Tonight's dinner was a little different than my normal approach. I know many readers of this blog are friends and family, and don't really know all of the opportunities out there for food bloggers. Right now, as I type, BlogHer is going on in SanFrancisco, which is a big event for women with blogs! As much as I'd love to attend one of these blogger events, I just don't have the time or money. There are some bloggers who get scholarships or sponsors to attend, but my blog has no sponsors.
I am a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher though, which has been great for my blog. It gives me many opportunities to meet other bloggers, learn about new products, and now, I have the opportunity to create a meal that Foodbuzz will judge and possibly award me a scholarship to attend the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival in November!
I wasn't sure if I wanted to participate, but now that I'm about 2 years and 750 posts in, I feel confident in my blog and what I've been able to do with it. Win or lose, I'm glad that I even have the opportunity!
Now, for the details! I had to create a meal (appetizer+entree') using Bertolli products (they're funding the scholarships). I love cooking Italian food, so this was right up my alley. For my appetizer, I wanted to incorporate my all-time favorite, Caprese Salad. I've used it so many ways (pasta, pasta salad, burgers, polenta stacks, pizza, etc.) I decided to use Bertolli's Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil in this dish. For some reason, spring rolls stood out in my mind, a little East meets West fusion recipe. For the dipping sauce, I thought pesto would be fitting, and would use the Olive Oil.
The rolls could be fried in olive oil, but I like to brush them in olive oil and then bake them to get crisp with a bit of heart healthy oil, but not too much because the flavor can be strong. The pesto was a little different from traditional because I used walnuts rather than pine nuts, and romano rather than parmesan. I also blended the pesto so it would be extra saucy and dipable.
These spring rolls just might be a new all-time favorite appetizer of mine!
Caprese Spring Rolls with Pesto Dipping Sauce
1 package wonton wrappers
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
1 8 oz. ball of fresh mozzarella
16 large sun dried tomato halves
1 small red onion
2 tbsp. Bertolli olive oil
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 cups packed basil
1 large garlic clove, smashed
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup romano cheese
salt and pepper
1/4 cup EVOO
Splash of water
Slice tomatoes, onion and mozzarella into 32 matchsticks each.
Fill a small dish with water.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Lay a wonton wrapper on a cutting board, place in 4-5 spinach leaves, 2 pieces of mozzarella, 2 pieces of tomato and 2 pieces of onion.
Roll up, fold in the sides, brush the tip with water, roll onto tip and press intoa log.
Place on the baking sheet.
Continue and roll 16 total.
Refrigerate until ready to bake (I refrigerated mine for 2 hours).
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Brush spring rolls with EVOO, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crisp and browned on the edges.
To make pesto, add all ingredients (except water) to a blender.
Pulse until pesto is in small pieces.
Turn blender on and puree until it reaches sauce consistency, adding a splash of water or more olive oil to help reach desired viscosity.
Serve with spring rolls.
The rest of my Bertolli dinner will be posted tomorrow!