Month: January 2009

Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce

Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce

I recently demonstrated how to make fresh spring rolls at Marquette University Law School for their Health and Wellness Fair. This was my first public food demonstration, and as I think it went well, I was a bit nervous. I made roughly forty spring rolls…

Italian Bread

Italian Bread

You have to give it to bakers. They simply do great things, and you have to give them credit because making breads takes patience and time. I should stress time. Time is something that I do not have much of, however when I do on…

Spring Rolls for the Law School

Spring Rolls for the Law School

PLEASE NOTE: This was posted in the Spring, however revisited as a post for those interested from the food demonstration today.

There are a few times throughout the year when spring rolls touch my heart. This is one of those times. The smell in the air from flowers and plants blooming, and the cool breeze to name a couple. This past weekend was one of those weekends where the weather was simply amazing; warm and breezy one day, cool the other. These feelings sparked something that I love to make and enjoy eating. Spring Rolls. Sit back and enjoy this recipe and the appetizer. They are fresh and really easy to make.

I make nearly 12 spring rolls and here is what I used.

Ingredients include:

  • shredded carrots (3)
  • angel hair or vermicelli pasta; 1/2 a box
  • shredded green onion (cut lengthwise) 4-5
  • cooked shrimp, sliced in half; nearly 15 (30 when sliced)
  • cilantro (1/2 bunch, chopped)
  • spring roll wrappers (12 or as many as you are going to make)

If you have reviewed the ingredients you can determine a few things; they are healthy, tasty, and easy to chop/dice/slice. Trust me, the only time intensive piece here is soaking the wrapper in warm water to allow softening for the wrapping.

Ready? Here we go.

Get your noodles cooking and boil as the box says. Drain and let cool. Cool is the message here on the noodles as you do not want to put warm or hot noodles in the wrapper.

As the noodles are cooking this is a great time to prepare your ingredients by chopping/slicing your ingredients. Because of the transparent wrapper, you can determine how you want to layout your ingredients. Do you want to guests to see shrimp on the outer layer, lettuce, carrot? You can be as creative as you want here. Keep slicing.
Cooled noodles, and veggies and shrimp ready to go? Good. Get ready to wrap.

When visiting an Asian market, you can find several types of wrappers. I use this type of wrapper. They are cheap, plentiful, and reliable.

Fill a large bowl with warm water. Submerge a wrapper in the water and move it around for a minute or two. You will begin to fill it soften. Please note that if you let it go too long, you might as well toss it because it will most likely tear in the wrapping process. (If it tears while wrapping, do not fear, just eat it.)

O.K. Wrapper is soft. Get it on a plate and lay it flat. Arrange Noodles, green onion, carrot, and cilantro in the mid to lower section of the wrapper. Fold the bottom area of the wrapper of the ingredients and begin to roll. Tuck in the sides, and continue to roll. The wrapper will seal itself.

Continue this process. Do not worry if you tear a few. This is the learning process as to how long you need to soak the water, as well as how much you can stuff these things.

I serve them with a sweet chili sauce. Enjoy.

Game Day Nachos

Game Day Nachos

There is something to be said about nachos. To me, they are like a pizza, an omelet, a salad. What I mean is that you can make them as simple as you want, or as complex as you want. Ingredients can be somewhat endless, so…

Cinnamon Pies

Cinnamon Pies

I want to thank my Mom for this recipe, as it is not only one of her favorites, but it is something that she me and brother while growing up. My kids were even lucky enough to have their ‘Nanna’ make them on one of…

Filipino Lumpia Shanghai

Filipino Lumpia Shanghai

Lumpia Shanghai RecipeWhen my wife and I starting seriously dating years ago, I would go back home and spend time with my family during the holidays. During my visits, I would spend time with her family as well. I recall them frying up lumpia, or at least this is what I referred to them as eggrolls, during the late evening hours when everyone played games around the table. I recall the game being tiles. Anyway, what struck me about these ‘eggrolls’, were that they were much more slender than the ones normally served at restaurants, and they were served with a simple spooning sauce of white vinegar, minced garlic, and black pepper. To this day, my in laws fry up these lumpia during family gatherings.

Commonly referred to in the Filipino culture as lumpia, or lumpiang prito (fried spring roll), my wife states that her favorite and somewhat traditional in her family, is a lumpia stuffed with ground pork, diced potato, green bean, and baby shrimp. As her recipe is really delicious (I prefer my take on them), I only make them about twice a year, just for her and her family if they stop by.

Ingredients: (Makes about 40 eggrolls)

  • 4 lbs Ground pork (I grind my own pork shoulder)
  • Uniform cut, fresh green beans
  • Uniform cut russet potatoes
  • Lots of fresh cracked pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 small bags of baby shrimp, thawed, and rinsed
  • Spring Roll wrappers
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Begin by cooking your pork in a large pot, until fully cooked. Drain the fat, add in the shrimp, mix, and let cool. In another large pot, boil the potatoes and green beans, until tender. These do not take long to cook down because they are a smaller dice, and uniform. Let the potatoes and beans cool a bit before you add them to the meat mixture. Once you add them to the meat mixture, season graciously with salt and pepper. Let this come to a complete cool before you begin wrapping.

Now, when you are ready to wrap, get your wrapping station ready. I used one large plate, a small bowl with the eggs, and a large baking sheet to let the lumpia set when you are done wrapping.

Take a spring roll wrapper, add about two large tablespoons of the mixture about a half inch from the end of the wrapper, and fold over, folding in the sides, brushing the other end with a bit of the egg wash, and fold over to seal.  Continue this process until you are done. The great thing about these, or the lumpia is that you can store them in the freezer, and simply drop them in a 350 degree pot of oil when you are ready. Fry until golden brown and serve with your lumpia sauce.

Lumpia Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Combine and serve with a spoon.