It has been SO HOT here that it’s been hard to rationalize turning on the stove. A recent favorite meal is summer rolls -basically, spring rolls that are just not fried. These are so easy to make, and really tasty. I am not good about eating raw veggies, so an added bonus of this recipe is that you get a good dose of raw veggies.
We’ve added seitan and tofu to these, but usually we just make them with veggies, served with peanut sauce.
Rice paper rolls can be found in Asian stores or Whole Foods, in the dry section (i.e. NOT the egg roll wrappers in the refrigerator section). There are LOTS in a package; one package will last a long time. All you do to prepare the wrappers is put them in hot water for a minute or so, until the wrapper is pliable and soft. They will seem delicate and fussy and first, but trust me – you can’t mess these up. The soaked wrappers are a lot hardier than they appear; even if they do tear, you are going to wrap them anyways, which will reinforce any structural defects.
For veggies, I like zucchini, squash, carrots, and maybe some scallions – all sliced nice and thin. In this round, I also added sesame seeds. Yum.
Once your rice paper wrapper is pliable, put it on a plate, pile it with fresh veggies, and roll! The ends will stick together easily.
I like a nice peanut sauce on top. Balsamic glaze is also good on these. For peanut sauce, I just mix about x3-4 tablespoons of peanut butter, a tablespoon of soy sauce, a splash of srirachi (optional), one clove of garlic, a little fresh ginger, a tiny bit of rice wine vinegar, and a touch of brown sugar – mix all together, then mix in about 1/4 cup hot water, adding more to get to desire consistency. This is a most basic peanut sauce recipe; if you don’t have all the ingredients, try it anyways because it is a very flexible recipe.
Another favorite quick hot-weather recipe is cubed tofu, in the cast iron skillet. It only takes a few minutes to pan-fry pressed tofu into a delicious treat or main meal.
I am completely dependent on my tofu press. I got it a few years ago as a present for my husband; we’d been using various combinations of towels, canned goods, and plates to press tofu, and finally decided that we ate enough tofu to warrant a press. We. LOVE. It. It is probably my favorite indulgent kitchen appliance. A tofu press is not a necessity, but it sure is nice to have.
What’s your favorite indulgent (i.e. non-necessity) kitchen gadget? A close second for me might be our coffee machine, but that might be considered a true necessity for some….