Kohlrabi Spring Rolls

Several years ago, when I worked at a previous institution, the students working in our office over the summer lamented their ability to cook.  As three professional staff members who really enjoyed cooking, we wanted to pass this interest along to the students (and make sure they were eating something beyond cereal and taco Tuesdays at the local bar).  Some students were gourmands themselves, sharing how they whipped up garlic and mushrooms in the middle of the night for a bedtime snack, while others had no talents.  The basic premise was this: we would pair up two-by-two and the pair would have to decide what they were going to make.  Sometimes there would be a theme or an assignment of the course, while other times it was a free-for-all.  A shopping list would be procured and two of us would go tot he grocery store and acquire the necessary ingredients.  Finally, we would go to the boss lady’s house and spend the time doing team building, cooking, and skill-development.

On the very first of these visits, I was working with a student who didn’t have much cooking experience but was filled with ambition.  She wanted for us to make spring rolls together.  This was a slightly disastrous, but not horribly awful experience.  Since then, I have been hesitant to try spring rolls or something of the like again.  But, with an abundance of kohlrabi, I went looking for recipes and was delighted to find this recipe for Kohlrabi Spring Rolls from the Love and Lemons Cookbook.  They tasted great.  The peanut sauce could use some work — I haven’t found a homemade or store bought peanut sauce I love yet.  But, I’ll keep looking.  My rolling skills could continue to be developed, but flavor-wise, the recipe is a keeper.

Kohlrabi Spring Rolls.jpg

Kohlrabi Spring Rolls

Peanut Dipping Sauce

1/3 c creamy peanut butter
2 tsp tamari, plus more to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus more to taste
2-3 Tbsp water
1 tsp sriracha, plus more to taste
1/4 c crushed peanuts, toasted

Spring Rolls

4 oz vermicelli rice noodles
1 kohlrabi bulb, sliced into matchsticks
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 mango, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
1/2 c loosely packed basil
1/2 c loosely packed mint
8 rice papers
Sea salt
1/4 c microgreens (optional)

Make the peanut dipping sauce: In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, tamari, lime juice, water, and sriracha and adjust the seasonings.  Sprinkle with crushed peanuts.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook the vermicelli rice noodles according to the instructions on the package.  Drain and set aside.

Toss the sliced kohlrabi with the lime juice and a pinch of salt.  Have all filling ingredients prepped and in front of you before you start rolling — noodles, kohlrabi, mango, avocado, basil, mint, and microgreens, if you are using.

Assemble the spring rolls: Fill a shallow baking dish or pie plate with 1 inch of warm water.  Submerge one rice paper wrapper in the warm water for 15 seconds and then lay the softened wrapper on a clean kitchen towel.  Place a portion of each filling ingredient on the rice paper.  Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling and gently tuck the filling under the wrapper.  Fold the sides over the filling.  Then continue rolling and tucking the rice paper to form the spring roll  Repeat with the remaining rice papers.

Serve with the peanut dipping sauce.

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Classic Guacamole

In addition to the hummus I highlighted in my last post, I decided to throw together some guacamole and turned to the Vegetable Butcher to identify the recipe I wanted to try making.

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Classic Guacamole

4 avocados
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed or grated
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
1-2 jalapenos, seeded, ribs removed, finely diced
3 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4-1/3 c coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, gently mash avocados, halved and pitted, leaving some pieces in large chunks.  Add the garlic cloves, red onion, jalapenos, lime juice, and salt.  Gently mix in tomatoes and cilantro.  Add more jalapeno, lime juice or salt to taste.

The guacamole will keep for 1 day, refrigerated and covered tightly with plastic wrap touching the surface.

As a variation, make Avocado and Mango Guacamole: Replace 2 of the tomatoes with 1 medium mango, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice.

Avocado, Black Bean, and Corn Salad

For Christine’s birthday a couple weeks ago, we spent time at the farmer’s market and went out to the lake, and it was great.  I’ve already shared that.  One of the things I have yet to share is that Christine’s friends are all extraordinary cooks, but even more so, Christine is a gourmet cook herself.  On Saturday morning she insisted on cooking in a variety of ways, but one which I am less comfortable with, but hope to emulate her at doing – making food without a recipe.  Perhaps because of my efforts at baking, I am often less inclined to use anything other than a recipe because precise measurements are required.  But, here we went, making up recipes as we went.  And, I knew what I was doing (for the most part).  I remembered what needed to be added, and went by taste for different flavor profiles.

While I was working on a cucumber salad and nursing some injuries, Christine was mixing up a delightful Avocado, Corn, and Black Bean Salad.  I have forgotten how avocado is a great binding ingredient, in ways that historically mayonnaise or other ingredients would be.  I think I tried to catch most of the things she put in the salad, and so here’s what I could see from her work:

Avocado, Corn and Black Bean Salad

2 avocados

2 tomatoes

1 onion

1 can corn

1 can black beans

Cilantro

Lime juice

Chop all and mix together delicately, so as to not mash the avocado.  Add salt to taste.

Avocado Chicken Salad

For another New Recipe Tuesday recipe, K made Avocado Chicken Salad a few weeks ago.  We ate it with triscuits.  It was the perfect meal for a day when we were ready for something fresh.  There aren’t measurements, but I was there while she was throwing it together, so I tried to take note of what she was putting in the meal.
Avocado Chicken Salad
3 c poached chicken, shredded or chopped
1 ½ avocados, mashed
1 Tbsp plain yogurt
3-4 green onion
Healthy handful of cilantro, chopped
Lime juice, to taste (1-2 Tbsp)
Salt, to taste
Mix together, chill if desired, and eat.  It’s delicious!