Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Roll Me Up Shrimp Spring Rolls

I just returned home from a couple days of R&R at the beach. (Imagine sea gull and surf sounds.) I feasted on some succulent seafood while I was there. A typical breakfast for me at home is on the small side ... either some fruit, or some cereal, or my favorite ... eggs. Caution was thrown to the wind on this trip as I dined on ... ahem, prepare yourselves ... dungeness crab cakes benedict with creole hollandaise sauce for breakfast. Then there was the spiced calamari plate at dinner. As if that were not enough, I had a bite of my girlfriend's fresh oyster gratin ... and went into a cream coma. Good food, great company, wonderful accommodations, and relaxing atmosphere. It was all gouda, folks.

I came home still craving seafood, but wanting something lighter. Thumbing through a cookbook, I saw a photo of Vietnamese Spring Rolls with peanut sauce and knew that I had found a way to satisfy my inner beast.

I love Spring Rolls! Since I had to go to the store anyway, it was easy to pick up the ingredients required for these bountiful bundles. You can put just about whatever you want in them; I don't know how authentic this version is, but it was really good and hubby man literally snatched it off of this plate the moment the camera shutter clicked. These little rolls are delightfully refreshing on a hot day because they are served cold. Personally, I think they make a nice light lunch or an appetizer at dinner. And roll me up baby, these are gluten free, too!


Rice Paper Wrappers
Shelled Cooked Shrimp - Cocktail Dipping Size - Sliced in half long length size
Cooked, Sliced Pork - (I used a sliced pork chop) Optional
Bean Sprouts
Cooked Rice Vermicelli Noodles
Carrots - sliced in super thin matchsticks
Cucumber - sliced in super thin matchsticks
Lettuce - your favorite kind
Basil Leaves
Cilantro Leaves
Large shallow dish with warm water - needs to be large enough to hold the Rice Paper Wrappers.

  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce - I used tamari wheat free sauce
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chile-garlic paste - this gives it a bit of heat, not too much
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup hot water
1. Mix the sauce ingredients together, adding more water if it's too thick. Set aside.

2. Take one rice paper and submerge it in the water for about 20-30 seconds, or until it has softened. Remove from the water and set on your work station.

3. Just as you would fill a burrito, layer your other ingredients. Start with three shrimp halves, cut side up, in the middle of the wrapper. On top of the shrimp, layer the other ingredients: bean sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, basil, cilantro, lettuce, and noodles. Then just as with a burrito, fold the sides over, and then tightly but gently roll up the wrapper. Place on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Serve at once, shrimp side up, with the peanut sauce. They are crunchy and chewy, and bursting with flavor. I like to cut them in half so the pretty layers can be seen. Don't these look pretty?

If you are making them in advance, wrap each roll in plastic wrap or else it will get gummy and disintegrate. The rolls should be nice and tight ... which can be kind of tricky. The wrappers are very delicate and can tear easily. Don't be deterred by that; these are sooo tasty. Don't want the meat? Prepare yourself a strictly vegetarian version. If you want it spicier, you could add some hot chilies to either the rolls or the sauce or both! Some people like to put mint in them, but I don't like mint in my food. Makes me feel like I'm eating toothpaste. Blech. These roll, though, are the opposite of blech. Give everyone their own peanut sauce bowl ... double dipping is sooooo allowed with these babies. That peanut sauce rocks!

Here's where I was the past couple of days. If you get out a magnifying glass, you can see Yaquina Head Light House in the distance. I love this photo with the wee little people in it because it gives you a truer sense of glorious, gorgeous mother nature. The tide has just gone out in this early morning photo (taken from my balcony -- oh yeah, it was an awesome way to greet the day.) Do you like to get away? Do you have a favorite get away location?

Prior to my roll of motherhood, I enjoyed a fast paced career where I met two of my dearest friends ever. These are amazing, strong, inspiring women who encourage me to be my best, and still love me when I falter. Over the past 19 years, we've been together for sickness and health, marriages and divorces, births and deaths, and our commitment to friendship remains steadfast. Oh, we don't talk everyday nor do we see each other every week, but no matter how much time passes in between our get togethers, it's always as if no time has passed at all. Prior to my having children, we used to go away for a "girls wild weekend" every year. (Wild being a relative term here ... but it doesn't sound as exciting to say "Girls Getting Away From It All So They Can Sleep In", so we add the word wild for flavor!) Once kids came on the scene, though, the weekends came to a halt. We revived our tradition last year, and were committed to making it happen again this year. We decided to include the kids this year, and boy oh boy did we have fun. Our "wild weekends" have taken on a new flavor and as usual, the time went by way too fast. Better to leave wanting more, than leave thankful it was finally over!

Here's a photo of my littlest beachcomber. (Marjie: Notice her necklaces?) The Oregon coast is unlike other coastlines. First, the ENTIRE coast line is public access. You won't run into fences keeping you out and mother nature in. The beautiful Pacific Ocean remains COLD all year, so the beaches are not swimming magnets like Florida or California. Certainly there are brave souls who swim, and my kids do enjoy getting soaked, but I'll only stick in a toe. Maybe. Mostly, the beach is a place to hang out and relax. Build sandcastles. Dig tunnels. Race the tide. Nap. The kids partake in lots of kite flying, playing in the sand, and kicking back.

The farther south you go in Oregon, the warmer the water becomes, but we were more north and true to form, it was cool yet comfortable. The morning fog lifted to brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the upper 60's. Don't be fooled by the cool temperatures, though. Sunscreen is a must unless you want a lobster colored nose.

Here's a pic of my beach beauties playing together. I never get tired of seeing them together. I took only my girls with me, and they had fun getting to know the other kids. We were lulled to sleep by the sounds of the surf and the gentle breezes swirling in off the water.

In our absence, Hubby man and son decided to have a "stay-cation" at home where they went bowling, played arcade games, went to the movies, and rented videos. We try hard to spend 1:1 time with each child, but it's tough. :-( We tend to do a lot as a family which is great. Still, 1:1 time is nice. Most 1:1 time comes when we have errands to run, and we grab one kid to go. Or at bedtime. Although I missed my men folk, it was great to spend time with the girls. How do you spend 1:1 time with your kids?


A special thank you goes out to Jan and Ohio Mom for giving me this award. Be sure to check out their websites. I really enjoy reading Jan's Range Warfare website. In addition to her witty writing, great posts, and yummy food, she's also an author. Ohio Mom's site is also fun to visit. She's got some great recipes, and it's fun to read her exchanges with her grown daughter.

The rules for receiving the award are as follows:
  • Post the logo on your blog.
  • Add a link to the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 5 other people for this award and add links to their blogs.
  • Leave a message for the people you've nominated
There are soooo many excellent blogs, many of whom have already received this award. It would be easier to nominate 10 blogs! 20 blogs! I'll have to check to see who's already rec'd this and follow up in another post. Thanks again, Jan and Ohio Mom, for your kindness.


noble pig said...

My kids always play in the colder Oregon Coast waters in the North...they love it. These are great pics and the food...I love cream comas.

I like to sit with each child and just talk anywhere...that's when they tell me all the things in their sweet minds.

Manggy said...

Hmm, I don't know how I would spend 1:1 time with my kid-- I hope he/she likes to cook, lol :) Look at your little sunglassed celebrity over there! So cute!

I totally hear ya about the vastness of nature. Staring into infinity like that (especially if you hear the sound of the sea booming against your ears, each crashing sound of each wave for the next thousand miles additive and amplified) just fills me with both awe and fear. You just realize how small you are..

.. Ahem. Anyway, peanut sauce and seafood is always a winning combination in my book. The rolls are beautiful indeed, Paula!


an absolutely brilliant post - seems you and i blog about food and how it relates to our life - i'm going to look up OREGON on google maps - that beach looks terrific!

Anonymous said...

I love spring rolls, thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe. It is hard to find 1 on 1 time with each child. We have 2 boys (teenagers) who are as different as night and day. It's nice that you were able to have a girl's weekend with your girls and your son got some quality time with his Dad. :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Paula, Did I mention I lived in Oregon for 2 years, many years ago.
I'm totally in awe of the coast, and I miss it so much! Thank you for your photos! Oh, and your spring rolls, I've always wanted to try making them with shrimp, thanks for the recipe, you make it sound easy.

nottryingforaboy said...

You will not believe it but I was just thinking the other day of trying to make spring rolls. I'm so going to make these soon.

Aggie said...

Wow, what a beautiful beautiful setting...absolutely gorgeous and serene. I love the pic of your girls playing, very sweet. Glad you enjoyed yourself (how could you not at a place like that!).

Your spring rolls look delish!

OhioMom said...

Those spring rolls look awesome! And the pics of the Oregon coast are gorgeous.

Marjie said...

It looks like you "Wild Girls" had a great weekend! I see your baby decked out in her finery; she's starting out with the right attitude!

Your spring rolls look great. Now, come on over and make about 150 for my crowd *sigh* That's why we don't have adorable little delicacies too often....

Pam said...

I love the Oregon Coast - we live in Portland and constantly head to the ocean for play time. The shrimp rolls look amazing and I love peanut sauce! Nice job Paula.

Gloria said...

What lovely look this Paula, I love them and lovelies pictures too. xxGloria

Cheryl said...

Looks like a great trip and I have been to that lighthouse many times! Those spring rolls are one of my favorite things!

Deborah said...

I've never been to the Oregon coast, but it's on my list of places I'd like to visit!

I've never made spring rolls before, but they would be perfect for the summer. And now I'm craving some!

Linda said...

Now I really want to take that drive down the Oregon coast! When I go to Calgary I love to stop for lunch in this little Vietnamese restaurant for spring rolls. Rice wraps are now on my list, it's been to long since I've had them.

Grace said...

oh, the beach sounds wonderful right about now. i guess i'll settle for something, anything smothered in that sauce--it's amazing! :)

Jeena said...

I love these wrapped up litle beauties! What a great way to finish off a great day at the beach. I love the sea too I think it is beautiful and could sit listening and watching it for hours. :-)

p.s. regarding my kebabs, try using unsweetened desicated coconut it should be fine. :-)

Dawn said...

I love love love the first pic. You are a girl after my own heart since you have really dipped that roll right in the peanut butter sauce. I hate when people only use a tiny bit. I smother it with sauce. YUM! I must eat these type of rolls at least 2x a month. I love them. You did a really good job here.

Lina said...

Oh my~ that looks so fresh and healthy. I love your photos at the beach!

Jan said...

What a lovely post, Paula. I did so enjoy reading about your vacation and seeing your spectacular photos.

I used to live right by the beach in California, and the ocean is the one thing I truly miss. Now I am just about as far away from it as I can be.

Thank you also for a great recipe, those shrimp rolls look incredible. I'm not surprised your hubby couldn't wait to snatch them off the plate. :-)

Nita said...

Paula, your recipes are the best! I'm the only seafood lover here, so shrimp spring roll are not on my menu very much.

My cousins live in Jewell, and they are fishermen. So a trip to see them, means crabbing, clamming or fishing at Astoria or Seaside.

Great pictures!

Paula said...

Hi Everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Noble Pig: My kids are the same way. It's way too cold for me though! How great that your kids like to sit and chat with you!

Manggy: Your sentiments are lovely and most accurate! I do enjoy peanut sauce on all kids of seafood; and I enjoy your comments! You always make me smile!

Mediterranean Kiwi: This beach is in Newport, Oregon. It's sooo relaxing there.

Perennial Gardener: We are aproaching those teenage years! Gulp!

Proud Italian Cook: I didn't know you were once an Oregonian! I'm from NW Indiana and my sister lives in your neck of the woods! Small world!

Not Trying For A Boy: I Just love your blog title! Le tme know if you make the rolls! I love seeing different versions of these.

Aggie: The Oregon Coast is a relaxing place to visit! Next time, I want to be eating these rollsa t the beach!

Ohio Mom: The rolls were great. I agree, the Oregon Coast is beautiful!

Marjie: I knew you'd appreciate her hewels. I took her with me to our cats' vet appointment today, and she was all decked out again including a bracelet! Perhaps you could set up a spring roll bar like your taco bar, and everyone rolls their own! Hmmm ... could get a tad messy, although Thor might enjoy the fallout!

Pam: I hope to get back there in the Fall so the kids can see the whale migration. I was so excited when I saw them for the first time!

Gloria: Thanks! They were good!

Cheryl: Small world! I really like this section of beach -- very quiet and as you can see -- not crowded like Seaside or Cannon Beach can get during the summer.

Deborah: The coast is wonderful! The spring rolls are definitely crave worthy!

Linda: Come for a visit! You could take some awesome photos! It's such a great place to vacation. How neat that you have a favorite place to get these. I love those wonderful Vietnamese rice noodle salads, too.

Grace: The sauce is good -- I love it on chix and pork, too.

Jeena: I love falling asleep to the sound of the ocean! Thanks for the coconut info. Your kebabs sound so good!

Dawn: The sauce makes the rolls so yummy! These rolls are sauce-smother worthy! Thanks!

Lina: They are very light and refreshing. Thanks!

Jan: The California coast is beautiful! I bet you do miss it, especially on hot summer days!

Nita: Thanks! Everytime I see a road sign for Jewell, I always think about that Elk Farm (refuge?) that is there. Lucky you to have relatives who do the crab/clam thing. Loooove crab meat!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Your shrimp springs rolls look like they are to die for. I have a recipe for shrimp in lettuce wrpas that my husband couldn't get enough of. I enjoyed reading about your vacation and your friends.

Trina said...

I love these Vietnamese spring rolls! :D We have something very, very similar here in the Philippines, but the Vietnamese version have a tangier sauce and a much thinner wrapper.

Firefly Nights said...

Your friendships sound wonderful and the coastline you show is beautiful. I know you all had a wonderful time.

Paula said...

Katherine: Hey, those lettuce wraps sound great! Would love a recipe (hint, hint!) :-)

Trina: Hi! I was so happy to see your name pop up here! These rolls were tasty, and I'd love to try the Philippine variety! Hope homeschooling is going well; we start later this month. Yikes!

Firefly Nights: Thanks for visiting. I love your little doggie photo ... so cute!

Kevin said...

Fresh shrimp spring rolls with peanut butter dipping sauce is that best!

QGIRL said...

Those spring rolls (goi cuon) are true comfort food for me. Yours look delicious!
I definitely have the Oregon coast on my list of places to visit one day. So beautiful in your photos.
Also, I think your daughter is an angel for donating her hair for a good cause. My sister has done that a couple of times too. My hair grows at a snails pace and is too coarse and wirey, I wouldn't wish it on anyone!
I really enjoy your blog!