City Spring Rolls

Bosc Pear, Enoki Mushroom, Red Pepper, Carrot, Chives

Being not just a food blogger and photographer, but an avid cook and restaurant diner as well, I always owe it to myself to be engaged in all facets of the culinary spectrum. Even if that brings me outside my usual "comfort (food) zones"

I'm as adventurous as the next person, yet although a lifetime city boy, my family roots are south country, as was the food I grew up. Which my diet has being very meat-based pretty much my whole life.

But the times, they are a-changin', as is my body and health priorities. So in the interest of greater food knowledge and self-preservation, my attentions have become exponentially directed towards more meatless meal options.

I have more good friends (than I ever expected) who are pursuing the evermore popular vegetable diet lifestyle, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and raw options. These are cuisines I can no longer ignore or avoid, so I've been (almost) diving right into it.

And my experience can't be limited to just having plant-based dishes served to me from other restaurants; I would need to learn how to make these types of meals.

So here is one of my initial legitimate attempts, finally (after a couple tries) finding rice pancake wrappers at the local Fairway, picking up Bosc pears, chives, carrots, and red peppers.

Those vegetables got a simple julienne, except for the carrots, which I broad-shaved. I threw some enoki mushrooms into the julienne mix, rolled them in a carrot "peel", and wrapped them in simply wetted rice paper wrappers.

A light, refreshing, snappy, cool spring roll these made, with sweet, watery pear balancing nicely with the kicky fruitiness of red pepper. Chives added herbacious floral notes, and the mushrooms brought nuanced earthiness to each bite.

I dipped them in a likely simple sauce of rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, and chopped shallot, supplying pleasant palate-cleansing acidity, some umami, as the kids still say, and grounding saltiness.

Besides taking only minutes to put together — and making/leaving a lot less dishes than had I cooked something — this a delicious idea and general routine to happily get into. Not only can a meatless and or vegetable-based diet be good for me, it can be easily tasty as well.

If I keep this up I may be ready for shorts and t-shirt weather sooner than expected!