Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sixth Day of Appetizers: Vegetable Spring Rolls

I know, I's December 21st and I'm only on my sixth appetizer. I blame a wicked bout of food poisoning this weekend that thwarted all of my plans to cook, bake, and be merry. Seriously. Food poisoning is one of the worst ailments I could be afflicted with! FRUSTRATING! I'm trying to get back on my feet so I decided to post an appetizer recipe that my friend and I made at the appetizer "party" we had a few weeks ago.  Spring rolls are really fun to put together -- you can make them with whatever vegetables you prefer and because the skins are quite translucent, you can use the veggies to make pretty patterns on the outside of the spring rolls.  This appetizer could be a great, fresh starter for a heavy holiday meal.  Or you could serve these spring rolls as part of a New Year's party platter.  Either way, yum!

Crisp Vegetable Spring Rolls
makes about 8-10 spring rolls

1 package of spring roll skins
1 package of very thin rice noodles (sometimes called vermicelli noodles or rice sticks)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
2 avocados, cut into thin slices
1 bunch of cilantro, washed and stems removed
1 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
2-3 limes
1 cup of crushed peanuts

*You could also use red or yellow peppers, Thai basil, a dash of soy sauce, or anything really!

Prepare all of your veggies so the spring roll assembly will be easy and quick!  Cut the limes into quarters so they are ready to squeeze.  Prepare the noodles according to the package directions, then rinse under cold water and set out next to the vegetables. 

Prep the spring roll skins according to the package directions, which usually requires you to soak the skin briefly in warm-to-hot water.  I use a pie pan to soak the skins in; that way you don't have a greater risk of tearing or otherwise messing up the spring roll skins. 

Once the skin has soaked, place it on a flat surface and assemble your vegetables.  Start with some avocado, then noodles, then carrots and cucumbers, and top with cilantro leaves.  Then squeeze a bit of lime juice over the veggies and sprinkle some peanuts on top.  Roll up the spring rolls like an egg roll, but be sure to do it super tightly!  Repeat until done!  You can serve the spring rolls in their entirety, or cut them into smaller pieces. 

We taste-tested the spring rolls with a peanut sauce I found on the blog Two Peas in Their Pod.  I didn't have all of the ingredients, so I changed it around a bit!  All you need for this sauce is:

Freshly grated ginger to taste (about a tablespoon suited my tastes)
2 cloves grated garlic
2/3 cup water
½ cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1½ tablespoons sugar 

Heat the water over medium heat, then add all of the ingredients and whisk together well.  Bring the sauce to a simmer and let simmer for 5 minutes. If the sauce doesn't thicken, whisk for one minute over medium heat.  Pour into a dish and serve alongside the spring rolls!

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