A lot has happened since Hanukkah. My official end-date for my full-time nanny gig came and went, I made bourbon-soaked cherries for my current Old Fashioned obsession, JaVale McGee hit his first career three-pointer and subsequently simulated soup-making on the Nugget’s home court. (A man after my own heart.)
I realize this is a #bloglate, but it’s worth sharing. Also, I promised a friend of mine that I would blog this recipe after bragging about its deliciousness on Facebook. However late, I am a woman of my word.
A few days before Christmas I made these amazing Roasted Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls with Sriracha Peanut Dipping Sauce and Carrot-Ginger Soup. Door-to-Door Organics is always delivering me these enormous bags of carrots, which I love for salad dressings and soups, especially in the winter months when I will take all the Vitamin C I can get. I love Whole Foods’ Spicy Carrot Soup, and was inspired to recreate it using a recipe from their Website. Honestly, it wasn’t nearly as good as the soup they have in the store, but it was warm and gingery and complemented the cool but spicy spring rolls.
The thing I love about peanut sauce is that you can be so creative and innovative. (Read: sometimes I don’t have all the ingredients for a recipe so I just kind of wing it.) I completely revamped the peanut sauce associated with the spring roll recipe, because the original was oh so blah. I added more Sriracha, some soy sauce (because screw your cholesterol), and some rice vinegar. But look, get sexy with it! Add some chili paste, some crushed red pepper, some garlic salt, whatever tastes good! I guarantee you, it’s very difficult to really mess up a peanut butter-based sauce. You could put cat food in it, and it would still be damn delicious.
Rice paper is kind of funny to work with. You have to soak it for just the right amount of time to get it to a good, workable consistency (not too dry that it won’t fold properly, not so wet that it will tear while folding). I found that if you soak it for just a second shorter than you might think is appropriate, it continues to absorb the water once you have it on your work surface and ends up folding and rolling beautifully.
Both recipes yielded plenty of food, giving us leftovers to snack on until the great binge fest known as Christmas arrived. I loved that both dishes were light and healthy, and kept in the fridge just fine for several days.
(adapted from Whole Foods, serves 4)
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1 pound carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Heat 1/2 cup broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in ginger, carrots, potato and remaining broth and heat to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. In batches, carefully puree in a blender. (Here’s a tip I wish someone told me years ago, before giving myself third-degree burns from boiling hot blender explosions: only fill the blender half-way, and take the round plastic center out of the lid and cover it with a folded kitchen towel. The heat combined with lack of air intake can cause literal blender explosions – very messy and very painful!) Add water or broth if needed to thin to desired consistency. Reheat soup if necessary. Stir in lemon juice and garnish with chives.
Roasted Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls with Sriracha-Peanut Dipping Sauce
(adapted from Nature Box, serves 4)
- 12 (16-cm) rice paper wrappers
- baby spinach or mixed greens (I used the latter)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1 pound cooked shrimp, sliced in half lengthwise
- several sprigs of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 TBSP hoisin
- 4-5 tsp Sriracha
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1-2 tsp soy sauce
- To make the dipping sauce, whisk together peanut butter, water, hoisin and Sriracha in a small bowl; set aside.
- Working one at a time, wet rice paper for 10 seconds and transfer to a work surface; place spinach or lettuce in the center of each wrapper and top with 2 tablespoons quinoa, 3 slices of cucumber and carrot sticks each, sprinkle of cilantro and 3 shrimp halves, cut sides down.
- Bring the bottom edge of the wrap tightly over the filling and then folding in the sides, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the sheet is reached, being careful not to tear the rice paper. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
- Serve immediately with spicy peanut sauce.