Spring Rolls

springrolls

I have had spring rolls on my list for some time. I had imagined that the process was rather difficult; however, the difficulties were half the fun. By roll ten, the spring rolls begin to take proper form. The recipe causes a sticky situation with a blast of fresh flavors. From crunch to crisp, there is an abundant of reasons to try these spring rolls at the next gathering.

Daikon, mooli, or white radish is a mild-flavored, large, white East Asian radish with a wide variety of culinary uses. Despite often being associated with Japan, it was originally cultivated in continental Asia. In Japanese cuisine, many types of pickles are made with daikon, including takuan and bettarazuke. Daikon is also frequently used grated and mixed into ponzu–a soy sauce and citrus juice condiment. Simmered dishes such as oden are popular. Daikon is very low in food energy. A 100-gram serving contains only 18 Calories, but it provides 27 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Rice paper rolls can be found in the Asian department of your supermarket. Ask for help if you can’t find them; they are essential to the whole process.springrolls2
  2. The carrots, cabbage, cucumber and daikon provide a nice crunch and refreshing taste to the rolls.
  3. Tofu can be used for vegan or vegetarian rolls and chicken can be used for more protein packed rolls.
  4. I nixed the green onion just because I did not have it on hand.
  5. The mint leaves and basil would provide freshness to your palate.
  6. The peanut butter will stay clumping in the dipping sauce no matter how fast or much you whisk.
  7. I made the mistake of microwaving my peanut butter and it made the
    sauce seize.
  8. Make the sauce ahead of time allowing the flavors to combine.
  9. Use coconut aminos for a Paleo or gluten free diet.
  10. Wetting the rice paper is essential. It makes the paper flexible, but be careful because it becomes sticky.
  11. Add an equal amount of each ingredient. I suggest adding more filling than you anticipate because an equal volume of rice paper to filling makes a tasty dish.
  12. Trial and error are the staple way to make a spring roll. My first few rolls were
    rather wonky.
  13. Do not be afraid of stretching the rice paper; it will not break.
  14. Fold the spring rolls burrito style–tucking in the sides to keep the filling from falling out.
  15. These rolls need to be eaten immediately. They will be sticky so keep napkins handy.
  16. I had plenty of rice paper left over to make these spring rolls again and again. Keep them sealed and dry for use later.

Now, a taste or Asian cuisine can be enjoyed at home. These tasty spring rolls provide a new twist on appetizers for friends and family. I love the refreshing crunch and vegetable loaded bites. Enjoy the dipping sauce in full force; enjoy the crisp flavors; enjoy a spring in your step and roll.

Leave a comment with your favorite Asian dishes. Follow my Pinterest. Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Almond Butter

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Everyone has always strayed from fats because society has brainwashed us into thinking they are big, bad and scary.  The truth of the matter is that a balanced diet includes fat; one just needs to balance the amount they eat daily.  Nuts are a great source of protein and fat.  When I want to splurge, I choose to eat a peanut butter, or in this case nut butter, sandwich.

I’ve been dying to make my own nut butters previously, but I had this terrifying thought that it was too hard.  Boy was I completely wrong.  All you need is a food processor and the nuts of your choice.  While most nut butters are made from peanuts and almonds, you can make them with any type of nut.  The essential part of making the nut butters is grinding the nuts until they release their oils creating the creamy texture.  Take note that nut butters tend to have a grimy texture unlike processed peanut butters and may need to be mixed before eating it to reincorporate the oils.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I made half the amount of butter than the recipe; however, making more takes less time, funnily enough, because there is a higher volume of food being processed.  Ergo, you won’t have to stop 20 extra times to scrape the sides.almondbutter
  2. You can make as much or as little nut butter as you choose.  Be sure to keep it in an airtight container.
  3. Add any type of flavors to the nut butter: honey, white chocolate, dark chocolate, salt or chia.
  4. I suggest adding a pinch of salt to the butter or buying salted nuts from a whole grocers, like Sprouts.  Salt enhances flavors when cooking.
  5. Roast the nuts before processing them in a 350-degree oven for no more than ten minutes.
  6. Roasting the nuts brings out a nutty aroma, making your kitchen
    smell delicious.

Ta-Da! You’ve made your own, healthier and personalized, nut butter: simple and easy without those pesky preservatives.  Make as little or as much of the nut butter as you’d like for less than grocery store prices.  Individualize the butters with your favorite flavors to build new creations.

Leave a comment with your favorite nutty flavors.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

peanutbuttergranola2

I have an addiction to peanut butter, and I usually make special treats for my dad when I’m home.  I decided to try my hand at the easiest, microwave, chewy, peanut butter granola bars.  Granola bars are a great way of combining a healthy snack with peanut butter.  These treats are also some of the quickest and yummiest granola bars ever made; they take 5 minute with only 2 minutes of cooking–if you can call it cooking.

Fun fact–peanuts are not in the nut butter family. They are categorized into the legume family. The method of making peanut butter is the same as nut butters. The nuts are ground into a paste like form. Peanuts, being about half oil, are half fat. Peanut oil is about one-half monounsaturated fats and one-third polyunsaturated fats, with the remaining 15 percent saturated fats. Peanut butter provides protein, vitamins B3 and E, magnesium, folate, dietary fiber, resveratrol arginine and high levels of the antioxidant p-coumaric acid. Funny enough, the United States is the leading exporter of peanut butter. Apparently, I’m not the only fanatic of peanut butter.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I would suggest using less Rice Krispies than suggested.  Start out with 1 cup; you can always add more after the fact.
  2. I used natural peanut butter, which has a grainy texture.  You can use any type you’d prefer just keep the ratios in control.
  3. My peanut butter was cinnamon honey flavored; so, I used ½ the honey and vanilla in
    the recipe.
  4. I used light brown sugar because it’s a little healthier, and I had it on hand.
  5. If using a powerful microwave, heat the mixture for 30 seconds at a time to avoid over cooking the mixture.
  6. You can either use aluminum foil–making it easy and fewer cleanups afterwards–or use pam to prevent sticking.  The granola bars work like Rice Krispies treats.
  7. I suggest refrigerating the bars longer because freezing them makes it harder to enjoy them afterwards.

The greatest part about these bars is that they are easy and quick to make.  They take two peanutbuttergranolaminutes cooking and a few minutes for prep.  The hardest part is keeping your paws off of them while they cool and set.

Making your own granola and granola bars allows for a large room of interpretation.  You can add peanuts, walnuts, almonds, raisins or dried fruit.  Use two smaller pans and try your hands at two different bars.  The possibilities are endless.

Leave a comment with your favorite add-ins.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Be sure to check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.