after an amazing massage this morning i walked the 3 blocks back to my apartment on hudson street, climbed the stairs, opened the door and knew exactly what i wanted for lunch. spring was soon coming and the hyacinth in my house knocked my head back as soon as i entered. i was going to push along the process of the seasons by encouraging a little springtime feel in the kitchen. you can do that you know. completely change your head space, your mood, your "vibe" if you will, all by making the right dish to ease you along in the desired direction. my direction was firmly moving forward to spring and all things sunshine, flowers and salad. i had prepared a really tasty carrot seaweed salad the other day and the flavors were perfectly mingled now. on my last trip to the union square green market i saw vinny denise who sell sprouts. i had broccoli sprouts, mung bean sprouts, lentil sprouts and sprouted sunflower seeds. by mixing these all together with just the right amount of fresh lime juice and basil puree from my freezer i would create a duff family favorite of seaweed salad summer rolls with dipping sauce.
by the way, this will be a shorter post i'm afraid as i still need to get to that lunch i am super excited for! lets call it a recipe posting rather than a big long emily needs to vent post but nonetheless filled with enthusiastic musings about real food in all its splendor from this punk rock culinary cheerleader. that's funny, i am the furthest thing from the typical cheerleader persona i could think of but, hey, i guess i am a cheerleader of gastronomy through and through. back to those summer rolls! summer rolls are delicious bit of thai goodness that can be reinterpreted in any way you like. the basics are a rice wrapper that is filled with, typically, veggies, peanuts, herbs and more rice noodles dipped in a toasted sesame & soy vinaigrette. here is where i tell you to bring your imagination to the plate and make that summer roll work for you. always make the recipe work for you. play with it. bend it. shape it. own it. a recipe is a framework, a jumping off point, a place to start and then let your desires completely take over. i never follow recipes to the letter. i always, always, always bend the rules. but not so much when baking. baking is science. logic and rules. cooking is more carnal and visceral. a place to feel your way until you find your way. oh shut up, emily!
like i said earlier, i had all that lovely seaweed salad macerating nicely in my fridge. i combined that with about 2TBS of each type of sprout, squeezed half a lime into it and then a tsp. of my basil puree which i froze this summer in batches. it consists of basil, olive oil, garlic, sea salt & pine nuts. notice i don't put cheese in. i do that when i am creating the actual pesto per dish. okay, i combined all those ingredients into a beautiful salad that could stand nicely on its own thank you very much. at that point i could have wrapped it all nicely in some butter lettuce. i could have picked up my fork and dug right in. i could have also included some hot pepper here if i wanted to spice it up...today not feeling so spicy. tomorrow? you never know. back to the summer rolls: then i dipped the rice wrapper, which is dry and hard like a frisbee, into some luke warm filtered tap water and used my hands to gently help it soften. i laid it carefully down on the counter, added a bit of the mixture and folded it up like an envelope to seal it. rice paper wrappers are a fragile ingredient - like working with filo or wrapping dumplings -- so take your time, practice and you will get it. i promise.
i wrapped 6 rolls. i plan to eat two for lunch and will store the rest in the fridge with a damp cloth over them to keep them from drying out. i will pick the kids up from school with these and they will be over the moon! on to my dipping sauce. ready for easy? really...don't laugh. 1 tsp. of raw organic tahini, 1 tsp. basil puree, the juice of 1/2 lime and 1 TBS natural jus (that's filtered tap water). stir all that together and viola! dipping sauce. feel free to add a pinch of sea salt if you like. mine didn't need it at all. okay, i am drooling now and must get to my plate. i hope that you try this recipe or make up your own. it's really nice to know exactly what you want to eat when you bring your Family2Table and be able to execute it. it helps even more when you have quality ingredients already prepared in your fridge that you can combine to create something amazing just when you need it. enjoy. i know i will!
Seaweed Salad with Carrots
4 large carrots cleaned and shredded
1 daikon radish cleaned and shredded
1 cup wakame dried seaweed soaked and revived (soak and drain a few times for best flavor)
2 scallions chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro washed and chopped
3 - 4 TBS. fish sauce (vegetarians use nama shoyu unpasteurized soy sauce)
1 TBS ume plum vinegar
2 TBS toasted sesame oil
the juice of 1 fresh organic lime
1 TBS sesame seeds if you like
a pinch of sea salt
a pinch of red pepper flake if you like life spicy
combine all ingredients and let sit in the fridge overnight to macerate and bloom.