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!

 

 

 

 

 

SUPER SALAD

I was on my way to meet up with my sister for a picnic, and realized I should probably bring some food.  But being a single gal with a single guy’s fridge, and about 15 minutes until her arrival, I ran to the market to hopefully grab some stuff from the pre-made salad section (I know…shudder) for me and my vegetarian (meaning: no hotdogs or burgers allowed) sister.  Scanning their selection, I ordered some greek salad, an interesting bean salad, and a kale salad, which looked the most promising, but since it was from the Star Market deli, I wasn’t getting my hopes up.

I know, I know – I am not one for any pre-made anything from Star Market, but I figured you can’t go wrong with a few salads, and to my complete surprise, the kale salad was actually not bad!  There were a few things I wished were a bit different, the dressing, the toppings, etc…but the general idea?  Hell yeah I liked it!  So while the recipe below isn’t exactly the Star Market exact recipe, I think it may be a bit better, a bit healthier, and definitely fresher.  I usually make enough of this to last a couple days, putting the dressing on the whole salad at once so the flavors all absorb together over a day or so.

This has quickly become one of my favorite salads as it is bright, and full of flavor, and I know that each time I eat it I am refueling my body with everything my body needs to keep these workouts on track!

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INGREDIENTS:

There aren’t really any set measurements for this – it’s a salad – no need to measure here…you can’t really do this wrong.  I like to go a little heavy on the blueberries & almonds, and a little light on the craisins, but that’s just me!

Kale – spines removed and chopped to your preference – I like it in super small bites
Broccoli Slaw – I cheat on this – one time I made it from scratch, but it took way too much time and caused a MESS – then I saw that they sold it in the market in a bag – it’s shaved broccoli, red cabbage and carrots, and it’s ready to go for you. I will sometimes lightly sautee this and let it come back to room temp prior to putting it in the salad as sometimes the broccoli tends to be a bit rough for my liking.
Blueberries
Craisins
Sliced Almonds (if making a large salad to store for later, I leave these off and add them each time I serve the salad so they don’t get soggy from the dressing)

Optional Additions:

Avocado:  as if this is ever REALLY optional…
Chicken, Steak, etc…I tried it once with fish…but it is a little too much to be paired with a light fish in my opinion – needs the heartiness of some meat to be an equal match on the plate.

 

Dressing: Shallot/White Wine Vinaigrette

2T White Wine Vinegar
2t dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste (about ½ t)
1 minced shallot
gradually whisk in ⅓ – ½ c olive oil

As with any dressing – doubling it is super easy.  I like to make mine in a mason jar so I can just shake it up instead of dealing with a whisk (anything to save on some dishes), and that way if you make a ton extra, you can just store it right in the jar for next time!
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