Although originally from Minnesota and in possession of a Midwestern accent that I’m
not afraid to use, I’ve lived in Maine for a few years now. I recently finished graduate
studies at the University of Maine and have moved to Presque Isle, to commune with
potatoes and spruce-fir forests, and learn to live life in the slow lane.
I love baking and photography, as well as 90’s pop music, adorable cats and kitschy
sweaters. I believe that cooking is a delightful challenge that everyone should learn to
love – I see no reason not to cook healthful meals, but also no reason to skimp on sweet
Thus I aim to share with BDN readers the tips and tricks that have gotten me into the
kitchen and cooking meals that both nourish and delight. Along the way I’ll share bonus
tasty tidbits on life up here in the Crown of Maine.
I hope you’ll join me. I welcome comments and suggestions, as they are truly what
makes blogging worthwhile. If you’d like to read more about me, feel free to visit
my other blog, of agates and madeleines, where I construct daring desserts, and
deconstruct craft chocolate.
Meanwhile, how about a recipe? Given that our week of warm spring weather
disappeared as quickly as it arrived, I’ll share a recipe for summer rolls (also known as
fresh spring rolls) that will have you dreaming of those lazy crazy hazy summer days –
that will be here soon.
A flexible recipe that allows you to make a variable number of rolls with alternating
ingredients, enough for two people
You will need:
A package of rice paper wraps (available in the Asian foods section of many stores, also
known as bánh tráng)
1/3 to 1/2 package of rice vermicelli noodles (rice sticks)
1 mango, ripe
1 avocado, ripe
1/2 lb precooked shrimp, thawed
Extra options to add:
Cook vermicelli according to instructions on package.
Rinse shrimp in cold water, and dry well.
Prepare all ingredients so that they are in bite-sized pieces (or slightly larger). Slice the
mango and avocado, and cut the cucumber into matchsticks. Place all ingredients in
one convenient place for making the rolls.
Fill a pie plate with enough water to fit the rice paper wrappers. Dip each wrapper into
the water for a few seconds (see directions on packaging) to loosen it up. Place on a
clean surface, and proceed to place all desired ingredients in the center of the wrapper.
I like to start with rice vermicelli, then line mango, avocado and cucumber on one or
both sides of that. I top with a line of shrimp, and any herbs, lettuce or carrots I happen
to have on hand.
Now it’s time to roll up the roll – the tricky part. I fold my side edges first, then fold the
top over the ingredients and hold in in place against the line of mango, avocado or
cucumber on the other side of the noodles as I continue to roll up the wrapper. The
sides may need to be tucked in additionally as the roll is wrapped.
Set finished rolls aside on a serving platter, seam-side down. Be careful – if rolls touch
each other, they will stick.
These rolls are delicious on their own, but are improved by a peanut dipping sauce. The
sauce is another flexible recipe; I’ve probably made it a dozen different ways, with what
I have on hand.
Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce
A few spoonfuls peanut butter
1 tsp + fish oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
Water to thin, if needed
Sriracha or garlic chili sauce, if desired
Combine all ingredients except water in a heat-proof bowl and heat in the microwave.
Add water if the mixture needs thinning to make into a sauce-like consistency. Add
Sriracha or garlic chili sauce if desired (I don’t normally add this to mine).
Serve with summer rolls, and enjoy!