Sunday, March 13, 2016

Savor the Flavor of Fresh Spring Rolls

This month has been a fun time for me and my family in our kitchen. Getting our children in the kitchen has been a valuable and exciting opportunity not only for family bonding but for teaching them how to make delicious and healthy recipes from scratch. This month I have been posting recipes  to celebrate National Nutrition Month: Savor the Flavor and sharing them with family and friends. The recipe below took some more time in the kitchen, but I really saved the most time by having all my ingredients prepared ahead of time, also known as Mise en place, a french culinary phrase which means "putting in place" as in set up. 

I am excited to bring over the spring rolls to our neighbors today for a grill out. I will never forget the time when me and my colleague chef had residents take turns laying out rice paper after wetting it, layering their ingredients and rolling up. It is a fun activity to do with your family or friends or in a work setting to encourage healthy, flavorful recipes. I used a variety of ingredients, including leaf lettuce, parsley, red bell pepper strips, shrimp and carrots- all pre-sliced. Once the rolls are put together, a dipping sauce adds a nice touch to enhance the flavor of all the ingredients. 

Spring roll rice papers
Veggies (you can use carrots, cucumbers, red bell pepper, cabbage, leaf lettuce)
Herbs (fresh parsley, basil or cilantro)
Fruit (avocado)
Medium cooked shrimp, peeled and sliced in half length-wise
Sesame seeds for garnish, if desired

Follow instructions for preparing the rice paper. You can emerge the rice paper in warm water for about 15 seconds, one paper at a time, until it is still soft yet firm and pliable. Place on a flat surface or cutting board and pat slightly dry. Place a few of each ingredient on top of the bottom 1/3 of the rice paper. Start with a little and add more, but do not over stuff to prevent tearing the rice paper.
Roll up tightly as you would a burrito, place on your favorite serving plate and cut in half for a nice presentation, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with your favorite Thai sauce. I made a peanut sauce. 

The nice thing about these rolls if they can be made in advanced but are best if consumed within 3 days, ideally served on day of prep. I like to have these at lunch during the work week or for an appetizer. Lastly, you can change this recipe up every time with the obvious necessary ingredients being the rice paper and assortment of vegetables. For a quick dipper (without recipe prep), Wholly Avocado minis are a great way to get in more healthy fats in your diet. Convenience can be a healthy solution too :-) Enjoy!

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