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Currently showing posts tagged party food

  • Fresh Vegetable and Herb Spring Rolls with Almond Dipping Sauce

    Most folks who've gone out for Thai or Vietnamese food have had these delicious fresh spring rolls and loved them, and thankfully they're not at all hard to make at home. They're wonderful because they're amazingly versatile, beautiful and nutritious. You can fill them with virtually any raw or cooked vegetable, so long as they're thinly sliced. Additional fillings you can try are strips of fried tofu, sauteed/roasted mushrooms, or vermicelli noodles. The spring roll wrappers can be found in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores, get the 8 or 9" ones. The one thing you do not want to leave out of these guys are the fresh herbs. They MAKE the flavor of these rolls. Any combination of fresh mint, cilantro, parsley, or basil will work, but I'd go with at least two, our favorites being mint and basil. The dipping sauce is easy to whip up, and can be made in larger quantities and stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.  If you make these to bring to a party, make them as close to party time as possible, and cover the plate with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap to ensure the rice paper wrappers do not dry out. These will become a recipe staple for you once you give them a try, they are that good.


    Fresh Vegetable and Herb Spring Rolls with Almond Dipping Sauce

    Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free

    Makes 8 rolls

    Prep time: 15-30 minutes

    1 package of "spring roll skin wrappers"
    1 cup thinly sliced red (or green) cabbage
    1-2 cucumber or carrots, julienned
    1 sliced avocado
    1 cup fresh mint leaves
    1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    1 cup fresh basil leaves

    Almond Dipping Sauce
    1/2 cup almond butter (creamy or crunchy)
    3/4 cup warm water
    1 Tbsp rice or white vinegar
    1 Tbsp sugar or agave syrup
    1 Tbsp coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp fresh shallot or onion
    1/2 tsp (or more) fresh thai chili (optional)


    1. Thinly slice all veggies into strips and place in separate clusters on large plate. Remove herbs from stems and add whole leaves to plate as well.

    2. Boil water and fill very wide bowl or pie plate about half way full, let sit for a few minutes to cool ever so slightly. Two at a time, soften spring roll sheets by dipping them into the hot water, using your fingers to move them around. Depending on hotness of water, it will take about 2-10 seconds for them to soften. They should be pliable but not mushy and falling apart, think al dente pasta, as they will continue to soften even out of the water. Layer two softened spring roll sheets on top of one another on cutting board (wood works well here) and fill bottom third with a a bit of each veggie and herbs, do not overstuff! Less is more here. Roll up like you would a mini burrito, tucking in sides and rolling up tightly. It will conveniently stick to itself, making this very easy. Cut in half and place on serving plate.

    3. In a blender combine all ingredients for almond dipping sauce and process 10-20 seconds until very creamy. Transfer to small bowl and top with chopped scallions or additional chopped chili pepper, if desired.

  • Red Cabbage & Jicama Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

    Most folks who've gone out for Thai or Vietnamese food have had these delicious fresh spring rolls and loved them, and thankfully they're not at all hard to make at home. They're wonderful because they're amazingly versatile, beautiful and nutritious. You can fill them with virtually any vegetable, so long as they're thinly sliced. Additional fillings you can try are strips of fried tofu, sauteed/roasted mushrooms, vermicelli noodles, carrot strips, and avocado. The possibilities are endless. Jicama, if you're not familiar with it, is a most delicious tuberous root vegetable from Mexico. It's flavor is mild, slightly sweet, with a one of a kind texture and crunch. Worth seeking out, it can be found in most grocery stores, or try your local Asian or Mexican market. If you can't find it you can substitute carrot, radish, or broccoli stem strips. The spring roll wrappers can be found in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores, get the 8 or 9" ones. The one thing you do not want to leave out of these guys are the fresh herbs. They MAKE the flavor of these rolls. Any combination of fresh mint, cilantro, parsley, or basil will work, but I'd go with at least two, our favorites being mint and basil. The dipping sauce is easy to whip up, and can be made in larger quantities and stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. It's tasty on pretty much everything, and if you're a peanut fan like we are you'll see why. If you make these to bring to a party, make them as close to party time as possible, and cover the plate with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap to ensure the rice paper wrappers do not dry out. These will become a recipe staple for you once you give them a try, they are that good.


    Red Cabbage and Jicama Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

    Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free

    Makes 12 rolls

    1 package of "spring roll skin wrappers"
    1 cup thinly sliced red (or green) cabbage
    1 cup thinly sliced cucumber strips
    1 cup thinly sliced jicama (or carrots, radish, or broccoli stems)
    1 cup fresh mint leaves
    1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    1 cup fresh basil leaves

    Peanut Dipping Sauce
    1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
    3/4 cup warm water
    1 Tbsp rice or white vinegar
    1 Tbsp sugar or agave syrup
    1 Tbsp coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp fresh shallot or onion
    1/2 tsp (or more) fresh thai chili (optional)


    1. Thinly slice all veggies into strips and place in separate clusters on large plate. Remove herbs from stems and add whole leaves to plate as well.

    2. Boil water and fill very wide bowl or pie plate about half way full, let sit for a few minutes to cool ever so slightly. One at a time, soften spring roll sheets by dipping them into the hot water, using your fingers to move them around. Depending on hotness of water, it will take about 2-10 seconds for them to soften. They should be pliable but not mushy and falling apart, think al dente pasta, as they will continue to soften even out of the water. Layer two softened spring roll sheets on top of one another on cutting board (wood works well here) and fill bottom third with a a bit of each veggie and herbs, do not overstuff! Less is more here. Roll up like you would a mini burrito, tucking in sides and rolling up tightly. It will conveniently stick to itself, making this very easy. Cut in half and place on serving plate.

    3. In a blender combine all ingredients for peanut sauce and process 10-20 seconds until creamy. Transfer to small bowl and top with chopped scallions or additional chopped chili pepper, if desired.

  • Rainbow Eggplant Stacks

    It's nearing the end of summer here in the Pacific Northwest and eggplant, tomatoes, greens, and mushrooms are all being harvested. This morning I imagined a simple stack of rainbow goodness to harness the flavors of the season, so here it is. For as fancy as these look, they couldn't be any easier. One of those recipes which relies solely on the simplicity of the ingredients themselves. It's quite versatile and the ingredients are easily substituted. Start with a base of crispy oven baked eggplant, top with a mound of wilted greens, seared mushroom, fresh tomato, and top with another slice of eggplant. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar if you like, and serve. Rich in flavor and phytonutrients, this easy dish could easily become a new staple.


    Rainbow Eggplant Stacks

    Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free

    Serves 2-4 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 medium sized eggplant, sliced
    1 Tbsp potato starch (or corn starch)
    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1 Tbsp dried oregano
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1 Tbsp neutral oil (avocado, canola, grape seed)
    1 bunch of swiss chard (or spinach, kale, or collard greens), chopped
    1 large portobello mushroom (or as seen here, 1/2 lb chanterelle mushrooms), sliced
    1 ripe tomato, sliced
    freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
    drizzle of balsamic vinegar (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat large metal baking tray with 1 Tbsp of oil. Slice eggplant into 1/2" thick slices and place on baking sheet. Use your hands to gently coat them in oil. Sprinkle with potato starch, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and black pepper and toss to coat well. Spread into an even layer on sheet and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes, flip them over when browning on bottom and bake for another 5 minutes.

    2. While baking the eggplant, slice the mushroom(s) into 1/4" thick slices and sear in a pan until browning and crispy on both sides, flipping as needed. No oil needed, the juices from the mushrooms will prevent sticking. transfer to a small bowl.

    3. In the same pan, wilt the greens. Simply place chopped greens in pan, cover, and let cook on medium heat for 2 minutes (slightly longer for kale or collard greens) until bright green and wilted. Add water by the spoonful if needed to prevent sticking or burning. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and set aside.

    4. When eggplant is lightly browned and soft inside, remove from oven and begin making your stacks. Simply stack eggplant, a mound of greens, a slice of mushroom, a slice of tomato, and sprinkle of sea salt. Top with another eggplant round and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Repeat! Very yummy!

  • Sesame Zucchini Fritters

    These zucchini fritters are the perfect way to use the bounty of summer squash available this season. If you have a food processor they come together in no time at all and are naturally vegan and gluten-free.  Simply gather your ingredients, process, add dry ingredients, and form into balls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and pop them in the oven. Twenty minutes later crispy orbs of zucchini delight will emerge, ready to be dipped in any number of sauces or condiments. My personal favorite is a lemony avocado mayo. Simply combine 1/4 of a ripe avocado, mashed, with a few tablespoons of vegan mayo and a squeeze of lemon juice. A pinch of sea salt and pepper and you have yourself a  light summer meal or perfect party food. Enjoy!


    Sesame Zucchini Fritters

    Makes 18-20

    Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients:

    2 small-medium zucchinis
    1 small onion
    1 garlic clove
    2 Tbsp fresh parsley
    3/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1/2 cup rice flour
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    3 Tbsp flaxmeal
    3 Tbsp sesame seeds


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil baking sheet, or line with a piece of parchment paper.

    2. In a food processor, process onion, garlic, parsley and zucchini until all are a uniform size.

    3. Transfer veggies to a large bowl and add all the dry ingredients, baking powder through flax meal. Stir well.

    4. Wet your hands (mixture will be a bit sticky) and form into small golf ball sized dallops. Place on baking sheet evenly spread apart, and sprinkle the top of each with a generous amount of sesame seeds.

    5. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven, flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes until crispy and golden brown. You may have to adjust cooking time based on oven, so give them a check around 8 minutes.

    6. Serve with a simple lemony avocado mayo (see above) or any condiment of choice. Lovely on their own, as an appetizer, or atop a salad.