Skip Jennings & Gwen Keannelly

Skip Jennings & Gwen Keannelly

This week’s Fresh Zen Spring Rolls recipe comes from my upcoming book with Gwen Keannelly, “The Lotus Kitchen”. This book intends to offer more than just a gingerly curated collection of healthy and boldly flavored recipes; it’s a culinary journey fused with a spiritual component that encourages you to explore an engaged and meaningful pathway to empowerment through yoga and enhance your existing practice with thoughtful food preparation and mindful eating.  Who doesn’t like spring rolls? They are the perfect finger food that satisfies that hunger pang or main course companion.

Fresh Zen Spring Rolls

8 sheets rice paper (6 inch rounds)
1 bunch cilantro
32 basil leaves
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced to long ribbons
16 ounces cooked tofu, thinly sliced
1 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced to long ribbons
½ cup peanuts, chopped

Arrange equal amounts of tofu and vegetables in eight separate piles. You will follow this procedure with each of the eight wraps. Moisten the rice paper either by brushing a thin layer of water or simply sprinkling a little water with your fingers. The key is to make the stiff rice paper more malleable. Place the cilantro and basil leaves in the center of the circle. Add the cabbage, red pepper, green onion, carrots and tofu. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the vegetables. Fold rice paper in half, then fold over the sides and roll tightly from the bottom up. Slice the roll in half on the diagonal and serve with peanut sauce. Serves 8.

Peanut Sauce 

2 cups crunchy peanut butter
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons crushed red pepper
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic
½ cup fresh cilantro

Mince the garlic and ginger. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. You can add less pepper if you are shy about the kick. Taste the sauce and add more soy and peppers to suit your taste. Add more orange juice for desired consistency. Add the fresh cilantro just before serving. You can either serve it warm or at room temperature.

The Practice: Like the Fresh Spring Roll creation, there are many unique parts of the body temple. In yoga we begin our practice by becoming aware of our body temple. We gently awaken our body as we invite all parts of self to participate in and benefit from the experience. Ginger, citrus, soy and cilantro all subtly awaken the palate while the peppers startle with power.  There are over 1,400 varieties of ginger and its healing properties are legendary. Welcome ginger to quiet rumbly stomachs, thwart a summer cold or even ease the discomfort of osteoarthritis. Red peppers are high in Vitamin A and stimulate circulation.

Mind Awareness Mediation Instruction:meditation

The body awareness meditation can be done two ways:

1. In a seated or standing position connect your mind and thoughts to one body part.  As you think about the body part, breath deeply and become aware of how it feels.  Send thoughts of healing and loving energy to that particular area and continue the body is feeling whole and complete.

2. The meditation can also be done by taking a moment to contract or squeeze each body part, starting with the hands, moving up the arms and then moving to the thighs and legs, repeating until the body is alive and awake.  Like the first option, empowering thought and mantras, along with breathing, will enhance the meditative practice.