Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sandwiches made in minutes out of interfacing

 Right.

Now I am liberated to add a sort of cooking sub-department to this blog I have my latest to share.

Every year when we drive down here we go to this really wonderful Thai restaurant in Freeport that has these amazing fresh rolls - made out of rice paper wrappers and salad stuff inside with a few shrimp.

These are A1 units but that's a long way to go to get them, say on a Tuesday night in Halifax.

So I made it my mission to replicate what they serve and I think the head chef and I have come up with a very reasonable facsimile.

These are excellent summer sandwich substitutes and a total snap to make. If your salad gear is already chopped (the short cut sous chef is thinking right now of her food processor at home, or those little bags of shredded salad stuff you can buy at the store) the actual assembly is less time than it takes to cut the crusts off a sandwich and into diagonal slices.

They keep for a few days in the fridge too if you have some left over and are for some reason quite filling, which is unusual for something that is actually good for you.

I can see knocking a few of these back standing at the fridge door with my purse still over my arm and my coat on for example just to tide me over when I come in from work.

O.K.

This is what you end up with (my apologies to all South East Asian readers who will fall on the floor in hysterics over what we have done with this concept - note these are not hors d'oeuvre size, more like standing in front of the fridge door with your purse on your arm size.) And our version does not have rice noodles or other common and proper ingredients in them because cooking those noodles takes time ...

These units are ideally eaten dunked in a sauce. What you like is up to you. Some places serve a peanut sauce but the mecca in Freeport uses a thin chilli fish sauce - my own rendition will be at the bottom of this post.

What you will need:

Rice paper disks. These are sitting around on the shelves at Asian stores or maybe in larger supermarkets than our local Winn Dixie. 

This is what they look like:


When you take these little numbers out of the package they are sort of delicate looking and look just like non-woven interfacing so be encouraged by that.

Don't be fooled. These are sturdier than they look and all you do is dunk them in water for 5 seconds fill and roll.

They won't fall apart or rip and once rolled up they sort of gum up together (doesn't that description just make your mouth water?) and never unwrap. 

So no unrolling like a tortilla wrap, or shattering like phyllo.

This is easy.

If it wasn't I wouldn't be writing about it.

Once you have dipped the circles in water you plunk them down and put in whatever your little heart desires, or whatever you have in the fridge you want to get rid of inside and see what you can do to roll them up. Ours have been made of  shredded lettuce, carrot, cucumber, green onion, a few shrimp and some cilantro.

When you are done this is what they look like on the plate:


Practically zero calories and gluten-free if that is important to you.

The dipping sauce I made has this in it. No measurements because I didn't measure, just taste it:


  • some water
  • a bit of brown sugar
  • some rice vinegar
  • some garlic powder
  • a slug of fish sauce (this is really the key - and the reason there is some water in this - fish sauce tastes really authentic but will knock your socks off undiluted, mainly because it sort of smells like old socks)
  • some asian type chilli sauce from the back of the fridge

Now this is the best part. A video of the head chef making these up. The sound is awful as I was the videographer. We will do better next time.

Enjoy:

video

O.K. I am back

Well that didn't last long did it?

I needed to refresh my mental screen but it turns out that there isn't really as much on the screen as I thought, so I am back, with a few new things to say.

First of all I missed you.

I have lots of opinions and profound observations circulating around in my head and to tell you the truth the local audience is not as interested in some topics as they could be.

Things like what a stupendous new TNT dress pattern means to me for example. (More on that later I am working on version three).

You know those thoughts you have by yourself and you think, gee I should tell someone about this.

Well you are the folks I tell.

I also had to figure out what I was actually doing with this blog and I decided that the time has come for me to branch out of strictly sewing stuff to include other random activities.

Like anyone who writes a sewing blog there are definite moments when you think, "I should be blogging but I haven't made anything decent this week", and then you think "well I am falling behind in blog sewing production, way behind everyone else so I had better make something this weekend so I can have something to write about."

I mean how stupid is that as a reason to sew, and certainly not what you want me to be doing either. 

There are tons more organized, creative and productive sewing bloggers out there, making amazing things continually, but I have to tell you I realize that I have just one body and it goes to the same places- home, my daughter's to babysit, the store for groceries, work, sewing guild meetings and other social activities, and a few times a year to NYC to see my son and once a year down here in Florida.

I can rotate my current wardrobe pretty effectively through this cycle and only need so much. 

In fact what I really need is to sew things that are interesting to me or catch my eye and that's it. 

I sew without a plan, sometimes like a crazy person and some times not.

That's it and it doesn't always produce a wowser to blog about every weekend.

I also do other stuff and would like to blog more regularly about all of that without thinking my sewing readers are bored.

So I figure if I announce what this blog is going to be about, going forward as they say at work, it would be this:


  • Sewing. Obviously, that's core business and the title of this blog.
  • Cooking. I am a quick and easy aficionado, and any time I find a short cut way to get something on a plate I want to share that.
  • Family. Look this is the centre of my life and I think a lot about relationships in families and how they change. If it isn't diplomatic to tell them, well I will tell you. Deal?
  • Babies. We have two more due around Christmas and I am all involved in that.
  • Women. The lives of women, I find that pretty fascinating.
  • Random additional opinions, probably uncensored.
So that's where things stand right now.

I hope, if you are a sewing reading only blogger this is not a disappointment to hear I am adding some branches here. And I hope too that none of you have your hopes up too high.

This blog will continue to provide the same poor level of design and production with the same level of amateur photography (although we are working on that getting the whole head in the shot part) you have come to expect.

It appears we are back in business.