January 26, 2009

Summer Rolls

These summer rolls are a hybrid of the ones Caroline taught me how to make in Houghton and the ones people can buy in Hawaii at Down to Earth ... but better of course!


spring roll wrappers (made of rice or tapioca - banh trang)
bean threads - 2 bundles
tempeh/tofu/whatever protein you prefer
avocado - 2
cucumber - 1
carrot (optional) - 1
fresh mint
fresh basil
fresh lime juice

Peanut Sauce - best to make the night before so the flavors can mix well
raw peanut butter
sesame oil
braggs/soy sauce
lime juice

Directions - This made roughly 6 rolls

The bean threads need to be cooked/softened first - this can be done by boiling them like regular noodles or you can just submerge them in hot water and let them sit until they are chewy all the way through - it's important not to strain them completely because they will dry out.
While the noodles are doing their thing, prepare all the other veggies. I like to seed the cukes and then grate the cucumber (also works to slice, but it gets tricky when it's time to wrap) and carrot (if you're using them), the avocado can be mashed or sliced but I add some salt to it either way.
The tempeh should be cut into strips that are roughly 2.5-3" long, 3/4" wide, and not more than a 1/4" thick if possible. The herbs should be washed and ready to go.
When the noodles are ready, I strain out 3/4 or so of the water and then squish them in my hands to brek them into smaller pieces. I've tried doing this a less 'hands on' way, but the noodles are so slippery and have such a strange texture that cutting htem up with a knife doesn't really work. I suppose you could cut them with scissors, but that kinda takes the wind out of my sails because it's not nearly as fun!


Once you have all the ingredients ready to go, prepare a frying pan with salty water - the diameter has to accommodate the diameter of the wraps you bought. heat the water until it's hot enough that you can't keep your fingers in the water for more than a few seconds without it being too hot - so just on the borderline of too hot. The wraps are very delicate once they're ready so it's important to be careful if you haven't worked with them before - they rip very easily.
Inspect the wrap for holes before putting it into the hot water. If the holes are on the outer edge of the wrap it's still usable. Start to feel the wrap when the outer edges curl up. You want to gently feel for stiff areas and let thos areas cook longer while not over cooking the rest of the wrap. When the wrap is ready spread it out on a plate - best to let a good amount of the dripping water on the plate.

Building the Roll
1. noodles
2. tempeh/tofu/etc
3. avocado for padding (if using something like tempeh - the side of the wrap can get a hold poked in it)
4. pile the rest on however you want. More mint and basil the better! peanut sauce can be on the inside or outside or both/
5. I roll it up like an eggroll - starting with the bottom (tighten), fold over each short side, then roll it over to finish! (I'm going to try and make a good instructional video of me doing this, but there's one of Angelica at the bottom of this post)

For dessert we enjoyed oranges and merlot sauce! It was cinnamony redwine orange deliciousness!

January 18, 2009

Dad's Kitchen: Merlot Sauce

I'm not exactly sure where my dad got this recipe, but it's pretty delicious!


1 bottle merlot (Dad uses yellow tail - I used fetzer because it was on sale at don quixote for the same price as the yellow tail and I thought it'd be interesting to note any differences)
1 cup sugar (I used the Maui turbinado sugar, but I'd like to try honey or agave)
3-6 cinnamon sticks
orange zest

I quadrupuled this recipe.


Add wine, sugar, and cinnamon sticks together and bring to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. MEASURE the depth of the wine and then boil it down until the volume is reduced by 1/2. I should have timed it, but I think this process took about 2 hours for my 4 bottles.

When the wine is close to finishing it's reduction, zest the oranges and put ~1tsp. in each of the containers you're going to store it in. In my case they are 8oz. mason jelly jars - perfect! You may want to increase the amount of zest if you're using a large container.

Fill the jars (or whatever glass container you're using) and seal them. The mason jars were nice because they self sealed because the wine sauce was so hot when I put the lids on, so I didn't have to worry that they'd leak all over the place when I biked them to work!

The original recipe calls for the sauce to be poured over cut up orange sections. This is delicious! After trying the sauce with the oranges I think it's easier to imagine other foods to combine the sauce with.

Thanks Dad!