Fresh Rolls

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A couple weeks ago, I was up in Vermont with my family, and my mom just whipped up a batch of these to bring to a friends house for dinner, and ever since then I have been craving them!  Fresh rolls can be SO SO easy, super healthy, and are the type of dish that looks like you put in a ton of effort because they are so beautiful!  And as if these couldn’t get any better, we are going to dip them in a peanut butter dipping sauce…which really just makes everything 10x better.  My mom used a sweet chili dipping sauce for hers, but I live and die for peanut butter dipping sauce, and the recipe below I could literally just eat it with a spoon.

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If you’ve ever rolled a burrito, it’s kiiiind of like that. I’m sure everyone has their own way to roll them, but this is what works for me, and I’m a bit clumsy when it comes to delicate things, so if it works for me, you should be FINE. The other night, I used shrimp, vermicelli noodles, avocado, carrots, red cabbage, mint and butter lettuce.  These can be vegetarian, they can have chicken in them – really you can roll whatever you want into these babies and they will probably be good. In my opinion it’s the noodles and that peanut sauce that make it so good,  but what do I know!  Figure out what works for you!

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INGREDIENTS (that I used, but again – add whatever you want!)

ROLLS:

  • 10 spring roll rice paper wrappers – I used Blue Dragon Brand
  • Carrots (I bought a bag of matchstick carrots…because I was feeling lazy lol)
  • Purple Cabbage (again…bought it pre-chopped – because it’s just easier!)
  • 3 scallions, sliced very thin
  • 1 ounce cooked rice noodles/rice vermicelli
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • handful fresh mint (my sister also uses fresh basil which sounds pretty delicious)
  • Lettuce leaves (I used butter lettuce), torn in half
  • 10-12 medium cooked shrimp, peeled and sliced in half length-wise (if you will be cooking them at home, poach them, and let them cool completely before using)

PEANUT BUTTER DIPPING SAUCE (a.k.a. sauce sent from heaven)

  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter.
  • warm water to adjust consistency
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha or chili-garlic sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped toasted peanuts (optional)
  • key to this…mix in everything except the water, then add water to create the consistency you want.  I add more hoisin or pb, maybe less sriracha based on what flavor I’m looking for.  It should be dip-able without pulling the ingredients out of the roll.  

DIRECTIONS:

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Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package directions – mine soaked for 10

minutes in hot water, then remove them from the water and let them cool.

Each rice paper will soak in warm water for about 10 seconds, or until it’s flimsy.  Place it flat on your prep surface and get to work!

Place all your ingredients piled up 1/3 of the rice paper wrapper. I usually put the ingredients on the bottom 1/3 of the rice paper so it’s easier to roll up. Biggest rookie mistake?  OVERFILLING THE ROLLS! This will take a bit of practice, but you will get the hang of it within a roll or two.

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Again, you are going to roll this like a little delicate burrito. Gently pull the bottom of the rice paper up and over the filling, tucking it just under the filling – don’t be afraid to pull at it a little – it should roll tightly.  Then fold the sides up, and roll baby roll.  Keep tension on the rice paper, but remember, its very thin, and can tear if you pull too hard.  Sometimes this does happen, but an easy fix is to just roll another rice paper wrapper around it!

Once rolled up, place them on a serving plate (I like to place them seam side down just so they don’t try to unravel. If you are making them in advance, just cover them in Saran Wrap, but they are best served within a couple hours of being made.

 

 

Have fun with these – they are great for summer, great for impressing guests, great for just an excuse for that peanut butter dipping sauce, great for just about any situation.  They can be made as an appetizer, lunch, dinner, you name it!

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Let me know how it goes!

 

 

 

 

 

Zoodles with Spicy Garlic Shrimp

My goal for this week was to make a meal that I didn’t have to shop for.  Using only food I already had at home.  Challenge accepted.

You know me, and you know that I am into simple meals.  I don’t need (or really even want) it to be very fancy, I don’t always want it to take a lot of time or energy to prepare, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want it to TASTE really good.  When I moved to Boston a hundred years ago, I went grocery shopping with my mom, and she said “Always make sure you have shrimp in the freezer.  You never know when you will need it” and since then, I have always had frozen shrimp in the freezer.  And you know what?  It has saved me on numerous occasions.

I distinctly remember when I was young, my Mom made shrimp scampi for dinner one night, and I thought it was just the most delicious thing I had ever had LOL.  I mean, how do you go wrong with it??  It had everything I loved!  Shrimp – check.  Garlic – check.  Pasta – check.  Little bit of a kick – check. More Garlic – check.  And 8 year old Hannah thought this was just the best thing ever.  36 year old Hannah still has it in her top 10.  One of the things I love most about it, is it is SO easy, and I usually have all the ingredients in my house every day.  A lot of times, for dinner I end up just throwing something together, or it’s already prepped, or I’m just too tired to put any effort into it at the end of a long day.  This meal FEELS like I put effort into it, but only takes a few minutes to actually cook.  So that’s a win in my book.

So this week, I took a little riff on the regular shrimp scampi.  Swapped the spaghetti for zoodles, and added some tomatoes, but other than that…kept it pretty basic!

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INGREDIENTS:
(serves 2 – I was just cooking for myself so I halved this recipe – ingredients pictured above)
2 Medium Zuccini – spiralized
1T Olive Oil
1.5 T Melted Butter
4 Cloves Garlic – Minced
6-8oz. Shrimp – tail on. pref. Jumbo – I only had little ones 😦
1/3c. White Wine
1t. Chili Flakes
1/2t. Lime Juice
1/2 tomato (I used about 5 cherry tomatoes)
Salt to taste
3-4 dashes Ground Black pepper
Optional: Chopped parsley garnish
Optional: Lemon wedges

DIRECTIONS:IMG_3562

  • Heat skillet on medium heat, add olive oil, butter and garlic until aromatic (but NOT browned).
  • While heating up the garlic, butter and oil, in a separate pan, heat 1T olive oil, and toss in the zoodles.  These do not need a lot of time, just a couple minutes to soften up a little.
  • Add shrimp and stir a couple times until they are about half cooked.
  • Add wine, chili flakes, salt & black pepper.
  • When shrimp is almost all the way cooked, add lime juice, tomatoes, parsley, then toss the zoodles in for just a moment to let some flavor absorb into them.
  • Plate the zoodles and shrimp – a bowl is sometimes best to hold some extra delicious sauce!

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I squeezed a little bit of fresh lemon on top once it was plated, and it was DELICIOUS!   If you like it extra spicy, toss in a bit more chili flakes, I did…and I loved every spicy bite of it!!  Hope you enjoy this week’s recipe!