Friday, January 17, 2014

Thai Salad Rolls - gluten free and vegan!

I've been making salad rolls for years. I used to get them when I was a teenager after school and think how impressive they looked, how much time they must have taken to make, etc. But boy was I wrong! Don't be fooled, although there are lots of steps, these little packages of loveliness are very simple to make. 
I usually prepare a bunch at a time and put them in the fridge for the week to snack on. They usually don't last more than a day! You may use any of the blow listed ingredients. The only necessary ingredients are the rice noodles. And the best way to assemble these is by using the assembly line method. Prep all your ingredients beforehand and then roll away! A great food to make wit the kids as well. 

Salad Rolls:

  • rice paper wrappers (buy in the Asian foods section of the grocery store)
  • thin rice noodles (bean thread noodles can be used as well, same section; grocery store)
  • carrots
  • green onions
  • cucumber
  • mint leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • shrimp, tofu, or chicken
  • sesame seeds
  • cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger, skin removed
  • 1/4 cup honey or other sweetener (adjust depending on your taste)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider or rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup water

The Rolls:
For some reason I always get the shrimp, tofu, or chicken done first. So bring a small to medium pot of water to a boil and drop shrimp in.
Cook for 2-3 minutes. Don't overcook!
While protein is cooking, I place noodles in a medium Pyrex (heat resistant) bowl.
I place noodle bowl in the sink with a strainer on top. Then, drain the broiling shrimp water into the strainer. The boiling water is now used for cooking the noodles in the bowl below.
Leave noodles for 2-3 minutes. Noodles should not be too soggy when you drain the water. If they are, start over. No one likes a soggy  noodle.
Toss very lightly with olive oil so they do not stick together.
Rinse shrimp in cold water to stop cooking process. Peel and cut shrimp lengthwise.
If using tofu or chicken, saute with a bit of say sauce on medium/high heat until fully cooked. Raw tofu is fine too. Cut into strips worthy of being rolled.

Next, prep your veggies for your rolls. 
I like to chop all the veggies into strips. I remove the cucumber seeds to prevent sogginess. 

To assemble, first run the rice paper through running water in your sin, both sides quickly. Place on counter on parchment paper. 
Assembly line time! Start at bottom edge of your rice paper. 
Lay out noodles and then layer as desired. 
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Tuck in sides of paper around filling. Now roll tightly! 
Note: wrappers should be very soft, if not, pat warm water on them to soften. 

Prepare the sauce in a small or medium sauce pan. 
Saute grated ginger and chopped garlic for 1 minute. 
Add all the ingredients and simmer on medium heat for 3-5 minutes stirring frequently.
Turn off heat, let cool a bit and either use an immersion blender or a regular blender to obtain a smooth consistency. Place in a small ramekin for serving. Extra sauce will last for a few weeks in fridge. 
Note: I like the sauce cold! 
The rolls can now be eaten. Or wrapped in plastic wrap individually or placed in a zip lock bag. 
Put in fridge and enjoy as ye' will. 

A less than glorious picture of these little bundles of yumminess. I happen to cook mostly late at night, very late! When all the children are sleeping and my mind is racing with good things to cook and more importantly, good things to eat. Down side of course is that pictures don't come out as stunning as they should. My apologies! But once you taste these, I don't think you'll have any complaints.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pumpkin Custard- gluten free and vegan

I loved chocolate pudding as a child but I realized after the 100 or so cup of pudding that I needed to branch out and try new things. I  had a few cans of pumpkin puree on hand and nothing to do with them. They just stared at me every time I reached for something on my shelves. Until I found these wonderful little pumpkin dishes just asking for something sweet yet savory to pretty them up. Here's what I came up with. 

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup canned organic pumpkin 
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar (you can sub 1/2 cup coconut sugar and 6 drops liquid stevia) 
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Now just throw all the ingredients in a blender, mix for about 1 minute until very smooth. You can also use a hand mixer if you like. 
Line a 9 X 13 baking dish with a dish towel and fill with about 1 inch of very warm water. This will help ramekins from slipping.
Pour custard into dished about 2/3 full.
Optional: lightly drizzle maple syrup over tops. 
Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.