The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wonton imagination...

I think the best kind of party is one that's relatively impromptu. Friends show up, you rummage through the pantry and the refrigerator and create a veritable smorgasbord of otherwise mismatched offerings. The wine is flowing and all is well in your little corner of the world. But I also enjoy planning a party and that's just what I'm going to do.

I want to make it a game party of sorts. I'll put Monopoly, Scattergories, Taboo and the Wii out (I dare anyone to challenge me to a round of anything...). A little music for background noise... But the most important and memorable thing is the menu. To encourage frivolity and mingling, I'll stick with finger foods. I think small bites should be beautiful and have big flavors, leaving a lasting impression. "Remember the ______ we had at Nicci's? Man, was that delicious. Good times. Goooood times....," they'll say (I hope).

Planning a menu is also a good opportunity to create recipes. I'm going to make it an Iron Chef-esque challenge for myself... The main ingredient? Wonton wrappers. I already know what we're having for dessert:
Chocolate-Hazelnut Ravioli. I saw Giada make them a while back and I've been looking for an excuse to fry up such decadence. And I think a tart lemon-berry reduction as a dipping sauce would be a nice touch.

So I'll need to have a bunch of savory wonton-wrapped bites as well. Steamed, baked or boiled... I've been thinking miniature meat (and a few vegetable) lasagnas would be fun. Or shrimp and cabbage with a spicy sesame sauce. I've filled wonton wrappers with butternut squash, cardamom and cinnamon and they were fabulous (the sage-butter sauce I put over them didn't hurt). There are a million variations.

Any filling ideas?

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at 11:59 AM Blogger Rachel said...

You've got me. Those dishes all sound light years ahead of my meager culinary skills (or lack thereof). Good luck with the party and planning.

at 12:58 PM Anonymous Schtz03 said...

Ready? Are you ready? Are you sure? OK....

Egg Salad Wonton Cups

36 wonton wrappers
3 cups prepared egg salad
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup shredded carrot
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
9 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Parsley sprigs
Coat one side of each wonton wrapper with cooking spray; gently press into miniature muffin cups, greased side down. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
In a bowl, combine the egg salad, onions and carrot; mix well. stir in the bacon. Spoon about 1 tablespoon into each wonton cup. Garnish with tomatoes and parsley. Yield: 3 dozen.

And you can't go wrong with velveta and sausauge stuffing..

Thank me later....

at 1:06 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

Ooh, I like. Sounds tasty AND pretty... Both are prerequisites. :)

at 8:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

a Goat Cheese/fresh Fig/Prosciutto combo might be nice....

at 10:26 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

Yes! Excellent combination! I've made prosciutto-wrapped goat-cheese-stuffed figs and they're great. I don't imagine the prosciutto would get as crispy if I made them in wontons, but the crispiness of the wrappers would add nice texture... Great idea!

at 8:18 AM Blogger Polly Campbell said...

Funny, I'm thinking of making this thing that's really delicious for my next party:a tart of puff pastry spread with fig preserves, dotted with goat cheese and strips of prosciutto. (Or maybe no prosciutto because the guest of honor is a vegetarian--guess who?)

at 8:31 AM Blogger Nicci King said...

I thought of another filling idea on my commute to work today. When I thought about mini lasagnas yesterday, I envisiones a red sauce, heavy on the olives, garlic and onion. But this morning, I thought shrimp, ricotta and a creamy wine, lemon and garlic sauce would make for a delicious lasagna blanco. Lilliputian style... :)

at 11:49 AM Blogger Cin Twin1 said...

I need my foodie friends to educate me:

Are figs and dates the same thing?

I always get confused, what is the difference between prosciutto and pancetta?

at 12:15 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

Are figs and dates the same thing?

I always get confused, what is the difference between prosciutto and pancetta?

Good questions, CinTwin!

Fig and dates are different. They're some of the earliest cultivated fruits. They're both fiber-rich and good for you.

Think of pancetta and proscuitto as bacon and ham, respectively. They're both Italian, as you know. The differences are the cuts and the way they are prepared. Pancetta is from the belly, like bacon. It is salt-cured and much less expensive than prosciutto.

Prosciutto is cut from the hind legs (of pigs that are usually raised for this purpose). It is then dry-cured, but not cooked. The goal is to maintain the flavor and sweetness of the meat without salting the heck out of it. Yum!

at 12:17 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

I should note that there are varieties of proscuitto... The subject would be a fabulous cooking class!

at 2:10 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

Oh, wow... Collard Green Won Tons.


I think I've seen it all now!

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