Springy Summer Rolls

Spring Rolls

Whether you call them spring rolls, summer rolls or even plain old salad wraps doesn’t really matter—unless you feel the need to be culturally precise.  Whatever name you choose, Vietnamese-style rice paper wraps are an irresistibly fun and tasty, hands-on approach to pushing fruit and vegetables.  Call it sneaky if you want, but what kid (or adult) doesn’t embrace the idea of choosing the food on their plate—and having the chance to play with it, too?  Pull out all the veggies, Mom.  This is the day you’ve waited for.

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Salad-e Shirazi — Persian Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Named for the ancient Persian city of Shiraz—reknown for it’s connection to wine, poetry and flowers—this simple salad is best at the height of summer when juicy tomatoes and crisp cucumbers abound.  Persian cucumbers are delicate with few seeds.  If your cucumbers have larger seeds, just scoop them out with a spoon and use the remaining flesh.  Peeling is not necessary if you’re using organic fruit—much of the nutritional content is concentrated in the skin and seeds.

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Avocado Salsa with Strawberries, Mango and Arugula

We think of this vibrant dish as a cousin to guacamole—a chunky, sweet one.  Feel free to substitute liberally.  By all means add cilantro if you have it, or chopped spinach.  Tomato or peaches add to the fun.  Maybe something crunchy besides the radish, like diced jicama or daikon per chance?  Whatever you do, don’t forget the chips—or warm corn tortillas—for scooping.

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Ruby Smoothie

This vegetable and fruit-packed drink can be made in either a blender or a juicer. In a blender you’ll get a thicker mix, peppered with tiny vegetable bits that lend texture and substance. In the juicer the drink comes out thin and smooth — more palatable for kids (and the kale-wary) but you’ll lose some of the fabulous fiber to the filter. If you don’t mind dirtying another appliance try half-and-half — purée the ingredients in the blender, then put half of it through the juicer. Or put the kale through the juicer and most everything else into the blender, and mix together in a glass. Any way you choose to mix it this rose-hued drink is not only beautiful, but packed with vitamins and minerals, plus a kicky hint of ginger and refreshing mint. During berry season pop a few red ones into the mix. Continue reading

Fresh Mint Chip Gelato

This gelato is nothing like the leprechaun-green mint chip in the freezer section of your local grocery store. It uses fresh mint leaves for flavoring, rather than the artificial stuff. You’ll notice bright herbal notes, that some might call unusual or sophisticated, even adult, but the dark chocolate shavings give a creamy bowlful universal appeal. This is how mint ice cream should taste — when you think about it. Like real mint. We like to add chocolate cookie bits along with the dark chocolate shavings. You can never have too much chocolate. Never. Continue reading