LIGHT FAREPosted: June 9, 2011
I felt so good yesterday. It could’ve been the glorious heat and sunshine. It could’ve been my great day-starter of a run through the poodle-filled park. But mostly I think it was the fact that — knock on wood – all the summer’s loose ends are starting to come together. Things with my thesis, employment situation, and (yes) driving lessons are looking up. The relief was enough to hurl me into the kitchen and hold me captive until I came up with something delicious to eat.
The catch? Oh yeah, that glorious heat and sunshine I just mentioned. I totally didn’t want to be sweating over a hot stove. That’s where this meal came from.
On the menu:
- Fresh spring rolls
- Thai dippin’ sauce
- Purple cabbage salad
So, are you feeling hungry yet slightly repulsed at the thought of hot soup or stew or chili or casserole? Good. Carry on. Maybe this will entice you instead:
These are most of the ingredients for fresh spring rolls, but you can use whatever you’re craving. For now, starting at the top and going clockwise, we have: tiny blocks of tofu, grape tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and cilantro. All of these things are raw. A big pile ‘o’ peanuts is hanging out in the middle. To put these ingredients together in a convenient package you’re going to need rice noodles and rice paper. Both of these things are available at any major grocery store, as well as your neighbourhood Asian grocery store.
If you’ve got everything you need, these are the next steps:
- Cook the rice noodles. The best way to do this is to boil a small pot of water. When it reaches a nice boil take it completely off the burner and add a handful of noodles. Put the lid on the pot and let the noodles sit, submerged, for 10 minutes. Drain them like you would spaghetti noodles after that. You want them to be cool.
- Chop up your fillings. In this case, smaller is better. The blocks of tofu are about one cubic centimetre, while the veggie sticks are about eight centimetres long. (This is where a mandoline would come in handy. I’m putting it on my wish list.)
- Prepare a piece of rice paper. Fill a large bowl with hot (not boiling) water. Submerge one piece of paper in the water for about five seconds, or until it’s really wiggly. Lift it out of the water, shaking it a bit.
- Place your piece of rice paper on a cutting board. A wooden surface, or one with a bit of texture, works well here because it won’t let your paper slide away. Now you can load it with all your tasty ingredients. I think 2/3 c. is plenty of filling. I find it works best to start with the rice noodles and build around them .
- This is where things can get messy. To wrap your spring roll… oh heck, there’s no way I can adequately describe this process. Watch this video instead. Now repeat this process as many times as you want and store these babies in the fridge for a little while.
In the meantime you can make the dipping (dippin’ . . . ?) sauce. Just combine 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar, two cloves of garlic (crushed), 1 tsp chili sauce, and 1/4 tsp. salt. This works best with a magic bullet or blender.
Finally, I found the recipe for purple cabbage salad at VeganYumYum and immediately bookmarked it. I know it sounds silly, but I think eating purple anything has a certain novelty to it. And I love cabbage. This salad turned out to be as tasty as I’d hoped, and it was really simple. All you need to do is mix the dressing with a bunch of chopped veggies and let it all mellow for a few hours.
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsbp. seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 small head purple cabbage, about the size of a softball
4 carrots, shredded (or in my case, awkwardly chopped)
1/3 c. sliced or slivered almonds
1/3 c. dried currants or raisins
This dinner was exactly what I needed . . . and it still feels a little warm outside. Good thing there are plenty of leftovers.