Every time I try to branch out for new recipes, I always end up going back to my culinary roots for inspiration. Anything Asian is my pretty much my standard. Hawai'i is a smorgasbord of cultures and our comfort food definitely reflects it.The first dish is a standard: tofu spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce.
I love spring rolls for their versatility, you can add whatever your heart desires and they always turn out amazing! This vegan version uses tofu, but you can add cooked chicken, fish, shrimp, beef, or any other protein source as well.
I use Averie's 2 minute peanut sauce recipe because it's perfect... and you should never try to fix what isn't broken.
Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
1 pkg spring roll rice wrappers
4 oz tofu, drained and sliced
1.5 cups shredded green cabbage
1 medium or 2 persian cucumbers
2 small carrots
1/2 cup cilantro
1 batch Averie's Peanut Sauce
1 large frying pan
mixing bowl (for the sauce)
whisk (for the sauce)
measuring cups (for the sauce)
1) Pan fry (or grill) tofu slices till browned. You can use some oil if you like, but I didn't.
2) In the meantime, shred cabbage, grate carrots, chop cilantro, and matchstick cucumbers.
3) Remove tofu to small plate and cool. In same pan, set a few cups of water to heat so you can soften your wrappers. Make sure your pan is wide enough and you have enough water to submerge a full wrapper.
4) While water is heating, whip up a batch of Averie's fantastic peanut sauce.
5) To assemble: Slide a wrapper into the water to soften. You can either use fingers (if you're not too heat sensitive) or silicone tongs. The wrapper is soft when you poke it and you see a little ripple effect going on. Remove wrapper and lay out on cutting board, pulling very gently, and being careful not to fold or tear. Fill with desired ingredients (not too much!!!) and roll up like a burrito. Be sure to flip in the ends of the roll before you finish so you end up with a sealed pouch instead of an open-ended taco.
6) Devour with lots of peanut sauce!!!
The second dish is an at-home version of my favorite appetizer from a local Pasadena Thai restaurant Saladang. It is crunchy, sweet, smoky, and just all around amazing. You might not think that all the ingredients go together, but trust me, it's SO right!
Smoked Salmon Cups with Honey Dressing
9 butter lettuce cups
3 oz smoked salmon
1/2 cup peanuts (raw or roasted)
1 thumb fresh ginger
1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
3-4 Tbsp honey
large plate or platter
1) Set frying pan (no oil) to medium high heat. Add coconut to hot pan and stir/toss constantly to toast. Do not walk away or it will burn!
2) When toasted, immediately remove from pan and transfer to small bowl to cool.
3) Peel ginger and mince or chop finely.
4) Trim the salmon, if needed, into 2 inch squares.
5) To assemble: Sprinkle each lettuce cup with toasted coconut. Top with a few peanuts and as much ginger as you like. Then squeeze on some honey and place a smoked salmon square on the very top.
6) Roll up like a taco or devour whole. The honey will probably leak out a bit, and some coconut will fall out too. It is OK to lick your plate and your hands!
Combined with some sauteed sesame kale, the meal felt so fresh and satisfying.
I also whipped up a weight watchers recipe for individual chocolate souffles which was just so-so. I really don't think I am a souffle person, the texture just bugs me
Catching up on some blogs, research for some new bike panniers, and reading before bed.