have done honey dew also marinade in mint and lime and then dipped in a light honey and yogurt and then rolled in crushed up pistachios

      This is a favorite of mine and even though it is pan fried, room temp is fine for this. I take zuchinni and cut in 1" thick round. Then I take the center seed area out. I stuff the hole with a vegetables bread stuffing. It varies, but usually some sauteed onion, carrots and spicy cubanella pepper and then add some fresh bread to give it some substance and stuff the center. Then I dip the zuchinni is egg and bread crumbs and pan fry till golden. The zuchinni get a bit soft but holds together well. I put them on a stick from the one side through the middle etc. Works great and really tasty.
      This can also include a little cheese in the middle with vegetables instead of the stuffing also good and room temp. I made these last year. I put two on each skewer
      Either of these could be served with a dipping sauce. Sort of depends what you stuff them with. Maybe a nice spicy cheese sauce for the vegetables or a more of a tomato base for the cheese.

      Small mini spring rolls or egg rolls with vegetables and a light sweet dipping sauce

      My Blue Cheese stuff Olive Balls

      Also, last one I make potato dumplings poke a hole in them and stuff them with just about anything. This is my post. But I include my recipe for the dumplings. You can stuff with a complete veggie stuffing. Or if you read my request, you can used mashed potatoes, stuff the potatoes and then dip in egg and then bread crumbs and pan fry. This easily could be put on a stick and served with a dipping sauce. Anyways, they are a lot of fun.

      Well that is my thoughts

      1. re: kchurchill5

        Oh!!!! I like the spring rolls on a stick idea.
        Future plans for that one. Thanks

        1. re: billieboy

          They are fun for parties. Endless fillings and dips. Bite size morsels. I do one with crab, jicama, spicy peppers, avacado and some cabbage. Another with smoked salmon dill, cabbage and mango and spicy cucumbers with chili oil. So many ways to make them. Welcome

    2. I've celebrated "international Food on a stick day" with my kids for 4 years now...kids are between 14-17, so probably not-so-sophistocated, but ultimately the day proves successful

      some of the best things (attach "on a stick" after each) include:
      Bacon wrapped water chesnuts with bbq sauce
      pizza balls....
      chocolate covered strawberries....
      chicken satay......
      stuck pig in a blanket...
      Spanish meatballs.....
      Kafta (Lebanese: ground lamb+mint+ allspice).....

      good luck !
      good luck and

      1. Well you can't top what is available on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair! There at least 25 items on a stick mentioned in the first three minutes of this five minute video, including Alligator, Jumbo Pickle, Pork Egg Roll, Porcupine Meatballs, Hot Dish, Teriyaki Ostrich, Cheese Pizza and a Reuben:


        1. The vegetarian part is stumping me a bit, but you could do something with fresh mozzarella and tomato with some sort of balsamic "sauce". Or figs stuffed with gorgonzola and walnuts, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. (I usually wrap them in prociutto, but I suppose that's not really necessary...)

          2 Replies
          1. re: theferlyone

            "but you could do something with fresh mozzarella and tomato with some sort of balsamic "sauce"."

            Ooh! Caprese salad on a stick! Just add a basil leaf & drizzle with balsamic & olive oil. Mmm!

            1. re: ccrow

              I do this all the time, though I brush with pesto instead of skewering basil.

          2. Jicama con Limon. Peel and cut a jicama into nice big cubes. Marinate in lime juice for at least an hour. Put on the sticks. Dust with Chile Powder. Enjoy!

            1. How about falafel balls with a tzasiki sauce drizzled over?

              1. Pepadews stuffed with cream cheese
                Cherry tomatoes stuffed with cream cheese/horseradish mix, parsley leaves for color
                Gougeres stuffed with mushroom duxelles
                Bananas dipped in chocolate and chopped nuts

                I don't know if you'd get extra points or deductions for an edible stick, but how about a pretzle stick dipped in chocolate then rolled in sunflower seeds, raisins, mini M&M's? I think Rolled Gold makes a pretzel about 4 or 5 inches long, twisted I think. Not a big pretzel rod, and not the little tiny sticks. I've also dipped these in melted caramels, let set up, then sprinkled with toppings.


                4 Replies
                1. re: nemo

                  Edible sticks. Good idea. Think also of small bread sticks.

                  1. re: billieboy

                    Yes! Those very thin grissini. Martha Stewart, in one of her hors d'oeurves books, does goat cheese balls rolled in various herbs and spices (black pepper, parsley, curry powder, etc.) and presented on a platter drizzled with olive oil. Hold a piece of paper over top of one ball and sprinkle only half with spice. Form a thin row of pepper or chopped herbs and roll a ball through it, coating only a stripe down the middle. Stick a grissini in for the stick.

                    1. re: nemo

                      I think the edible stick might just put you over the top!!

                    2. re: billieboy

                      here i was thinking i was all clever, and then i saw that you (nemo and billieboy) had already posted my ideas of both pretzel rods and grissini! ah, well, great minds...

                      i really do think that food AS a stick will be the winning idea.

                    1. re: Rmis32

                      Yes, the mango lollipops are amazing....and simple. Just a few drops of peppermint oil is all that is needed.

                    2. Playing around on Google, I came across this vegetarian kofta recipe. I'm not sure how adventurous your group is or how it would be at room temp., but it sounds good. I'll have to make it for my veggie son.


                      You could serve it with a yogurt-tahini sauce with a little garlic and lemon, or a spicy tomato sauce, or both.

                      The other thing I thought of was crispy macaroni and cheese balls coated in panko on a stick. If you have access to a toaster oven, you could toss the panko with a little oil or melted butter, coat the balls, and bake them for a few minutes at a high temp to crisp them up.

                      Congrats on your salsa victory. Here's to future victories!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bear

                        Sorry, I just reread the original post. Scrap the mac and cheese balls...no way to heat them up.

                      2. Okay, let's see if I have your parameters right: Has to be something served cold (which I interpret to mean not frozen) or room temperature, and it has to be "vegetarian", but you don't specify just how vegetarian. Vegan?

                        Anyway, my guess is that the majority of entries are going to be sweet, as in Popsicles transported in dry ice, cheesecake on a stick, cookies on a stick, that sort of thing. Therefore, in order to catch people off guard, I would go with something savory.

                        If you search the web for "food on a stick" you come up with a gazillion things ranging from spaghetti and meatballs on a stick to pork chops on a stick, but the one thing I never found (not that I made a caareer out of looking) was SUSHI ON A STICK!!!

                        I would use sliced sushi rolls. there are lots of recipes for vegetarian sushi rolls, so that shouldn't be a problem. And finally,, I would use two sticks, as in bamboo skewers, and run them through the sushi about an inch apart so the sushi doesn't roll around on just one stick. And if it isn't a contest rule that everything has to be vegetarian, then you could do a few with smoked salmon or cooked fish. I don't think I'd mess with raw fish.

                        Whatever you decide, good luck!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Caroline1

                          We agree again, lol. :)

                          Two sticks. I completely forgot to mention that. A lot of times that is very important so the items don't twirl. Good call.

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Maybe I'm over-parsing, but OP says s/he has no way to heat up the dish. That might mean the rule is nothing served hot, or that the poster does not possess a crockpot, electric skillet, or other portable electric heating appliance and that there's no microwave or other workplace cooking appliances. If the latter, I suspect there will be cocktail meatballs and pigs-in-blankets aplenty, and would indeed go for the dessert category.
                            I've yet to try them, but there were so many raves about the Oreo truffles on the "down and dirty" thread a few months back that I'd do them - or a similar crushed cookie with cream cheese thing dipped in chocolate. After dipping in chocolate, roll in coconut, cookie crumbs, or chopped nuts. Use lollipop sticks, chocolate-dipped pretzels, or the thin chocolate-covered cookie sticks (Trader Joe's has these). If using an edible stick you might need to use a skewer to make the hole in the truffle.

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              I was thinking cheesecake on a stick before I read your post. We had chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick at one of our favorite Italian places the other night. It was just a ball of cheesecake dipped in chocolate, but it was super good! Cheesecake has won the two last dessert competitions at my work, and that would be the best of both worlds- cheesecake and chocolate!

                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                But I could be wrong... What if EVERYBODY brings sushi on a stick? Then what? '-)

                            2. Deep fried tofu on a stick served with various dipping sauces.

                              1. You have gotten a zillion interesting ideas here.

                                Now: what do the judges like? What's the competition going to be making?

                                1. I saw this "cupcake pops and bites" (cupcake on a stick) on Martha Stewart's show and they are so cute and gorgeous! Plus it fits with your 3 criteria. I highly recommend this!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. A recently re-popularized stick food in Japan has been dango mochi: three mochi balls on a stick. There are a lot of flavors, including some savory, some sweet, and some that are an addictive combination of the two (e.g., soy sauce and sugar, or sesame seeds and salt) It might take some skill and practice to make, but I bet you could even make filled mochi and put them on a stick. And one of the neat things about having them on a stick is that a linear order is imposed on the eater-- maybe you could make a "three course" treat, with three of the same type of item in a row, but a savory flavoring on the first one, a sweet/savory mix on the second, and a sweet one to finish. They can't be fridge cold (the mochi gets hard), but room temperature works well.

                                    Also, Korean street vendors are masters of forming anything so it can go on a stick :) Most of their items involve meat or fish somehow, but googling around for descriptions of the kinds of things that they serve might give some inspiration. Also, are you allowed to have a dipping sauce on the side? One of the key elements to many of these street foods is that you also get a little cup of soup to dip or drink with the stick item (e.g., fishcakes). Obviously a soup doesn't work so well if you can't heat it, but some other kind of thin sauce might work.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: another_adam

                                      Sugar and shoyu is the oldest, most traditional of mochi dips - and my one and only since the mid-1950s..

                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        Is it? I guess that makes sense, though I think of kinako as the most old-school of mochi coatings :)
                                        Sugar and shoyu is addictive like crack. Hmmmmm, this suddenly makes me think that if sugar & shoyu is good, and butter & shoyu is good, wouldn't some buttery sugary shoyu mochi be even better? Heheh. Sort of in the same vein as toast with salted butter and cinnamon sugar :)

                                    2. I'd do California rolls w/ NO tobiko or masago or kani w/ spicy mayo, cuke, avocado, maybe some bibb lettuce. After you roll and cut them, make a tiny cut in the side of each piece throuth the nori. Insert a choptstick (can get those dirt cheap ones at any big grocar, any Asian grocer, or just go to your local Chinese takeout, and ask the owner or mgr for a good handful of them for a few bucks.) Dot half of them with a good amt of wasabi. Arrange them on a platter however you see fit ( since cali navels are incredible right now, I'd use half moon orange slices in my pres. cost about 50 c, looks/smells nice and will be great if someone has a taste.)

                                      Competition crushed.

                                      1. Forgot one.
                                        A spread of herbed cheese, scallions and roasted red peppers and smoked salmon. Spread this on thin slices of zuchinni then I cooked just for a minute in the microwave to lightly soften. When cool, spread the mix of cheese scallions and peppers and then top with the salmon. Roll and skewer. Serve with a spicy soy sauce. Lots of other dips too, just my fave.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          She would have to use a vegetarian salmon :-)

                                          1. re: billieboy

                                            true, wasn't sure if seafood is involved. Some do eat seafood to a degree. Wasn't sure what level it was. Just thought I would throw it out.

                                        2. a nice pinwheel on a stick - or a savory palmier on a stick. I'm sure it would bake on the palmier easily (though I haven't tried this):

                                          Here's a pinwheel example:

                                          Have fun!!!

                                          1. I think that Lindsay's taco salad on a stick might at least be an interesting starting point:


                                            1. These cake on a stick bites look scrumptious! They are from Bakerella via The Pioneer Woman Cooks.


                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Jane917

                                                I'm doing these next weekend for our annual "New England" Mardi Gras. I'll deco with gold, purple and green - maybe write "Happy Mardi Gras" on them. I'll take pics, can't wait - Mardi Gras Cake Pops

                                                1. Crab cakes formed around a stick, breaded with cornmeal and fried. These are eve good a room temperature with a dip. They became 'corndogs' at a party and were well received.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: alwayscooking

                                                    I had those at an event, never made them but they were yummy!

                                                    1. re: alwayscooking

                                                      Sounds yummy but it's not vegetarian.

                                                    2. deep-fried rice based balls--stuffed with mushrooms, squash, sauteed spinach, cream cheese...

                                                      all are good at room temperature. It's like the stuffed triangles in Japan which had unagi,shitakke, or pickled plum....cook and serve. YUM!

                                                      1. If you have any Jeff Dunham fans in your office, you might get some bonus points for doing something involving jalapenos...on a steeeck! :)

                                                        1. Thanks for all the great ideas! I'm going to have a tough time deciding between doing something savory or something sweet. However, I'm going to try to work in edible sticks. I like that idea a lot.

                                                          Oh, and for those who asked, dairy and eggs are ok and why I asked for something that can be served cold or room temperature, is because while I have easy access to a refrigerator/freezer, I don't have access to stoves/ovens and since I take the bus to work, it would be tough to haul a crockpot/skillet with me.

                                                          I'm a little worried about my judges, as they're kinda fast food junkies. Still, I know who will be my main competition, and he mentioned that he's most likely doing kebabs (specifically what, I dunno). He doesn't scare me though. RAWR!

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: serendipity3

                                                            if they're fast food junkies, then you'll probably win major points with something snack-foodish and sweet that can be a kind of dessert. i say go for the pretzel rods, and get really creative and decadent with the toppings/coatings.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              Tempura Hershey's Kisses on a pretzel stick? '-)

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                Like oreo truffles, dipped in chocolate, wrapped around a pretzel stick for that sweet salty combo. Then dip the chocolate in nuts or whatever before they harden.

                                                              2. re: serendipity3

                                                                Vegetarian kebabs at room temperature? Junk food kebabs make me think of Paula Deens velveeta cheese fudge balls that she did on Iron Chef.

                                                                1. re: serendipity3

                                                                  Junk food junkies want vegetarian food ?????
                                                                  How about a McTofu :-)

                                                                2. Deep fried, beer battered dill pickles, on bamboo skewers.

                                                                  1. So, what did you do?? The suspense is killing me!

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: kbinsted

                                                                      Yes!!! inquiring (nosy) minds want to know.

                                                                      1. re: billieboy

                                                                        Ditto too, did you kill the competition?

                                                                    2. Did you try this link?
                                                                      It combines Oreo Cookies with Cake Pops.
                                                                      How's that for over the top goodness?