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Summer Rolls with Tofu

September 22, 2009

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After Saturday’s baked brie, nectarine galette and homemade hot pockets I felt like I needed to incorporate something healthy into my diet.  Unfortunately I am unable to subsist on cheese and dessert alone without undesirable consequences.  It’s a sad, but true, fact. 

[Side note: You will, regrettably, not be seeing a post on the fantastic homemade hot pockets because I was too busy assembling the hot pockets and dealing with/dismantling an over-active fire alarm to take pictures.  However, Nate loved the hot pockets, as in best-thing-you-ever-made loved them, so we’ll be making them again and perhaps then I’ll be able to write about it]

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These summer rolls looked like fun and I’m game for just about anything involving tofu.  Plus, look at all that green stuff!  Yay for vitamins that aren’t in pill form!

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The recipe called for tofu, but you could probably use shrimp if tofu’s not your thing.  I “pickled” the carrots, cucumber and jalapeno before assembling everything, and it gave the rolls some extra flavor.

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When life gives you limes (and mint), make mojitos!  It makes the process a lot more fun.

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It took me probably three spring rolls before I finally stopped forgetting to add ingredients.  First I forgot to add the noodles, then I forgot to add the herbs, and then I forgot the bean sprouts.  After each one I would yell “Crap, I forgot the (insert ingredient here)!” and Nate would blame it on the mojito.  Eventually I got an assembly system figured out and the last four or so contained all prescribed ingredients.

The dipping sauce came together really easily and it complemented the spring rolls nicely.  This was a light end-of-summer lunch that I’ll probably be repeating in the near future, as I have lots of bean sprouts, noodles and rice wrappers left over.

Have you voted in the brownie poll yet?  I didn’t think so!  I’m going to make the brownies this weekend, so Friday’s your last day.  My poll is over there, on the right, by the categories and such.  Do your part to shape the content of Just Eat It!  VOTE!  I’m begging you.  Please?

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Summer Rolls with Tofu and Sweet-and-Savory Dipping Sauce

(Adapted from Gourmet, May 2009)

  • 2 ounces dried bean thread noodles (cellophane noodles)  (I couldn’t find these in the grocery store, so I used rice vermicelli, which worked nicely)
  • 1 small carrot, cut into thin matchsticks (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 Kirby cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into thin matchsticks (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 small fresh jalapeño, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned) (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon fresh lime juice, divided
  • 16 rice-paper rounds (also called galettes de riz; about 8 inches in diameter) plus additional in case some tear
  • 4 romaine leaves, each torn into 4 pieces
  • 10 ounces packaged baked tofu, cut into 3- by 1/3-inch sticks (I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to buybaked tofu, or if they wanted me to bake my own tofu. Instead I just pan-fried my tofu until it was crispy)
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup each of torn basil, mint, and cilantro leaves (11/2 cups total)
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons water

Soak noodles in a medium bowl of boiling-hot water 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blanch carrot in boiling water until softened, about 45 seconds. Drain. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking, then transfer to a small bowl along with cucumber, jalapeño, vinegar, sugar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let stand 5 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons liquid and drain pickled vegetables.

Drain noodles and rinse under cold water, then drain and pat dry. Toss noodles with remaining 3/4 teaspoon lime juice and snip with kitchen shears 5 or 6 times.

Fill a shallow pan or pie plate with warm water. Soak 2 rice-paper rounds until they begin to soften, about 30 seconds, then let excess water drip off and stack soaked rounds on a work surface so that they overlap by all but 1 inch on either side. Put 2 pieces of romaine on bottom third of round. Top with one eighth of noodles (about 2 tablespoons), tofu (4 sticks), bean sprouts (about 2 tablespoons), herbs (3 tablespoons), and pickled vegetables (3 tablespoons). Roll up tightly around filling, folding in sides. Make 7 more rolls in same manner.

Stir together hoisin sauce, peanut butter, water, and reserved 2 tablespoons pickling liquid. Serve rolls with dipping sauce.

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