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Artichoke, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Spring Rolls

Posted Apr 09 2009 12:00am

I love eating spring rolls or fresh rolls, as I have also seen them called, when out at restaurants. Paired with a nice bowl of soup or a small entree they make for a satisfying and flavorful meal. When I saw this recipe for Artichoke, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Spring Rolls it caught my eye. I’d seen fusion flavors infiltrate the fried egg rolls (like my personal favorite the steak and cheese egg roll) but I’d never seen a fusion fresh spring roll I knew I wanted to try it. This is absolutely delicious and reminded me a lot of those sinful artichoke dips people always have out for parties. I especially love how the clean, healthy flavor of the vegetables contrasts with the rich creaminess of the goat cheese. The result is a spring roll that is delicious to eat for dinner but that I would also put out as a nibble for a party.

And for dessert I ended the meal with a delicious yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting. The cupcakes and frosting came in a care package sent from my aunt Betsy along with a lot of other fun presents. Among the presents is the cute towel underneath the cupcake. In her note she mentioned she saw it in Puerto Rico and it reminded her of me, which I thought was very sweet. All in all it was a good night between my delicious dinner, cupcake, and my weekly belly dancing class I take on Wednesday nights. However, I am quite exhausted and have decided it is time for bed. Be sure to check out the spring roll recipe below. It’s well worth the effort.
 Artichoke, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Spring Rolls
Adapted from The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook and Guide
Serves 4 as part of a main course or 8 as an appetizer  

Ingredients - 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon coarsely grated carrots
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- Sugar, to taste
- 1 can (8.5 ounces) artichoke hearts, single package frozen artichokes or 4 large artichokes
- Salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 dash or up to 6 drops hot chile sauce
- 2 cups julienned spinach leaves
- 2 cups julienned lettuce leaves
- 15 large leaves fresh basil, cut into very thin strips
- 15 large leaves fresh mint, cut into very thin strips
- 10 stems fresh cilantro, leaves only, cut into very thin strips
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into long strips with a vegetable peler
- 1/4 cup matchstick julienne of red bell pepper (1 inch long)
- 8 square or round rice paper wrappers


For the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients together. Transfer to a small serving bowl and set aside at room temperature while you prepare spring rolls.

For the spring rolls, drain the canned artichokes, if using, and rinse under cold water. Squeeze out the excess liquid and roughly chop them by hand or in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. (You should have about 1 cup.) Sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Or, if using fresh artichokes, cut away the leaves, stems, and chokes with a sharp knife. Rinse the artichoke hearts and rub with the lemon juice. Heat 1 inch water in a heavy saucepan fitted with a steaming basket, add the artichoke hearts, cover, and steam over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate to cool. Chop the artichoke hearts by hand or in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade into 1/4-inch pieces and season with salt.

Place the chopped artichokes in a medium bowl and add the goat cheese, ginger, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and the chile sauce. Mix well. On a large sheet of waxed paper, divide the mixture into 8 portions. Toss the spinach, lettuce, basil, mint, and cilantro together and divide into 8 piles. Mix the carrots and bell pepper together and divide into 8 portions.

To assemble the spring rolls, one at a time, soak the rice paper wrappers in cool water for about 3 minutes. Remove them as they soften and lay on a damp towel to rain; cover with another towel to blot dry. Place a softened wrapper on a work surface, with a point facing you. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with water. Place a portion of the artichoke and cheese mixture, then of carrot and pepper mixture. Fold the top of the sides inward over the rolled section and continue rolling (moistening the paper again if necessary) until you have a tightly sealed roll. Repeat with the remaining rolls. Refrigerate the spring rolls until chilled. (The rolls can be prepared several hours in advance.)

To serve, cut each roll in half on the diagonal. Serve with the dipping sauce.

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