Spring Rolls

Since reading Rip Esselstyn's My Beef with Beef, our meals have been more plant-centric and mostly sourced from the garden. This has also allowed me to indulge in one of my favorite dishes: fresh spring rolls. The ingredients that weren't garden-sourced were from Blackie's Farm Stand and the Hong Kong Market in Portland, Maine.

 The Filling from the Garden:
Red and Green Deer Tongue Lettuce, Russian Kale,
Carrots, Cucumbers, Green Peppers

From the Hong Kong Market

With the spring rolls, one must have dipping sauce, so I made Toby's Dipping Sauce from My Beef with Meat. 

To make the peanut sauce, peel and chop a clove of garlic, and throw it into the bowl of a food processor. Cut of 1-inch portion of ginger root, peel and chop it, then add it to the bowl as well.

Using a knife to peel the ginger

 Add one half cup of both water and natural peanut butter to the bowl, and two tablespoons of sweet miso,
1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari sauce,

 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, and blend together.

 Ladle the sauce into a bowl, and set it aside.

Prepare the rice noodles for the filling of the rolls. There are two methods of doing this: the first is to fill a bowl with cold water and soak the noodles over night, then drain and rinse with cold water. If in a hurry, bring water to a boil in a pot, add the noodles, and when soft, drain and rinse with cold water. For both methods of preparing the rice noodles, it's important to squeeze out as much water as possible in order to prevent the noodles from making the rice wrappers too soft and rip-prone. Set the cooked noodles aside.

To make the vegetable filling for the rolls, chop up lettuce

and kale,
grate or chop carrots,

and julienne the peppers

 and cucumbers.

Lay the bok choy on the cutting board

and cut off the ends.

Wash the leaves then chop them,

 and wash and julienne the stems of the bok choy.

 Arrange the fillings within easy reach. Fill one dinner plate with water and set a second, dry dinner plate beside to it.

 Soak a rice wrapper until it is pliable, shake off the water, and lay it on the dry plate. Lay the fillings on the lower section of the wrapper,

and bring the bottom (the end closet to you) up over the filling, bring the sides of the wrapper over the filling, and continue rolling the wrapper until the filling is completely enclosed. 

 Repeat the process with the rest of the rolls, making certain to keep the plate without water as dry as possible, thus preventing the wrapper sticking to the plate's surface.

 As an appetizer, make miso soup. For simple miso soup (based on the recipe in Mark Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything), pour 4 cups of water into a microwave-safe container, add 1/3 cup of miso, and heat for 5 minutes in the microwave.

Slice some tofu,
then cut the tofu slices into small cubes. Set aside.

When water/miso mixture is done, stir together. Ladle the soup into bowls, add tofu cubes, and some seaweed. Chopped scallions can make a nice garnish to the soup.

 The finished meal. Delicious.