August 4, 2013
Let me start off by saying I love food! I love cooking; creating and bringing my friends and family together through a new recipe I’ve created. I grew up in a very creative household. My father is an artist and my mother has a killer eye for all things regarding interior decorating. My younger sister inherited my father’s artist gene as well. I have long wondered where my niche lies in the vast world of all things artsy. Four years ago I decided to move to Seattle and this is where my passion for food and all things that come along with it started to blossom. Surrounded with copious amounts of fresh local ingredients ranging from seafood to vegetables, this desire to create ignited inside of me. I began to understand the importance of whole foods and to deeply value knowing where those foods were raised and how they were grown. Then the joy of turning those foods into something wonderful started to pour out of me. Even simple ingredients of the highest quality made all the difference in the taste of the recipes I developed and thus began my desire to feed my soul with delicious simple foods.
I have since moved away from Seattle and am now back living near family in Ohio, but my appreciation for locally sourced foods has continued to thrive. Summer has always been my favorite time for the variety of produce alone. You will notice that my philosophy on food isn’t a complex one, but one that I hold of the highest importance: as much locally sourced and organic foods as possible, as well as whole sprouted grains and cooked with a little bit of love and a ton of passion. I think food should be fun and we should be encouraged to experiment and play with our foods and sometimes the best dishes are created completely by accident.
So to kick off this inaugural post, I think the most fitting example of what I have said can be summed up with a simple Summer Roll. I pair mine with a light soy ginger sauce instead of the typical peanut sauce, which I do love a good peanut sauce. I think a lighter sauce in the summer is preferable at times. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and I have….and while making these for those you love and feed, have fun and play!
Spring Roll: (makes 7-8)
8 small leaves of any type of lettuce other than iceberg (red leaf, bibb, etc.) cut out the rib so it is easy to roll up
2 medium sized carrots-cut into long strips
1 medium sized cucumber-seeded, cut into long strips
1 large avocado
1 Tbsp cilantro, minced
1 Tbsp sweet Thai basil, minced (if you cant find Thai Basil, regular work just as well)
3.5 oz of rice noodles, cooked according to directions on package then chilled in an ice bath and cut into smaller pieces
1 package of rice paper (spring roll papers), you can find them in the international section of most grocery stores
a pie pan with fairly warm water in it, it needs to be larger in size than the rice papers used to make the rolls
Damp dish towel
Once you have everything prepped have everything lined up and ready to go because you do have to move fairly quickly since the rice papers can be a little tricky to work with. Lay the damp dish towel out flat on the counter, this prevents the rice papers from sticking to the table and from drying out. Grab one rice paper sheet and submerge it in the hot water for about 10-15 seconds until it becomes pliable but don't leave it in too long or it will tear and become useless. Lay on top of the wet dish towel and smooth out with your hands, trick is to have some water on your hands when you do this so that you reduce the risk of tears. Start by placing a leaf of lettuce followed by a small amount of the rice noodles and 2-3 carrots strips, 2 cucumber strips, 2 avocado strips and a sprinkle of basil and cilantro on top.
Now to roll: get your hands damp again, and this is very similar to a burrito. Take both ends and fold them inward, take the end that is closest to you and lay it over the filling and try to pull it back a bit towards you to get everything inside nice and tightly packed together. Then simply roll it forward until the rice paper is completely wrapped around the filling. If the ends are falling out a bit just tuck back in, it took me a couple tires until they started really looking nice :-). I wrapped each one in plastic wrap so they wouldn't dry out, You can store them like this for up to 24 hours.
Ginger Soy dipping sauce:
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 Tbsp minced chives
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 tsp minced sweet Thai basil or regular basil
Combine everything in a jar and stir or shake until honey is dissolved. Let sit in fridge for at least 2 hours. Serve with the rolls, Cut them at an angle for easier eating and enjoy!
Food definitely is a form of art. Jumping into the kitchen has shown me how much I enjoy creativity, too. Loved reading your thoughts here and am looking forward to more! : )
Shanna - August 9, 2013