Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vegetable Love 2009

Just under the deadline, I present my submission to FatFreeVegan's Vegetable Love 2009 Challenge.  If you like my submission, then vote for my by clicking on the link and using the voting survey there.  But be sure to look at all the other entries, too.  There are some seriously amazing dishes!

No big surprise that I used beets here.  I used them in last year's submission, too!  I just can't help it.  I think beets are the most romantic vegetable out there.  

Don't believe me?  Check out this poem by Robert Samarotto, printed on my most prized set of greeting cards. 
(Cards I will probably never give away because I love them so much.)


Queen of the garden 
you rise from the poverty of earth, 
you wound me with your ripening 
bringing your sweetness nearer my hunger. 
All night – my little bonfire – you keep me awake, 
all night I burn in flames of jealousy.

I am suspicious of all your vegetable lovers, 
the way they mingle their roots with yours. 
Rain washing over you scalds my soul. 
Your leaves dancing to the wind drive me mad. 
I envy the beetle – the worm – the slug, 
vines that creep in the night.

O heart of hearts 
listen to my vegetable talk. 
Come with me to the cutting board 
let me discover your charms – slice by slice. 
Leave me with the stain of summer on my hands 
- then like Macbeth 
will I prepare for a winter’s madness.

Robert Samarotto

Now that you're all hot and bothered for beets, here's my recipe.  It's a spring roll inspired by the flavors of a banh mi sandwich, right down to the creamy sauce spiked with hot chiles.

Springy Beet Rolls
Makes about 4 spring rolls

4 spring roll wrappers
2 oz. thin rice noodles, prepared according to package
(usually just soaked in hot water for 6-8 minutes)

a big handful of cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced mint leaves
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced basil leaves
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 carrot, shredded

1 beet, shredded, about 1 cup
1 1/2 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar 
(regular rice vinegar with a pinch of salt and sugar will do)
a pinch of salt

2 Tbsp. Veganaise
2 Tbsp. plain soy yogurt
pinch salt
2 jalapenos, minced

*Thinly sliced beets for garnish

I know these look like a lot of ingredients.  Don't worry- It's easy!

First prepare your rice noodles according to the package directions.  Then rinse in cold water, drain, and set aside.  Prepare the green onions, herbs, and carrots and set out on the area where you will be making the spring rolls. 

In a small bowl, mix together the beets with the vinegar and a pinch of salt.  It will get juicy and more flavorful very quickly.  Place this in your prep area.

In another small bowl, whisk together the Veganaise, yogurt, jalapenos, and salt.  This will be your dipping sauce.  

One by one, soak the spring roll wrappers in warm water until softened.  Place a small amount of beets, carrots, noodles, green onions, and each of the herbs in a line across the middle, horizontally.  Fold in the sides of the wrapper, then start rolling up from the bottom.  Roll snugly, but not so tight as to break the wrapper.  

*If you want the heart shaped beets inside, just use a metal heart cookie cutter to shape the thinly sliced beets.  When making the spring rolls, first lay down the beet hearts, then top with the noodles for a pretty presentation.

Serve with dipping sauce.

If that hasn't convinced you, then look at the leftovers!
Who doesn't love a pink Vietnamese noodle salad made from spring roll leftovers?


The Voracious Vegan said...

I love beets too. They have the most delicious, earthy sweet flavor. Although....I don't think I love them enough to write such a passionate poem. :-)

Sal said...

those look so pretty and tasty!

Melody Polakow said...

That looks and sounds fabulous! Love the creativity.

allularpunk said...

i will be making these, asap! i love your idea :)

aTxVegn said...

I do NOT like beets, but I love this entry! It really looks amazing.

Elizabeth Jarrard said...

I want pink Vietnamese noodle salad!!!
Beets are the greatest vegetable, ever. Love the poem! good luck on the contest!

Jeni Treehugger said...

Such a pretty pretty meal!
I LOVE that poem too, so much so I've printed it out.
Good luck in the comp.

¡Yo Soy Liz! said...

i love those heart beets hiding in the wraps!!!

SusanV said...

I love how the heart-shaped beets peek through the wrappers. I also love the combination of flavors and the poem (I understand about having cards you will never send--I have a lot of those!) Thanks so much for contributing again to this year's contest--your recipes always make me want to cook up some beets!