Spring Rolls or Adapting in the Kitchen and the Wonder of Emulsifiers!

Hey everybody!  Today we decided to have some spring rolls for dinner and thought we would share the process.  We made a killer avocado vinaigrette and tossed in some fresh veggies, whole grain maifun, and some sauteed shrimp.  We had to make a quick couple of changes as we rolled along, but, hey, that’s what the kitchen is all about!

The dressing turned out great here are the ingredients.

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 t soy sauce
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 2 t Sesame oil
  • 1/3 c salad oil
  • 2 t sriracha
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 1 t fish sauce
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 T orange juice
  • 2 T sake (strained off of craisins after soaking for 10-20 minutes)

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Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. I use a stick blender and a large measuring cup.

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Blend the dressing until combined and creamy.  This is where we pause for a piece of basic instruction.  Vinaigrettes are one of the most wonderful things in the culinary world.  The combination of a sweet, smooth oil and sharp acid just dance across the tongue.  It is a wonderful way to explore making your own recipes, also.  A basic ratio of 3:1 parts oil to acid, seasoning, and an emulsifier are all you need.  In our recipe today the acid is rice wine vinegar and orange juice, the oil is sesame and salad oil, and our beautiful emulsifier is avocado (and mustard).  An emulsification of oil and water is temporary.  We use emulsifiers to make them semi-permanent, or to “hold” longer.  It also creates a great velvety texture on the palate.  Anywho, blend all those ingredients until we have achieved a heavenly emulsification.  (Ok, I’ll lighten up on the E-word now).  Set this aside and lets work on our filling.

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To ready our maifun(super thin rice noodles) we need to boil some water and pour them over the pasta until fully submerged.  Let sit about 2 minutes, drain, and rinse with cold water.  I squeeze these lightly to try and get as much water out as possible and chop them into smaller, more manageable strings.

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For the salad-esque filling we will need the following

  • 2 c maifun
  • 2 c broccoli slaw
  • 1 c cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4 ea mini sweet peppers, thinly sliced
  • 8 ea mushroom, sliced
  • 1/2 c craisins
  • 1/2 c sunflower seeds

We are going to toss of these ingredients in a large bowl along with the dressing from the previous part.

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And we toss this until well coated and ready ourselves to roll them up.  Honestly, this is where the adapting comes into play.  We couldn’t find rice papers at the grocery store (thanks Copp’s!) and we fairly certain there was a partial package at the homestead.  There was, however, only one was usable.  They must have been heat or humidity damaged.  What I did though, was line the center of the wrap with cucumber slices, shrimp (sauteed and chilled), and avocado slices.  Then place some of the filling on top and roll it up like a burrito (bottom comes up, sides are folded in, then roll it up and the moistened rice paper holds and tightens after sitting.

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We turned it into a salad and enjoyed it like so….DSCN2333

As always, thanks for hanging around.  Please, send your culinary questions in the post below or email me at zen_of_cooking@yahoo.com.

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