Appetizer Sliders Three Ways

With the turn of the season and the heat in full swing, something about the start of the summer makes me want to entertain. For this theme week, we wanted to do some easy appetizers with a running theme that could be crowd-pleasers without being too much effort. While Amanda did amazing and fancy things with Balsamic Vinegar, I decided to go a little more “game day” with a series of sliders.

Since I was making a couple options, I knew I didn’t want any one type to dominate my time. With the electric pressure cooker to do the heavy lifting for the pork sliders, I was freed up to work on the other two options. I thought I’d cover my bases with the shredded pork in the pressure cooker, ground buffalo chicken sliders with ranch dressing and a vegetarian option of goat cheese and zucchini sliders. The zucchini was the surprise hit, and the herb yogurt sauce was such a great addition to this yummy little snack.

It is worth mentioning, if you don’t feel like standing over a pan or two waiting for all of these little patties to cook, you could always make these full size. Or if you don’t think this is enough slider options, check out our previous burger recipes, the Greek Chicken and Chickpea burgers which could easily be divided into more patties just before cooking.

Pork Slider

Blackberry Pulled Pork

  • 12 oz fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 pork tenderloin (can also use about 1 lb pork shoulder preferred)
  • Salt &  Pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Slider Buns

Instructions:

  1. Generously coat your pork tenderloin with salt and pepper on all sides. Add it to your instant pot along with the chicken broth. Seal your instant pot and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally when done.
  2. After the pressure has been released, remove the pork tenderloin and shred the meat with two forks. Return the shredded meat to your instant pot to keep warm while you cook the sauce.
  3. In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, stir together the blackberries and wine. Allow the mixture to boil and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. About 10-15 minutes.
  4. When reduced, pass the mixture through a sieve to filter out any seeds and bits of berry.
  5. Place some of the shredded pork on a slider bun and top with a spoonful of the sauce. These are now ready to serve and enjoy!

*Mer’s Note: So there are some flavor combinations that are just classic, and I completely forgot Amanda did something similar previously. Because I was trying this one as a keto recipe, you might want to check out hers as an alternative as well. Both could be converted into sliders!

Buffalo Alternate

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

  • 1 lb of ground chicken
  • 5 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • 1 stalk celery finely minced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 3 green onions, greens and whites minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Ranch Dressing to serve
  • Slider buns to serve

Instructions: 

  1. Combine the ground chicken, buffalo sauce, celery, carrot, green onions, 1 tsp salt & pepper, garlic powder and breadcrumbs. Combine with your hands until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Separate the mixture and form/flatten into 16 equal patties.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat or a grill, cook the patties for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Place the cooked patties on slider buns and top with a dollop of ranch dressing to serve. Enjoy!

DSCF0086

Zucchini Sliders

  • 2 medium zucchinis, coarsley shredded
  • 1 tsp salt plus a pinch extra for seasoning zucchini
  • 2 oz herb goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp neutral, high smoke point oil (like canola)
  • Slider Buns to serve

Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon

 

Instructions: 

  1. Sprinkle the zucchini with the pinch of salt and squeeze the shredded zucchini over a sieve and sink to release as much water as possible. If time allows, wrap the zucchini in paper towels and place in the sieve with something heavy on top to drain over an empty container for 30 minutes to an hour. While allowing the zucchini to drain, mix together your yogurt sauce.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, herbs and lemon juice together and allow to sit in the fridgefor at least 30 minutes for the flavors to come together.
  3. Once you have released as much moisture from the zucchini as possible, combine the zucchini with the goat cheese, Parmesan, oregano, garlic powder, and the egg. Mix together and form into 16 flat patties (they will be very delicate).
  4. In a wide bowl or container, combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining salt and pepper to your liking. Meanwhile, heat a large pan with the oil over medium heat. Dip each zucchini patty into the breadcrumb mixture until you have an even coating and transfer directly to the heated pan. Until cooked, these patties are very delicate so I would recommend as little handling as you can manage.
  5. Heat the patties for about 1-2 minutes on each side until a brown and crispy, and the egg firms up the patty a little bit.
  6. Transfer to a slider bun and top with a dollop of your yogurt sauce to serve. Enjoy!

 

 

Za’atar Chicken Hummus Wrap

I originally bought my slow cooker with the intention to never be limited by its size when I wanted to make a meal, which turns out to have backfired. I bought a larger model so that I could cook large, cheap cuts of meat without thinking about the leftover implications. Usually when I use my full sized crockpot, those leftovers sit in the fridge for far too long with my excitement over eating a crockpot creation waning with each reheating (chili again?),. Sure, I could freeze soups for another day, but my freezer is pretty full and since I’m mostly cooking for two, the slowcooker does not make an appearance as often as it should in my home. So, when Amanda and I decided on slow cooker theme week, I knew I needed to make something that would keep me coming back for more.

So as not to get too tired of those leftovers, I knew my plate after the night of the wonderful slow cooker whole chicken dinner had to look different enough to entice me. Chicken is so versatile, and I decided to shred what I did not devour on the first night to turn into a healthy and fresh wrap for the following evening. The result, I think I liked even better than the original intended slow cooker meal. What’s that you say? This wrap looks so delicious but you don’t have the time to cook a whole chicken and deal with that whole other recipe? Well, this one could easily be made into a weeknight meal with some leftover grocery store rotisserie chicken or quick pressure cooked chicken breast–whatever floats your boat. I think this recipe will be making an appearance whenever I get that magical combo of feeling lazy but also wanting to stay pretty healthy (that’s a lot…it happens a lot…).

Oh, and if you do happen to shred your own whole chicken for this recipe, be sure to save the bones to make some broth, like Amanda does (you could even do it in the slow cooker)! That can help turn one slow cooker Sunday into a week of dinner delights.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of shredded cooked chicken
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
  • 1 tsp za’atar seasoning

Toppings:

  • Spinach
  • Red onion
  • Feta cheese
  • Hummus
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber, seeded and sliced thin
  • Bread wrap of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together your za’atar, lemon juice, 1 tsp of salt and oil to create an emulsion vinaigrette.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette over your cup of shredded chicken with an additional 1/2 tsp of salt and mix
  3. Spread a layer of your hummus onto your wrap bread to create a cement for the rest of your ingredients.
  4. Add a layer of spinach, chicken, tomato, cucumber, and feta cheese. Drizzle an addition tsp of your vinaigrette over all of your ingredients and close your wrap as tightly as you can. Slice in half if desired and enjoy!

Wrap Alternate pic

If you wanted to go the pita route, that’s a delicious option as well!

 

Wine Pairing: I really want to sit outside on some Mediterranean island while enjoying this wrap and in my mind, a chilled Rose just works with that image. Something medium bodies would stand up nicely to all the acid in this wrap, while also keeping with the lighter feel of the whole experience. 

Miso Ginger Soba Noodle Soup

The winter sick season is real this year. Right after the New Year, both Amanda and I got hit with maladies and were both craving something that would bring some kind of comfort. As we each huddled under a blanket of tissues in our pjs on our respective couches, we both craved a dish that would warm our bellies and bring a bunch off flavor. You must know by now how we both feel about curry and Amanda made herself a wonderful curry meal. I wish I could have gone the same route, but since my nose was hopelessly stuffed up, I couldn’t taste a thing. I knew that the nuances of a delicious curry would be lost on me and better saved for a healthier day. The one thing I both craved and knew I could taste was a nice, brothy soup.

This Miso-Ginger noodle soup hits all the criteria I was looking for in a sicky meal. The saltiness and punch of the miso, I knew could fight past my currently restricted senses. Broth and fluids are always a good choice when sick, and ginger helps to settle the stomach. Plus, I just wanted to slurp something–enter soba noodles. This soup made me feel all warm and fuzzy, an impressive feat while sick, but is also good enough to enjoy when you’re feeling 100% as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 6 cups broth (I used homemade chicken broth Amanda’s recipe but vegetable broth could easily be used to make this dish vegan. I would definitely recommend low-sodium though)
  • 1/4 cup miso paste (I used half and half red and white, but any combo would work)
  • 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 carrot, sliced into half moons, about 1/4-1/2 in wide
  • 3 green onions, sliced with greens and whites separated
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • Cooked Soba noodles, amount of your preference.
  • Soy Sauce to taste
  • Sriracha to taste

Instructions:

  1. In at least a 2 quart pot, drizzle the oil into the pot over medium heat. Add the whites of the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add the broth, miso, mushrooms, carrot, ginger and garlic. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Once the carrots are fork tender, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the spinach and cabbage. Once they are wilted to your liking, taste the soup and add soy sauce and sriracha to your preferred taste.
  4. Add some cooked soba noodles to the bottom of your soup bowl (however much you want) and pour the miso soup over the noodles. You are ready to serve and enjoy!

Wine Pairing: Well, if you’re up for a glass with this soup and not currently getting over an illness (or if you still are, you do you), a full-bodied Chardonnay would probably be able to stand up with the heavy flavors of the miso. Plus, a nice chilled glass of wine with a hot bowl of soup might be a nice mix. Enjoy!

DSCF0019

Curried Potato Dumplings

This was the second course of our “one ingredient: 3 courses” dinner and I knew I wanted something a little different than the first course, the Potato and Mushroom Galette, but also that still had potatoes as the star of the dish. Since potatoes can be a little heavy and we had three courses to get through, I also wanted something that wouldn’t leave me needing to change to elastic pants halfway through the meal so these pierogies-meet-Indian flavors were the perfect choice–albeit labor intensive.

I opted to use pre-made wonton wrappers rather than make my own dough, since I had a big day ahead of me and don’t always have luck with making my own wrappers. If you have your own recipe, feel free to use it. I know I usually like to make everything from scratch when I do these posts, but as our dinner date approached and my back started to ache from stuffing these dumplings, I had no regrets. This will make quite a few dumplings and if you use full fat yogurt they should freeze nicely.

So, if you aren’t sick of potatoes yet, here is course #2:

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups roughly chopped spinach
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup plain, full fat yogurt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Potsticker or wonton wrappers

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain, full fat yogurt
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp lime juice

Instructions:

  1. Peel and cut the potato into quarters. In a medium size pot, add your potato pieces, enough water to cover them and a heavy pinch of salt.
  2. On the stovetop, bring the pot to a boil and cook the potatoes until fork tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes and mash. with a masher, ricer or food mill.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat, add 1 tbsp of oil, onion and the minced garlic.
  5. Stir the garlic and onion, careful not to burn it, until fragrant: about 1-2 minutes. Add the garam masala, curry powder, cumin and turmeric and stir for an additional minute.
  6. Add the spinach and cook until fully wilted and turn the heat to low. Add the potato mash, yogurt, butter, and salt and pepper (to taste) and ensure that everything is fully incorporated in the potato mash. Remove from heat and allow to cool so that you can safely spoon it in the wonton wrappers.
  7. Once ready to start your dumplings, lay out your potsticker wrappers and a small cup of water to dip your fingers for sealing.
  8. Spoon 1 tsp of the potato mixture into the center of the wrapper and using a finger dipped in the water, wet one half of the outer 1/4″ of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half being sure to push out any air and making sure the filling does not come out. Press the two sides of the wrapper together firmly to make sure the dumpling is sealed.
  9. Repeat until you have no more filling. At this point, you could freeze these for later by lining the dumplings up on a cookie sheet and freezing flat for 30 minutes. Then, transfer the frozen dumplings to a plastic bag for freezer storage.
  10. When ready to cook the dumplings, first, whisk together the yogurt, curry powder and lime juice in a small bowl and set aside.
  11. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan and cook the dumplings on each side for about 3 minutes, until the skins look crispy and brown.
  12. Transfer the cooked dumplings to a plate and drizzle with the yogurt sauce and some fresh cilantro or green onion slices. Enjoy!

Mushroom and Potato Galette with Manchego

Still on the heels of our favorite food competition shows, Amanda and I were looking for a new challenge. This time, we wanted to see if we could use a single ingredient in three different courses. Of course, one would want something that could be used both in a savory and sweet capacity, which does limit some options. Being an ingredient that I love in basically all forms, I chose the lovely, yet humble potato. I am quite sure I would be able to and enjoy going off on a Bubba-esque from Forrest Gump speech regarding all of the potato forms and how delicious each one is. So, for this challenge, the potato seemed like a natural and budget friendly choice.

For the appetizer, I was still feeling the effects of watching one too many Food Network chefs create some fancy tasting menus and so I wanted a delicate and pretty appetizer for the first course. While this one is a bit labor intensive, they are very delicious and would for sure impress at a gathering. The savory mushrooms and cheesy potatoes make for a lovely combination. Stay tuned for the other two courses!

Ingredients:

  • 1 potato, shredded and kept in a bowl of water until ready to use
  • 1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 oz manchego cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • High smoke point oil for frying (like vegetable or canola)
  • Green onion for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp of butter and add the shallots, garlic and the whites of the green onion. Saute until the shallots become translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue cooking until the mushrooms have released their moisture and have turned more brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix together your shredded cheese and potatoes.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet with about 2 tbsp of oil until the oil is shimmery.
  5. Spoon about 1 tablespoon worth of the potato/cheese mixture into the pan and flatten, and repeat until the skillet is full, but none of these potato beds are touching. You may be able to cook about 4-5 at a time.
  6. When the edges of the potatoes are beginning to look brown, after about 1-2 minutes, flip with a spatula and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  7. When crispy and brown, remove the hashbrown beds and drain on a cooling rack with a paper towel underneath.
  8. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, plate with a spoonful of the mushrooms on top and garnish with the greens of the green onions. Enjoy!

Wine Pairing: The manchego cheese would probably go nicely with something simple, like Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Sushi Two Ways–Fish free

Well, it’s the middle of summer and it…is…HOT! As if the outside temperature weren’t enough, my giant kitchen windows face west. While having the setting sun’s rays streaming across my prep areas is aesthetically pleasing, it certainly raises the temperature of the kitchen noticeably. This, combined with the fact that the oven loves to radiate heat in any way it can makes for a sweaty dinner preparation. After a long day, any recipe that allows me to keep my cool is welcome in my house in the peak of summer for sure.

While my spring rolls are also a great choice, I do like to look towards sushi in times of serious heat. While it does involve cooking the rice, those of us lucky enough to automatic rice cookers (you’ll have to pry that appliance from my fingers–I’m never living without one) means that we can push the button and run away.

Since my palette has not quite graduated to raw fish, and living in a landlocked state hardly places confidence in any fish available, I love to make this fruit sushi as inspired from DK Sushi in Austin. About once every few months I get a craving for these flavors that can only be quenched by bringing out the sushi mat. For a more savory version, I have also made a cucumber and turkey roll that showcases the regional favorite, provel cheese.

If this post has ignited a need for sushi but you’re still craving that fish, I’d suggest checking out Amanda’s too-hot-to-cook post, the Poke Bowl with Avocado Rice, for some fish marinade suggestions that can easily be incorporated into a roll of your choice. For now though, enjoy these alternative options!

Yogurt Drizzle Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of strawberry yogurt
  • 2 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions:

  1. Stir together the yogurt, pineapple juice and sugar until you have a smooth consistency and sugar is dissolved. Chill until ready to serve.

Sushi Rice Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of uncooked, short grain white rice
  • Water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the uncooked rice in cold water until the water is clear (this is very important!). I usually like to add rice and water to the pot in which I’ll be cooking and then use my hand as a claw to agitate the starches. Then drain the starchy water and repeat until the water is clear.
  2. Add 2 cups of fresh water to the rice pot and either cook using a rice cooker or the traditional method (bring to boil over stove, cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes and fluff).
  3. Add the sugar, rice wine vinegar and salt to the rice and stir until well incorporated. Traditionally these are heated together to form a syrup but we’re trying to use heat as little as possible here and I find the residual rice heat can help dissolve the granules.
  4. Allow rice to cool for 15-20 minutes. It can still be slightly warm when you are ready to assemble.

Sushi Assembly Ingredients:

  • Fresh Pineapple, thinly sliced
  • Apple, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Fresh Mango
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Nori Sheets
  • Black sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Sprinkle the black sesame seeds over your sushi mat and then spread 1/3 of your rice evenly onto the mat it in a square, about 1/4″ shorter than the nori height. Then add the nori, shiny side down.
  2. Place the slices of avocado, apple and pineapple about 2/3 of the way down the nori sheet trying to fill in as many gaps as possible. However, try not to overfill.
  3. Roll your mat over the filling ingredients and continue to roll. s you complete a rotation, press to make sure the roll is coming together. Pull the mat away from the roll as you keep going.
  4. Slice the roll into 8 equal portions.
  5. Using a vegetable peeler, peel slices of mango so you have a small 1 inch sheet of mango.
  6. With a pastry brush or your finger, brush a little bit of your yogurt drizzle onto the mango sheet and lay it over the top of one of your sushi pieces. Place a slice of strawberry on top.
  7. Once all pieces are assembled, drizzle the yogurt over top and enjoy!IMG_2880IMG_2882

Quick Cucumber and Turkey Sushi

  • Sushi Rice
  • Nori Sheets
  • Cucumber, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
  • Provel cheese (can also use cream cheese)
  • Sliced turkey, deli meat.

Instructions:

  1. Place the nori sheet, shiny side down on your sushi mat. Spread a thin, even layer of your sushi rice over the nori sheet and leave about 1/4″ of the nori visible at the top.
  2. Place the cucumber, turkey and cheese about 2/3 down the nori sheet avoiding gaps.
  3. Roll your sushi; when you get to the top, brush some water onto the nori to help it seal itself.
  4. Slice into 8 equal portions and enjoy.

Wine Pairing: Obviously, we’re going for refreshing here so a chilled white or rose wine sounds fitting. Something like a riesling is an excellent choice!

Balsamic Marinated Grilled Zucchini

Since I had my little grill out already for the Greek Chicken Burger, zucchini seemed like a great side dish. Plus, zucchini just looks so great with those gorgeous grill marks. These are a quick veggie option for any meal, though, and can easily be cooked on the stovetop if you don’t feel like firing up and outside equipment.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Zucchini
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp of Italian herb mix or any herbs you’d prefer.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions: 

  1. Slice the zucchini at an angle so you have long, even slices.
  2. In a shallow dish or bowl, add the sliced zucchini and all other ingredients Mix with your hands so that all of the zucchini is covered.
  3. Allow to sit for 20 minutes to marinate.
  4. Cook in a pan or on the grill over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve with the Greek Chicken Burger or any other tasty summery dish you’d like! Enjoy!

 

Basic Tomato Sauce

This is a great, basic sauce that can be enjoyed on your favorite pasta or can be part of a bigger recipe, such as the “Grown Up Spaghetti-O’s”. You can customize this recipe with your preferred tastes by adding more herbs of your liking, but this can be a great starting point wherever your saucy cooking may take you.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin) or vegetable oil
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tbsp basil, chiffonade
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions: 

  1. In a wide saute pan or saucepan over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown.
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and saute until the onions are becoming translucent and the mixture is fragrant.
  3. Add your tomatoes, basil and a bit of salt and pepper (you can add more later) and lower the heat. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender or allowing the mixture to cool slightly and transferring to a regular blender (be careful of the heat) break up the larger chunks of vegetables to your preferred consistency.
  5. Taste your sauce and adjust the salt/pepper level to your liking and it is ready to serve on top of pasta, as a bread dipping sauce or any other purpose you’d like. Enjoy!

Wine Pairing: Although you can also wait until you choose a protein to choose your wine pairing, tomatoes can certainly be the dominating flavor of a dish. A Sangiovese might pair nicely with this sauce which is usually tart, and can be rustic with higher acidity. This can be a nice addition to the tomato sauce here. Enjoy!

img_2034

Homemade Stock

Seafood Stock

Ingredients

Discarded seafood, including shrimp shells, crab shells, or fish heads or bones

2 small onions, 2 medium carrots, and a stalk of celery (or, conversely, saved scraps of these vegetables, which can be kept in the freezer until needed)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Arrange fish or shellfish scraps on cookie sheet with vegetables. Roast in oven for 5-10 minutes or until the seafood is browned on edges.
  3. Place the roasted ingredients in large pot. Add 8 cups water, or enough to cover ingredients and fill pot about halfway full.
  4. Bring the stock to a simmer (not boil). Skim fat off the surface of the stock regularly, simmering for three hours with the pot uncovered.
  5. After simmering for three hours, strain the stock through a colander or, preferably, a sieve.
  6. Allow the stock to cool to room temperature, removing any remaining fat before storage. Use within 3-4 days.

 

Chicken Stock

Ingredients

Chicken carcass

2 small onions, 2 medium carrots, and a stalk of celery (or, conversely, saved scraps of these vegetables, which can be kept in the freezer until needed)

Instructions

  1.  Rinse chicken carcass with cold water and trim any visible fat.
  2. Place the carcass and chopped vegetables or vegetable scraps in a large pot. Add water until carcass is nearly (but not entirely) covered.
  3. Bring the stock to a simmer (not boil). Skim fat off the surface of the stock regularly, simmering for three hours with the pot uncovered.
  4. After simmering for three hours, strain the stock through a colander or, preferably, a sieve.
  5. Allow the stock to cool to room temperature, removing any remaining fat before storage. Use within 3-4 days.

Salad Rolls with a Trio of Dipping Sauces

I remember one of the first times I thought I might be becoming an adult (I mean, still not 100%), it was after a particularly indulgent weekend full of gastronomic delights. It was at that point when I had the spontaneous thought: “Man, I really just want a vegetable.” That was a completely new feeling to me as anyone who knew my former eating habits could probably verify. Nowadays, it doesn’t take much to get that feeling again and I take pride in it. However, after weeks of the holiday season, hosting, attending parties (some people, not necessarily me), and partaking in all the scrumptious treats of the holiday season, it’s nice to get back to the routine of healthy meals for a little while.

This week, Amanda and I wanted to share our go-to veggie filled recipes when we need a little nutritional pick-me-up. While I try to make pretty healthy meals on the regular, when I’m really feeling disgusting and bloated and a little too deep-fried, a nice salad roll is my favorite. They are light, basically a salad burrito and if you fill them full of veggies and lean protein, a little dipping sauce might not hurt if you don’t go overboard.

The beauty of these rolls are in their customizability. You can add anything you like and dip into anything you like. I have seen spring and summer rolls filled with everything from cooked shrimp and vermicelli noodles to mangoes and strawberries. If you keep these rice wrappers on hand, you can easily scoop up some leftovers you have in your fridge and let your imagination go wild. Below, I wanted to share the version I gravitate towards as well as a few dipping sauce options:

Spicy Pineapple Dipping Sauce

  • 3/4 cup pineapple puree
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp of sliced greens of green onions for garnish

To Make:

  • If you don’t have pineapple puree, blend together about 1 cup pineapple chunks (canned is fine) until smooth.
  • Whisk together all ingredients minus the green onions until combined.
  • Top with green onion slices.

Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated, fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped

To Make:

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until well mixed and enjoy.

Peanut Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp grated, fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes

To Make:

  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined (the peanut butter might fight you for a second but it will come around) and it is ready to enjoy.

img_1719

My Salad Roll Ingredients:

  • Rice Paper Wrappers
  •  Butter Lettuce
  • Cooked Chicken
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Avocado
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • (But the possibilities are endless so go wild)

To Assemble: 

  • Gather and slice all your ingredients mise-en-place style so you aren’t fumbling for anything. I like my vegetables and proteins (although shrimp can probably stay whole) to be cut into strip for easier eating.Make sure you have a large bowl of clean, cool, water big enough to submerge the entirety of your wrapper at one time, and a flat, clean surface to build your roll.
  • Dip one rice paper wrapper into the water and allow to sit for 10-15 seconds.
  • Remove from the water, and try to shake off and excess. Transfer to your surface for assembly.
  • Place a small amount of your ingredients about 1/3  of the way up from the bottom of the roll not surpassing the halfway mark of the wrapper. Try to fill in as much free space as possible but be careful not to overstuff.
  • Once you have added all of your ingredients, fold the bottom third over your ingredients and then fold in the sides. Then roll the rest up just like a burrito. As you can see in my picture above, the rolling might not always be perfect, but try to keep it as contained as you can.
  • Enjoy immediately as a whole meal or as an appetizer with your choice of dipping sauces.

Wine Pairing: I know we’re trying to be healthy here, but come on. Sometimes you can have both right? While it would depend on your dipping sauce selection, I can’t help but feel that a light Rose might be a nice selection to the summery feel of this dish–which may also match with the peanut sauce nicely. Happy cooking!

img_1711