Posted by: Hallie | July 15, 2009

Rocking and (Spring) Rolling

I had FUN in the kitchen last night! Awhile back, Mitch’s stepmom (does anyone besides me hate the term “stepmom”? But “father’s wife” is longer and contains far too many apostrophes) gave us a package of spring roll wrappers when I mentioned I couldn’t find them in my grocery store. Since I took yesterday off from the gym, I was home early enough to prepare dinner at a decent time and decided to try my hand at making Vietnamese-style spring rolls.

spring roll wrappers 

I don’t have an actual recipe for my spring rolls, especially since this was my first time out. I do have a few recommendations, if you want to try making them yourself.

Spring Roll-Making Tips from a Beginner

  1. Make your dipping sauce first so the flavors can blend while you prep everything else. Mitch doesn’t like peanut sauces so I mixed equal parts low-sodium soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili-garlic sauce together with sliced green onions. Plus a ton of Sriracha. It was a little salty so you’d probably want to consult the Google for a better one.
  2. Fresh herbs and vegetables are essential! We had cilantro, basil, and mint, as well as organic carrots, cucumber, and lettuce. For protein, we used chopped, cooked chicken breast and baked tofu, but shrimp would have worked well too.
  3. Enlist help! After making my first spring roll, I told Mitch if he was any kind of hungry, he better come help me. We have “one-butt” kitchen so we rarely cook together, so the team effort was a fun change of pace.
  4. Fill a BIG bowl or (if you don’t have one) a wide casserole dish with hot water (not too hot though, since you have to stick your hands in it). Put a new spring-roll wrapper in the bowl when you take one out to assemble.
  5. Don’t stress if your spring rolls aren’t as perfect as, say, those made by a Vietnamese cooking expert who has been making them her whole life. They’ll still taste good!

Before:

spring roll veggies tofu and chicken

And after:

finished spring rolls

I was surprised that 6 wrappers are 200 calories (this would vary depending on the brand, of course). I only used one chicken breast and half a block of tofu for the two of us, so overall the meal was fairly light, considering I usually use way more protein when making stir fry. And after having far too many “this is ok, not spectacular” cooking adventures lately, it was a refreshing change to whip up something that was really good, healthy, and inexpensive! Can’t beat that.

Have you had any “cooking successes” lately? Or any good “cooking FAIL” stories to share?

In other news…Mitch and I had our 3-year anniversary on Monday. We’re going out to eat on Friday to celebrate, so that’s something to look forward to. We couldn’t go on Monday because my boss got me sneak-preview tickets to the new Harry Potter movie, so that was fun. I’ll admit that I haven’t read the books but I do like the movies (some nerd I am, right?).

Oh hey, want some free stuff? Check out Kelly Turner’s giveaway on Twirlit! Or if you just want some light reading, read her awesome article Your Scale is a Liar (or as I call it, Why You Shouldn’t Weigh Yourself the Day after Eating Taco Bell).

I’m off to watch Bobby Flay and Throwdown: Fish Taco. They filmed this is San Diego (really, where else?) so I’m hoping my hometown can represent! If we can’t win a fish taco challenge, we might as well turn in our “So Cal” card right now 🙂

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Responses

  1. Those spring rolls look fabulous!! Is there a huge difference between those wrappers and wonton wrappers? I’ve been able to find wonton wrappers around here, but I found they were too calorie dense to be worth it (surprising, because they look like nothing!).

    Ha, I hate the term “step-mom” too. Neither of my parents married their significant others, so I feel even sillier saying “my dad’s girlfriend” when they’ve been living together for over a decade! 😛

  2. I call my stepdad “Not-Dad” and my step sister and brothers Not-Sister and Not-brother. lol… just to mix it up.

    And same with Susan, my dad has been dating the same woman for some 20 years off and on and it’s weird just calling her my dad’s gf. She’s part of the family. Her son too. 🙂 Damn modern-day blended/broken families.

    Those rolls look fantastic. I’ve never tried anything like that! I may have to. Wonder where I can find those spring wraps? Were all the veggies raw or did you blanche them first?

  3. You did a great job on those egg rolls!

    I have had more than my fair share of cooking failures:

    1. leaving sugar out of cupcakes
    2. cooking a whole chicken on the grill that was still frozen on the inside!
    3. making a souffle, only to have the bottom of my stove pop up and threw the WHOLE thing all over my kitchen – it took an hour to clean up!

    Needless to say, after no. 3, we ordered pizza!

  4. you definitely should check out mama testa’s – my hubby and i were seriously contemplating a 2 hour drive after watching the throwdown episode….it’s funny that your boyfriend says they’re not authentic b/c in the episode they kept saying how authentic they were! good thing he wasn’t doing the judging!


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