RECIPE: Thai Inspired Comfort Food

I am a localvore, omnivore and globalvore, both in lifestyle as well as food preferences. I am committed to local, organic AND global fair trade. From my coffee and chocolate to my zucchini and music, I live my values. And, with joy and gratitude  ♥

So, when it comes to food, comfort food, prepared with an ethnic edge, is often my choice. One year, though not an avid gardener, I surprised myself by growing all the ingredients needed for spring roll, save the rice wrapper and noodles: basil, nasturtiums, cilantro, cabbage, and spinach. Mint and wild leeks were growing wild, as they do in South West Wisconsin. I was in Foodie Paradise to discover that just outside my kitchen door were most of the ingredients for a fabulous light fare.

Nasturtium Spring Rolls…YUM!

The nasturtiums provided the brilliant color against the flavor orgasms of basil and cilantro! What better to dip these in, than a Thai-inspired peanut sauce? Childhood memories of peanut butter sandwiches, but with a kick! Credit goes to the Whole Foods Market Cookbook for these recipes:

Thai Peanut Sauce

(Makes 3 cups & keeps for 2 weeks in your refrigerator)
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
12 cloves finely minced garlic
1 2-inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped
111/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup water
3 T sugar
¼ cup catsup
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
2-3 T lime juice
1 t hot pepper sauce or ½ t ground-up red pepper flakes

Heat oils over medium heat, and add onions, garlic and ginger. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring often. Add remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes. Cool fully. Puree in a blender, or food processor fitted with a metal blade, until smooth.

Spring & Summer Rolls

1 7oz. rice stick or bean thread noodles
4 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced spinach
¼ basil or thai basil
3T chopped cilantro
¼ cup chopped mint
2 scallions, sliced thinly and diagonally,
or wild leeks (aka ramps)
1 ½ cups edible flowers, (such as violets or nasturtiums),
stems removed
18 spring roll wrappers

Bring 2 qts water to a boil, add noodles, cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Drain well, rinse under cold water and drain again.
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except the flowers and stir well.
To assemble the rolls, fill a pan with very hot water. Immerse the wrapper until it is soft and pliable, about 30 seconds.
Lay the wrapper out flat on a smooth surface. Dap with a paper towel gently to remove excess moisture. Lay 2-3 flowers across the middle, add ½ cup greens and ¼ cup noodles on top of the flowers. Roll the edge closest to you over the top and gently pull back to lock in the ingredients. Fold the sides over, as if an envelope, and then roll up tightly. Place seam side down in a sealable container and cover with a lettuce leaf or damp paper towel. Roll all the rolls in this way.
Spring/Summer rolls will keep for 2 days if covered with a damp towel in a tightly sealed container. Serve with the creamy peanut sauce! Enjoy this fresh salad treat!
3 rolls have 320 calories, and with just 15 “fat calories”, make a welcome addition to most any diet! Go sparingly on the peanut sauce if needed. Bon Appetit!