It’s time for holiday cocktails and casual potlucks that are as easy to serve as they are to eat. When I’m throwing a party, I don’t want to work with a caterer, and yet I can’t do it all myself. Fortunately, I don’t have to, for along with winning local products — Lone Grazer and Shepherd’s Way cheeses, Red Table Meats, Baker’s Field breads, Lucille’s Kitchen Garden jams, and Ames Farm and Beez Kneez honey — there are Jazzy Foods Crispy Wontons, brimming with pork sausage, spicy cheese and cilantro. Heat them in the oven (or a toaster oven) and they’re ready to serve in about 15 minutes. Offered with a big green salad or soup and bread, they make a fine casual meal.
Jazzy Foods is the passion of Beth Chapman, a sales representative for a local medical tech company who loves to cook and entertain. Chapman, like most food entrepreneurs, started at home in her kitchen, but then went straight into the manufacturing phase. First, though, she engaged Merlin Development in Plymouth, a food-product development company, to refine and scale up the recipes, provide nutritional analysis and develop labels to meet government guidelines. She also sought advice from the state Department of Agriculture.
“They’ve been fantastic, providing resources and support. We are sourcing the pork for sausage from local producers across the state,” she said.
Chapman’s background in engineering was helpful in choosing the best way to process, package and deliver her wontons. The carton she chose, favored by ice cream companies, protects the delicate shells and is easy for grocers to stock. “They fit nicely in the freezer case,” she said.
When it comes to serving her handheld treats, Chapman advises doctoring them up so they look as if they’re made from scratch. “I like to sprinkle on a little Creole seasoning and chopped fresh cilantro as they come from the oven, or top them with sour cream, or a dollop of ranch dressing or your favorite salsa,” she said. Chapman is developing a vegetarian version with artichokes to be released soon.
Jazzy Foods Crispy Wontons come 12 to a carton and retail for $10 in local grocery stores, including Kowalski’s, Lunds & Byerlys and Coburns. jazzyfoodsapps.com