Just for fun one night (haha) started to add up what we spend on food in a month. This included grocery shopping, and eating out. It was bloody ridiculous. I am not going to tell you the final amount, but my guess was so far off it wasn’t funny.
The crappy thing is that quite a bit of the cash went on rubbish lunches in the culinary wasteland of Bellevue. We work out that way (we work together.. how cute), and the options for lunch in Bellevue is pretty terrible, unless you have a decent amount of cash in your pocket. The best cheap place we have found is What the Pho, however that still comes out at nearly $20 for lunch if we don’t split. The pho tastes a touch salty too, so I know the sodium levels are crazy in it. If we were loaded with cash, we would eat at Flo’s (great sushi in Bellevue) every day. But we aren’t, so we can’t.
So there was only one thing for it. Make our lunches. We have been living on some great sandwiches of prosciutto, fennel, greens, mozzarella.. but that is starting to get old.
Looking through the fridge today I noticed that we had a ton of vegetables left over from last week’s cooking that should be eaten up before they go a wee bit funky. Stir-fry’s ain’t great the next day, and I have had enough of roasted vegetables.
I know I thought, spring rolls! Excitement built, I hadn’t made a spring roll in bloody ages. Perhaps 10 years.
I wanted to avoid the standard spring roll deal of shrimp, and an assortment of Asian vegetables. Something new I thought. But then the standard is pretty great too. Oh, and then an all veg one could be good… But wait, what is that hiding behind the milk.. smoked salmon!! ohh, I didn’t realise I still had some left from a sandwich a few days ago. I wonder what that would be like in a spring roll.. Turns out, bloody delicious.
So in the end I cranked out three different spring rolls. Something resembling a typical roll with vermicelli noodles, shrimp, carrot and cilantro. The next was an all vegetable deal that had some parsnip, celery and cabbage in. The final (and my favorite) was a smoked salmon, with cucumber, lettuce and basil.
The great thing about these rolls is that you can really mix and match the vegetables and noodles between them all. If you start making one type of roll, and say, have some carrot left over – just use it in a different kind of roll.
This needs a dipping sauce. Big time. A quick mix of hoisin sauce and sweet chilli sauce does the trick. A bit of sweetness, and a touch of heat from the chilli.
I really cannot wait for lunch tomorrow.
Spring Rolls three ways
1 handful of uncooked vermicelli rice noodles
1 packet of spring roll sheets
Shrimp and veg spring roll
1 handful of cooked shrimp, roughly chopped
2 small carrots, finely julienned
1 small handful of fresh cilantro – leaves still on the stalks
1 small handful of peanuts, lightly toasted in a pan, and chopped
Vegetable spring roll
1 large parsnip, jullienned
2 sticks of celery, jullienned
small handful of fresh basil – chiffonade
small handful of green cabbage, finely sliced
Smoked salmon roll
1/2 green lettuce, sliced
small handful of fresh basil – chiffonade (parsley would work here too)
juice of 1/2 lemon
finely ground black pepper – fresh
1/2 large cucumber, finely sliced
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Start by getting a medium pan of water boiling. Remove from the heat, and add the noodles. Let these cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Plunge these into an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain.
Fill your sink a few inches high with warm water. Lay out a damp kitchen cloth on a work surface. Make sure you have all your ingredients to hand. Put one of the spring roll sheets in the warm water for a couple of minutes – until soft. Carefully lift out of the water and lay it out on the damp kitchen cloth. Put some noodles in a line, in the middle of the spring roll sheet. Top this with the ingredients for whatever roll you are making.
Now comes the fun part – rolling it up. Fold the side of roll sheet closest to you up and over the top of the roll ingredients. As you do this gently push the roll ingredients towards you, thus making this first fold tight. Now tuck the ends in to the middle of the roll, as far as you can. Simply roll the whole thing up away from you, and you have a spring roll.
These can take a few practice rolls to get perfect. A bit of a work of art to be honest, but heck, it just means you can eat the crappy ones.