Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Market Start and Fresh Spring Rolls

The much anticipated start of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market's third season is almost here. Plan to visit the corner of 19th and Agate on Sunday July 8th between 10 AM and 2:30 PM. 

You can look forward to delicious food from SLO Farm and Sweetwater Farm. Both farms' produce is grown in our immediate community and their offerings include diverse and thoughtfully curated varietals of fruits and vegetables as well as homemade fermented foods. SLO Farm grows a wide array of specialty organic fruits and this year will offer pastured meats. They accept WIC and Farm Direct Nutrition Program Checks.

This Sunday you can expect to find:

For an abundance of fresh spring vegetables, here's a recipe for fresh spring rolls. All you need are spring roll rice paper wrappers available at any Asian market (I used square ones like these), narrow rice stick noodles, and a selection of fresh vegetables. 

We made lemongrass-marinated fried tofu for a filling. The kids loved assembling the rolls, while sneaking nibbles of chopped vegetables and fresh herbs. We can't wait to make them again with our fresh, local ingredients from our favorite farmers.

Fresh Spring Rolls
makes about 12 spring rolls

lemongrass tofu
1 package (12 ounce) extra firm tofu
1 stalk lemongrass
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
~1/4 cup canola oil

1. Remove the rough outer leaves of the lemon grass, trim off the base, and chop finely. Combine with the soy sauce and sugar. Slice the tofu into 8 half inch thick slices, arrange in a shallow pan, and pour over marinate. Cover and let refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. 

2. Heat a large skillet over medium high and when hot, coat the bottom generously with canola oil. When the oil glistens with heat, carefully place the tofu slices, from which you've wiped the lemongrass pieces, into the oil (they will spatter). Let them cook undisturbed at least five minutes until they are very crispy. Then flip them with conviction and cook the second side until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel. When cooled, cut each slab into 8 pieces. As an alternative to frying, one could bake the tofu.

black bean dipping sauce
2 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup boiled water
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
crushed peanuts

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and saute the minced ginger for a couple of minutes. Add the hoisin and water and let simmer and thicken for about 5 minutes. If the consistency is not thick enough for your liking, add a 1/4 tsp corn starch. Stir in the vinegar and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl and top with crushed peanuts.

spring rolls
1 package spring roll rice paper wrappers
~3 ounces thin rice stick noodles
a selection of the following fillings or whatever looks good at the farmers market:
lettuce leaves
shredded carrots
julienned cucumbers
sliced radishes
bean sprouts
mint leaves
cilantro leaves

1. Soak the rice stick noodles in boiled water for about five minutes, until they are soft, and then drain and reserve. Prepare all of the other fillings and arrange in easy access. 

2. Fill a shallow pan with boiled water and submerge a rice paper wrapper in it. Let soak for about 5 seconds (or longer as the water cools down) until the wrapper is transparent and pliable. Drape the softened wrapper over a clean cutting board. Fill a strip in the center with desired fillings, starting with lettuce and rice stick noodles, and then roll it up like a small burrito. Repeat until the fillings are used or nibbled up. Enjoy the spring rolls with the dipping sauce and sriracha.

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