I don’t love getting dressed up for the holidays. Never have. Fights used to occur over what my sister and I would try to wear; we favoured jeans, tees, maybe a cardi, but inevitably we were sent back to our rooms to try and find something a little more ‘festive’ and ‘nice’ to wear. We don’t do dressing up for holidays very well. There might even be a pact afoot between us and Cousin to have holidays all in our pajamas, with minimal fanciness. Maybe.
We'd still have the same food though. Even a power outage won't stop us from having our traditional Thanksgiving food. (True story!)
Right now, every American foodblogger and their monther is and has been sharing Thanksgiving recipes (click here if you still need some ideas, there are 101), and I wonder how many of them will be used by other people. See, my family has a pretty set menu of culinary demands when it comes to Turkey Day and we rarely deviate from it, and I kind of have the feeling that most Americans are like us. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to try new kinds of Thanksgiving, just not on the actual day. I almost feel like I need a whole week of Thanksgivings just to try all of the foodcoma-inducing recipes that are flooding my Google Reader right now. Dear Mr. Obama, could you please make Thanksgiving last a whole week? Worldwide?
Meanwhile in New Zealand it's all windy and sunny and the flowers are blooming and I just feel like skipping down the street with a basket of freshly-baked goodies under my arm and singing at the top of my lungs. Except I don’t sing, or skip, so it would be more like me just walking down the street with (let’s be honest here) a plastic Farmer’s bag with something bad for you in it, grumbling about having to go to work in an office instead of being outside. Which actually does happen, just about every morning really, because I'm (a) not a morning person, and (b) sitting in an enclosed box all day while the sun is taunting you can really suck. And then there are the people out on the harbour sailing and kayaking and I just wish I had a robot that looked like me to do my job so I could go out and join those people in their boats.
|Boaty people at the Boatshed doing all kind of annoying boaty things in the sunshine. Boaty.|
Geez, it’s like Random Tangent Day in Christina’s head. Are you following all this?
|Please excuse my creepy pink fingers. It's the filter, I swear!|
These spring rolls have a great fresh flavour, which combined with the mint and a hint of the fish sauce, the crunch of the cucumber and peanuts, and squidginess of the wrapper makes for very fun eating. It's also a great way to get people (husbands, children, sailors suffering from scurvy) to eat salad without them realising it! Who can't resist finger food that looks like....spring rolls.
A word of caution, however: these are a bit labour-intensive, so get some other people involved in the assembly bit. And for heaven’s sake, give them some wine while they do it. Unless they’re children, then something highly-sugared should get them through.
|These spring rolls are enjoying the sunshine, but the sweet chilli sauce is being all moody over in the dark.|
- Packet of rice-paper spring roll wrappers (available in Asian supermarkets and specialty shops)
- Vermicilli noodles
- Half a head of cabbage – green or purple, or both if you’re fancy
- One carrot
- Bean sprouts, a big handful
- Cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
- Fish sauce
- Fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Peanuts, chopped
- Sweet chilli sauce for dipping
- Chop up your cabbage into thin slivers and shred the carrot. Boil the vermicilli for a few minutes, just until they're pliable. Drain off the water.
- Chuck the cabbage, carrot, noodles and bean sprouts into a wok or other large vessel on medium heat. Splash (not douse, not drown, but splash) some fish sauce over the veggies, about two quick turns around the pan should do it. Cook the mixture down for a few minutes, then transfer to a bowl.
- Chop up the mint and the peanuts and set out in bowls for your assembly line. Cut cucumber into matchsticks and set out on a plate.
- Grab a bowl big enough to submerge your spring roll wrappers and fill it with hot water, but not too hot that you can't stick your hands in it.
- Spring roll construction: stick the spring roll wrappers about halfway in the hot warm and let it soak for 15-30 seconds, turning the wrapper every 10 seconds or so. The hot water turns the wrapper all soft and pliable. Rub your fingers against the wrapper to help the wrapper soften.
- Lay out flat on a clean plate. Pick up a handful of filling mixture and spread in a line along the top hemisphere of the circular wrapper. (If the wrapper were an America-centric map of the world, you'd be spreading it over the good old USA.)