Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Serving Up Spring Rolls

How you stuff’em and dip ‘em

There’s something about biting into one of these that rewards our tastebuds with yum yum.  You can make these savory and sweet.   They also make for great finger food, too.  If you prefer to go sweet and serve dessert rolls, roll some banana or mango slivers inside the light wraps.  Dip the pieces of fruit in some powdered sugar or brown sugar before rolling them inside to enhance the fruit’s natural sweetness.  Meanwhile, remember that you can always switch out the ground pork with chicken, beef, seafood, or crab meat.  Another simple filling can be made using blanched and julienned veggies, such as carrots and cabbage, which are finely cut lengthwise.  You can use a “stacking method” with julienned ingredients while rolling your spring rolls.  Lastly, spring rolls can be dipped in any sauce that compliments the stuffing’s ingredients.         

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Spring Rolls

Try’em throughout Asia

These fried favorites originate from China as part of the traditional Dim Sum roster of “little dishes.”  So spring rolls have a lengthy history.  Look for variant renditions throughout Asia and Southeast Asia.  Historically, this food item is a staple during China’s annual Spring Festival, which is how they garnered their name.  The main components include a thin wrap, usually made from rice flour, that’s stuffed with meat or seafood.  Then the stuffed rolls are traditionally deep fried or pan-fried to a golden-brown crisp.  The weight of the wrap also varies from one region to another.  The Mixed Stew likes to serve these with a sweet chili dipping sauce.    

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Pork Spring Rolls

Crispy Asian Tidbits

Stuffing and then rolling these requires a delicate hand and some patience.  Yes, we encourage you to try making these.  Plus the frying part is always fun.

What you will need:

1 cutting board
1 large mixing bowl
1 metal pair of tongs
1 small bowl, for egg wash
1 wooden spoon
1 large fry pan
1 metal baking pan w/ wire rack
1 metal baking sheet
1 small spoon
Wax paper
1 ½ - 2 lbs ground pork
3 to 4 medium-sized carrots, diced small
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 ½ cups cooking oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped small
1 large pepper, seeded and finely chopped (We used a poblano.)
1 (19 oz.) can bamboo shoots, finely chopped
1 (15. Oz) can quail eggs, minced
1 (8 oz.) pack spring roll pastry (50 sheets), frozen
1 egg, beaten
Dash of soy sauce to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Meat filling

Heat pan at medium-high heat.  Add canola oil, onion, and garlic.  Sautee until onion turn translucent.  Pour in ground pork and let meat brown.   Crumble with wooden spoon.  Toss well.  Pour in carrots, bamboo shoots, pepper, and quail egg.  Add soy sauce and stir well.  Let ingredients cook for another 10 minutes until veggies are tender.  Remove pan from stove.  Ingredients must reach room temperature before stuffing pastry wraps.

Stuffing spring rolls

Move pastry sheets from freezer to fridge and allow them to defrost overnight for prep the next day.  Layout cutting board and cover with wax paper.  Have meat filling on hand with small spoon.  Place one leaf of pastry wrap on paper.  Carefully stuff and roll each wrap with 1 to 2 spoons of meat filling.  Slather on some egg wash while rolling to seal the spring roll.  Repeat process until you run out of meat stuffing.  The finished rolls should look like logs that can be stacked and lined up with each other.  You may choose to freeze spring rolls at this point to fry later.

Frying spring rolls

Set fry pan over medium-high heat.  Pour in cooking oil.  Let oil heat up to 350 degrees.  Gently place and drop spring rolls into pan.  Fry 5 to 8 rolls at a time depending on the size of the rolls for 8 minutes until crispy.  Rolls should turn a golden-brown color.  Pull out rolls and set on wire rack over baking pan.  Let them for at least 5 minutes before serving.                 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday’s Side Dish: Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom Snack Size Vanilla Ice Cream Cones

Healthy Cream Cones in a Pinch

They’ve got everything their larger counterparts have and then some in regards to watching waistlines.  Blue Bunny brand name Sweet Freedom Snack Size Vanilla Ice Cream Cones come made with low-fat vanilla ice cream.  Blue Bunny also neglects to add sugar but their recipe uses Splenda instead.  You’’ll bite into cream cones, which are covered in a chocolate dip and studded with peanuts.  Each box contains 6 cones that are 110 calories each.  So, if you need the taste but not the caloric count then we recommend this product.  Expect to pay $4.99 and up so shop around for the best price.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Alternative Ingredients for Veggie Potato Salad

Ease off on the carbs while spicing it up

Remember that you can use sweet potato or – better yet—cauliflower instead of regular starch-ridden potatoes to decrease the calorie content in each serving of this salad.  Meanwhile, you can add raisins or chopped cranberries to add some tangy sweetness.  Substitute the light mayonnaise with non-fat ranch dressing or non-fat blue cheese dressing for more robust flavor.  Lastly, we recommend adding non-traditional ingredients, such as chopped kimchi, curry powder, or even some wasabi. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Veggie Potato Salad

A potato salad w/ veggie nutrition

This potato salad is a neat way to insert a hefty serving of fresh veggies into your kids’ meals.  We also like the light mayo option, which ensures less fat calories per mouthful.  The creamy light mayonnaise makes for a rich and smooth dressing for this yummy salad of tubers.  This dish may also be thought of as a cross between a broccoli salad and potato salad.  The carrots provide a crunchy bite that’s loaded with vitamin A.    

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Veggie Loaded Potato Salad

Carrots and Broccoli round it out

There’s more color to this potato salad that’s a lighter spin on our original recipe.

What you will need:

1 large bowl w/ lid
1 large wooden spoon
1 large mixing bowl
4 or 5 medium to large potatoes, boiled, peeled, and chopped
3 carrots, diced small
4 hard-boiled eggs, crumbled
2 broccoli crowns, diced small
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Salt to taste
Pinch of black pepper

Preparations and Directions:

Combine potatoes, broccoli, carrots, eggs, mayo, sour cream, pepper, garlic powder, and salt in mixing bowl.  Toss well.  Pour salad into bowl.  Cover with lid.  Place salad in fridge for at least 3 hours.  Serve chilled.