Gochujang Spring Rolls

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1 cup water

1/2 cup dry brown rice

1 TBSP oil of choice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small head purple cabbage, shredded

1 lb carrots

double recipe  [see note] gochujang sauce, recipe follows

9 8-inch dried rice paper sheets

Bring the cup of water to a boil over high heat, add the brown rice and cover. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low and let cook 25-30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and saute the garlic for about 3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the shredded cabbage, stirring to coat the cabbage with the oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook while you peel and shred the carrots, 7-10 minutes. 

Once the carrots are shredded, put on a full kettle of water over medium heat. 

Add the shredded carrots to the cabbage, stir well, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Cover the pot again, turn off the heat, and let sit while you whisk together all of the gojuchang sauce ingredients. When the rice has finished cooking, add it to the vegetables.

Stir the sauce into the vegetable mixture. When the water in the kettle is hot, but still cool enough to comfortably put your hands in, transfer the water to a large bowl.

To assemble, take one sheet of rice paper and dip it into the hot water, rotating to wet the circumference until the sheet is flexible enough to submerge completely, then hold under until very soft, transparent, and pliable. (Each sheet will take about twenty seconds to soften, beginning to end.) Transfer to a cutting board and cut the circle in half with a pizza cutter. Place 3-4 TBSP of the filling along the flat, cut edge of the paper. fold in the sides and roll up. Repeat with the remaining rice paper and filling. 

yield: 18 spring rolls

Single recipe gochujang sauce (taken years ago from Closet Cooking) :

[Note: If making this recipe for ourselves to eat at home, we'd probably go with a lighter, subtler version and use only a single batch of the gochujang sauce, which, like any other incredibly wonderful condiment, isn't exactly health food. But when entertaining, feel free to splurge on the double batch of sauce. It's good stuff.]

1 TBSP gochujang (this paste is available, if nowhere else, at Oriental Super Mart on Sutherland)

1 TBSP rice vinegar

1 tsp turbinado/brown sugar

1 tsp sesame seeds (optionally toasted)

1 tsp low-sodium tamari (or soy sauce) 

1 tsp sesame oil

Sweet Potato Pie with a Brandied Date Swirl

This pie is simply Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's (totally great, definitely getting made this Thanksgiving with a chocolate swirl) pumpkin pie recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking, substituting mashed sweet potatoes for the pumpkin puree.

For the brandied date swirl: 

10 dates, pitted

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp salt

2 TBSP brandy

1 TBSP orange juice (optional) 

about 1/2 cup water, for blending

Simmer the dates in the 1/2 cup water for about 5 minutes, until the dates are very soft. Remove from heat and to the pot add the rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth with an immersion blender (or transfer to a food processor/blender if necessary, but be careful of the hot ingredients). The result should be a loose paste that will not pour, something like a thick apple butter (add more water by the tablespoon if your paste is still too thick and sticky).

Fill a prepared pie crust with the sweet potato filling. Spoon the brandied date paste in a large spiral on top of the unbaked sweet potato pie and use a chopstick to swirl the two fillings together. Bake as directed. Serve warm or at room temperature.