Dear Spring, You Had Me at "Hello"

It's true. Spring is coming, the air is warming, the rain is here, the masses are emerging from underground where they hibernated away the winter months. Umbrellas are out and soon will be bare legs and toes. The snow is melted, the winter gear is being put into storage. The city is turning from grey to color. Pastels and pinks have hit storefronts, and before you know it, the city will turn into a crowded humid mess of stink. While the wealthy will retreat to their summer cottages upstate over the weekends with a basket of heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and a bottle of port, the rest of us will open our windows, pull out our fans, and make sure our ice trays never emtpy. The oven will stay off, as will the stove, and you'll wonder, the sweat pouring down your sun-kissed brow, what in tarnation am I supposed to eat?!

Some might argue Spring Rolls are a good option. Think about it: There is virtually no cooking involved. Just a bit of chopping can deliver a few crunchy veggies wrapped into a neat roll. Add a side of thai peanut sauce, and you'll have a nourishing, fresh, and most of all, heat-free lunch! All of those in favor of spring, say "I" and proceed....

Summer Rolls

Rice paper (can be found in most Asian supermarkets)
1 avocado
leftover linguini, spaghetti, or rice noodles
lettuce (bibb or red leaf preferable though anything you have on hand would work)
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch basil
2 carrots
1/2 - 1 lb. cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (can be purchased at most supermarkets by the fish and chicken)

Slice your pepper, carrots, and avocado into matchsticks no longer than 3 inches in length. 

Fill a baking dish or bowl with about an inch of warm water. Dunk one sheet of rice paper, and set it on your work surface. Wait for 30 seconds - 1 minute for the rice paper to soften. 

Place 2 shrimp, about a 1/2 inch apart in the middle of your softened rice paper. Place a bit of lettuce in the middle and top with a small handful and a neat stack of carrots, pepper, and avocado sticks. Do not overfill your roll. While the rice paper will stretch, it is thin and fragile. Keep this in mind when stuffing your rolls. Next, add a couple of mint and basil leaves to the bottom part of the rice paper (the bottom is the last part you'll roll). You want the silhouette of the leaves to show through the rice paper because they're pretty, so including them just under the outer skin of the roll is ideal, but not necessary. 

Begin rolling your rice paper from the top over the matchsticks and noodles. Fold each side in, emulating the steps you would take if you were making a burrito. Continue to fold until there is nothing left to fold. How did you do? Any rips or tears? If so, you can add another wet rice paper sheet to the outside of the roll to keep the contents in. Just dunk, let sit, and roll. 

Repeat this process until you are out of matchsticks. Depending on the size of your rolls, this recipe produces 14-16 rolls. 

Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce

3 tbs. creamy peanut butter
3 tbs. tamari or soy sauce
Juice of 2 limes
Sriracha to taste (I used about 1 tsp.)
1 tbs. Ground flax or sesame seeds
2 tbs. rice vinegar

Combine with a fork or in a blender until smooth. 

If desired cut your spring rolls in half diagonally. Dip and enjoy!

4 Responses:

Gina said...

my mouth is watering... :)

Pink Cake Equals Love said...

And super easy, too! :) Thanks for commenting!

Judy said...

This looks delicious. Nice blog!

Pink Cake Equals Love said...

Hey, thanks, Judy! So nice of you to stop by. :)