It's La Cocina week here at Food Musings. La Cocina is a commercial kitchen that provides cooking space, marketing expertise and support to low income and/or minority women with dreams of owning their own food related small businesses. Since the La Cocina stand at the Ferry Plaza farmer's market opened the first weekend of this month, I've interviewed and sampled treats from many of the participants. This week I'll introduce you to several of those I've met.
I realize that the photo to the left is devoid of food, but I simply couldn't help myself. Shi's vegetarian spring rolls don't stay in the house much more than a few hours, and when they're gone, all they leave behind are these shiny red and gold carcasses.
Ana Shi is the founder of Shi's Gourmet, a catering company that specializes in vegetarian cuisine that circles the globe, from Vietnam (spring rolls) to Spain (Romesco sauce) to China (spicy fried rice). To make the spring rolls that are sold at the La Cocina farmer's market stand, Ana starts off with her specialty – slow-roasted tofu – then adds a handful of bright green spring mix, peanuts, slippery rice noodles, and carrots before wrapping it all snugly in rice paper. They come two to a box ($4) along with a packet of sweet and sour sauce, which I always mix with chili sauce (2:1 ratio). Starting last week a vial of sweet, silky peanut sauce was also included.
For the last two dinner parties I've had, I've served these as appetizers while we're all sitting in the living room drinking bubbly and catching up, or while I'm working away in the kitchen. I cut each roll diagonally into three pieces and arrange them on a
long white platter. Toss over a few cilantro leaves, crush a handful of peanuts between the smooth metal
measuring cup and the cutting board, and zip-zap-zing we're ready to eat. I think what I like most about them is how fresh they taste.
The spring rolls last for just under a week in the fridge, and they're the only thing that I've tried from Shi's Gourmet. I'd love to give some of her sauces and dips a try, especially the green olive and jalapeno, as well as what she calls Asian tabbouleh salad -- cold fried rice. Sounds like just the thing for weekend breakfast.
Shi's Gourmet spring rolls available at the Whole Foods in Mill Valley, and the La Cocina stand at Ferry Plaza farmer's market. Other items available for catering events.