Flipping through the food folds of memory, I came across an old friend. Back when I was in college at the University of Minnesota, I met a Greek woman who was working on her PhD in physics. Following the custom of international friends in my family, I invited her to spend Christmas with us. We shared the Minnesota culinary custom of eating Wild Rice Casserole for Christmas dinner, and she taught us to eat Tzatziki and drink Ouzo. We eventually lost touch with each other, but her friendship is still alive in this light, refreshing and very versatile sauce. I love to serve this with warmed pita bread as a simple appetizer, it can be used to top spicy Indian dishes like a chutney, and is great as a light salad dressing.
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 medium English cucumber peeled
Pinch kosher salt
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
5 to 6 mint leaves
Directions: Peel cucumber and chop into 1-inch pieces. Put all ingredients in food processor and zing.
Farm Fresh Spring Rolls
I am doomed! It is Wednesday already and last Thursday’s CSA produce is still running wild in the fridge. When one buys into a CSA, one must remember one has duties to the box. There is to be no skipping meals, no eating out, no going to weddings or birthday parties or amusement parks. It’s all about serving the produce. Fortunately, we have guests coming this evening, so I can whip most of it up into little bites and free the fridge for tomorrow’s new veggie hooligans. What better way to wrangle produce than to swaddle it tightly in spring roll wrappers.
These babies are stuffed first with either udon or rice vermicelli and then loaded with fresh herbs including mint, basil and cilantro. I julienned yellow squash and cucumber and had tons of field greens to fill ’em up. Obviously, the rice paper wrappers and noodles were not CSA items, but the greens, cukes, squash and basil all came from Foxtail Farm. The mint and cilantro are from my garden. How’s that for local?
I have never in my life made spring rolls before, but after watching a couple of YouTube demos, I felt pretty confident. The idea is to wet the wrapper, place all the ingredients in the middle, fold in the sides and then the bottom, so you essentially have an envelope. Then you stuff all the filling down into the envelope and roll it up tightly. It’s remarkably easy and totally worth it. I served these with both a spicy peanut sauce as well as a Spring Roll Vinaigrette.
Farm Fresh Spring Rolls
- Spring roll wrappers – my package had 15
- cooked udon, soba or rice noodles
- salad greens
- fresh herbs – mint, basil, cilantro
- julienned vegetables – cucumbers, carrots, yellow squash, peppers, steamed asparagus, bean sprouts, green onions, snap peas. (Anything can be used as long as it is thinly sliced or julienned.)
Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
- 1/3 cup creamy organic peanut butter
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 3 tsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. tamarind paste
- 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
Directions: Dissolve the brown sugar in the water then mix all ingredients in a food processor.
Vegetarian Spring Roll Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbs. Mirin
- 1 Tbs. soy sauce
- 2 Tbs. sesame oil
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 1 tsp. chile garlic sauce
- dash salt
Spicy Sesame Ginger Sauce
- 1 tsp. chili flakes
- 2 tsp. minced ginger
- 2 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbs. sesame oil
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts to garnish
A Painter’s Kitchen
Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe
by Margaret Wood
food photography by Michael O’Shaughnessy
Just when I thought I had dinner made, I get the cry, “I’m not eating that!” I felt as if I’d pushed my limits of creativity to prepare something that Max would like, but came up empty handed. Jeff and I often find ourselves sitting down to a meal while Max makes himself some toast or warms up a plate of pasta – again. His three main items of consumption lately include toast, pasta or pizza. He will also eat romaine lettuce with balsamic vinaigrette, apples with peanut butter, melon and cucumbers. I guess this is normal?
To find inspiration, I have turned to Georgia O’ Keefe. I heard many years ago that she preferred her foods simply prepared, so I say her name as a mantra when cooking for Max. Here is my recent “Georgia O’Keefe” creation. These cucumbers were so fresh, crunchy and juicy. Once enticingly arranged, I sprinkled on just a little salt and black pepper and Max ate nearly the whole plate! He’ll be healthier than the rest of us if he continues to eat like this. I shouldn’t complain.
Another Georgia O’Keefe idea is a simple steamed green bean. Loving layered flavors, I served this with the fennel and rosemary pesto I made the other day. Delish!