When I first think about how this blog started 3 years ago, I realize how much I’ve learned and how much the blog has changed. I had recently moved from Philly to Santa Monica and was loving how inspired the warm weather and abundant farmers’ markets were making me to cook and eat whole & seasonal foods. After posting a few pictures of my meals & snacks on social media I received some encouragement from friends and family to start a food blog so I decided to give it a go. I dove in head first creating recipes and testing out food photography (egads those pics are hard to look at today, but they will always stay to remind me of where I started) on an almost daily basis. I improved my techniques, my food photography, and constantly was playing with different niches into which I could place my food blog.
I was developing a passion and a keen eye (rather nose & taste bud) for creating seasonally inspired meals and wanted to share that anyone could cook that way. But as I started getting more and more into the food blogging world I started cooking more for the blog and what would grab people’s attention more than for myself and my now husband. I wanted to appeal to everyone so food became gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, vegetarian etc. etc. even though we didn’t necessarily eat that way. Then I started feeling a bit overwhelmed and like I had lost myself a bit in what I had started out to do; teach others that vegetables and whole foods DO taste amazing with the right prep and if they start out fresher. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to pick fruit from a tree you know what I mean.
And then our honeymoon happened and I was forced into cooking within a certain budget within certain food limits (we have so much at our disposal in the U.S. but small towns in Botswana not so much) and I started focusing on more nourishing foods that we could find everywhere. And I felt like my blog started to reset itself a bit and I loved the content that was coming out (even though my pics didn’t have the best backgrounds etc.) as it felt the most authentic to me. I have been reconnecting with my “back to basics” video concept and realize that I love showing others that nourishing foods can be simple AND flipping delicious. I did not always like asparagus and used to shun my mom’s brussel sprouts (hat tip to mom for roasting brussels before it was hip) at family gatherings. Little by little I started experimenting because I knew that these foods were good for me and lo and behold, adding caramelized onion, asparagus & mushrooms to flatbread blew my mind and I started to love asparagus. THIS is what I want to show others to do. When people say “I just don’t like vegetables. They don’t taste good.” my brain kinda explodes. I don’t expect everyone to love every vegetable, but they all taste soooo different that it’s most likely due to having overcooked, grocery store bought veggies, or maybe from a can? that presents itself as a veggie. I mean, if you’ve never had broccoli without a ton of Velveeta on it, why would you want to eat it any other way?
I also hear that eating the way I do is sooo difficult or time consuming. I can most definitely spend hours in the kitchen, but can also meal prep for 2 people for 3-4 meals + snacks in just 2-3 hours while cooking my lunch or dinner for that same day.
So my goal and intention is to make the recipes I share here more approachable, for even the most beginner of cooks. It’s to excite everyone to eat colorfully, eat happy, eat well, and feel well afterwards.
So with these spring rolls infused with fruit, herbs, and a delish dipping sauce, you’ll be sure to get all the veggies with amazing flavors, crispy tofu, and a yummy dipping sauce. You can certainly play around with the veggies. I do a mix match of everything which I will list below depending on what I have on hand. P.S. don’t worry about it looking perfect. I love when the veggies poke out of the top when I slice it in half. It’s like they’re teasing you to come and eat them!
Thai inspired stone fruit veggie wraps + 2 dipping sauces
4 servings tofu (appx. 300-350g)
1 tbsp. coconut aminos
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sesame seeds
8-10 packet of rice paper wraps
1 red bell pepper
1 cup purple cabbage or radish
1 cucumber (sub jicama or kohlrabi)
2 small peaches, nectarines, plums, or pluots
Bunch of mint and/or cilantro and/or basil
Sunbutter dipping sauce
2-3 tbsp. sunbutter (sub any nut butter of your choice)
2 tbsp. coconut aminos
1 tsp. sesame oil
Plum cashew dipping sauce
1/2 c. cashews
2 tbsp. coconut aminos
2 small plums
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Slice tofu into thin strips (about 1-2″). Lay in a flat dish and marinate in sesame oil and coconut aminos. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Place in the fridge while you slice the veggies.
Julienne (matchstick slice) all the vegetables that you decide to use. Place in a dish and set aside.
Cut stone fruit into thin slices and chop the herbs finely. Clear yourself a flat surface to work on. I usually use a cutting board.
Heat 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil in a skillet and heat over medium. Once oil is hot toss in tofu and cook for 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown & crispy. Remove and allow to cool. You can place in the fridge to make this go faster.
Fill a flat dish (baking pan or cake pan work well) with warm water. Working as you go and one at a time, dip the rice paper sheet into the water for about 10-15 seconds. You want it to be pliable, but not too mushy. (You’ll get the feeling as you go). Lay the rice paper on a flat surface.
Top the wrap with 2-3 pieces each of the veggies, stone fruit, crispy tofu and a sprinkle of herbs. Then roll over once and tuck veggies in tightly, tuck in sides, and continue rolling all the way up. Place seam side down on a serving plate and cut in half.
For the sunbutter dipping sauce, whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Done!
For the plum cashew sauce, combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Done!