right now: in the kitchen

We’re enjoying a pleasant, inexpensive release from the early Spring dietary doldrums with Spring Rolls.

Wrappers are affordable, available at any larger grocery with a reasonable “international food” section (Kroger had them).  The ingredients are simple, no preservatives.

And the kids enjoy helping make them, which is a plus.

spring rolls

Here’s the deal:

Prep out all your fillings first.

  • We like to add a little starch to bulk it up – leftover rice or noodles
  • Some greens – lettuce is great if you have any, but besides that there’s sorrel, cilantro, and chickweed that all survive the winter and make a nice bright tasting combination.  The mint sprouting out of control in the garden is very good too.
  • Something crunchy – sticks of carrot or radish, maybe even salad turnip.  Even kimchi can work.
  • A protein – we use sardines or canned salmon.  Smoked salmon is deluxe, and Avocado is great.

So , we lay all these things out in little piles or bowls – wet a towel to work on, and heat a large stainless skillet full of water – just to warmish hot – still touchable.

The rice wrappers come as flat brittle sheets.  Immersing them in the warm water for about 10-15 seconds softens them.  We pull one out, spread it on the wet towel, and layer a band of all our fresh goodies on.  Someone puts another rice wrapper in the pan while the last one gets rolled into a pretty little wrap and stashed on another plate, with another wet towel on it.   Wet towels are helpful because the wrappers get sticky.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it really isn’t.  How many towels do we use in the kitchen in a day?  How many bowls and plates?  There’s no cooking involved here – no big pans other than the one used to soften the wrappers, and it doesn’t get dirty, just wet.

Once you’ve got a good big pile of wrappers, fold the damp towel over them and whip up a dipping sauce.  Again – use what you have.

Chopped garlic and ginger are standards here.  Mix that with tahini or peanut butter, some toasted sesame oil, hot sauce if your kids are agreeable, soy sauce or tamari, and lemon juice or rice vinegar.  Add water to make the right consistency and just keep tasting it until it’s real good.

Dig in!

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