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Thai Spring Rolls with Plum Sauce

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Every Wednesday evening I teach a hip prehab class at the gymnastics gym where I coach. Right after that class is over, I have to haul ass out to Lakewood to teach a yoga class. If I'm lucky, and if my students don't chit chat too much, I have about 15 spare minutes in between classes that I often use for eating dinner. Totally not ideal, I know, but teaching works up a serious appetite. Or maybe it's just that I always have an appetite...

Anyway there is a Vitamin Cottage right next door to the yoga studio, and most Wednesday evenings I end up stopping there on my way. They have these Thai spring rolls with plum sauce that I love, and so that has become my Wednesday night go-to.

As with every good food find, I can't help but wonder if I can make it myself. And can I make it better than the source I found it from? In this case, I firmly believe I blew Vitamin Cottage out of the water. Try for yourself...

Thai Spring Rolls with Plum Sauce

Makes: about 4 rolls

Time: about 30 minutes

You'll Need

For the wraps

  • Rice Paper (I bought mine at Sprouts, Asian section)
  • Protein (I used shrimp on mine. Chicken and tofu are also great options)
  • Sliced veggies (I used carrot, cabbage, and red bell pepper. Other Asian-y veggies include bean sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, and snap peas)
  • Avocado 
  • Cilantro

For the Sauce:

  • 5 Plums
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Let's start with the sauce. Slice open the plums and remove the pits. Throw the plums with the other sauce ingredients into a blender or processor and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a saucepan and simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 

If you haven't already, prepare your meats and chop up your veggies. Once that's done, you're ready to assemble your wraps. So, about rice paper. I found that you need two sheets, otherwise they are too thin and fall apart. We don't want that. Two sheets at a time, soak them in warm water for about 5 seconds. They won't feel soft at first, but by the time to get your fillings in there, they will have soaked up more water and should be flexible enough to roll up.

Strategically place your fillings, making sure not to overfill. Fold the edges in and roll it up, just like you would a burrito. The rice paper should be pliable and sticky by now, and should hold together easily.

Dip, devour, and enjoy this fresh combination of spicy, sweet, and sour!

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Save Your Scraps: Homemade Veggie Broths

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CYMERA_20140330_210042 My favorite part about this recipe is not so much the broth itself, but that it gives me a really good use for all the veggie scraps that would otherwise get tossed. So for the last week and a half I've been saving and freezing all the parts of my vegetables that I don't eat. 

Let's see what we have here....

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Looks like there's some broccoli stems, kale and celery stems, the tops and insides of bell peppers, some chard that was about to go bad, beet green and leaves, onion skins, basil plant stems (leftover from Basil Vinaigrette recipe), jalapeno tops (from Salsa recipe), and some carrot shreds. 

There really is no right or wrong ratio of veggies to water, but for those of you who need some serious structure, here's what I did:

  • About 1 gallon ziploc bag of frozen veggies, packed in
  • 6-8 quarts water
  • Optional Extras: herbs and spices, salt, garlic (I used one clove garlic, about a tsp of sea salt, 2 bay leaves, and a sprinkle of crushed red peppers)CYMERA_20140330_210243

Make sure all your scraps have been WASHED at some point. It's easiest if you just wash all veggies before freezing. Bring everything to a boil in a big pot over the stove. Reduce heat to low and let simmer (covered) for about 2 hours. When broth is done, strain the liquid through a colander into another pot or glass bowl.

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At this point you can continue making some kind of soup with the broth, or store in the fridge for later use. Sipping on veggie broth by itself is a great way to give yourself a big nutritional boost, especially when feeling sick, stressed, or fatigued.  Add a spoonful or two of nutritional yeast in there, and your taste buds and body will celebrate even more!