BROWN SUGAR TOFU + MUSHROOM SPRING ROLLS

I have a feeling if you follow along here, you are no stranger to the work of Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks and Quitokeeto. If a recipe writing style can mimic one's personality by being gentle, confident and classic, that is Heidi. You can even see it in the glimpses into her kitchen or the products she chooses for her shop. In my otherwise hurried and efficient way of cooking, her photos and the way her recipes are composed make me want to slow down. She can set a mood in a cookbook like no one I've ever seen. All said and fan-girl gushing aside, her cookbook Near and Far is a keeper. She takes you through a few of her favorite places to travel by sharing recipes inspired by each of these places. I am naturally drawn to everything in the "Near" portion, but am anxious to try my hand at some of the recipes influenced by trips to Japan and Morocco. These rolls are just the beginning. We have loved her buttermilk waffle recipe and red lentil hummus with plenty more bookmarked.
Congrats to you, Heidi. The clear time and attention that went into this book made it a complete treasure. 

BROWN SUGAR TOFU + MUSHROOM SPRING ROLLS // Makes about 10

Recipe from Near and Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Heidi Swanson with a few extra wrap additions

This is a recipe composed of a couple recipes in Heidi's book. The tofu and mushrooms could really go anywhere - on rice noodles, over rice, with a heap of greens. I made the ginger onion paste and while that is certainly what gives these rolls a punch of unique flavor, you could make them your own by using whatever sauce you fancy. I still dipped them in a tahini citrus sauce or perhaps you are a peanut sauce person. The beauty of the paste is that the entire roll is self contained, making it ideal for travel and why it lies in her "en route" chapter.

Ginger Onion Paste
2 green onions, finely sliced
3 medium shallots, finely sliced
3 Tbsp. peeled, grated ginger
scant 1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
6 Tbsp. sunflower oil

Place the onions, shallots, and ginger in a mortar and sprinkle with the salt (alternatively, a food processor on pulse works fine if that's what you have). Pound with the pestle until the onions are quite bruised, but not pastelike. Heat the oil in a small saucepan until hot enough that you could saute something in it. Add the onion mixture to the oil, remove from the heat and transfer it to cool. Drain off (and save) most of the oil before using it in the spring rolls, leaving just the paste.

12 ounces extra firm tofu
3 medium cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
4 tsp. natural brown sugar
2 Tbsp. sunflower oil, as needed
8 oz. mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced 1/4"
butter lettuce, cilantro, mint, cucumbers, sesame seeds, for assembly
8-10 rice paper wrappers

Pat the tofu dry and cut into 6 equal slabs before arranging in a single layer on a rimmed plate. Place the garlic in a mortar and pestle, sprinkle with salt and sugar and pound into a paste. Work the oil in a bit at a time, continuing to work the ingredients until they come together (I added a splash of tamari here for fun, optional). Scrape the paste onto the tofu slices and slather to coat each piece, be quite thorough. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and place the tofu in a single layer and cook until deeply golden on each side, about 5 minutes. It's likely you won't need additional oil here; if you do, add to the pan a small splash at a time. Remove the tofu from the pan and once cooled, slice into pencil-thick pieces. Sprinkle with salt to taste. 
While the tofu is cooking, toss the mushrooms gently (but well) in the residual marinade left from the tofu. Once the tofu is done, use the same skillet to saute the mushrooms stirring just a couple times along the way, until the mushrooms release and evaporate their water and take on a nice, dark color. Transfer to a bowl. 
Set up your mise en place for the spring rolls - a large bowl of warm water, lettuce, ginger paste, tofu, mushrooms, cucumber, mint and seeds. Dip a rice paper into a bowl of hot water to just soften - resist oversoaking, it will continue to absorb water as you wrap. Place on a flat surface or damp dish towel. You'll want to keep all your ingredients crowded into one third of the available surface of the wrapper. Add a lettuce leaf or two, a swipe of the paste, a little tofu, a few mushrooms, a cucumber spear, mint, cilantro and seeds. Tuck the wrapper over the filling and roll it up (I find the wrapper packaging often gives you a visual). Heidi suggests them open-sided, but you can enclose them as well

Entrée, Gluten Free, Summer

GRILLED HALIBUT SANDWICHES WITH JALAPENO SLAW

Only because I don't have kids in school, can I say this is my most favorite part of summer. The crowds that fill up the beaches and cause traffic start to taper off. The breeze cools off the extra warm days and the corn, oh that sweet corn that doesn't even need anything on it. Kids return to school, we take liberties to call early work days and spend late afternoons at the beach with enough space on all sides that someone else isn't listening to your conversation. I am a personality that thrives on getting things done - being efficient - but I married a man who lives so well in the present; he sees what is right in front of us when I so often want to put my head down and plow forward. SO glad there have been afternoons of stopping and watching my boys play in the surf. 

Hugh has been asking for a fresh fish sandwich for a while now and I don't know why it took us so long to get around to it (aside from fish having a season... salmon and halibut, get to it!). This came together so quickly that I will for sure make these next time we have company. Perhaps they are too simple to share but these days, cooking with a toddler either trying to touch the hot BBQ or throw gravel into the fire pit, this is what I can muster up. 


GRILLED HALIBUT SANDWICHES WITH JALAPEÑO SLAW // Makes 2

This could easily be doubled to make four sams as I know that's a common number to feed. Account for 5-6 ounces of fish per person. I prefer a lot of slaw, likely offering more heft than fish but it needs that fresh crunch. There may be some leftovers based on taste. I know some people are sketchy on mayo but in the slaw, you don't taste it, it merely gives the dressing some viscosity. I have heard good things about this product if you're wanting a super clean version. The recipe works perfectly well with some wild salmon, a marinated tofu steak etc. It's a simple sandwich but just right for summer meals. 

10-12 ounces fresh halibut filet
grapeseed or sesame oil, for cooking
1/2 head small green cabbage
1/2 a small red onion
1 jalapeno, some seeds removed unless you like it really spicy
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

//slaw dressing//
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise (or similar alternative)
1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. cane sugar

2 buns of choice (brioche, gluten free etc.)
1 avocado, thinly sliced
sea salt and pepper, as needed

sriracha mayo, optional*


Cut the filet in half so you have two square pieces. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and rub it generously with grapeseed oil. Preheat your grill to medium heat. 

To make the slaw, set the slicer blade in your food processor (alternatively you can use a mandoline or careful knife skills). Slice the cabbage extra thin. Do the same with the onion and jalapeno. Collect them in a mixing bowl and add the cilantro. Into the bowl, add the mayo, grapeseed oil, rice vinegar, sugar and a few pinches each of salt and pepper and toss well to dress. Set aside in the fridge. 

Clean your grill and oil the grates. Grill the fish for 4-5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of your filet. It should feel like the meat of your thumb joint when cooked medium which is perfect here. Brush the buns with oil and grill them just to warm through. 

To assemble the sandwich, cover the bottom bun with avocado slices, then the fish filet and a healthy amount of slaw on top.

*For the sriracha mayo, we do one part sriracha to two+ parts mayo. It's similar to what you get with a roll at an Americanized sushi restaurant? Spicy, but not mouth burning. Adjust to your spice preference. 

Dessert, gluten free

ROASTED BANANA COCONUT ICE CREAM

Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream . Sprouted Kitchen
Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream . Sprouted Kitchen

I've stalled halfway through Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly, a week after my book club already met about the book. It would have been helpful to finish it prior to the get together but I just didn't. I kept meaning to but such is life. I intend to finish the book eventually. Anyway, she tells this story about her daughter being in grade school and a girlfriend telling one of her secrets in class and how embarrassed and disappointed she was. The metaphor Brene uses to speak with her daughter is comparing friends to a marble jar; like the sort teachers keep in class that they add marbles to when the class is good or take marbles out of when kids misbehave - encouraging good behavior with a reward to be had if the marble jar becomes full. Friends can be people who we trust while some others say hurtful things at times, but they live on somewhat of an invisible marble system in our heads. You can think of the friends who have earned lots of marbles, the ones who listen and respect your secrets in this case, and those are the friends who it is most safe to be honest and vulnerable with. I just keep thinking about that image, of being a person who earns marbles for and from people I care deeply about, and I feel incredibly accountable for my actions and words in a good way. I understand that is not the big picture of the book but halfway through, I keep thinking about being a marble friend. 

I have been slowly paging through Anna's book, A Modern Way to Eat, because so much of her style is what I want to cook. She has just the right amount of Nigel Slater-ness where measurements and directions are sometimes left to the cook and I love that sort of responsibility. I know some folks think it is vague recipe writing but I enjoy it. I had great luck with one of her pancake recipes, am anxious to try the California Wraps and will absolutely make this ice cream again. It has no dairy, a very subtle, natural sweetness, and still feels like a treat. I've been having a thing with McConnell's Eureka Lemon and Marionberry Ice Cream (you guys, if you're a lemon person you MUST try) and this feels necessarily less decadent. My chocolate shavings addition here is because I couldn't imagine it otherwise but perhaps you're more virtuous than I. Her next book, A Modern Way to Cook, is out in the UK if you're that direction and I can't wait to see that beauty as well. 

Also! We are heading back to Seattle in October to host a photography workshop with the lovely Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille at her beautiful studio. It was such a nice group of people last visit and I felt like I came out of the weekend more inspired than I went in so we're excited to go back. There are more details on her site and a few more spots if you're interested. 

I hope your weekend involves ice cream in some capacity. xo

Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream . Sprouted Kitchen
Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream . Sprouted Kitchen
Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream . Sprouted Kitchen
Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream . Sprouted Kitchen

ROASTED BANANA COCONUT ICE CREAM // Makes 1 pint

Recipe adapted from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones

  • 3 medium, ripe bananas
  • honey (I used about 3 Tbsp.)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • juice of half a lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 ounces grated dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350'.

Slice the bananas into 1/2 - 3/4 inch pieces and toss them with the honey on a parchment lined baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once during baking, until the bananas are browned and cooked through. Scrape the bananas and any syrup into a blender or food processor. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice, pinch of salt and vanilla and puree until smooth. 

Chill the mixture in the fridge until cool. Process the mixture in your ice cream maker, scraping down the sides as needed. In the last minutes, pour in the grated chocolate and give it one more churn to incorporate. Transfer it to a container and stir occasionally until frozen. If you like it softer, serve it after only an hour in the freezer, if you want it firmer, let it sit overnight. It will be scoopable after sitting at room temperature for a few minutes. 

Garnish the ice cream with some chopped pistachios, toasted coconut or more grate chocolate. 

Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream . Sprouted Kitchen
Roasted Banana Coconut Ice Cream . Sprouted Kitchen