The table is set, the buffet dishes are in place, the napkins are neatly folded, the kitties are on their best behavior. It’s time for the Manitou Winds Virtual Potluck!
What better way to celebrate the swirling of snow and the chill outdoors than to surround yourself with music, friends, and a potluck feast? It’s okay to go back for seconds… I think I hear our last guest pulling up…
It’s Laura Hood, our horn player and our guitarist! One of Manitou Winds’ multi-instrumentalists, Laura adds a unique twist to all of our concerts with her versatility. But it does mean lugging around 2 or 3 instruments in addition to juggling so many other things!
Yes! It’s cold outside! “Winter is my favorite season of the year up here. I like being one of the ‘hearty ones’ that live here all year long,” Laura says. “I love the silence of a blanket of fresh snow — and I love to ski (all types: cross-country, skate, alpine, and tele)!” She’s quick to add, however, that scraping off the car first thing in the morning and dealing with the sometimes icy roads is not exactly a plus.
Although Laura was the second official member to join Manitou Winds, as the horn player she wasn’t able to actually attend rehearsals until a full quintet was formed which took some time and searching. There is not a lot of music written outside of quintets that matches horn with woodwinds. That first rehearsal was spent getting to know one another through our first few quintets. Since then, through research and Laura’s and Jason’s compositions and arrangements, we’ve been able to find more imaginative ways of including Laura’s musicianship.
Do horn players in particular ever feel like outsiders in a “woodwind group”? Not at all! Laura says the horn’s role in both woodwind and brass chamber groups sets it apart in many ways. “We are often asked to represent the heroic themes in music,” she says, “so a horn player must have some guts. But, we’re often asked to play the beautiful, melodic lines with the cello too… so a horn player also needs to have soul.”
“I think horn players are often stereotyped as being a bit quirky but down-to-earth. I would have to say that’s me,” says Laura. Being a part of a chamber group allows for each musician’s unique qualities to emerge and be refined for the betterment of the ensemble. “With no conductor, we all must really listen to each other. It’s a wonderful communication through music that’s very special,” she adds. “After playing with the same group of musicians for a while, you begin to anticipate each other’s interpretation of the music in that very moment of performing. It’s just really cool.”
Although Laura loves Classical music, she enjoys a very wide variety of music outside the genre. In fact, she and her daughter Jessie make up two-thirds of an Indie-folk group they dubbed “Sista’ Hood & Joe“. The group is more or less on hiatus now that Jessie has started her undergraduate studies in Ohio as of this fall. Still, the group does reunite from time-to-time to raise money for worthy causes and for the love of making music together.
Laura and her husband Bruce (both educators at the nearby Leelanau School) live in an intentional community within the heart of Leelanau County. Apart from the serene surroundings living on more than 40 acres of farmland provides, she and her family produce and preserve quite a bit of their own food. “In the summer, we basically eat straight from the garden,” she says. “In the winter we make a lot of soups and stews.”
With their farm as a splendid backdrop, they usually make the most of the holidays and other breaks in the college schedule by having impromptu campfires and cookouts. With both children away at college and most dinners left to the grown-ups, Laura and Bruce find they eat most meals at home. “I’m actually the kitchen assistant,” she confides. “Bruce is a fabulous cook, and I am very happy to do all of the dishes!”
For today’s potluck, Laura’s brought a favorite from her family’s kitchen and garden…
In addition to the ingredients below, you’ll find spring rolls allow for incorporating all sorts of leftovers. You can also bake or fry the rolls if you choose. Laura says, “My daughter and I like to invent different types of spring rolls. If we are home together for dinner, just the two of us, that is what we always make.”
2 14-ounce packages extra-firm tofu, drained
sesame oil or olive oil
6 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups shredded carrots
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
24 spring roll wrappers
low-sodium soy sauce
Thinly slice the tofu into strips as desired. In a large non-stick skillet, heat a small amount of oil; brown the tofu over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove tofu to a plate and set aside.
To the now empty skillet add approximately 1 tablespoon of oil; add the cabbage, carrots and minced ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted and softened (approximately 8 minutes). Add the vinegar and stir until completely incorporated. Remove the cabbage mixture to a large bowl; wipe skillet clean with a paper towel.
Add a small amount of oil to the skillet, swirl it to spread evenly. Pour in the beaten eggs; swirl to spread evenly. Cook the eggs just until set. Using a spatula, roll the eggs into a cylinder and remove to a cutting board. Slice into thin strips.
Fill a large shallow pan with about an inch of warm water. Working with one spring roll wrapper at a time, dip the wrapper into the water, allow excess water to drip off. Place the wrapper on a lightly moistened cutting board or work surface. Fill the top third of the wrapper with a small amount of the tofu slices, cabbage mixture, and eggs. Roll the wrapper over the filling once, then fold the sides over the filling and continue rolling until completely sealed. Continue with the remaining filling and wrappers. Serve immediately with soy sauce and wasabi.
Looking for more recipes? Check out the other recent Woodwind Gourmet series: