While I love to cook, I’ve never come up with the cooking challenge of finding recipes or creative ways to use up what I have in store without having to buy too much to make a recipe or dish complete without purchasing more.
I absolutely love spices, condiments and seasonings. My biggest hurdle has been to pack up all my beloved collections of tasty ingredients and gift them to friends and loved ones or bin them…YIKES!
The things I’ve considered saving are those that now need to be used up. Foraging through the remainders has left me with some challenges. Here’s what I’ve come up with today that didn’t require any additional ingredient purchases and turned out to be the perfect pool side picnic lunch. I’ll admit that I’m feeling a little proud of my creative, resourceful self right about now. My major bonus was having Emma help me. She chopped, organized, softened wrappers, photograped, assembled and sampled. Sounds like a fun and tasty learning session to me.
Final note: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Wrappers are meant to wrap things, so be creative and explore the depths of your fridge. You might just come up with the next brilliant menu item!
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1/2 cucumber, julienned
- shrimp, fresh or defrosted from frozen
- roasted chicken, sliced thinly
- green leaf lettuce
- round rice paper wrappers
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp asian chili sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ginger, peeled and finely grated
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the vermicelli noodles and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Once cooked, remove noodles from water, reserving water, and allow to noodles to cool. Sprinkle fish sauce and lime juice over the noodles, toss and set aside.
Prepare all spring roll ingredients and set in assembly order.
Lay out a clean dish towel or cutting board for your wrapper assembly. Dip one rice wrapper at a time into the reserved warm noodle water and allow to soften for about 10 – 15 seconds.
Place the wrapper on your towel or board and begin assembling your fillings.
Think about the final presentation and assemble your ingredients accordingly. Your protein, chicken or shrimp, go down first and is followed by colourful veggies like cucumber and carrots. Lay a nest of noodles of your veggies and top with some lettuce.
Fold the closest edge of your wrapper up and over your filling, turn in both sides and try to keep the filling relatively tight before you roll the whole thing up. Don’t frett a small tear. Use a broken rice wrapper, soak it until soft and place it over the tear to create a near seamless ‘bandage’.
Transfer your wrap to a platter and cover with a damp paper towel. If you’re making your rolls a day ahead you can easily wrap them individually in cling wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to use them.
To make the dipping sauce: Microwave the peanut butter until it’s more pliable, about 30 seconds.
Add the remaining ingredients and enough hot water to a desired dipping consistency.
Call up your friends, spread out the picnic blanket and ENJOY!