This is the fifth in a series of monthly guest blog posts by Josie & Shawn from Truffula Seed Produce. Enjoy! -Liza
Shawn and I love to cook. We are always looking for fun new recipes to try out and tweak to our liking. We often receive cookbooks for Christmas and they are one of our favorite things to open! Thumbing through all the beautiful pictures and imagining what we will try next, it never gets old. A few years ago, Liza got us a vegetarian cookbook simply titled “Vegetarian.”
It has remained our favorite cookbook for all this time. It has a huge variety: Italian, Greek, Asian, Indian, Moroccan, appetizers, main courses, desserts, breads, and even special occasions. Every recipe has been fun to make and has turned out really delicious. One of our recent favorites is the recipe for spring rolls and sweet chili sauce. They are addictive.
We have been making them with wonton wrappers, so they are mini-sized. They are filled with a variety of veggies – bean sprouts, snow peas, carrots, spinach, etc. And we are able to use mostly things we have in the freezer from last season. The wonton wrappers get crispy and golden when fried and the filling is flavored with soy sauce and ginger.
The chili sauce is so easy to make – just rice vinegar, sugar, and a minced chili. We were skeptical the first time we made it, but it’s delicious!
It takes a little while to prep all the veggies and assemble the rolls, but it is TOTALLY worth it. Cooking is not always a two-person job, but this is a fun one to do with someone else!
1 ounce rice noodles
peanut oil (or any other high temp oil)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 scallions, finely shredded
2 oz. carrot, finely shredded
2 oz. snow peas, finely shredded
1 oz. young spinach leaves
2 oz. bean sprouts
1 tbsp cilantro
2 tbsp soy sauce
20 – 24 spring roll or wonton wrappers
1 egg white, lightly beaten
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 fresh chilies, seeded and finely chopped
1. Make the sauce. Place sugar and vinegar in sauce pan with 2 tbsp water. Heat until sugar dissolves and boil until it forms a light syrup. Take off the heat and add the chilies. Allow to cool.
2. Soak the noodles according to package instructions. Rinse and drain. Using scissors snip them into short lengths.
3. Heat wok (or large pan) until hot. Add 1 tbsp oil. Add ginger and scallions and stir-fry 15 seconds. Add carrots and snow peas and stir-fry for 2 – 3 minutes. Add spinach, bean sprouts, cilantro, soy sauce, and noodles and stir-fry whole mixture for one minute. Set aside to cool.
4. Place wrapper on work surface. Fill and fold to encase filling. (There are usually instructions for the best way to do this on the package, but its sort of like a burrito.) Brush the edges with egg white to seal. Repeat until all the filling has been used.
5. Half fill pan with oil and heat to 350. Fry in batches for 3 – 4 minutes until golden and crisp. (Mmmm) Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with dipping sauce.
After posting how to make the Pomegranate Dipping Aioli the other day, I promised I’d follow up with the recipe for the perfect roast potatoes that accompanied it. Today’s the day!
I’m a huge fan of Ina Garten and her simple recipes that yield a ton of flavor. I based my roast potato recipe on hers, tweaking it just slightly, although the original is delicious too. The big difference between ours is that I parboil my potatoes, which gives you the feeling of a soft, velvety mashed potato on the inside and a crispy, roasted potato on the outside – absolutely phenomenal! Here goes:
Perfect Roast Potatoes
Author: Liza | (a)Musing Foodie
Serves: 6 to 8
- 3 pounds small potatoes, halved or quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley (or another favorite herb)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue boiling, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain. (You are just parboiling here – they will not be fork tender yet.)
- Combine the potatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and parsley in a large bowl – make sure to coat the potatoes thoroughly. Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a large baking sheet, and roast them at 400°F for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping the potatoes a few times to ensure even browning.
Goes great with Pomegranate Dipping Aioli. Makes 6-8 side dish portions.
Now for dish two from my POM Wonderful dinner party: Acini di Pepe Vegetarian Pomegranate Salad. I’ve made a similar salad many, many times, and knew instantly it could be easily adapted for the pomegranate challenge. Pomegranates kind of have a tart cranberry-esque taste to them, like a cross between a tiny grape and a cranberry, so to me they were a natural substitute!
I found the original recipe a couple years ago from chef Giada De Laurentiis (love her simple, flavorful recipes), and made it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. My sister and her boyfriend are vegetarians, and this was something different, hearty but not heavy, to bring to our family gatherings that they could enjoy eating.
Acini di Pepe Vegetarian
Adapted from Mediterranean Salad, by Giada De Laurentiis
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 (1-pound) box acini di pepe pasta (Israeli couscous works great too!)
3 cups good vegetable broth
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds (toasted, optional)
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate arils (can substitute dried cranberries)
Preheat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the pasta and cook until lightly brown, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Carefully pour in the vegetable broth and the juice of one lemon (it’s going to sizzle!), give a quick stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Drain the pasta (there may not be very much liquid left, and that’s okay).
In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the remaining olive oil, remaining lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper, and let cool.
Note: I often do the above steps the day before my party, and then save the last step (below) for about an hour before the party starts. Great make ahead recipe!
Once at room temperature, add the herbs, pomegranate arils, and almonds. Toss to combine, and serve!