Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Baby Shower Food Ideas: Fruity Flowers, Savory Salads and Panini

Are you planning a shower? We were excited to plan the menu for this baby shower for 22 ladies. We wanted the food to be fresh and festive. Here's the main menu:

• Baked brie wrapped in puff pastry
• Vegetables with yogurt dip
• Hummus with pita chips
• Asparagus wrapped in puff pastry with prosciutto

• Edible Fruit Flowers
• Greek salad
• Field greens with pears and honey lavender dressing
• Black forest ham and Swiss cheese panini with cornichons
• Chicken parmesan panini

The Details:

Baked Brie in Puff Pastry

I absolutely love this appetizer because it is easy to make and easy to eat. I've posted a version of this before with jam and puff pastry and brie. This simpler version has no jam, honey, nuts or dried fruit and the seam is on the bottom. Click here for a great video tutorial on how to fold this.

If you have cookie cutters, using the scraps, you can easily cut out shapes and use a bit of whisked egg to "glue" the scraps on top.

It always turns out very cute. Here it is before baking. After you bake it, be sure to let this cool at least 45 minutes or a hour such that when you cut into it the brie doesn't gush out. I also recommend serving it on a platter with sides in case it does gush out.

Asparagus Wrapped in Puff Pastry and Prosciutto

This is an easy and elegant recipe that wraps prosciutto and puff pastry around asparagus. I have already posted this in detail from the Oscar party so just click on the link.

This Greek salad was made by Amber and it was juicy and fresh, filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta and green onions.

My mom made this field green salad with fresh pears, asiago cheese, pecans and a honey lavender dressing. You can also surround the salad with the pears for a more formal appearance. The honey lavender dressing was made with garlic, honey, white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and coarse ground mustard. Be sure to use culinary lavender, available at cooking stores and some grocery stores. Non-culinary lavendar may not be food grade.

Fruit Flowers
I've learned a few tricks in making these since the original post about fruit flower bouquets. Click the link to see the how-to but a few new tips:

1. Cut the fruit the night before and store it covered and in the fridge. Save the assembly for the next day.

2. Use small seedless watermelon. Larger watermelons seem to have less dense flesh that falls apart when cut. I tried both this time and the seedless one was much more homegeneous and dense and cut easily without falling apart.

3. Get creative with grapes and use them to fill in. I did a lot of grape and strawberry skewers to fill in the elaborate watermelon-kiwi-pineapple- strawberry flowers.

4. Use an Easter basket for the holder if you don't want to carve a melon as the base. I'm still figuring out what is the best dense material to stick the skewers in inside the basket...I used part of a cantaloupe in the basket.
Here's a finished basket with a mix of the elaborate flowers and the simple grape skewers. We made three different ones and they were lovely to eat but also as decoration.

My mom made two kinds of panini: Black forest ham with swiss cheese and cornichons on top as well as a chicken parmesan panini.

The cornichons made a lovely garnish. Mom also used a bit of mustard and mayo as a spread.

The chicken parmesan sandwich was made with a pounded chicken cutlet, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. It was garnished with fresh basil and parsley.

And dessert....coming in the next post!