Sheesh! I haven't posted in a very long time. I am so sorry I have been MIA. It seems I lost my kitchen MoJo at Christmas. It was actually starting to make me a little nervous. I had absolutely no desire to test, create or even cook for weeks. Anyone who knows me should have been calling me every day to make sure I hadn't been committed or something, because this is extremely out of character for me. I am slowly recovering from whatever it was that was ailing my kitchen spirit, but it is still very slow going. I think I need a session with a kitchen exorcist or something.
As I slowly break out of my funk I am focusing on more foods that are healthy, less fatty, less processed. No it's not a New Year's resolution. It is a solid goal to take of a lot of pounds before I hike rim to rim in the Grand Canyon in May. The last thing I want to do is carry 20-30 extra pounds in and out of there. So, I am very motivated to eat good stuff.
It just so happened that I needed to test a delicious light Ponzu Sauce for Robin Robertson's upcoming Quick-Fix Vegan. I decided that I would team it up with some yummy, colorful spring rolls. For the spring roll filling I used julienned carrots, pea sprouts, sauteed fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped raw cashews and fresh cilantro leaves. They were really fresh and yummy. It was a nice change from all of the heavy fat laden goodies I had indulged in during the holidays. If you are looking for a fun way to eat healthy, try your hand at rolling up some of these pretty little things. They are GF too! The ponzu sauce was a great complement and was super easy to make as an added bonus.
Shiitake Spring Rolls
Makes 8-10 rolls
2 large fresh shiitake mushrooms thinly sliced
2 teaspoons low sodium tamari
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
handful of pea sprouts
3 tablespoons raw cashews, coarsely chopped
16-20 cilantro leaves
8-10 - 6 inch round rice paper wrappers
In small saute pan over medium heat, saute mushrooms in sesame oil until just starting to soften. Add tamari and saute for 2-3 more minutes until tamari is absorbed. Set aside to cool.
Prepare ingredients by laying them out for assembly. Now I've been told the secret to a good spring roll is to make certain you roll them tightly. The secret is to make sure the rice paper does not get too wet and rip. Heat water in a 8" skillet until warm but not boiling. Working with one sheet of rice paper at a time dip into water for 3-4 seconds. Don't worry if it is not completely soft, it will become so in about 30 seconds. After removing from water, place on a flat surface. Once it is pliable, place 1/8 of each ingredient about 1 inch from the edge closest to you. I recommend putting the carrots on the bottom. This gives you a little more stability when you start rolling.
Fold the short end of the rice paper over the filling tightly, rolling to cover the filling. After the filling is encased. fold the sides over and continue to roll it up. I like to fold the ends in, but you can also leave them open if you are so inclined. Slice in half when ready to serve. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. I like a Ponzu or soy based dipping sauce myself.
Click here for a pictorial on how to roll spring rolls.