Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls and A Very Old Picture

I've spent today scrubbing my house and cleaning it top to bottom, doing laundry, and trying to get back into the swing of things around here following a long visit from my parents.  The floors have been mopped, the carpets vacuumed, the counters scrubbed, the bedding changed, the laundry is in the process of being washed.  We've definitely spent more time off enjoying each other and having fun over the last couple of weeks than we have staying on top of housework!

It's so hard to believe that summer break is coming to a close, first for the kids and then for me as I'm actually headed back to school myself this semester after a long....loooooooong...break from college. You may have noticed, as some have asked me about, that my Etsy shop is on vacation and the link at the top of the blog has vanished- lets just say that between family and school there probably won't be much time for popcorn-making anytime soon!

I've tried to make the most out of this summer before school craziness consumes us.
I think I've done ok.  :-)

Anyway, while my parents were visiting I made up a batch of Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce for the first time in a very long time, as I mentioned in my last post.

Why do I not make these things more often???

Ohmygoodness they're one of my favorite things in the entire world.

Unlike the kind of spring roll you find sitting out at a Chinese buffet, these aren't fried at all.  They're made with rice wrappers, which are available at any Asian market or online.  Soak them in water for a few seconds and they go from a stiff circular sheet to being pliable and easy to manipulate.

Into the wrapper goes a little lettuce, some carrot, cucumber, shrimp (you may notice that in the ancient picture above I used imitation crab sticks- that works too!), cellophane noodles, and-here's where a real punch of fresh flavor comes in- basil, cilantro, and mint.

Wrap the whole thing up like an egg roll and you're good to go!

It's a light, refreshing meal that's loaded with flavor, relatively low on calories, and filling too.
Wonderful any time, but definitely perfect for those hot summer evenings when you really don't want to use your oven!

You can serve these with whatever dipping sauce you like- the link below to the original recipe has a recipe for dipping sauce included- you could use some sweet chili sauce, or, of course, my Spicy Peanut Sauce is absolutely perfect with these lovelies!

I actually ordered these a couple of weekends ago when my husband and I took advantage of the free child care during my parents' visit and ventured out sans kids.  The trendy restaurant we visited served them with the peanut sauce on the inside...gotta say I prefer it on the side should you be tempted to try something like that yourself.  It kind of hid all of those wonderful textures inside of the roll and gave me less control over how much sauce I wanted in each bite.

The only other word of advice that I have is to make these on the same day you plan to serve them- they still taste great the next day but the rice wrapper does get a little tacky if left overnight in the fridge.

Did I mention that according to Allrecipes' calculations these only have 82 calories per roll?  2 is generally enough for me, which makes me feel even better about my meal!

As promised yesterday, I'm sharing the recipe for these delicious rolls with you below- along with that ancient photograph!  Enjoy.

8 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)
16-24 large cooked shrimp - peeled, deveined and cut in half (can sub imitation crab sticks)
1 1/3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (Thai variety if available)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
4 leaves butter lettuce, chopped
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
Preferred sauce for dipping (I use my Spicy Peanut Sauce, the recipe link above has a sauce recipe as well)

1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil noodles 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, and drain.

2. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat. In a row across the center, place 2 shrimp halves, a handful of noodles, basil, mint, cilantro, lettuce, carrot, and cucumber leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

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