The hardest part about making spring rolls, in Tennessee, is finding the ingredients. I found rice paper, but I wanted CHOICES. These were made with a small diameter paper. I wanted larger ones so I could jump that learning curve, but not this time! Amazon helps me greatly, but Wowza! I miss having every ethnic grocery store possible within 10 miles. Nevertheless, I pushed forward and made yummy Spring rolls!
The rice paper wasn’t my biggest concern- it was the fish sauce! I do not like peanut sauce, I don’t really LIKE peanuts, so I always do the fish sauce and spice it up with chili paste – the ubiquitous Asian condiment. Friends, the fish sauce for dipping is EASY! Squeeze a few limes, make a simple syrup add fish sauce concentrate and cool it down in the fridge! Boom! I’m going to put this on everything now that I have the power! (“I’m looking at you tofu salad grain bowl!)
I made “no meat” rolls. I would say vegetarian, but the fish sauce is made from FISH, so there’s that. These tasted GREAT! Simple rice paper filled with a variety of rice vermicelli, fresh mint, basil, parsley, cilantro, julienned carrots, cucumber batonettes, fried tofu, avocado, lettuce and red bell pepper. The fish sauce is lime juice, fresh peppers (Thai or Serrano) Japanese rice vinegar, Thai chili sauce, water, and fish sauce concentrate. Salty, sweet, spice deliciousness! Oh so very addicting!
Much like picking berries, I can eat spring rolls faster than I can produce them!
Ah, a Chef’s nightmare- none to share! #sorrynotsorry
Tamales are not easy or fast when they are made “from scratch.” Seriously, are you really going to eat a frozen tamale? Aw heck NAW! These are no pork, mostly vegetarian, some have chicken in them, tamales. All sauces are house made, the chicken was left over from dinner the night before- and it had a lovely happy chicken life they tell me. Friends, I am open to all foods- except beef and lamb and goat and usually pigs. Sigh. It’s complicated. Tamales are complicated and take several steps. But they are worth it.
Tamales are all about the mise.
I honor of this day I want to remind you of my post on butter AND honey! I love “Angel’s Baklava” recipe. It is easy, fun and delicious. It’s a quiet thoughtful recipe, it takes time. But if you take this to any party or offer it as part of your Christmas cookie boxes, expect calls for more- and the recipe.
We are settling in nicely here. The process of tearing up and cleaning up continued through the summer. Packing, moving and unpacking feels endless- but I see the end coming soon. I admit while it is overwhelming at times I am quite happy with everything finding it’s new place here. I have also had some new experiences:
I’ve been gardening this fall, it’s been months since I have purchased a clamshell of baby greens!
The landscape is quite different…
And the kitchen is amazing! I’ve had a couple small gatherings with friends and tried a few new recipes.
There’s so much more to tell you, but for now… there’s bread to make!
I keep telling myself I don’t live “out in the middle of nowhere,” but I really do. It’s well over an hour to the closest Whole Foods Market, and at least 30 minutes to the closest grocery store. My dear friend in Nashville who once lived an hour away from “town” cautioned, “don’t forget the wine, and buy more than you think you need.” These country roads do not allow for a quick “beer run.” She speaks the truth, the only street light within miles of here is the one I had installed by my driveway. This place is dark.
The other side of the silence and the beauty of that darkness is connection with self.
We sold the yoga studio and Houston had become too much (too busy, too built-up, too loud, too dangerous) I just didn’t want to go back there. We considered the Texas Hill Country, but nothing really worked out like it needed to. I was born and had my early childhood in Tennessee, I have dear friends here, so we came here. And it is pretty amazing right now. (winter will be an adventure, I’ve not lived with snow “for real”)
We are not all here yet, but soon we will be. There’s a new kitchen, new local ingredient sources and a new attitude! You’ll see it all here, as I have a blast making it happen in the country.
In a couple weeks I will tell you more. For now, we remodel and bring all the dogs from Texas. I can not wait for George to see the fetch possibilities our new home presents!
And I can not wait to cook! See you soon!