Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spring Greens, Spring Rolls, & Sea Veggies

I made these spring rolls with some mixed greens I'm growing in the garden this year. I planted a mesclun seed pack, and they've really taken off. It's a nice mix of pretty looking and tasty greens, including arugula, endive, red kale, red and green romaine, and Salad Bowl and Lolla Rossa lettuce. The arugula is growing fastest and biggest so far, and it tastes wonderful - I've never grown arugula before, and the taste when it's fresh picked is really cool. It tastes like any other mild green at first, then this great peppery taste floods in...so good. I pick a couple leaves every time I go past them. Here's a pic from the garden:

Making spring rolls is pretty easy, and it forces me to clear off my little kitchen counter when I make them, to have all of the ingredients at hand. Here's what I used:

3 cups fresh greens - anything that is good raw
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded, and cut in strips roughly 4 inches long and 1/4 inch wide
1 medium carrot, cut in thin strips with a veggie peeler
1/2 cup raw cashews
mung bean thread noodles, rehydrated in boiled water for 10 minutes
rice paper spring roll wrappers - I made around 8 with these quantities

The rice paper needs to be soaked in cold water for about 1 minute, and then handled very delicately when removed. They do tend to tear pretty easily, but if you stay cool and work slowly, they're easy to use. Place about 1/3 cup of bean threads around the bottom third of the rice paper wrapper, and top with the carrots, cucumber, cashews, and greens. Here's a sample - I put around 6 leaves in each roll - as much as can be handily rolled up without over-stuffing the spring roll. Here's a roll before placing a few more greens:

After this, fold the bottom third up over the filling, then fold in the sides, and roll up to the top...it's pretty intuitive once you get started. The moistened rice paper sticks together well after rolling. Once you have them ready, they can be eaten right away, or chilled for a few hours. I wanted a dipping sauce that complemented without overwhelming the greens, and used pineapple juice, and little lemon juice, grated fresh ginger, agave nectar, and a tiny bit of soy sauce and sesame oil.

Here's a plate from last week - I must have been in a sea veggie mood, since I made sushi rolls and these tofu burgers the same day. The tofu burgers are another recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and include a good portion of rehydrated wakame. These burgers easily pass my only veggie burger test, in that they hold together and stay firm while frying or baking. I ate them with just a little soy sauce and pickled ginger, but they would be great in buns, using the pickled ginger like a relish, along with any other burger toppings.

Here's a bonus non-food picture from this weekend - my two brothers and I go on a river trip each summer in the Minnesota/North Dakota area, and this year we went down the Pembina River in northeastern North Dakota. It was a beautiful day, and a really fun river. So glad summer's finally here!


Anonymous said...

OMGAWD I just posted a fresh spring roll post too! Jinxed!

Anyway yay to a fun filled summer! Have fun Mikey!

Bianca said...

Ooh, I need to make spring rolls again! Perfect summertime food...I love the texture of rice paper. It's all chewy and soft and yet firm.

Aly said...

Your blog looks delicious. I want to eat it. Thanks for sharing!


Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

beautiful spring rolls! And thanks for the tip about the burger recipe in Bittman's book. I haven't tried it yet, which is the case for so many recipes in my cookbooks!