Yah, it was like 80-something degrees today. Don’t get me wrong, it was a gorgeous day. But it’s February, and we never once got to go play in the snow this winter because it hasn’t even rained, let alone gotten cold enough to have snow in the mountains!! So I decided to eat light today. The weather plus the fact that we gorged ourselves on cheese and wine and very heavy foods all week made me want to tread lightly on my digestive tract today. Flipped through my old It’s Good For You cookbook (we have 3 new healthy cookbooks out now, 2 are vegetarian) and decided to make some veggie spring rolls since I have some ginger and the sesame seeds leftover from our ahi tuna day. I’ll post the recipe at the bottom since you wouldn’t be able to buy it or look it up, and of course it’s ridiculously simple.
I started out this morning with a pep in my step as I dropped Ryley off and started running my errands, which included picking up the ONE ingredient I was missing for the recipe – rice wrappers. You know, those cool translucent white “egg roll” type wrappers that you see in many Asian restaurants. I went to Fresh and Easy, but they had nothing at all in the foreign foods aisle. So I drove to the janky Ralph’s because it’s extremely close, but they only had actual egg roll wrappers, which seemed way too heavy and I believe need to be fried. Then I drove to the good Ralph’s a few miles away because they just have fancier food in general (sounds crazy but it’s true), and I know for a fact there’s a lady who makes sushi right there in the store. Well, sure enough she had them… but they were not for sale (apparently the sushi people are not affiliated with Ralph’s, they just make the sushi and go home or something weird). So I’m staring right at the spring rolls she JUST MADE with the rice paper wrapped around them, AND I CAN’T BUY SOME FOR MYSELF!!! The good Ralph’s had egg roll, wonton, gyoza, and seaweed wrappers, but somehow no rice. I popped over to Trader Joes and of course, they don’t have any wrappers of any sort. Back to good Ralph’s where I give up and go for seaweed because at least it will still be on the lighter side than if I play the frying game with the egg roll kind.
At this point I’m a little defeated, but determined to make these stinking rolls because I went through that much trouble already, I got home and started the prepping. I absolutely love my Food Chopper ($31) and I use it all the time for coarse or very fine chopping. I have this awesome Julienne Peeler ($10.25) that makes me look like a professional veggie slicer on Iron Chef or something. Well, it did by the time I was done anyway – my carrots were perfection but my cucumber looked like soggy noodles because I peeled off all the skin before I read the step in the recipe that said to avoid the seeds (hint: once you take off the edges of a cucumber, all that’s left is the soft seedy part, and it does NOT like to be julienned). I used brown sugar in the sauce simply because I somehow have no normal sugar anywhere in the house, so I used less just in case and it tasted just fine. Also I pulled a Heather with the rice. Everybody knows that sushi, spring rolls, or any food like that should have what my daughter refers to as “sticky rice.” Medium grain white rice that cooks quickly and stays sticky-ish so as not to fall apart once rolled up. I, however, used long grain brown rice. Why? Who knows why I do the things I do. I had it in my cupboard already, and rationalized spending $2 whole dollars on more rice was absurd when I had “healthier” rice at home. And yes, it’s more nutritious and flavorful, but it refuses to stay inside the spring roll (my pic shows how much rice was left behind, and actually that’s AFTER I had already picked up a few spoons’ worth while eating). Honestly, just go get the sticky rice, your countertops will thank me.
In spite of all my adventures, they did turn out to be quite tasty and satisfying, without making me feel sluggish before going to work. I didn’t even have to take a nap after lunch today! Technically, they were in the appetizers section of the cookbook so it makes sense, but I think the rice made them substantial enough to be a light meal, even though I cut the recipe down drastically (I had 4 instead of 24). Now I want to find a good store nearby that has sashimi grade fish so that I can make sushi, but I’m not getting my hopes up, haha.
gotta’ love my assistants!
Asian Spring Rolls
2 teaspoons finely chopped, peeled fresh gingerroot
1/4 cup rice vinegar
4 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 table spoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1 cup water
1/2 uncooked medium-grain rice
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into julienne strips
1/2 medium cucumber, cut into julienne strips
6 (8-inch) rice wrappers
3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
12 fresh cilantro sprigs
1. For dipping sauce, finely chop gingerroot using Food Chopper. Combine gingerroot, vinegar, soy sauce, oil and sugar in Small Batter Bowl; whisk until blended. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. For spring rolls, bring water to a boil in Petite (1 1/2 qt.) Saucepan. Stir in rice; reduce heat. Cover; simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool completely.
3. Cut carrots and cucumber into long julienne strips using Julienne Peeler, avoiding cucumber seeds. Moisten both sides of one rice wrapper with water using Pastry Brush. Arrange 1/2 cup of the spinach leaves in a single layer on half of wrapper to within 1/2 inch of edges. Top with 1/4 cup rice. Arrange carrots, cucumber and cilantro sprigs evenly over rice. Fold sides of wrapper in toward center; roll up tightly. Repeat with remaining wrappers.
4. Cut each spring roll diagonally into fourths using Serrated Bread Knife. Serve with dipping sauce.
Yield: 24 appetizers
Nutrients per serving: Calories 220 (12% from fat), Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrate 42g, Protein 6g, Sodium 210mg, Fiber 1g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 starch, 1 fruit (3 carb)
copyright 2004 The Pampered Chef, Ltd.