Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Asian Veggie Wraps & Artichokes

We had some serious leftovers to deal with in the veggie department, so I got creative. It was absolutely yummy and incredibly healthy. Because everything was naturally low in fat and high in fiber, the dip we made for the artichokes wasn't even a cause for guilt. I'll share it all below.

Asian Veggie Wraps for two or three...
Butter Lettuce Leaves, washed and crisped whole (I buy living lettuce, which actually comes with roots in a bit of soil enclosed in a plastic box that you just water and keep cool until ready to wash and use.)
2 c. Butternut Squash, cut in large chunks
1/2 c. Brown Rice
1.5 c. water
1/2 c. Eggplant, cut in small bites
1/2 Portobello Mushroom (or whole, whatever you have on hand), cut in small pieces
1/4 c. Red Onion, chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped fine
1 T. Fresh Rosemary
3 T. Asian Ginger & Sesame Sauce (I use Trader Joe's Goya Sauce, but anything Teryaki Flavored will work. The key is boldness.)
1 T. Olive Oil

1. Prepare the Lettuce leaves as above, and set aside in the frig for later. (Butter lettuce is sometimes called Boston lettuce or Bibb lettuce.)

2. Prepare Brown Rice and water. I put both in a pot with a glass lid, bring to a boil for a few minutes, and then turn down to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Then I turn off the heat and leave it covered for another 35 minutes to finish steaming. If you do it this way, you just have to make sure the water does not completely evaporate while the stove is still doing its thing. So if your brown rice comes with other instructions, do whatever it says to do for 1/2 c. of dry rice.

3. Steam the squash until tender enough to mash by hand. Mash with a fork or potato ricer and add to finished rice.

4. Meanwhile, saute onion, garlic, eggplant, and portobello in olive oil until tender. The onion will be nearly translucent. Add the rosemary and Asian sauce in the last couple minutes of cooking, stirring in well. When all is tender and combined, add to squash and rice mixture, stirring in well. (It will look weird, but it is totally delicious.)

5. Serve by spooning into the lettuce leaves and rolling up like a burrito, or you could serve it on/in pita bread. It's savory and deliciously healthy. We loved this experiment, and are so glad we tried it.

*This dish does NOT need any added salt since the Asian sauce has plenty of sodium.

Steamed Artichokes & Dip
1 Large Whole Raw Artichoke
Juice of one lemon
1/3 c. Mayonnaise
1 tsp. White Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Dash Black Pepper

1. Prepare artichoke by cutting fresh end off of stem, cutting tips off of leaves, and cutting whole artichoke in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the choke - that's the "hairy" part in the middle - and throw away. Brush lemon juice (or cut lemon half that is slightly squeezed to release some juice) all over the artichoke to prevent browning.

2. Place artichoke halves cut side down in steamer pot and steam on medium low heat for around 40 minutes, or until heart and leaves are tender.

3. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the lemon juice and all other ingredients in small bowl. Taste to see if you think it's to your liking, and stick in frig until ready to serve.

4. To eat the artichoke, remove leaves one at a time; dip into mayo mixture, and eat by scraping the fleshy inside part of leaf against your bottom teeth. Discard the tough part of leaf in bowl reserved for that use. Keep removing leaves until you get to the stem and heart. This can be eaten in its entirety.

5. You may have some dip left. It will keep a few days in the frig and is great to add to sandwiches, as a veggie dip, or to use with rice or potatoes to add zing.

*If your artichokes are on the small side, you could serve a whole one for each person. It's not too hard to gently open center of leaves to scoop out the choke without having to cut the whole thing in half. Then you would just steam upside down for same amount of time or a bit longer.

*These recently got press as being the top Super Veggie. (Don't know if they can fly though.) So it's worth trying. And the fiber from these yummy treats is a whole lot tastier than metamucil!


Kork said...

Thank you Inkling! I've been wondering what to do with the last of my squash that was kept from last fall's harvest! I'm tired of winter-type dishes, and this sounds fantastic! We might have to have this on Sunday for Fathers' Day!

Ang said...

Inkling..thanks for the recipe! I'm gonna have to try this when I return