Monday, July 30, 2012

Vietnamese Style Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce

I had a craving for these Summer Rolls the other day. I don’t know why, I have only eaten them like twice before but I couldn’t stand it, I had to make them, stat!

I found about a million recipes, so I took what I liked about each of them and put them together.

The peanut sauce is by far the best one I have ever made; I think it will be my go to from now on.

You can vary the veggies according to what you like.

I did struggle a little with the rice wrappers; I just need more practice, after the first couple I got the hang of it.

What you need,

For the peanut sauce:
¾ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup warm water
3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
4 ½ tsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 ¼ tsp. chili garlic sauce or siracha
1 medium garlic cloves, mashed into a paste
½ tsp. sesame oil, I like the toasted one best

For the rolls:
12 small shrimp, I bought pre-cooked ones but you could totally cook your own.
4 oz. dried rice noodles
6-12 rice wrappers
2 green onions, sliced
1 English cucumber, julienned
2 carrots, julienned
Bibb lettuce leaves
Fresh basil leaves

To make the peanut sauce, whisk together all the ingredients until well combined; if you need to thin it out a bit more just use a little more water.

For the rolls, I found it best to get all your veggies and shrimp prepped before you start.

I cut my shrimp in half lengthwise.

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions and set aside with your other filling ingredients.

Fill a shallow pie plate with warm tap water and soak 1 rice wrapper at a time. Once it is soft and pliable, 30 seconds or so, carefully transfer it to a plate, be careful not to fold it on itself, it will stick, bad!

Place the 3 or 4 shrimp halves along the bottom of the rice wrapper about ¼ of the way up the circle.

Layer on some of the rice noodles, the cucumber, carrot, green onion, basil leaves and lettuce.

Carefully fold up the bottom of the rice wrapper over the filling, fold in the sides and gently and as tightly as you can roll the wrapper up.

The back of the rice wrapper package I used had a really good step by step rolling guide on it.

Continue to roll them until you are out of ingredients, as you roll them keep them on a damp plate.

It is best to serve them right away. The rice wrapper gets a bit dried out and sticky of you try to keep them in the fridge.

I made about 6 rolls and had left over filling ingredients so you could probably make 10 or 12 with this recipe.

Dip them in the peanut sauce and enjoy.

They are so light, crisp and refreshing, they totally satisfied my craving.

I just need to work on my rolling technique. Now that I have extra wrappers maybe I will try my hand at spring rolls!


Sunday, July 29, 2012


I can’t believe that I have never made Snickerdoodle cookies before. I don’t know how that is even possible… oh well, now that I have I know I will be doing it often. They are soooo good.

I love that they are tender and chewy inside and super crisp on the outside.
They have a bit of a tangy flavor from the cream of tartar but the cinnamon sugar balances it out perfectly. 

I can see these going on the Christmas cookie list; they just taste like the holidays.

What you need,

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats; put them in the freezer to chill.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

In a larger bowl cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in the eggs 1 at a time and beat well after each one. Stir in the vanilla.

Gradually stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture on low speed until the flour is all blended in.

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small bowl combine the 3 tablespoons of sugar and the 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, stir to blend.

Scoop 1 inch balls on dough and roll them gently into the cinnamon sugar. Place them on the chilled pans and bake for 10 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Be sure to chill your pans and the dough in between batches.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week, not like they will last that long!

I loved these cookies, so did my in house taste tester, anything with cinnamon is a thumbs up for him!

If you are a freak like me and have never made Snickerdoodles, get on it!! You are missing out.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Favourite Things Friday Vol 32

Check out this crazy thing!

What is it you ask?

A herb chopper, cool hey.

It is made by Joseph Joseph. Their site has so many cool kitchen gadgets, that are not only functional but super funky!

My best friend Brenda gave it to my for my Birthday back in June. She sent it all the way from the UK! I have seen them here in Vancouver too.

It is slick, the blades are really sharp, it chops herbs and nuts like a dream! Plus it is easy to clean.

I love it and I use it almost everyday.
I am currently obsessing over these and these. I am so putting them on my Christmas list!

Hope you all have a sunny weekend!



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chicken Fried Rice

My dad used to make fried rice for us when we kids. Usually he made it to use up left over roasted chicken or turkey or even ham, which means we often had it after a major holiday, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.

I love it, so simple but super flavourful, not to mention a great way to use up leftovers.

What you need,

3 cups cooked rice
2 cups cooked chicken, diced (turkey or ham is tasty too!)
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1 can water chestnuts (optional, but I love the crunchy texture!)
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ cup soy sauce

In a large sauté pan heat the sesame and vegetable oil over medium high heat. Saute the onion, carrot, peas and garlic for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften.
Make a space in the centre and cook the eggs, scrambling them as they cook. Mix the eggs into the veggies. Add in the rice, chicken and water chestnuts. Stir in the soy sauce and cook to heat through, about 5 minutes.

There you have it people, an incredibly tasty dinner in record time.
I like to cook the rice the day before and keep it in the fridge, that way this meal comes together in 15 minutes.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

I bought a huge basket of fresh local blueberries at the farmer’s market the other day. I ate a ton of them but I had some left so I thought I would pull out the old ice cream maker and whip up some Blueberry Frozen Yogurt.

It was super easy and I had everything I needed in my fridge. 

The final product is wonderful, so cool and refreshing and just bursting with fresh blueberry flavor!

What you need,

1 ½ cups Greek yogurt
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 tsp. Amaretto or Kirsch
2 tsp. lemon juice

In a blender combine the yogurt, sugar and blueberries, puree until smooth.

Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.

Stir in the lemon juice and Amaretto.

Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

It is just that easy!

You could use any fruit here, peaches or strawberries would be so good!
I love summer!