Vietnamese Spring Rolls


Perfect for a hot summer night’s dinner. Not to mention, these weren’t as hard as I always thought they were!

Ingredients:
2 ounces rice vermicelli
package small shrimp; cooked – peeled, deveined
1 cup fresh bean sprouts (or canned if you can’t find fresh)
6 green onions (green parts)
3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves; chopped chiffonade style
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro; chopped chiffonade style
2 leaves lettuce; chopped
8.5 inch rice wrappers

Hoison Peanut sauce:
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves; crushed
1 Thai chili; minced, or more for desired spiciness (we just used Sriracha sauce)

Directions:
Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli according to the package directions (or 3 to 5 minutes until al dente) and drain. While waiting for vermicelli to cook, combine the onions mint and cilantro into a bowl. Fill a large bowl with warm water (warm, not boiling and not steaming). Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften (you may have to swish it around a bit). Lay wrapper flat (you may have to pull it apart if it sticks to itself). In a row across the center, place 2 shrimp halves, a handful of vermicelli, lettuce and the herb mixture, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce (like a burrito). Repeat with remaining ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce ingredients to taste and top with chopped peanuts if desired.

My Opinion:
This recipe makes more than enough for three hungry people to have four very stuffed spring rolls.

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Perfected Pizza Margherita and Homemade Imos


We finally perfected our homemade pizza recipe! J has recreated his favorite Imos pizza. While the pizza Margherita I so loved from Florence is completely out of reach, this version is close enough I don’t mind. Buon appetito!

Margherita Ingredients:
pizza dough (store brand thick or thin is up to you)
Olive oil
garlic, minced
whole milk mozzarella, shredded (put it in the freezer for a few minutes before shredding, it helps.)
Roma tomato, sliced (or cherry sliced up if you’re in a pinch like we were)
fresh basil, Chiffonade

Margherita Directions:
Preheat oven according to package directions. For us, this was 400 degrees. Roll out the dough on a pizza stone. Place in oven for four to six minutes or until the dough starts to brown. remove from oven. Brush with olive oil. About a quarter cup should be plenty. Sprinkle evenly with the minced garlic. Put the sliced tomatoes on top of the olive oil. Then sprinkle with the mozzarella, covering the entire pizza evenly. Add the Chiffonade basil. Bake for the remaining time on the package. Keep an eye on it. When you think it’s done, give it two to three more minutes. This will ensure the dough is all the way cooked through.


Imos Ingredients:
pizza dough (store brand thin)
pizza sauce of your choice (we prefer Mid’s Pizza Sauce)
shredded provel cheese
mozzarella
pepperoni
small can of mushrooms, drained

Imos Directions
Preheat oven according to package directions. For us, this was 400 degrees. Roll out the dough on a pizza stone. Place in oven for four to six minutes or until the dough starts to brown. While waiting, microwave the pepperoni. Blot with paper towels (this keeps it from making your pizza too greasy.) Remove from oven. Brush with pizza sauce. About a quarter to half cup should be plenty. Sprinkle evenly with the provel and mozzarella. Put the pepperoni and the mushrooms on top. Bake for the remaining time on the package. Keep an eye on it. When you think it’s done, give it two to three more minutes. This will ensure the dough is all the way cooked through.

My opinion:
This has totally replaced delivery in our house. In fact, it takes less time than waiting for one to arrive at our door!

Pumpkin Ravioli

I’m learning to like pumpkin. It’s not that I don’t like it, so much as I’m ambivalent, sometimes it’s great. Other times, not so much. We didn’t want to waste the wonderful pumpkins we got from the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival, so after checking out a number of recipes, we settled on this Pumpkin Ravioli recipe from Food.com. Only after we’d settled on this plan, did I learn that pumpkins for eating are different from carving pumpkins. Luckily, Austin American-Statesman food writer, Addie Broyles, helped me plan. So we carved and then roasted the pieces.

  • We went from this:To this:

Ingredients:
8 tbsp Butter (one stick)
1 tbsp Sage, Fresh, chiffonade8 oz Pumpkin1 medium Yellow Onion, diced1/2 cup Pine Nuts (Toasted. We used olive oil and salt and pepper)12 oz Wonton Wraps (one package)2 eggs3 Roma Tomatoes, diced (the last from our garden!)3 tsp Lemon Juice (or half a fresh lemon)

Directions:

1. Add 1 tablespoon butter to each pumpkin half, and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon butter to onion, season with salt and pepper and wrap in aluminum foil. In a preheated 350-degree oven, roast onion and pumpkin, cut-side up, until completely soft and somewhat caramelized, about 45 minutes. (If using roasted, roast pumpkin first at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove skin and dice. Sautee in butter salt and pepper with the diced yellow onion. Then move on to step 2.)

2. Add cooked pumpkin and onion in a food processor (we used a blender), pulsing until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer pumpkin puree into a bowl, add half of the toasted pine nuts and 1 beaten egg and stir to combine.

3 Cover wonton wrappers with a damp cloth. Assemble bowl of pumpkin puree, beaten egg, pastry brush and a sheet tray dusted with flour. Lay out 1 wonton wrapper and place a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin puree in the middle. Brush around the filling with beaten egg and cover with another wonton wrapper. Press edges. Place raviolis on a sheet tray and put in freezer.

4. In a small sauce pot, add remaining butter and cook on medium heat until the butter bubbles and turns brown. Remove from heat and add tomatoes, sage and a squeeze of lemon. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Cook ravioli in boiling water until they float. (Note: This happens quickly!) Transfer ravioli to 4 warm bowls and drizzle with brown sage butter sauce. Top with remaining toasted pine nuts.

My Opinion:
The first taste was off, but by the third I couldn’t stop eating. Some bites were very pumpkin flavored, others more subtle. It’s filling, not terribly difficult and a lovely fall flavored dish. Another few dashes of salt and pepper made a difference. J added Parmesan cheese. We will be making it again.