Tag Archives: spring roll

Asian night!

Ever walk through the grocery store looking for something specific and then have an a-ha moment and change your mind?

That hasn’t happened to me lately. But I did have something similar happen not too long ago!

I was on my way home from a Saturday errand day with my mom and she needed to stop at a grocery store. Since I don’t shop at that store often, I took a few minutes to look around and see if there was anything interesting on sale. Lo and behold, there was a gigantic display of sushi on special for 50 per cent off! They had just been packaged that morning, and they were already on clearance. Score! I’m not a huge sushi eater. I don’t like fish, but I do love the vegetarian rolls. Alex is pretty adventurous and will try pretty much anything. We haven’t had sushi lately – mostly because there isn’t a sushi restaurant closer than 40 minutes away, and we never think to go there for dinner – so I was in the mood for some Asian fare. I picked up three kinds of sushi: avocado, spicy jalapeno roll and spicy California roll for us to try. I already had frozen edamame from Costco, so it was just a matter of another little appetizer to round off our Asian-inspired feast. Racking my brain to come up with something, it dawned on me. My favourite thing to order at Japanese/Thai restaurants? Spring rolls! I had almost everything I needed, except for bean sprouts and egg roll wrappers. Perfect! Image

Spring rolls are pretty easy to customize. I looked up a few different recipes and modified this one to suit our tastes and what we had in the fridge already. Here’s what you need to make about eight large spring rolls:

– A pack of spring roll or egg roll wrappers (usually found in the produce section of the grocery store. I opted for the larger egg roll variety because they’re easier to roll and great for tons of other apps, like the buffalo chicken egg rolls I made a couple weeks ago! Store the rest in a zip-loc bag in the fridge.)
– 1 cup of chopped carrots
– 2 cups of shredded cabbage. I used leftover bok choy
– a giant handful of bean sprouts
– a teaspoon of pepper
– two teaspoons of minced garlic
– four to five tablespoons of soy sauce
– a couple of chopped green onions
– about half a pound of ground beef or pork. I used a combination of both that I had already cooked and leftover from pasta the night before.
– four tablespoons of vegetable oil, divided

1. If your meat is raw, brown it in a frying pan. Drain and set aside. If you’re using meat that’s already cooked, skip to step 2.

2. Heat two tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large pan and add the minced garlic. Fry until golden brown and fragrant, about two minutes. Side note: I usually use a garlic press or chop up my garlic really finely, but I saw a gigantic container of minced garlic at Costco for FIVE DOLLARS and couldn’t pass it up. I mean! It’s so convenient, and what a deal. About a half a tablespoon of minced garlic equals one garlic clove, in case you’re wondering.
Image3. Add the carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, green onions, pepper, soy sauce and stir well. Saute for about two or three minutes.
Image4. Once combined, add the cooked beef and/or pork to meld the flavours. Transfer to a bowl and let the mixture cool while you prepare the wrapping station. Note: I learned the hard way that assembling the egg rolls does not work when the filling is hot. Give it lots of time to cool.

5. You’ll need three plates for this next part: one small plate with a bit of water, a large plate for wrapping and a large plate to keep the wrapped spring rolls.Image6. Lay a wrapper in front of you with a corner pointing toward you. Spread two or three tablespoons of the filling horizontally in the middle of the wrapper. Dip your fingers in the water and line all edges of the wrapper with water. Fold the bottom of the wrapper up over the filling and gently press down. Fold in both sides of the wrapper. Roll the spring roll up toward the top of the wrapper and seal all of the edges with water.
Image7. When all of your spring rolls are assembled, you’re ready to fry! These probably would be great baked too, but I was opting for authenticity over health in this case. πŸ˜‰ Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in the frying pan until it’s hot. Turn the heat down to medium. Lay the spring rolls in the pan in a single layer and fry on all sides until they’re golden brown.

Image8. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and pat with paper towels to absorb the excess oil and serve with your favourite dipping sauce (I recommend sweet chili or plum sauce!).
ImageThis is an awesome basic recipe. They were perfect when dipped into sweet chili sauce, but when plain, they could have used an extra kick. I think next time I’ll chop up a chili pepper really fine and add it in for a little bit of heat. But you could certainly customize these in any way – add more veggies, or even shrimp! They were the perfect addition to our Asian-inspired dinner.

Image
spring roll inside

They were crispy on the outside and had the perfect amount of crunch on the inside. Maybe next time I’ll get really adventurous and try to make my own sushi! πŸ˜‰

Tagged , , ,

Thursday night traditions

Thursday night at my mom’s house is always pasta night. It’s been like that for years – and I’m not even sure why, to tell you the truth. But no one ever asked what was for dinner on Thursdays – we knew it would be some kind of pasta, and it would always be delicious.

My family has been making tomato sauce for longer than I can remember. When tomatoes come into season at the end of August or early September, my grandfather goes on a hunt for the best looking tomatoes and buys bushels upon bushels.

tomatoes

We dedicate an entire day to making sauce. Sorting the tomatoes, washing them off, boiling them, feeding them through the sauce machine (I’m sure there’s a more technical term!), boiling the sauce and then jarring it. This past year we had 12 (or maybe more . . . ) bushels of tomatoes. It was one of our biggest years yet! I look forward to this day every year.

nonno
My adorable Nonno draining the boiled tomatoes.

sauce
A giant pot of sauce, ready for boiling and jarring.

wine

The day always ends with a late-afternoon feast, including homemade wine, natch.

The ironic part of all of this is . . . I HATE tomatoes. I know. What kind of Italian hates tomatoes? Not only that, but I hate ketchup, and store-bought tomato sauce. The sauce we make is literally pure tomatoes, and it is the best.sauce.ever. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve forced myself to eat tomatoes more, and to not be afraid to order pasta at (certain) restaurants. But I’m definitely a tomato sauce snob.

All of this is to say that no matter what happens on Thursdays, I know I can walk into my mom’s house and smell sauce simmering and instantly be happier (luckily she only lives five minutes away!).

In the last year or so, since Alex and I have lived on our own, we haven’t held up the Thursday night pasta tradition. I know. Blasphemous. It’s just that Thursday nights have somehow become pizza-and-wing night or clean-out-the-fridge night. But in an attempt to eat better (and save money), we’ve been trying to turn this around. One of my faaaavourite food blogs, Iowa Girl Eats, is pro at making lighter versions of delicious restaurant-style food. Alex and I love everything Buffalo-related (well mostly the wings and hot sauce for him, and the shopping deals for me!), so naturally her recipe for buffalo chicken egg rolls stood out for me. Tangy ranch sauce is combined with perfectly spicy shredded buffalo chicken and sealed in an egg roll wrapper, baked to crisp perfection.

I seasoned two chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then pan fried in a teaspoon of olive oil until golden brown. I’ve read on Pinterest that a stand mixer comes in handy when shredding chicken, and I’ve been converted. Add your chicken breasts (I had cut mine into a few smaller pieces before hand, but I’m not sure this was necessary) and turn your mixer on to medium. Within a few minutes, my chicken was perfectly shredded.

shreddedchicken

 

I added a dash of my favourite Buffalo-style wing sauce and spooned about two tablespoons full of shredded chicken into an egg roll wrapper with some ranch dressing (you can use blue cheese if you want, but I prefer ranch!).

eggrolls1
Wrapped up and baked for 20 minutes at 400 F (my personal preference, 425 F was too high in my oven), these buffalo chicken egg rolls were a perfect lighter alternative to chicken wings. I chopped up some broccoli and drizzled it with olive oil, garlic salt, fresh cracked pepper and a dash of parmesan cheese and baked it right along the egg rolls for the same amount of time, and threw some potatoes in my beloved ActiFry, and voila!

fries
broccoli

A delicious, fairly healthy, Thursday-night-pub-food-worthy meal. It’s not my mom’s pasta . . . but there’s always next Thursday!

eggrollsbroccolifries2

Do you have food traditions? Certain things you eat on certain nights of the week?

Tagged , , , , , , ,
Fiery Ginger

Cooking Up Bold Flavors and Bold Techniques

domestic diva, M.D.

my mother raised the perfect housewife...then I went to med school

Mix and Match Family

mangia bene. beve bene. viva bene.

Fresh-Season.com

A Beauty, Fashion, and Lifestyle Blog (and Proudly Canadian!)

spiffykerms.com

CALIFORNIA LIVING, CANADIAN MADE

Iowa Girl Eats

Delicious gluten-free recipes using everyday, in-season ingredients.