Summer time summer rolls

Sometimes, in the summer, it’s too damn hot to turn the oven on.
That never happens in Denmark (where I arrive tomorrow, but hi from Amsterdam in the meantime), but in the states it is certainly true a few weeks of the year. My solution to this is summer rolls. They are typically found at Vietnamese joints, but can be switched up a bit to become almost any kind of cuisine. I don’t recommend Italian summer rolls though. Anyway, they’re easy! …Unlike most things about me.

20130803-041217.jpgIs this appetizing at all?

A bunch of fresh veggies, some defrosted protein, roll wrappers, and a plate of water is basically all you need for summer rolls. It’s easiest if you first prep your innards.

Vegetarian-wise, marinated tofu, mango, avocado, carrots, edamame, peppers, cucumber, etc are all great inside a summer roll. Just make sure you cut your thangs with more length. Think carrot “sticks.” A lot of places also use vermicelli, but I think that’s some bullshit filler stuff. Don’t get me wrong; I love noodles. This is just a scenario when noodles are boring.

You might also want raw leafy items to go inside too. Lettuce, spinach, kale, basil, and mint are my favorites. But get creative.. I dare you to. Mostly because I can’t think of anything better.

If you’re going to add meat, you want to defrost and/or cook in advance so it’s cooled off by the time you make your rollers. Chicken, fish, beef, whatever. It all works fine. Just make sure it is edible. Season, if you please, but you could always make up for this with a good sauce or two.

Oh yeah, sauce? Yeah, about that. That stuff is good. For ease, you can use anything pre packaged that tastes good with Asian food. I like trader joe’s sweet chili sauce, teriyaki, and this amazing BBQ sauce:

20130803-041308.jpgThis sauce is my jam and I’m completely addicted to it.

If you’re going to make your own sauce, try a combo of soy sauce, sesame oil, peanuts, and brown sugar. I stick all that stuff (plus sriracha) into my magic bullet and BAM! Delicious sauce.

Then, you create your assembly line and put your friends to work.


Start off with the water and the wrappers, then the innards, finishing up with sauces. Give your friends instructions. My favorite line is “soak your wrapper in the water until it has the consistency of a used condom.” People will still want to eat them after you say this. That might be a lie. Add stuff in a rectangular shape to the middle. Then roll. It helps if you have ever rolled up a burrito before, because that’s how you’re going to show your friends how to roll up this summer roll. Dip into sauce (or put in before rolling) and enjoy.

These particular summer rolls were awesome. Who am I kidding? They’re always awesome. We used boiled lobster, defrosted shrimp, blackened seared ahi, avocado, lettuce, carrot sticks, and mango that was immediately deemed past peak ripeness/garbage. I offered a BBQ and a satay sauce for dipping.

Folks tend to like this because its easily adapted to people’s tastes. You hate avocado? Don’t add any. You only want lettuce inside? That’s fine, weirdo. You want to make a meat-lovers roll? UH, good luck with that. It’s quickly prepped and people serve themselves. Can it get any easier?! I will answer my own rhetorical question. Yes, it can. You can order it from a restaurant. But you’ll mostly get vermicelli noodles and not enough the good stuff. The key is customization.

On a completely unrelated note, I am flying to Amsterdam today. I will be traipsing around Europe for an indefinite amount of time. I have some posts scheduled to get me through getting settled into Copenhagen/København again, but just a warning if the posting wanes a bit again. I will be back. I always am.


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