Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Rolls

This eating from the garden thing is absolutely the way forward. I have a feeling I will never tire of it. Last night the only ingredients of our venison-with-wild-blueberries-fried-squash-blossoms-and-haricots-verts-with-scallions feast that didn't come from Y.'s land were the wild blueberries, which came from an obliging bush on the side of the road, and the egg and flour the blossoms were dipped in before they met their fate in the frying pan. I didn't do quite as well here, but all the non-white ingredients that went into the rolls I picked myself from the garden.
It is more usual to see cilantro or mint in summer rolls, but we don't have mint and the cilantro bolted while I was being overwhelmed elsewhere in the garden. As I was pinching flowers off the basil Monday morning, I picked a branch of leaves for myself off each plant. I could, I suppose, have made yet another pesto dish, but when I saw the anise hyssop in the the raised bed just outside the cabin, it occurred to me that I could use it along with the basil in summer rolls. Instead of lettuce I chose sugar snap and snow peas to provide the crispy green in the rolls and I was pleased to have a purple carrot ready to pull. (It meant I hadn't weeded all the carrots as they came up.) Tofu provided the protein in my rolls, but chicken or shrimp or even hard-boiled or scrambled eggs would be just as good (or better).
The rolling takes a bit of practice, so try not to get frustrated. Put what will be the pretty side on the bottom as you build your roll and remember there is no need to rush.

Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • For the rolls:
  • 12 spring roll wrappers
  • 1/2 package rice vermicelli
  • 24 basil leaves
  • 24 large anise hyssop leaves
  • 24 sugar snap peas
  • 24 snow peas
  • 1 carrot, cut attractively
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • blank
  • For the dipping sauce:
  • (From Martha Stewart)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes)
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 4 scant tsp. sugar
  • peanuts for garnish
  • To make the rolls: Cut tofu into batons. Chop the carrot any way that appeals to you. Wash (if necessary) and trim the basil and anise hyssop leaves. De-string the sugar snap peas. Cook the rice noodles according to the directions on the packet. Line up your ingredients on a work surface and fill a large shallow dish (pie plate?) with warm water and have ready a damp tea towel to work on. Soak a wrapper in the water for 15-20 seconds. Remove from water and lay flat on the tea towel. Stack your ingredients in the middle of the wrapper, starting and ending with either the basil or anise hyssop, facing the leaves outward. Fold the bottom edge over the stacked ingredients, then fold in the sides, and finally roll the onto the other edge. Set aside and repeat with remaining wrappers.
  • For the sauce: Whisk together the peanut butter and water until smooth. Add the lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar, and mix until well incorporated. Garnish with peanuts and an anise hyssop flower.
I worried (because that's what I do) that the vermicelli would be crunchy or the basil and anise hyssop would compete with each other and/or the peanut sauce or they'd just be bland, but (as usual) my worries were unfounded. I ate two rolls for lunch and they were delicious and extremely refreshing on a hot and humid day. I guess that's why they call them summer rolls.


Susan said...

Your food is always SOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!!!

Emily said...


madelino said...

I love anise hyssop. I love these photos.