Monday, December 28, 2015

Thai Peanut Rolls

Rick and I hosted a little party at our place on Christmas night. It was supposed to be simple, but of course I kept expanding the menu, and as always, ended up making way too much food. We made a huge pot of green coconut curry with vegetables and sticky brown rice, guacamole, spicy adobo chile-laced queso, garlic truffle popcorn, mini rum balls, and threw in some good spreads and bread from Trader Joe's.

The favorite nibble of the night though was the big platter of Thai Peanut Rolls, which were inspired by a killer peanut butter sandwich I had at a food cart. Make these for your New Year's Eve festivities, or for no special reason at all. They're a great little appetizer when sliced into rounds, and also good simply cut in half and munched for lunch.

Thai Peanut Rolls

flour tortillas, any color
vegan cream cheese (I like Tofutti)
peanut butter
orange marmalade
fresh basil, chopped
grated carrots
Sriracha sauce
curry powder
red bell peppers, thinly sliced
baby spinach leaves

For each roll, spread cream cheese on about two thirds of a tortilla, going all the way to the edges. Spread a stripe of peanut butter, and one of marmalade onto the remaining third of the tortilla. Sprinkle basil over most of the spreads, leaving about two inches of the cream cheese bare. Add a thin layer of grated carrots over the basil. Drizzle lightly with Sriracha, and sprinkle with curry powder. Lay several bell pepper strips across the center of the tortilla. Top with a single layer of spinach leaves covering the half with the peanut butter on it. With the peanut butter end closest to you, roll it all up as tightly as you can, and let the plain cream cheese bit on the far side act as the glue to hold the roll together. Repeat the process to make as many rolls as you'll need. Slice them into bite-size rounds, and arrange on a platter. These don't really need a dipping sauce, but I like a little extra Sriracha on the side.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dining Out at New Taste of India

Dinner with friends is even more fun when we get to try someplace new to us. We're lucky to have friends here who have lived in Portland a long time, and know lots of vegan-friendly places to take us. New Taste of India, not too far from us, on Macadam, was a great surprise. They also have two downtown food cart locations, one of which turns out to be right across the street from where we live. Who knew!

The family-friendly restaurant is in strip mall, but don't let that trouble you. Once inside, you'll be comfortable, well taken care of, and the food is just amazing. There are lots of vegan options to choose from, most of them clearly marked on the printed menu, under the vegetable section, plus a few others under the appetizers, which our server pointed out to us.

We started with two plates of Vegetable Pakora (crispy fried veggies in garbanzo batter) for the table, which vanished almost instantly.

Rick and I shared two dishes - the Mixed Vegetables, and the Saag Channa (chickpeas and spinach). Both were cooked beautifully, spiced to our liking, and served with fluffy basmati rice.

The other vegan dish on the table was the Aloo Gobi, made with potatoes and cauliflower, and seasoned more tamely for our 8-year-old friend, who loves adventurous food, but can't take much spice. And although we didn't need it, we couldn't resist an order of Garlic Naan, fresh from the tandoor oven.

Do I even have to say how good everything was? So, so good! And we all commented on how those small looking serving bowls held a lot more food than we thought. We all took home leftovers to enjoy for lunch, which is exactly what I'm doing as I write this.

I'll be popping over to the New Taste of India food cart soon, and will look forward to the next time we visit their restaurant for another relaxing, delicious evening.