Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Living Wrap

Last summer, I was asked to review a vegan cookbook by Ann Gentry called, "Vegan Family Meals:  Real Food For Everyone."

I prepared her Vegan Lasagna with Tofu "Ricotta".

Every last morsel was consumed.  It was more different and more wonderful than any lasagna I've had before or since.

The past few weeks, I have felt the known benefits of fresh, whole, and healthy eating pull me in the general direction of my refrigerator's produce drawer.

And as I've focused on eating cleaner and healthier in the last few weeks, I've been shocked at how I am suddenly craving crispy, raw, juicy vegetables.  It's crazy the way that happens.

But the biggest change I've made is that for now, except for a sprinkling in my morning coffee, I've stiffed-armed sugar. 

Caution: I'm violently wandering into the territory of providing too much information.  But, (maybe to give someone else hope?) here goes.  For years I've had some weird thing on my tongue that I've never been able to figure out; it looked like I'd been stricken with white crop circles.  I chalked it up to the fact that I have burned the heck out of that poor muscle every morning since 1992 (I like my coffee just this side of boiling, thank you very much).  But, do you know what it was?  THRUSH.  Candidia overgrowth.  An outward symptom of internalizing way too much sugar.  So after nixing the good stuff for several days, my littlest guy and I were making silly faces in the mirror last week, and as we stuck our tongues out my eyes bugged in disbelief.


I've waited for this moment since before I discovered my first gray hair during Mr. Eaton's Latin II class. 

(This does not mean I'll never bake another sugary dessert again.  In fact, I just pulled a batch of Chocolate-Cream Cheese Cupcakes from the oven, and the kitchen smells divine.)

Back to the wraps.

This recipe is also from Ann's book.  I've modified it only slightly according to what I had in my pantry at the time.

First we'll make a red pepper-pistachio spread.

Ingredients: chopped red and yellow bell peppers, pistachios, parsley, and garlic.

Give it a whirl in the food processor. 

Until it looks about like this:  finely chopped but not mushed.

Add some lemon juice, salt and pepper.
And set the spread aside. 

Now we'll make a dressing for the veggies.
Begin with apple cider vinegar.

Add orange juice,

pure maple syrup,

olive oil,



and salt and pepper.

Whisk well and set aside. 

I chose "living" butter lettuce as my wrap.  
But next time I will use collard greens (larger; easier to work with).

I "match-sticked" some veggies and apples.

Place the veggies/apples in a bowl.

Toss in fresh spinach and the citrus-rosemary dressing.

Get the spread,

and place a bit on the lettuce leaf.

Place the veggies/spinach/dressing mixture on top of the spread,

and roll the leaf.  
Secure with a toothpick.

 Smile as you feed your body something that will make you feel beautifully alive. 

Here's the printable recipe.

Living Wrap
(Makes 16 wraps)

Red Pepper-Pistachio Spread
1 cup diced red and yellow bell peppers
1 cup shelled roasted pistachios* (about 4 handfuls) (Substitute shelled sunflower seeds)
7-8 fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (plus a little to rub on the apples further down in the recipe)
1 teaspoon sea salt (if not using salted nuts)

Rosemary-Citrus Dressing
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 large collard green leaves (each at least 11 by 11 inches)
1 English cucumber, unpeeled and cut into long strips about 1/4 inch thick
1 beet, peeled, and cut into strips about 1/4 inch thick
2 carrots, peeled and cut into strips about 1/4 inch thick
1 apple, sliced and then cut into thin strips (rub with lemon juice to keep from browning)
6 handfuls baby spinach

Red Pepper-Pistachio Spread:  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until the mixture is spreadable but still a bit chunky. 

Rosemary-Citrus Dressing:  Whisk the vinegar, orange juice, maple syrup, rosemary and garlic in a medium bowl to blend.  Gradually whisk in the oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Wraps:  Using a sharp knife, cut out the center vein from each of the collard green leaves.  This will just about cut the leaves in half, which is what we're going for.  Now, cut each half in half again to make 16 equal pieces.

Lay the pieces of collard greens on a work surface.  Spread each leaf with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of the red pepper-pistachio mixture.

Place the strips of vegetables and the spinach leaves in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.

Add some of the veggie/spinach/dressing mixture to each collard green leaf.  Roll, tucking one edge under keep the filling in.  Further secure with a toothpick.

Serve any remaining greens/veggie mixture as a side item.

*(I used unsalted pistachios; if you use salted, you'll need to leave out the salt in the remainder of the recipe.)


Caneel said...

Holy cow this looks delicious!!! I'm def. going to be trying this very soon. So glad someone else is joining me in the healthier eating right now. :) (And that's great that your tongue is normal now!) I'm still doing sugar sometimes, too, but I've backed off from the volume I had been - which was less than the average person to begin with (which you'd never know from looking at my blog, lol!)

Rita said...

Great post; I think I could eat that repper pistacchio spread by the spoonful; looks so good.
I am on that healthier eating trend also; you should see all the vegetables I bought; it's true the more you eat the more you crave and I guess that's a good thing.
Really strange about your tongue; hope your problem is solved.