East Meets West
Updated: Sep 23, 2021
I belong to the best book club. We have been meeting monthly for over 10 years now to share our love of reading. We also share good food and friendship (and a little wine.) It was my turn to host this month and I chose a book about mindful meditation. My menu was a Western Interpretation of Eastern cuisine. Here are a couple of the dishes I made. I’m also including a taco recipe that got a thumbs up from the hubby:
Collard Green Sushi Rolls
Black Eyed Pea Hummus
Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos
Collard Green Sushi Rolls
These sushi rolls were featured in a cooking demonstration I attended at the Cleveland Clinic Obesity Summit last October. The presenters were Jane and Anne Criss-Esselstyn, daughter and wife of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn who wrote “How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.” They are completely plant based; no seafood or dairy at all. My version includes:
– 3-4 large collard leaves – Hummus – Cooked brown rice – Cucumber – Bell pepper – Steamed asparagus spears – Fresh mango – Chopped green onion – Zest and juice from 1 lemon – Parsley or cilantro (optional)
Trim the stems from the end of the collard leaves, stack them and place them in a pan with a few inches of simmering water. Cover the pan and let simmer for 30-45 seconds. Drain the leaves and pat them dry with paper towels.
Thinly slice the remaining vegetables and mango into long matchsticks.
To assemble place one collard leaf on a mat or cutting board with the stem side up. Spread a thin layer of hummus lengthwise down the center of each leaf (along and on either side of the stem). Add a thin layer of rice on top of the hummus. Arrange the vegetables and mango evenly on top of the rice. At this point you can grate some fresh lemon zest over the top of everything and add chopped green onions, parsley, cilantro, whatever you like. Also squeeze on some fresh lemon juice for a nice zing.
Starting on the long side, roll the leaf and filling into a long cigar shape, tucking in the ends as you go. I found it useful to assemble each leaf portion on top of a paper towel and used the towel to facilitate the rolling. Place toothpicks every couple of inches down the wrap and then cut the roll in between each pick. Here’s how they turned out:
Although hummus is traditionally made with garbanzo beans (chickpeas) you can make it with all types of beans and different flavorings. (See the Smoky Chipotle Hummus from my post dated Feb. 5.) This recipe features black-eyed peas (in keeping with my theme) and I couldn’t resist decorating the top with the Yin Yang symbol. This recipe can be found at MyRecipes.com. Just a note – I never use tahini, which is a paste of ground sesame seeds, when making hummus. I either leave it out or substitute a teaspoon of sesame oil, as I did here.
Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Tacos
Our chef at CGH offers a lentil filling in addition to beef when he serves tacos so I was familiar with the concept. I added even more vegetables to this Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Taco recipe from Cookie & Kate by roasting sliced bell peppers along with the cauliflower and stirring a few handfuls of baby spinach into the lentils before serving. I heated my corn tortillas right on the burner of my gas stove. Works a lot better than you might imagine! The recipe calls for a chipotle cream sauce but I used this vegan chipotle flavored mayonnaise instead. My husband said I could make these again so I’d say they were pretty successful.