Right at the end of summer, after turning basketfuls of cucumbers into pickles, with many more snapped up by Gil’s work associates and a five pound bagful donated to our ASC cause click here for the story on that- a local food pantry, (many thanks to all of our giftees!), still a few more and a few more keep coming in on the vines albeit in a more gradual fashion than earlier. It’s great to have them. I thought of spring rolls. I love cucumber in spring rolls.
Spring rolls aren’t dependent on a cucumber harvest; they can be made at any time of the year out of ingredients you may have on hand. Made out of your own produce, they are light appetizers filled with flavors of the garden. And a great way to serve raw veggies. After enjoying them at our favorite Thai restaurant, as a treat preceding our favorite duck and veggie stir fry, a lovely dish with little baby ears of corn, we figured we could make some of our own.
Here is how to make spring rolls. Once you make them you will see how easy they are to prepare; if the process looks daunting in the photos it really isn’t. Adapt the fillings to what you have available. The list here consists of what we had at the time. Optional ingredients could include basil, arugula, other aromatic greens, and lettuce. Mix and match according to what your garden has to offer, and to your preferences.
To make the spring rolls shown here I used:
Cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise
Giant red mustard, rolled lengthwise and sliced thinly
Perennial onion, thin-sliced lengthwise
Mint leaves, whole (they could be chopped)
Carrot, thin-sliced lengthwise
You will need:
Spring roll wrappers
Small quantity of thin bean or rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
Dipping sauce (a recipe follows)
As you prepare the vegetables, arrange them onto a plate. Place warm water into a deep plate- a pie plate works well.
Soak one spring roll wrapper in the warm water, holding it under the water for about twenty seconds. Take it out of the water when the wrapper is softened, but not too wimpy to handle.
Place the soaked wrapper onto a clean surface such as a countertop. Place the following just below the center of the wrapper and up to about an inch of the ends: a thin line of the rice or bean noodles, then a thin line of each of the prepared veggies.
Fold the sides of the wrapper inwards over the fillings. Pick up the bottom edge of the wrapper, bring it up and around the fillings, and tuck it in under the fillings fitting the wrapper as snugly as possible.
Finish rolling the spring roll, then place it on a plate. Make more until you have a sufficient quantity.
With a sharp knife trim off the ends, then slice each roll to make four sections, placing them upright on a serving plate.
Place the dipping sauce into a small container. Spoon a small amount of dipping sauce over a roll before eating.
Light Savory Dipping Sauce
This recipe comes from Crescent Dragonwagon’s excellent cookbook, Passionate Vegetarian. Feel free to adapt ingredients to suit your tastes.
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup tamari or shoyu soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp minced peeled ginger
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp srirache or other hot sauce (optional)
Combine all of the ingredients. Place into a small bowl for serving, and sprinkle with a small quantity of chopped peanuts. -jmm