Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's Spring! Rolls

The long anticipated winter thaw is finally here. I could not think of a better recipe than the one below to welcome abundant sunshine, beauty and color back into our lives. And more joy too.


Not only lovely and surprising, flowers lend a healthful boost to any meal. To learn more about edible varieties along with their benefits, go here. Also worthy of note is manuka honey which comes from a specific region in New Zealand. This is no ordinary sweetener;  it boasts strong antibacterial, anti parasitic, and anti fungal properties. For a more in-depth exploration, click here.


If you aspire towards a raw food diet, this recipe can easily be adapted by trading the spring roll wrapper with a delicate butter leaf lettuce or even romaine. Just make sure to roll your creation as a cone to allow the color inside to peek through. For a vegan version, swap the honey with coconut nectar or agave.


Yield: Friendly light lunch for two


1 cup shredded purple cabbage
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, stems removed
1 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
A handful of edible flowers
8 large rice paper spring roll wrappers


Apricot-Cranberry Dipping Sauce


1/2 cup dried apricots, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, drained, and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon raw manuka honey
1/4 cup warm water
pinch of Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
2 tablespoons dried, unsweetened cranberries, roughly chopped
1 green onion, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons almond oil
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Divide ingredients into eight equal portions on a large cutting board or mat. Rinse a single rice paper wrapper with warm water and lay flat on work area. Take one portion of flowers and arrange in the center on the wrapper, leaving 2-inches of space on each side. Follow with cabbage, carrots, peppers, and spinach leaves. Fold both ends of the wrapper towards center until snug. Next, fold top side of the wrapper inward while tightly rolling into a uniform roll, ending with seam on the bottom, flowers on top.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.


For dipping sauce, pulse dried apricots, vinegar, honey, water, and salt in a blender until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add an additional tablespoon or two of warm water. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in dried cranberries, green onions, almond oil, and nutmeg. Divide mixture into two dipping sauce bowls and serve with four spring rolls each.


“Try to cook so that it will surprise a little, agreeably and astonish slightly, without shocking.”
  -Jean Marie Amat