Vegetable Spring Rolls

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Guys, these are DANGER and I’m crushin’ hard.

I mean, they’re so savory, so crisp, so irresistible…I can’t stop thinking about them!

For that crisp, shattering exterior, I use the super-thin spring roll wrappers found in the freezer section of an Asian market. I’m a texture girl and those super thin edges are the money bits. For reals. Most of vegetables are quickly stir-fried to retain some texture in the finished roll…except for the mushrooms, which are cooked down to nutty perfection. Ginger, soy, and fish sauce make an appearance, as well. The dipping sauce is an easy mixture of sriracha, maple syrup, and a teeny bit of fish sauce. These would be perfect for the upcoming game-day, but you might want to make a double batch or more as, in my experience, I never seem to make enough when I share these spring rolls with anyone.

Vegetable Spring Rolls

Makes 2 dozen mini spring rolls. 

There is a great Asian market not far from where I live that stocks fresh/frozen/pantry items from all over Asia. It’s pretty much amazing. I urge you to seek out a market in your area if you haven’t already…there are so many fun ingredients to be found! I used a mini wrapper that they stock, but you could use the regular size. Just use 2-3 times more of the filling per roll. These wrappers are not the translucent rice ones, or the thicker, wonton-like ones. You are looking for the ones that are square and look like the thinnest of crepes. They come frozen, so just leave them in the refrigerator for a few hours to overnight to defrost. While the wrappers can be delicate to peel apart, they do have some stretch. 

1 quart of oil (I used canola), for frying, plus 2 teaspoons

8 ounces (about 4 loosely packed cups) shredded cabbage

1 small carrot, peeled and julienned or grated coarsely

4 ounces cleaned mushrooms, stems and caps, diced

1/4 large onion, sliced thin

2 loosely packed cups spinach

1 Tablespoon grated, fresh ginger

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

24 mini spring roll wrappers (or 12 if using regular sized ones)

water for sealing

Dipping Sauce:

3 Tablespoons Sriracha

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon fish sauce, or to taste

In a small bowl whisk together the ginger, fish sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Set aside.

In a very hot wok or large skillet, stir fry the cabbage, carrots, onion, and spinach with 1 teaspoon of oil until the vegetables are just starting to soften and some of the edges start to brown. Scrape the vegetables into a bowl and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat with a pinch of salt to help release the liquid. Continue to cook the mushrooms until they turn golden brown. Scrape into the bowl with the vegetable mixture. Stir the ginger-soy mixture into the filling mixture to combine. Allow the filling to cool to room temperature before beginning the wrapping process. You can do this step the day before and refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If the filling is wet after refrigerating, just drain the liquid so the spring rolls don’t become soggy. 

Whisk together the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Place a spring roll wrapper on a flat surface so that it looks like a diamond, keep the rest of the wrappers covered by a damp tea towel. Place about a tablespoon of filling  on the lower 1/3 of the wrapper, fold the bottom point over the filling and roll 2/3 of the way up. Fold in sides, wet the final point lightly with the water, seal, and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.

Heat 1 quart of oil (4 cups) in a high-sided pan (I like to use a wide saucepan with tallish sides), you will know it’s hot enough when you stick a skewer or chopstick into the oil and bubbles immediately form on the stick. Fry the spring rolls in batches until golden and crisp, anywhere from 3-4 minutes. Drain spring rolls on paper towels and serve hot and crisp with the dipping sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

Game Day Eats

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While we aren’t really football watchers around here (Sean’s die-hard for fútbol), we do get down with some game-day fare. I mean, I’m into game days and the Superbowl…if there are snacks and treats galore. Below are just a few recipes that I think would totes be Big Game appropriate.

Roasted Pepper Cheese Dip

QUESO, y’all! It’s a cheesy, spicy, gooey hot tub for chips and other dip-ables. It’s a processed-cheese-free dream.

Beer Battered Pickles

There isn’t much to say here, I mean it’s pickles dipped in beer batter, then deep fried. These are arguably the best-ever snack to accompany a super chilled beer. Photo below by me, recipe on my girl–Megan’s–blog.

Corn Dog Pops

All the goodness of a corn dog, miniaturized on a stick. These pretty much eliminate the awkwardness that is eating a corn dog. Plus, you can have like, half a dozen or more!

Easy + Light Potato Soup

In case you want another option besides the standard chili (I know I’m not kidding anyone here, chili is the business), this potato soup is just a bit lighter, totally filling and warm, and can be topped with all kinds of goodness…just like chili.

Streusel-Topped and Rocky Road Brownies

Brownies from scratch are among the easiest, most satisfying desserts around. They can feed a crowd and adaptations are endless. I love these two brownies–I mean, crunchy streusel or gooey, nutty rocky road. It’s a tough choice, but one could totally make both!

Roasted Pepper Cheese Dip

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Maybe it’s already obvious, I don’t know,  but I’m not much of a sports fan. If it’s a “game day” of any sort, you just better know, I’m totes in it for the snacks. Wings, beers, brauts, and dips galore.

As an avid fan of dipping crunchy chips/crackers into gooey things, I find the ever-present queso dip to be dangerously alluring. From the jar, I basically feel like I am shoveling straight garbage into my face…delicious garbage, but trash nonetheless. Even most homemade versions turn to a block of processed, melty, orange “cheese”. I mean, yeah, it melts like a dream, but I really wanted to make a cheese dip sans Velveeta. Just once, at least.

Don’t get me wrong, this dip does not lack in cheese or calories. It’s made creamy by way of evaporated milk and a little cream cheese. Real cheesy flavor comes by way of sharp and medium cheddar–though you could really use what you want, anything that will melt with a little gentle heat. The spice is dialed up with a little habañero, some anaheims, and red jalapeños–roasting the mix of peppers adds heat and sweetness. While the end product looks almost identical–it doesn’t quite have the same sheen that the jarred stuff has–the flavor sets it apart and makes the little effort it takes to throw this dip together worth the work.

Roasted Pepper Cheese Dip

All of the peppers I purchased were red. I spotted them at the farmer’s market and they were too pretty to resist! Red peppers are not necessary, just use whatever ones you like, I’m sure the next time I make this, green jalapeños will make an appearance.  Dial back the heat by removing all the ribs and seeds post roasting, or nix the habañero if you want.

1 small habañero pepper

3 small anaheim chiles

2 jalapeños

5 cloves garlic, skins on

1 shallot, diced fine

8 ounces cheddar cheese (I used half sharp, half medium)

4 ounces cream cheese

1, 12-ounce can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 375*F. Rinse and dry the peppers. Snip the root ends of the garlic cloves, leaving skins intact. Toss the peppers and garlic with a few teaspoons oil and roast in the oven until the pepper skins blister and garlic is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, place peppers in a bowl and cover. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Remove the pepper skins, seeds, and ribs (I left a few in for heat). Chop peppers. Squeeze garlic cloves from their skins.

In a medium saucepan, sweat shallot in a teaspoon of olive oil, until tender and translucent.  Add the garlic and peppers. Add the evaporated milk and bring to a simmer, stir in the cheeses, in 3 batches, until everything is combined, smooth, and heated through. Serve warm with chips, crackers, or anything else that needs a cheese blanket.

Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week. Reheat in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring, between each, or on the stovetop over gentle heat, stirring often.