I think I’m finally starting to like dinner parties. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Martha Stewart — I hate tidying the house for company — but I love creating menus for family and friends. I go into a sort of Sherlock frenzy as I attempt to recall food-related conversations and piece together known preferences and dietary restrictions. It’s exciting having an excuse to cook things you wouldn’t normally prepare for yourself.
One of my besties recently joined us for a viewing of The Hobbit. She’s experimenting with a gluten-free diet, and I jumped at the chance to tackle the challenge. I wanted to keep things gluten-free, but also focus on the bigger picture behind the diet — overall wellness. So, I prepared Pho Ga (Vietnamese chicken soup) and collard spring rolls. Now, I could have made traditional Vietnamese spring rolls with the rice wrap, since it’s a gluten-free food, but I really wanted to minimize processed foods. Tonight was going to be about health and whole foods. Delicious whole foods… and maybe a gluten-free beer or two. It was a party, after all.
Raw Collard Green Spring Rolls:
Take the collard leaves and shave down the thick stem so that it’s a flat surface (this helps with rolling). Then, fill one side with with whatever you like, and roll it up. When I make spring rolls, I usually use a blend of julienned carrots, red cabbage, bell peppers, and apples, so I stuck with that. I also add cilantro, mint, or basil. In this case I used cilantro because I had a ton of it. Super easy!
Coconut Peanut Sauce:
(from Alisa Burke’s Spicy Peanut Sauce)
- 2 T peanut butter
- 2 T coconut milk (I prefer full-fat)
- 1 T lime juice
- 2 t soy sauce
- 1 t brown sugar
- 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
Mix everything together and spread it on your wraps.
…Or, in my case, slather and dunk so that filling falls out back into the dip. Proceed to scoop veggie bits with your fingers and eat. I know. I’m a monster.