I love cold foods in the summer! A salad or sandwich with cool, crisp veggies--this is my idea of heaven! To make it more substantial, you can add cold shrimp, but it's easy to omit in a few of them for your vegetarian friends.
This has been our favorite sauce to use whenever we need a semi-sweet sauce. Goes great with spring rolls or fish.
The Sauce is just a simple syrup. Equal parts sugar and liquid. I have substituted 1/2 c. splenda and 2 T. raw sugar for my diabetic mother and that did taste okay.
I received a lot of help from the food pickle blog when I first started making these rolls. My package directions on the rice paper called for warm water...there were several ideas on HOW to keep the water warm, but the best advice was to use COLD water and just soak a minute more.
For the summer rolls, take Sagegreen's hint and use double wrappers if you are a novice like me. The secret is getting a tight roll up! The picture is from my first attempt--No one seemed to mind my lack of skill--they were all eaten up and I've gotten better at it since then! —lorigoldsby
orange muscat champagne vinegar (Trader Joes)
fresh orange or tangerine juice
tangerine or orange zest
garlic clove, minced
red pepper flakes
Rice paper wrappers
Cold rice noodles
Assorted matchstick cut vegetables like carrots, zucchini, jicima
In small saucepan, dissolve sugar, zest and liquids to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer until thick and syrupy.
Don't add flakes until syrup consistancy is reached or heat will infuse the sauce.
Leftover sauce will keep in refrigerator 2-3 weeks.
Prepare all vegetables so you can assemble the rolls one after another. Lay out one or two softened rice sheets, on middle third of paper start stacking two cilantro leaves, shrimps (unless vegetarian) avocado and place all matchstick veggies and softened rice noodles* inside of the butter lettuce leaf. Fold sides in and then tightly roll up the rest. You can use a little bit of water on your finger to seal the outer edge.
Chill the rolls with a damp paper or tea towel on top to maintain freshness. When ready to serve, slice in half with a diagonal cut.
* cold softened rice noodles(glass noodles) --some people don't like them--can omit...but if you do use them...only use a small tablespoon in ecah roll. It is quite funny that I have taught several groups to make these, and even though I show them an example, I demo the process...invariably one person still adds enough of the noodles to make a burrito sized spring roll!
I learned to cook with my Gran. I can still see her reading a recipe and figuring out how she would make it better. She was fearless about substituting ingredients--but also knowledgeable. She approached food in the same way she built her antique business--appreciate quality ingredients and workmanship, but don't be a snob. I think I carry those same beliefs in my approach to cooking. I love family style dinners, I love a fancy ladies' luncheon with my wedding china, or a backyard seafood boil to celebrate my husband's birthday...I love to share food with others.