Raise your hand if you’re from the Northeast and have officially turned into a human prune!!! *both hands up*
Did YOU know it was possible to feel both dehydrated AND saturated at the same time? Heat and humidity are the latest power couple, and it is getting rough out there. I just got back from an incredible week in Connecticut at the Amherst Early Music Baroque Academy, but it wasn’t always fun and games for my fiddle… Let’s just say when working with a period instrument with gut strings in 95% humidity, the name of the game is “What The F#*! Just Came Out of My Instrument?!” 5 points every time a string goes a whole step out of tune. 10 points when two consecutive strings go out of tune in opposite directions. 15 points when you play a note and nothing comes out… You don’t really want to win.
In this heat, my second love (cooking) also becomes not-so-lovely. When the mere thought of turning on an oven drowns me in my own sweat, I often resort to “un-cooking.” Luckily, the summer season offers us a huge selection of delicious produce, so filling up on raw fruits and veggies is hardly boring. And, not to diss salad, but there are plenty of creative ways to enjoy your raw produce, which was precisely our challenge at The Recipe ReDux this month.
This month’s theme, “Get Your Fruits and Veggies in Shape,” challenged us to transform summer produce using creative cuts. My spiralizer is one of my FAVORITE tools in the kitchen for this, and summer rolls are a go-to meal for me during the warmer months – oven-free, fresh, crunchy, light, healthy, and filling! What could be better than combining the two?!
While making this recipe, I was pleased with how quick and SAFE spiralizing was as an alternative. Julienning veggies with a knife or special peeler is fine, but it takes forever… Plus, I will take any chance I can get to keep my fingers away from blades.
To “wrap up” this delicious dish (hehe) I made an easy miso sesame ginger dipping sauce. Miso is a relatively recent addition to my repertoire of ingredients, but I am in love with it. It automatically lends an explosion of flavor to whatever it’s in, and I am always looking for new ways to incorporate it. This was a home run as far as I’m concerned – miso obsessed with this recipe, and I hope you will be too 😉
- 12-24 sheets rice paper
- Warm water
- 1 large carrot
- 2 large (or 3 medium) cucumbers
- 1/2 purple cabbage
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1 mango, thickly sliced
- 1 cup cilantro or Thai basil leaves
- 3 Tbs. light miso
- 4 Tbs. seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2-inch knob ginger, grated (about 1/2 tsp)
- 1 Tbs. sesame oil
- Spiralize carrots using the "spaghetti" blade, or thinnest blade possible. Set aside.
- Spiralize cucumbers using the "spaghetti" blade. I like to drain my cucumber noodles after spiralizing by squeezing them through a cheesecloth or a stack of paper towels. Set aside.
- Spiralize purple cabbage on the "ribbon" blade, or thickest blade possible. Set aside.
- Prepare your avocado, mango, and cilantro and arrange them alongside your other prepared veggies for easy assembly.
- Submerge a sheet of rice paper in a bowl of warm water for 5 seconds. Immediately lay the wet sheet on a cutting board or large plate.
- Fill your roll (careful not to overfill!) with veggies. I like to start with cilantro so you can see the leaves laying flat through the roll, and then add the veggies from thinnest to thickest. I also like to add more cilantro on top before rolling.
- Roll each summer roll delicately while keeping it as compact as possible.
- Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.
- Work as quickly as possible to prevent your rice paper from sticking to your surface!
- If necessary after rolling, double up with another sheet of rice paper.
I’m pretty sure I’ve loved Chinese takeout ever since I could eat solids. Sure, I was fed from day one by the best of the best – my mom has always been super creative in the kitchen, and my grandma made a legendary pot roast. But you and I both know how it is when you’re eating food out of a white box.
My aunt used to come watch me when I was a wee one, and whenever we ordered Chinese food she would always get us bean curd with steamed vegetables. I LOVED the stuff, and to this day, it’s still my go-to healthy takeout order. Of course, it wasn’t until the fifth grade that I found out “bean curd” was actually a fancy way of saying “tofu.” I was, of course, legitimately upset, because this meant I could no longer try to act cool by telling all my friends I hated tofu.
But I also grew up completely in love with sesame noodles. Carby, creamy, peanutty, salty, saucy, slightly crunchy sesame noodles. GAHHHH. So good.
As much as I love sesame noodles, though, they don’t truly love me back. Carbs on fat on carbs is delish (it’s my favorite, let’s be honest), but doesn’t look so good when you have a slinky recital dress to fit into. So, I decided to make my own version of this amazing dish using an ingredient that is brand new for me:
I loooove risotto.
I love making risotto, I love eating risotto, and I love talking about how much I love making and eating risotto. I love everything. About. Risotto.
One of risotto’s many virtues is how easy it is to make, yet how fancy it pretends to be. The hardest thing about it is not getting bored while you sit there stirring it constantly. It’s perfect for the holidays just for that reason, because you can make it for a bunch of guests and pretend you’re a super fancy chef. For best results, serve your risotto to your guests with a slightly affected tone: “Our next cooourse is going to be a rather SCRUMPTIOUS rrrrrisOo0o0oHto with a touch of young spinach and pah-meZZAHN. I would NEVER have time to make this nooooormally, you see, I simply spent HOURS over the stove and NEARLY broke into a sweat, but FOR YOU my dahlings, I WILL stand and LITCH-RALLY watch liquid evaporate! Hah hah, we are having SUCH FUN, aren’t we?!”
Okay, so maybe don’t really do that if you’d like your friends to stay long enough to eat your risotto. And definitely don’t reveal to your guests that you basically just made them high-maintenance rice. But DO consider making this recipe for your next party, especially if you have guests who are trying to be more carb-conscious.