There are two things that we love about potluck dinners: (1) you’re not in charge of cooking the entire smorgasbord and (2) you can try out new dishes on your friends. Actually, we’ve heard it said that you should never do a new dish for a potluck. It should always be one of your tried and true concoctions that is sure to bring on nothing but raucous raves from your greedy friends. We threw caution to the wind and searched through our recipe rolodex for a couple of platters for a Japanese themed dinner. There are so many recipes that come to mind when you think Japanese, but we’re also trying to watch our waistlines after November and December’s gorge fests. That meant none of the heavier dishes that we would’ve preferred to pull together; no, it had to be something delicious bordering on diet. We were teetering in dangerous territory, but who doesn’t love a challenge.
Finger foods are great for potluck type dinners. People can pick up and go or pile a couple of each item on their plates. These spring rolls may not be 100% Japanese, but hey, we were going for a roundabout option. The eggplant is definitely one of our favorites. We’ve seen recipes that call for broiling the eggplant, but if your broiler only ranges from off to ‘911, we have an emergency’ flames, we suggest baking.
Hoisin Shrimp & Veggie Spring Rolls – Approximately 3 dozen
16 ounces shredded cole slaw mix (cabbage & carrots)
1/2 pound cooked shrimp, peeled & deveined and chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons hoisin
2 teaspoons hot chili sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. Heat sesame oil, vegetable oil and garlic over medium heat. Add cole slaw mix, ginger, hoisin and hot chili sauce. Stir well.
2. Once cabbage has cooked a bit, approximately 2-3 minutes, add cooked shrimp until incorporated. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
3. Place wonton wrapper on a flat surface, so it makes a diamond shape (top should be one of the corners, not a flat edge). Dollop the upper porrion with cabbage mixture, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons each.
4. Fold left and right corners in first and then roll from top to bottom. Make sure wonton is sealed.*
5. Brush very lightly with a bit of vegetable oil. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, 25-30 minutes.
*You can also make these into triangular shapes as well. Like a true wonton!
Orange Miso Eggplant – Serves 4
4 Japanese eggplants, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup mirin
3 tablespoons miso*
1 orange, juice and zest
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon hot chili sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 scallions, chopped
1. In a bowl, whisk mirin, miso, orange juice and zest, ginger, sesame oil, garlic and hot chili sauce.
2. Dunk eggplant slices into mirin mixture (both sides) and spread evenly on a baking pan coated with cooking spray. Pour any remaining marinade over eggplant slices.
3. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until eggplant is soft but not too mushy. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions before serving.
*We used red miso, although any variation is perfect for this recipe.
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