Spring into Summer: Asparagus Rolls with Tarragon Dipping Sauce
June 20, 2009

rolls-top2

Hello friends!

Phew. I am so, so happy to report that I have just enjoyed a lazy Saturday. OK, well, sorta lazy: I did go for a run this morning and see a client. But otherwise? Nothing too ambitious: there’s been some lying on my sofa, some cleaning of my kitchen, some reading, some shopping for groceries, some phone chatting, and, best of all, some time to uncook!

I confess: I don’t deal well with a busy schedule. I can handle lots of work, but lots of social engagements tend to stress me out. I know, I know, this sounds totally ungrateful: how could I possibly complain about friends and work events and things to do? But the truth is, I’m a big fat homebody at heart. I’ll almost always choose a homemade meal over restaurant fare, a quiet evening of movie renting over a cocktail party, or snuggling on the couch and gossiping with a friend over a big night out. So when I retreat from a busy week to a quiet weekend at home – even if I’ve got editing to do – it’s with a sense of relief and delight.  And more than anything else, it’s with tremendous anticipation to get back into my kitchen.

Today, I had some gorgeous late spring/early summer produce on hand from the farmer’s market yesterday. It included:

•A fat, round-bottomed variety of summer squash
•Asparagus
•A bunch of tarragon
•A bunch of chives
•A bunch of spring lettuces
•Yellow pepper

The result? A light and tasty vegetable roll up.

This recipe was inspired by my friend Doris, a chef who makes tremendously tasty vegetable rolls with all sorts of ingredients. Tonight I used the round summer squash, sliced paper thin on a mandolin, as the roll “wrapper,” just as I would use rice paper or nori. Here it is, ready to roll:

img_0431

Next, I stuffed it with a single stalk of asparagus, a sprig of cilantro, a stalk of chive, and a slice of yellow bell pepper:

stuffed

And rolled it up!

To serve it, I whipped up a clean spring dipping sauce. Avocado based, this is a tasty, lemony creation, delicately flavored with tarragon and chives. If you thin it with additional water, this would make a tasty salad dressing, too!

Tarragon Dipping Sauce (makes about  1 ½ cups)

Ingredients:

1 avocado
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
4 stalks chive, chopped
1 tbsp raw honey or agave
¾-1 cup water
¼ cup oil of choice

Procedure:

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth. Next, with motor running, drizzle oil in until mixture is creamy and emulsified.

To serve the rolls, drizzle them with the dipping sauce – and be sure to serve more alongside for the dipping action!

You could use many other veggies for the wrapper “rolls,” naturally: cucumber, jicama, lettuces, collards, nori: there are endless possibilities.

Here they are, in all their glory:

 close-up

 And here they are alongside my giant salad, which was a lovely combination of spring veggies, too: fresh lettuces, sliced zucchini, bell peppers, avocado, cilantro, chives, flax oil, and lemon.

 spread

Yum.

I have some very exciting news to share with you all tonight! You may have already heard it from the lovely Gina, but here it is: a very special school is opening up in Oklahoma. It’s an all-raw culinary institute! Founded by Matthew Kenney (of Pure Food and Wine fame) and Dara Prentice, 105 Degrees will be an oasis for the promotion of local, sustainable, and fresh ingredients. To learn more—or to enroll!!—visit the 105 degrees website. And check out the media coverage here.

I cannot tell you how exciting this news is! Raw foods are catching on, my friends. There are now 218 raw restaurants across the country, and now, with a culinary institute of this caliber to train aspiring raw chefs, there are sure to be many, many more!

On that note, I’m off to savor a quiet night at home. Ciao!
xo

Categories: Small Plates, Raw

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    40 Comments
  1. I live in Oklahoma and was so surprised to hear something about my home! I’m so excited right now, I will be visiting this place as soon as I can!!

  2. I have been a voyeur on your site for quite awhile and am just now commenting. These roll-ups look so yummy! I am having guests tomorrow and I plan on serving these as an appetizer. I am not a vegetarian but am now using more and more veggies in my diet. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  3. Those cucumber slices look amazingly pillowy!

    I’m a homebody at heart as well. It’s a respectful thing to do for the body hehe 🙂

  4. You go girl! I want some!!!! We just need to have dinners at your place from now on 🙂

    I blogged about our dinner tonight… check it out when you get a chance 🙂

    XOXO,
    Kristen

  5. I feel like every time I comment, I say “YUM!”, but that’s because it’s true! You have not failed this time either. Thanks for the recipe xx

  6. NOM those are gorgeous! The dipping sauce sounds soooo good! Mmm mm love tarragon!
    I can’t believe the raw culinary institute is opening. I wish I could drop out of grad school and start a new life 🙂

  7. Oh girl I so hear ya on homebody-hood. It only intensifies with every year older I get. Seriously, last night I was hanging out with my bf and he’s like, want to see a movie? (Not that that is a serious social engagement.) I’m like, ehhhh… and then I started scratching his head so he’d fall asleep and we could just order takeout and watch a DVD. My scheme worked! Bwahaha – and this pattern repeats just about weekly, believe me.

    So these roll ups look divine! And I totally thought of you at the Union Sq. market Friday because I was walking around and noticed that there was a tiny table & some garbage cans on the edge near Park Ave S. where they were offering to take away compost! It had occurred to me recently that I wouldn’t know how to compost, living in the city, but I guess that’s one way! Just figured I’d pass it on in case you hadn’t seen it. 🙂

    • WOW, thanks D! I want to start composting now! God knows I have the produce to do it with! Thank you so much.

      And that’s hilarious about your fellow introvertedness 😉

  8. sounds like you’re an introvert at heart…just like me! i wasn’t always ok with that. i want to enjoy being more social, out in the crowds, being a social butterfly. but i get my energy and recharge with some alone time. the social butterfly comes out on occasion, but i’m a big fat homebody too. and i love it!

  9. Hi Gena! Just wanted to say that I found your blog this week and I’ve been loving it! Love it so much I wrote a little about it in my blog: <a href=”http://tinyurl.com/rbsfraw” Run Bike Swim Fight! – “Back to Mostly Raw” Been spending some time this rainy weekend reading your older posts. Great work!

  10. The asparagus rolls look absolutely lovely and the sauce sounds so fresh and tasty. I really love your creations! I’m glad you’ve been able to decompress a bit this weekend. Sometimes it’s just what you need to recharge your batteries a bit, right? And as geeky as this seems, a quiet night of editing sounds like heaven to me. I worked for a textbook publisher in Boston for a while and I miss the days of manuscripts and proofs so much!

    Hope your Sunday is just as enjoyable as your Saturday was. Take care!

  11. Even though I personally don’t like or eat asparagus (except blended into green smoothies), I love the little roll-ups. They are so dainty and seem perfect for a dinner party or other ‘fancy’ gathering.

  12. those asparagus rolls are absolutely beautiful!
    thank you for the lovely shout out- i’m BEYOND stoked about the academy opening
    hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! <3

  13. Pretty asparagus rolls!

    I am also quite a homebody. My weekends have been pretty jam packed this month and I am looking forward to doing absolutely nothing but lounging, reading and watching movies next weekend.

  14. Those asparagus rolls look absolutely gorgeous! That culinary institute looks amazing, why can’t they open one in NYC???

  15. Another homebody here! Love all the greens. I’ve been on a roll-up binge lately but hadn’t tried it with squash. Thanks! And Briana, British sunsets can be quite beautiful (and much-appreciated after the winter), but a cactus-spotted one sounds amazing.

  16. No way! And Un-cooking School?! That is amazing!

    I have exactly the same disposition as you, Gena. I am a total homebody at heart. Although I always have fun going out with my friends, my favorite evenings are the one I spend at home cooking (or un-cooking as the case may be), puttering around, watching movies, or letting my mind puddle into a good book.

    The absolute BEST way to spend an evening at home in Arizona is relaxing on the patio as you watch the sun slowing setting behind all the cactus. 🙂

    I’m glad you finally got a chance to relax and hope you’re having a great weekend.

  17. What a beautiful dinner my dear… I had asparagus too, although, I must admit, they were roasted 🙂 I did have a spinach salad with carrots on the side though! Hehe, enjoy your time at home. I too savor the moments when I have the house all to myself and can do as I please. Have a great weekend!

  18. Those wraps are so photogenic, Gena! Absolutely gorgeous :).

    I am such a homebody too. It’s the introvert in me that needs to unwind. Too much going out just stresses me! I love sitting at home to read, cook, and chat with the family.

  19. mmm this looks so good..and easy! I may just have to try it..I think i would use dark romaine to wrap…I just got my very first food processor and this sauce looks might good..might have to make it 🙂

  20. Hooray for enjoying some R&R time today – and please!! You handle a busy schedule beautifully – I aspire to handle stress like you do, haha 😀

    What a tantalizing roll up!! Love the abundance of green.

    I’m BEYOND excited about that culinary school opening – VeggieDad and I have been thoroughly researching the website.

  21. Hi Gena! Just wanted to say that I really do enjoy reading your blog and I am always looking forward to your next post. As a seventeen year old raw vegan I am always looking for inspiration and i always get it reading your blog. I cant wait to try these asparagus rolls they look delish!

    Michal

    • Thank you so much, Michal! I could not be happier that you like my blog! I appreciate your taking the time to say so 🙂