Tag: dipping sauce

Summer Rolls with Spicy Dipping Sauce

I couldn’t imagine ¬†going through summer without posting the ultimate light and healthy dish – summer rolls. To be honest, I have no idea why they are called “summer” rolls. I think it’s because they are lighter than their wonton cousins, but I could be wrong.

Unlike classic eggrolls, which are usually fried and heavy, summer rolls are made with rice paper rounds and don’t require any cooking. If you’ve never worked with rice paper before. don’t be intimidated, it’s really super easy.

The great thing about summer rolls is that they can be filled with anything – fruit, veggies, or your protein of choice. Fish and tofu work wonderfully in these rice paper roll-ups, but grilled chicken and veggies are my faves. I once watched Giada de Laurentiis make a fruity version on the Food Network. She filled the rounds with pad Thai noodles, strawberries, mango and almonds and prepared a honey-mint dipping sauce to go on the side. She served them after a yoga lesson as the perfect post-workout treat.

For me, making a dish like this doesn’t really require a recipe. I look into my fridge and put together whatever scraps I can find. In this case, I had leftover marinated chicken breasts, so I threw them on my grill pan for a quick sear. I found some nappa cabbage, shredded carrots, scallions and edamame, and put them all together for a fabulous combo. Feel free to do the same (grab whatever you can find in your fridge) or follow my recipe below.

Oh, and the dipping sauce? Let me just say this — it’s awesome.

1 year ago: roasted beet salsa
2 years ago: gefilte fish patties in tomato sauce

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Crispy Baby Artichokes with Balsamic Aioli

I’ve had a lot of foodie firsts in the past couple of months. Trying new foods like Pad Thai and Dhal, and cooking things I’ve always dreamed of making from scratch like duck confit and handmade pasta. Having the opportunity to explore and expand my culinary horizons has made me throw all my inhibitions out the kitchen window. Now, instead of walking away from ingredients I’m not familiar with, I embrace them. Which is exactly how THIS amazing recipe happened.

Believe it or not, I’d never even heard of an artichoke before I married my husband. My mother in law is sephardic, so she prepares lots of stuffed vegetable dishes like mehshie, and stuffed artichokes. I decided I didn’t like them before I even tried, and that was it. Me and Mr. Artichoke were estranged. Until now.¬†

It was a Wednesday. April 10th to be exact, and I picked up the New York Times so I could read the Dining section over coffee. And right there in front of me was an article about “Making Big Plans for Small Artichokes”. I’d never even known there was such as a thing as baby artichokes. So I figured, If the big ones scare me away, why not tackle the little guys. Turns out, the little ones are not that little after all, but I was warming up. The recipes looked deliciously inviting, and so, I couldn’t help but pick up a package of baby artichokes when I saw them in the produce aisle. I also love cooking seasonally, so I was up for the challenge.

Anything breaded and crispy with a dipping sauce is right up my alley, so I decided to go that route. It was also my daughters birthday, and I figured these little guys would make for a perfect appetizer at our small little family party. It was great to serve them up to some criticism (“They’re a little tender, cook them longer next time” or “The bread crumbs are a little too dark, toast ’em less next time” and “What’s in this dipping sauce, it’s amazing!”) so I could learn to perfect them for you guys.

I hope my step by step tutorial helps you all embrace this humble vegetable, as I have. There’s a little prep work involved, but trust me, it’s worth the effort!

1 year ago: spinach, walnut & cheddar pesto
2 years ago: banana, dates, milk & honey smoothie

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