Tag Archives: cucumber

Pork and Peach Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

This was another leftover use of the pulled pork.  We were invited to a gathering and thought of using the leftover pork in an appetizer. The intention was to make spring rolls, but they did not have spring roll wrappers at the grocery store and I was too lazy to go to the Asian store to get them so I used egg roll wrappers. The wrapper said they could also be used as spring roll wrappers.  They were not the consistency that I was looking for, so I ended up adjusting the plan half way through and it worked out.

First off was to prepare the filling which involved sending peaches, carrots, cucumber, and jalapenos through the food processor.

Then adding some of the leftover pulled pork.

I guess it works out that we don’t know how to cook for just 2 people (tons of leftover pork!)

I mixed the filling together.

Fillings are not meant to be pretty. That's why they are hidden.

Then I prepped the rice stick noodles.

Keep them in the water until you use them otherwise they will all stick together.

At the same time, I warmed water to just about as hot as I could put my hand into.  Then I would quickly dip the wrapper into the warm water to soften it up.

Just a real quick dip

Then to the assembly process which can be a bit tricky.

First add a small twirl of noodles.

Then a scoop of the filling.  It is hard to be disciplined enough to put in the right amount of filling.  Remember that less is better and easier to wrap up.

It's tempting to put so much filling in!

Then to the wrapping process.  Much the same as a burrito.  Over from one corner first.

Then the two outer corners over and try to pull the filling in a bit and tighten it into a roll.

Then flip it over onto the remaining flap and try to tighten it and round it.  You can do this by rolling it back and forth a bit.

Next onto the peanut topping and dipping sauce.

I followed this recipe from Ellie Krieger, which was first introduced to us by Ashley. This recipe is easy to follow- I just threw everything in the blender- and it is delicious! I doubled the recipe so we’d have some leftovers. Believe me, you’ll want some leftover!

I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

YUM!

Like I said, the original plan was to have spring rolls so I was not planning on cooking these at all. However, when it came down to it the egg rolls were really wet and sticky and needed to be cooked. We baked them in the oven for a few minutes, just enough to stiffen up a bit and this worked pretty well. We also ended up with a few of these leftover and later fried them in a skillet with a little sesame oil, which created a nice crunchy outer shell. Both cooking options worked well, so it’s really up to you and what type of consistency you want. Enjoy!

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Greek Feast!

If you are a fan of Greek food I am pretty sure you will really like this meal. It is relatively easy to prepare and the flavors are intense and extremely satisfying. We made gyro burgers, which were composed of ground beef and lamb as well as some traditional Greek spices. We also prepared homemade tzatziki sauce and  a Greek salad of tomato, cucumber, red onion and fete cheese. It all went well together and you could also serve the burgers in a pita or flatbread if you so desired.

I will begin with the tzatziki sauce, which is a traditional sauce served with gyros that is made with yogurt and cucumber and is awesome.

The key ingredient here is mint. Luckily mint grows like weeds and we have plenty growing outside!

I just combined all the ingredients and let it chill in the refrigerator while we prepared the rest of the meal. Below is a pic of the final product. Not only is this a great sauce to put on whatever you please, really, but can also be served as a dip with pita or veggies. It is so good.

Along with the burgers we also prepared a Greek salad. I love this salad, especially in the summer when the vegetables are nice and fresh. It is a great accompaniment to any meat, really, and goes particularly well with the strongly flavored lamb.

Now, on to the burgers! I’ll let the pictures do the talking here….

The meat had a gyro like consistency as you can see below (sorry, it’s a bit blurry) and of course the flavor was right on.

Give this one a try!

Recipe for Gyro Burgers

Tzatziki

Greek Salad

Sushi Party!

Sushi!

Last year on Christmas I gave Greg a sushi making kit- it was something I put together for him with all of the sushi making essentials and we have been making sushi ever since. Well, he has been making sushi and I have been the sous chef.  We decided to show off our skills and invited a few folks over to partake in a sushi party.  Greg has two friends that live in Japan right now and one happened to be in town with his Japanese girlfriend (as in, lived in Japan her whole life and only in the states visiting right now kind of Japanese!!).  The pressure was on! In preperation for this event, I contacted Melanie at the Whole Foods in Silver Spring to let her know we’d be stopping by the store to pick up some ingredients. She graciously met with us and was so generous! Thank you Melanie! We picked up some beautiful looking seafood, produce, and some odds and ends and headed home to begin making the sushi.

One thing I have struggled with as the sous chef is making the rice. Obviously, this is an essential element to the sushi, but man, I just can’t get it right! Our Japanese guests highly suggested using a rice cooker, which I have but did not use. I will definitely try that next time. For this go round, however, I made it on the stove top and used this:

I followed the directions to a tee. First rinsing it and cooking it exactly how the container’s directions suggested.

It looked pretty good and I was encouraged! It was a teeny bit crunchy still though- wtf?!

According to our Japanese guests, any short grain rice will do and you don’t have to purchase “sushi” rice. So American, right? They made a great analogy to their experience eating bread at Italian restaurants  in Japan. It’s bread, it tastes like bread, but it’s not as good as “real” Italian bread. That’s pretty much how this rice was for them-  standard rice, but not GOOD rice.  Next time, I may try to buy Japanese rice… eek!

While the rice was cooking we prepared the fixings, fish, and other fillers.

I purchased this wasabi and  pickled ginger at Whole Foods.

It’s powdered wasabi so in order to make it you combine equal parts powder and water to form the paste.

I made a lot!

I pulled out the shiso leaves because I never had them before. Pretty lame, I know.

We purchase three types of fish (tuna, snapper, and salmon) and some shrimp (for shrimp tempura rolls). The quality of the fish was excellent- look how pretty!

The (heart shaped) tuna!

The snapper ( I believe of the red variety).

The salmon (so gorgeous!).

Shrimp!

We tempura battered and fried the shrimp.

Everything needed to be cut down to size for the rolls. We sliced up the fish and also the cucumber and avocado that would go in many of the rolls.

So, now on to the fun, yet most difficult part. We used these nori sheets:

We added rice wine vinegar to the rice.

and the sushi rolling began…

This was a spicy salmon roll.

Uh, yeah! That’s a sushi roll on a Steelers plate.

Next, the making of the shrimp tempura roll.

The whole rolling process went on for nearly 2 hours- I kid you not! It takes a lot of time and hard work, but just look at these results! MMMMM….

The “everything roll” (above)- all three types of fish, cucumber and avocado and a crazy assortment below.

I could not get the camera in focus for these close-ups because I am clueless when it comes to cameras, but I wanted you to see the shrimp tempura roll (front) and the salmon roll behind it.

Below, another out of focus shot (grr!) of the tuna rolls.

There were so many combinations of rolls and we also made some nigiri.

All in all, TONS of sushi!

Everyone happily ate and we almost finished it all! We had about 8 pieces leftover, which is not bad at all! We also got the chance to open some Saki that had been given to us for Christmas, by none other than one of our guests tonight! I have never been into Saki, but this one was really good! It was served cold and did not taste like rubbing alcohol, which is always a plus :]

For dessert, we served tiramisu. Wait, what? That’s not Japanese. Yeah, I know, but I had most of the ingredients and everyone loves it. I followed my own recipe and it came out great! I actually made it two days in advance this time, which worked really well. Everyone scarfed it down, so I take that as a success!