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Published: Sunday, 3/18/2007

Food events are blossoming all over the area

Signs of spring are all around us. Even the food world is flowering with an array of culinary events.

The Echoes of Poland Folk Song and Dance Ensemble will hold its annual Pierogi Dozen Sale. Cheese, kraut, and potato pierogi are sold by the dozen for $7.50, advance orders only. Pick-up is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 30 at the PRCUA Hall at 5255 North Detroit Ave. Call 419-475-6262 or 419-531-8658.

Monroe County Community College's Chef Kevin Thomas, Chef Vicki LaValle, and their second-year culinary skills and management students will have themed buffets at the Cuisine 1300 restaurant. It is located in the dining room of the Audrey M. Warrick Student Services/Administration Building at the MCCC main campus at 1555 South Raisinville Rd., Monroe, Mich.

Buffets, which begin at 11:30 a.m. are on the following dates: Friday, American Regional; March 30, Mediterranean; April 5, Luau; April 13,Great American BBQ, and April 27, the Ultimate Buffet.

Cost is $18 for each buffet. Reservations are required by calling the MCCC Ticket Hotline at 734-384-4272 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio, has planned several classes. Impromptu Dinner Cooking taught by Chef David Weigandt of Sidney, Ohio, will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. April 16. Cost is $55 for Institute members, $70 for nonmembers. For information and a complete schedule of classes call 419-499-7500.

Caramel-Topped Cheesecakes with Oat-Pecan Crust won the Quaker Oats  For Your Heartthrob  recipe contest. Caramel-Topped Cheesecakes with Oat-Pecan Crust won the Quaker Oats For Your Heartthrob recipe contest.

Ralph's Joy of Living at 33 North Washington St. in Tiffin has a variety of classes, including a Caribbean Tasting Party for $20 at 6:30 p.m. on March 29; Springtime in Paris wine tasting for $10 plus $1 to $3 for each wine sample at 6:30 p.m. on May 17, and Guest Chef Dinners. For information and a complete list of classes call 419-447-1051.

The Quaker Oats "For Your Heartthrob" Recipe Contest named Janice Elder of Charlotte, N.C., the grand prize winner of $5,000 with Caramel-Topped Cheesecakes with Oat-Pecan Crust. Made with oats, salted caramel, and cheesecake, these individual-serving cheesecakes are perfect for any spring event from a wedding or baby shower to an Easter dessert tray.

1 1/2 cups oats (quick or old- fashioned),


1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1 1/4 cups packed light brown

sugar, divided

1/4 cup butter or margarine,


2 packages (8

ounces each) cream cheese,


1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temp-


1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup butter-

scotch caramel topping

Sea salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 18 medium muffin cups with foil liners. In a large bowl, combine oats, pecans, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and the butter, blending well. Spoon 2 tablespoons of mixture into bottom of each foil-lined muffin cup, then press evenly and firmly to form crust. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. In large bowl, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy, scraping bowl occasionally.

Add remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar and vanilla; blend well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, or just until set. Cool in pans or wire rack. Chill at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, top each individual cheesecake with scant 1 tablespoon of butterscotch caramel topping (if too thick to spread, place in microwave for a few seconds to soften). Sprinkle a few grains of sea salt over and serve.

Yield: 18 cheesecakes

Source: Quaker Oats

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