Every once in a while it's necessary to step away. Just like taking breaks through the work day is good to do (and really best for your safety and sanity), I was reminded again that stepping away is good. Really, really good! This weekend I spent two quiet nights at my family home visiting with my parents, a trio that has not been alone together in 16 years prior to this. 16 years! It seems in the midst of my other three siblings coming and going and having two children of my own, it had been almost half of my life since I'd had time alone with my folks, just me and them, them and me.
Crazy, really. Now that I'm back, and having rested well (I spent the majority of the time on my fave couch with a great book), I am so grateful I had that time with them.We talked about everything, we laughed, and we simply were together - with no big agenda and nothing heavy or uncomfortable looming. I truly love my parents for raising me the way they did, even if I wasn't the best poster child at the time for their laid back way of life. I sure do appreciate it now.
It's fitting that this recipe - the last in my (planned) series featuring peanut butter - utilizes one of the most amazing vegetables known to us health seeking vegetable fiends. Kale never fails to amaze me with its ability to grow year round in just about any old place. My folks have had it in their garden for as long as I can remember, and theirs grows sweet and tasty - and of course tastes best freshly picked - the only way they eat it.
I've spent a lot of time recently thinking about this blog and what it means to me. After attending a local food forum aimed at increasing food security in their small remote community (organized by my folks this weekend), I'm feeling pretty pumped about the folks everywhere who are growing stuff, and continuing to produce foods that are healthy & sustainable.
I've long been a supporter of local growers, but am often frustrated at the high prices and lack of accessibility for those without the means to buy the foods we might regularly enjoy. It's true that there are fewer small-scale farmers all the time, and it's become harder and harder to survive for them. This is where the idea of living with (just a little) less is so powerful, as we consider ways to have our impact in a way that makes sense. Even a simple thing like buying only what we need, or realistically will eat, can make a huge difference. Resolving to eat leftovers, and use what food is already in the house (especially the fresh stuff). This is just one of the ways in which we are challenged everyday. So I am once again resolving to support the small-scale producers every chance I get, and to buy just what I need. Seems easy, right?
So let's get to this recipe, as this couldn't be more simple, or more delicious & filling. It is of course, featuring peanut sauce & kale and not much else. Once you taste it, you'll see why I'm so excited about this one. No grating, fussing, or long list of ingredients. No mess. Just amazing.
Kale & Scallion Salad Rolls with Peanut Sauce:
- (20) sheets of Vietnamese rice paper (small size)
- (1) bunch Dinosaur or Lacinato kale
- (1) bunch green onions
- (1) recipe Peanut Sauce
Start by washing the kale under cold water and giving it a good shake to dry it off. Separate the bunch and cut the leaves in half, lengthwise, remove the stems on the stem piece. Repeat the same steps for the green onions, by washing them and cutting them into two pieces lengthwise, about the same length as the kale pieces. Save the bottoms for another recipe, such as this cilantro sauce.
Make the peanut sauce and transfer it to a clean jar or container.
To make the rolls, fill a large bowl with warm water from the tap. Remove the sheets of rice paper and place in the bowl of water to soften, two at a time, for about 20-30 seconds only. Once soft, remove the wrappers and place on a work surface, overlapping the two by about two inches.
For each roll, place a kale leaf or two in the centre of the prepared wrappers. Add a piece of green onion and top with a couple of spoonfuls of peanut sauce, making a line up the entire kale leaf with the sauce. To roll up the wrappers, start with the end nearest you and roll up, gently tightening the wrappers over the veggies and sauce with your hands. Fold in the sides of the wrappers as you go and finish the rolling process like you would a burrito.
Complete the rest of the rolls, using more or less kale or sauce as your supplies will allow. Get creative and add whatever you like to these as well - anything goes and sliced bell pepper, lettuce, and spinach all work tremendously well too. Once finished, enjoy right away with extra sauce on the side. If making ahead, simply store in an airtight container in the fridge. These guys are super hardy and will keep for up to a week no problem.