Archive for May, 2010

“Asian” Summer Rolls

This recipe is based on one I found in a Williams-Sonoma Healthful Cooking cookbook, as well as one I found on, but I definitely added and subtracted a few things to suit my tastes and what I could find at Whole Foods.  (Hence the “Asian;” I’m sure what I’ve ended up with are not traditional to any Asian culture.)


Medium Shrimp, cooked and halved lengthwise (I used small salad shrimp, whole)

Cucumber, cut into thin strips

Cilantro, coarsely chopped

Carrot, coarsely chopped

Spring onions, chopped (one recipe called for scallions, but Whole Foods didn’t have any today)

Alfalfa Sprouts (recipe called for mung bean sprouts, but again, Whole Foods was uncharacteristically lame on the produce front)

Mint, chopped

Basil, chopped (I used some from my garden- “regular” and spicy globe varieties)

Serrano and/or Jalepeño Pepper, diced

Rice vermicelli

Boston / Butter Lettuce

Rice Paper Wrappers

(I also made this last time with Shiitake Mushrooms)

Prepare all ingredients, and put into small bowls for ease in assembling rolls.  (This is a relatively time- and counter space- consuming recipe!)  Cook rice vermicelli per package directions; add to array of ingredients for rolls.  Prepare rice paper wrappers.  My wrappers are only 8″ across, so I devised a way to get as much goodness into each roll without tearing and overstuffing the wrappers: lay one wrapper onto a lightly damp, clean dishtowel, then overlap another wrapper by about 1/3 on top of the first.  Add a 2″ x 4″ piece of the lettuce as the “bed” for a pinch of each ingredient, plus a few shrimp.  Fold the bottom of the wrapper over ingredients, then fold over the sides, and roll up remaining length of wrapper.  If not serving immediately, set aside on a large platter or in a pyrex container where the rolls do not touch. Serve with peanut sauce, below.


1/2 c Natural Peanut Butter (I used Whole Foods 365 Creamy PB… not creamy in actuality!)

1/2 c Hoisin Sauce (Asian section of Whole Foods)

Splash or two of Rice Vinegar

A couple of dollops of Cholula Hot Sauce

1 T Garlic (I used the pre-chopped kind, in oil) + 1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes + splash of water, made into paste with mortar and pestle

1/4 c Thai Fish Sauce

As much water as necessary for desired consistency

Mix all ingredients, put in microwave for 30 seconds.  Serve warm.  Above measurements for sauce are extremely approximate, as I just shook bottles and tossed stuff in until it looked and tasted good.


Weekend Gardening

This weekend we finally got around to de-sodding an area of the front yard to expand the flower bed.  This had been in the works for months, but the combination of a lack of appropriate tools and Alex’s inability to visualize the end result hindered our progress.  Below are the pictures of our house in August of 2008, prior to removing the hedged, multi-colored azaleas and the seriously overgrown forsythia and before the front porch and sidewalk were replaced, and a picture I took today.


In Progress

Below is a picture that shows the expansion of the flower bed, where we removed the sod.  An added bonus was that every last bit of the sod we removed was put to work in the back yard to fill areas with no grass!

Flowerbed Expansion

We had one truckload of leaf mold mulch in Alex’s truck that worked to cover about 1/2 of the expanded flowerbed space, so we need at least another load or two before it’s ready for planting.  My hope is that the mulch will help the quality of the currently awful red clay soil.

Finally, I took a few shots of some of the flowers that are currently blooming in the established beds.  Can’t wait to see what the whole garden looks like in a few years!

Red Double Knockout Rose

Japanese Rose

"Blushing Rosie" Evening Primrose

The first peony blossom of the year, whose variety I can't remember

Alice in Wonderland

Today the chickies were asking me why I hadn’t been doing as much knitting as usual.  It’s true, I haven’t.  Gardening and other outdoor activities have been cutting into my knitting time.  But I have been working on my Alice in Wonderland top, albeit sloooowly.  I hadn’t tried it on yet, so I went ahead and did that this evening.  Let me know what you think so far!

Not the best pics, I know, but I promise to have some much better ones once it’s completed.  Whenever that is…

Outside Chickies

Starting this past Friday and continuing through the extended forecast, overnight lows are over 50.  With the chickies turning 10 weeks old tomorrow, they’re big enough to stay outside as long as it doesn’t go back into the 40s!  They spent their first night out on Friday and have been outside ever since.  This is wonderful for all parties involved- they love the fresh air and grass, bugs, and other fun outside perks, and we are happy they’re not destroying the anteroom in our aviary anymore.  They were shredding newspaper as soon as we replaced it, and they were getting stinky. This morning, everyone is taking a little siesta in the breezy eglu and run, so I had to take some pics.   Enjoy!

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