When I was home last week my mom gave me a package of rice paper that she probably found at an Asian grocery store or Whole Foods. I was very excited about these, and I immediately had to try my hand at making Vietnamese spring rolls. The Whole Foods website has a recipe for spring rolls and a peanut sauce (already naturally gluten-free) that didn't look very daunting, which you can find here. However, I was pressed for time so I just bought Thai Kitchen's Peanut Satay Sauce instead which, if not authentic, worked out well. Here is the spring roll recipe that I adapted, the ingredients of which are entirely interchangeable (but the mint and cilantro are KEY):
2 ounces thin rice stick noodles (I cooked the whole bag without thinking and had a huge pile of rice noodles leftover)
18 or so shrimp, cooked and peeled (I just bought cocktail shrimp and cut them in half lengthwise so they would fit in the roll better)
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
1 large head of stiff lettuce or cabbage (chop some of it into thin, short strips)
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Rice paper (spring roll wrappers)
Cook rice noodles as directed. Dip rice paper wrapper in hot water. Wrapper will feel rubbery -- don't leave it in the hot water longer than a few seconds for maximum workability. Layer ingredients on wrapper. Fold the bottom of wrapper over the top of the ingredients. Fold sides, roll up, place seam side down on plate. Cover with wet lettuce leaves to keep them from drying out. I stored them in the fridge under a damp paper towel, all covered with saran wrap.
These were so fun to make, and sooooo good! Turning appetizers into a main course is always a good idea.
Sometimes it is obvious when a photograph is more suited for black and white rather than color or vice versa. This is something I've been learning just in the past three years since I got a digital camera. Before then I would shoot with black and white film only and was trained to look for shots that would look good in black and white. But the digital camera thing has opened up worlds of options!
But with options comes indecision. These are some photos on which I can't decide -- b&w or color? What do you think?