Danielle and I shot this recipe back in August while the summer sun was still upon us. All of the leaves were vivid green and the trees were full and all of the gardens were still active and flourishing. I find when it is hot out like that, you don't have the same appetite that kicks in as it turns cold for the autumn and winter months. I was making a lot of salad meals, cold soups, and cold rolls, like the one I am going to show you how to make here. Unfortunately, for Flourchild, the summer and early fall months are my busiest time at work. For those of you who don't know what I do to keep the lights on, I am a professional make-up artist and hair stylist. Sadly, the blog went on the back burner during that busy time and to be honest it will remain there for a couple of weeks yet. Fashion Week in Toronto is started today and I will be clocking many hours backstage again this season. It is an incredibly fun week, I get to share the experience with some of my favorite Toronto make-up artists whom I have grown with through the 9 years that I have been working in that industry. On that note, I am going to be starting a beauty product review section (all vegan and cruelty free of course!) within the next handful of weeks and I will be kicking it off with some really exciting giveaways. Stay tuned for that!
Any-who, this was shot and intended to launch while it was still seasonally relative. Not to fret, they are absolutely delicious to eat at any time of year and are fantastically nutritious. You can customize these rolls however you please. The assortment of ingredients I have given you to work with here are classic flavors that are pretty tried and true. I really like adding in purple cabbage when it is available, it gives an almost spicy twist and the crunch it adds is perfection.
The dipping sauce that I make to serve with these is made from umeboshi plums. These plums are popular in Japan, and are translated into English as "Japanese salty plums". Just as their name indicates, they are quite salty and sour. Traditionally, plum sauces would have been made from these, and real plum sauces still are. Most commercial, Americanized sauces are now just made up of all kinds of unrelated things, like sugar, corn syrup, corn starch, wheat flour, preservatives and colouring. This recipe is easy to make, contains no sugar, and has more of a complex flavor than any old store bought sauce you might find down the aisle of a regular grocery store. I will say, it is not quite as sweet as most palettes might be use to tasting. But I assure you it is much better fort you.
Nori Sea Weed (in sheets)
Begin by prepping all of the vegetables and fruits. It is best if you julienne the cucumber, carrots, yellow peppers and mango. Slice the avocado into small wedges and tear the cilantro into small pieces. Chop the lettuce into strips, and cut your sheets of nori to fit within the perimeters of your rice wraps.
Most dried rice wraps will come with the instructions on the package. I suggest you follow whatever instructions they give you. You will need a large shallow bowl or large dinner plate with a lip that can hold a small amount of hot water, deep enough to dip the dried wraps in. You will also need a cutting board or second plate that is dry, and a clean dish towel. Those will act as step one and step two of activating the rice wraps. Once each rice wrap is softened by the hot water and patted dry on a cloth, lay down the nori and lettuce in two layers. Then begin adding in your veggies. You can add as much or as little of your "fillers" as you'd like. A few pieces of each is usually enough. Once you are happy with the content, begin rolling. Rolling these out can be tricky at first. The wraps may tear easily. It will likely take a few go's before you are creating smooth rolls. I am still working on mine, as you can see from the photos. Using a dry cloth definitely helps, and the tighter you roll them the better.
Umeboshi Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce
8 medjool dates
3 tbsp. of lemond juice
5 pickled umeboshi plums
1 clove of garlic
3 tbsp. of unsweetened apple sauce
3/4 cup of water
Begin by finely chopping the scallions and garlic. Next, discard the pits from the dates and set the flesh aside. Do the same to the plums, unless they came pre-pitted. Most store bought umeboshi plums come with the pits. Add the onion, garlic, pitted dates and plums, lemon juice and apple sauce to a blender or food processor. Begin adding water, slowly, until you reach the desired consistency. If you like, you may add more sweetener (more dates, or maple syrup) to achieve a sweeter sauce, or you can add finely diced hot peppers or already made hot sauce to give it a good kick.