Tofu and Shiitake Baked Spring Rolls

I do love me some Thai or Vietnamese spring rolls. I’ve been craving crunchy spring rolls and takeout or delivery spring rolls don’t travel well; they lose the all important crunch. I’m a wimp when it comes to deep frying so I wanted to bake these. Not many fried foods keep that crispiness when baked, but these do. Plus, these spring rolls are vegan, so sort of healthy?

Tofu and shiitake play well together but switch up the filling ingredients and add what you like or have on hand. I like to add cooked chopped vermicelli noodles to the filling for more substance. This time I added toasted chopped cashews because I had them. They added a nice crunchy texture to the filling.

Have all of the ingredients for the filling ready to go and you can even make it a day ahead to save time. You can roll them up ahead of time too. I recommend doubling this recipe and making lots! Leftovers can be sliced and put on top of Vietnamese noodle (bun) bowls, or you can eat them cold, like I do. Good hangover food! -bvox

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
  • ½ onion, diced finely
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1½ -2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly
  • ½ package of firm tofu, grated or crumbled
  • 1½ cups finely shredded greens such as kale, bok choy or cabbage
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped toasted cashews (optional)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet red chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Juice from 1 lime
  •  ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • Salt to taste, if needed
  • 10 square spring roll wrappers (wheat wrappers, not rice)
  • Water (for sealing spring rolls)

Preparation

In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and stir until the vegetables and mushrooms are cooked, about 3 minutes. Add the sesame oil, tofu, garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or two while stirring. Add the shredded greens and cook for another minute. Stir in the chili garlic sauce, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, and white pepper. Cook 1 minute more and taste to adjust seasoning, see if salt is needed. Turn heat off and add cilantro, green onions, chopped cashews (if using) and lime juice. Stir and remove from heat; let cool before assembling the spring rolls.

Preheat oven to 400. Set up a workstation with your spring roll wrappers, spring roll filling, a small bowl of water.

To assemble the spring rolls, place a spring roll wrapper on your work surface with a corner pointing towards you (diamond shape). Put about 3 tablespoons of the spring roll filling near the bottom corner of the wrapper. Fold up the bottom corner over the filling, then fold in both sides. While rolling your spring roll, tuck the sides in as you go. Wet the edges with water to seal the spring roll. Finish rolling up the spring roll, then place it seam side down on a parchment covered cooking sheet. Cover with a towel while rolling up the others.

After you have them all rolled, brush the top, sides and bottom with vegetable oil.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, turning the pan halfway through for even cooking, or until golden. Sometimes I’ll give them a blast in the convection oven towards the end of cooking, for more golden rolls.

Serve with sweet red chili sauce or make your own.

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Cupcakes

When mixing up the ingredients for this pumpkin cupcakes recipe, I realized how lucky I was to have a sister who makes me amazing baking ingredients, like homemade vanilla sugar, vanilla, and poudre douce. Continue reading

Loaded Nachos with “Cheesy” Dip

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This dip is full of veggies, so sort of healthy, no? Since going to the dark side (mostly vegan), every now again I crave nachos. I’m not a fan of fake cheese so decided to try making my own vegan cheese dip. Not bad! I combined a couple of recipes to come up with this one (America’s Test Kitchen Vegan for Everybody and Minimalist Baker). You don’t have to be too precious about it; play around with flavours and ingredients. This one works for me and I often use what I have. Cauliflower florets are also good chucked into the cooking water. It seriously helps to have a high powered blender—mine is a shiny red vitamix! Serve with your favourite salsa and guacamole and call it supper. -bvox
 

Loaded Nachos with “Cheesy” Dip

Ingredients

Nacho Dip
  • 12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1‐inch pieces
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into ½‐inch pieces (1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of your favourite hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup spicy salsa
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spices*

*Feel free to add any spices you like! I added some of Steph McVox’s homemade taco seasoning, but you could add chili powder, cayenne pepper etc.

Nachos

  • 8 ounces tortilla chips
  • 1 recipe for nacho dip, warmed
  • 1 small can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh salsa
  • 1 jalapeno chiles, stemmed and sliced thin
  • 1/4 each red and orange peppers, seeded and diced
  • Green onions, sliced thin
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

For the Nacho Dip

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add potatoes, carrot, and cashews and cook until tender, about 12 minutes; save 1/2 of cooking liquid then drain in colander.

Combine cooked vegetables and cashews, 1/3 cup reserved cooking liquid or water, 2 tablespoons oil, nutritional yeast, vinegar, hot sauce, salsa and salt in blender. Pulse until chopped and combined, about 10 pulses, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed. Process mixture on high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add more cooking liquid if you need to thin it out.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and jalapeno and cook until softened and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chipotle, cumin, and mustard and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; remove from heat.

Stir processed potato mixture into onion mixture in saucepan and bring to brief simmer over medium heat to heat through. Transfer to bowl and serve immediately—or top it with nachos. Note: this usually makes extra and it freezes well. Bring to room temperature and whisk well.

For the Nachos

Spread half of tortilla chips evenly into a large oven-proof dish. Drizzle 1 cup nacho dip evenly over chips, then top with half of the salsa, followed by half of beans. Repeat layering with remaining chips, nacho dip, salsa, beans and then the jalapeños. Bake until warmed through and edges of chips on top layer are beginning to brown, 5-8 minutes.

Let nachos cool for 2 minutes, then sprinkle with green onions, chopped peppers and cilantro; serve immediately with lime wedges, your favourite guacamole, and more salsa. 

Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti with Chocolate

IMG_2824This biscotti originates with ‘Biscotti di Stephi’, Steph McVox’s biscotti recipe. I love this biscotti for its soft cookie-like crumb. Not too crisp, yet it holds up when dunked into a coffee (or wine, if you will).

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