its almost spring… rolls!

Spring rolls are probably our favorite appetizer here at the bear and the blackberry. They are fresh, healthy, and scrum-diddily-umptious! Plus, if you make them monster sized, they can be your main dish!

We found the rice wrappers in the ethnic-foods aisle, and one of our favorite knowledgeable co-op staffers informed us on the proper magic rituals that must be performed to bring these rice wrappers to life (rice paper voodoo magick). We will share this insider information with you because we love you.

To bring these rice wrappers back from the dead, soak them in warm water. Be careful! They are very delicate. Soak them individually for a few minutes until the spirit recombines with the body (i.e. they get soft) and carefully remove it and place it on a paper towel to dry for a bit. Repeat until you have enough to stuff your face with.

For the spring roll filling, we used napa cabbage, red bell pepper, cucumber, tofu, fresh cilantro, and fresh mint. The Spicy Orange Dipping Sauce consisted of rice vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, maple syrup, fresh minced ginger, braggs liquid aminos, asian chili sauce, and toasted sesame oil.

So fresh and so clean.

ginger soy tempeh sandwich with cucumber mint spread

I dreamed this up the other day: Tempeh marinated in a ginger, Braggs liquid aminos (similar to soy sauce), sesame oil, agave, grilled with sesame seeds, served on a sandwich with a homemade cucumber mint spread I whipped together in the blender. Add some more cucumber to the sammich (for crunch (don’t use grilled onions. dont do it. NO)), and some arugula.

FUGGIN GOOD. ‘NUF SAID.

sesame-ginger stir-fry

Sweet, tangy, salty.. its like KERPOW! to the taste buds. This tasty dish was fast, fun, and filling. Started with chard, tempeh, fresh minced ginger pressed, garlic and sesame oil. Let that fry for a bit on lower heat (sesame oil shouldn’t be heated very high), stirring occasionally. Add chopped almonds, red onion, sesame seeds; fry some more, stir some more.. stir-fry some more. Add tamari sauce (or soy sauce), agave syrup (or similar sweetener), serve with fresh cucumber. Voila!

ginger carrot parsnip soup

To combat the cold weather, we made this delicious soup! In a large soup pot, we heated up a little bit of olive oil and then added in some slivered leeks and chopped garlic, cooking for a couple of minutes to release their flavor-magic. Then we added in lots of no-chicken broth, chopped carrots, chopped parsnips, chopped ginger, and fresh thyme. We brought this mixture to a boil, covered it with a lid, and then turned down the heat to a simmer. We let it simmer for about forty five minutes or so (until the veggies were soft) and then scooped some of the almost-soup into the food processor, pureeing until all of the soup was nice and creamy. To finish it off, we seasoned with plenty of sea salt, black pepper, a bit of tamari, and added in some vegan butter (we like Earth Balance) for a yummy buttery flavor.

This soup was delicious and a power bowl of nutrients! Fun nutritional facts about this soup include:

  • Carrots: high in vitamin A, vitamin K, biotin, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium.
  • Parsnips: high in fiber, vitamin C, manganese, folic acid, copper, niacin, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.
  • Ginger: high in calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin B1(thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), folate, and fiber.
  • Leeks: high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, folic acid, manganese, iron, and dietary fiber.
  • Garlic: Vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium, copper, and phosphorous.

To find out more about the healing properties of food, we recommend owning a nutritional encyclopedia book, like the ones we have listed on our book resources page!

curry quinoa with tempeh

I am a recent convert to the quinoa craze (pronounced keen-wah). This is my take on a southern-asian curry dish made with, you guessed it: quinoa!

This tasty superfood is rad; packed full of nutrients, including a full complement of essential amino acids, it is an excellent source of protein for vegans, and it is gluten-free. Though thought of as a grain and often used as such, it is actually the seed of a plant in the same family as chard, beet and spinach.

To start, I got my favorite cast-iron skillet (the gargantuan one), laid down some olive oil and turned up the heat. I added about a cup of quinoa (my stomach is a bottomless pit) and let that start to sizzle before adding yellow curry powder, fancy mustard (stoneground or dijon or a combination thereof), whole mustard seed, ginger, salt and garlic powder. Water: add some water. maybe twice the volume as the quinoa. Stir it up, little darlin, stir it up.. and bring to a boil, cover, reduce to simmer, and get out a chopping knife.

Veggie time, we had carrots and cucumber and onion available, so I went ahead and used those. For added texture, I also diced some tempeh (for those of you not familiar with tempeh, it is also rad. check it out). Vegetables have more nutrients if cooked less, so I waited until most of the water was absorbed into the quinoa before adding all the veggie goodness and letting it steam for a few minutes. Quinoa is done when translucent and the germ ring is detached or partially detached.

To top it off, I picked arugula. Feel free to pick your choice of leafy green, you can never have too much of the leafy greens..