Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Rolling Through Spring

The trouble with introducing food-loving friends to new dishes is that they often beg to enjoy those same meals again. And again. And again.

Not that I really have a problem with that, mind you, because I usually enjoy those exact same dishes and am happy to indulge myself.

Still, when late spring and warmer weather rolls around, I know to expect that the lovely Phoenix will beg for certain items to show up on the menu at my house, and one of her all-time favorites has to be rice paper (or crystal) rolls with spicy peanut sauce.

You could explain this desire of hers as that of a health-conscious vegan wannabe who loves her fresh veggies. You could also explain it as a childlike love of peanut butter and the fun ways it can be used.

Personally, I think (no, I know) that it's because she has an unseemly amount of fun making the darn things.

Lucky for her, I keep a stash of round rice paper wrappers in the cupboard, and I had plenty of beans and asparagus left over from Saturday's trip to the farmers' market. I had no rice noodles, but we found that soba (buckwheat noodles) made a very satisfying substitution.

By the time she and Mr. Nice Guy made it to my house after work, I had the vegetables prepped, the noodles cooked, the peanut sauce made, and everything laid out so that we could start in right away.

These rolls are so much fun to make because you have to handle the thin wet wrapper very carefully while you add all sorts of fun things to the filling. Along with the beans and asparagus, we also added fresh mint and cilantro, and Phoenix decided to try some of the sauce inside the roll (as well as for dipping later).

I'd definitely say that aside from the eating, this is the part that Phoenix enjoys the most, and she's usually happy to roll not only her own, but Mr. Nice Guy's, too.

As for me, I may not wrap mine perfectly either, but I'm pretty happy with the results:

Crisp steamed vegetables, tender noodles, rich and spicy sauce... a refreshingly perfect combination for an almost-summer evening meal.

You could definitely say we're on a roll here.


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