Salad Rolls & Dipping Sauce

It’s been quite a while since my last post. I do apologize, I’m still learning how to manage my time with a now 8 month old baby who has started crawling, standing and teething! Not to mention she eats ALL of the time and has separation anxiety if I step out just to use the bathroom.

My domestic duties also include making meals for everyone in the fam (including our 3 dogs), tidying up which never seems like I have caught up even just to maintain! I also have embroidery projects that need finishing and now these recipe videos and some how I manage to squeeze a nap in for myself. But I feel like I have a routine going on that will hopefully stick!! I knew it was going to be a tough job but In my head I’m always like, “I can totally start and finish things while she naps.” Psshhh YEAH RIGHT! She keeps me on my toes but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my little Chunks.IMG_9741 copy.jpg

So one of my ALL time favorite things to eat are Salad Rolls (or sometimes called spring rolls). You have the creative freedom to combine any of your favorite veggies/herbs/proteins as you please! I usually grill or steam some shrimp and add crunchy romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumber, basil, mint & cilantro into my salad rolls but this time I wanted to make a Vegan version which is just as delicious!IMG_9746.jpg

I have an air fryer and I LOVE IT! I used extra firm tofu then pressed it until I released most of the moisture then I sliced it into small rectangles that I brushed with sesame oil on both sides and I placed them on the tray in my air fryer and let them air fry for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees! They came out delicious. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside! If you don’t have one, you definitely should invest in one. It’s easy to clean up and it cooks quicker than an oven and you don’t need more than a tbsp of oil at a time. You honestly don’t even need any sort of fat to get a crispy exterior. Great for fries and potatoes and veggies. Seriously go out and get one!

Three Ladies Brand.jpgSo I always use the Three Ladies Brand of Rice Paper. It doesn’t tear easily. I found this at my local Asian market but I’m sure you can find this brand or something similar to this one at your local grocer but if not Amazon has them here. The trick to wetting your rice paper is having somewhere between warm and hot water and just work with it in the water right before you feel it become sticky. It should still have a slippery feel and then thats when you want to place your rice paper on a surface. I prefer to roll on wooden cutting boards and dampening them a little bit to prevent the paper from sticking.

I tend to over stuff my rolls so when I do that I secure it with a second rice paper but you can easily roll your ingredients with one rice paper. Keep everything about 2.5 inches long and centered, not more than 1.5 inches wide. You should be able to roll effortlessly. Here’s a video of a vegan version of Salad Rolls and a very easy dipping sauce that isn’t too dense. You can serve with whatever dipping sauce you’d like, peanut sauce, sriracha or a sweet and sour thai sauce. Subscribe & Like. I’d love to see photos in my comments if you do try this recipe. Provecho!

Shrimp & Vegetable Pad Thai

I remember the first time that I tried Pad Thai, I was 20 years old (10 years ago!) living in Chicago in Rogers Park two blocks from Lake Michigan, Loyola University and the CTA.

Just a couple of stops south off the red line there is a charming little place called Rice Thai Cafe that I began to frequent every other week. Their lunch specials were very affordable and I always sought out the Shrimp Pad Thai with vegetables PLUS they included an egg roll, miso soup and a potsticker or crab Rangoon! It was a chill $7, that’s a lot of bang for your buck!
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Torre De Mariscos

fdf40abc-5041-482e-91d6-8aa2b8ef3a86Mardou well, she’s just a boho-beatnik-babe character from an old kerouac novel called the Subterraneans. She’s into jazz and being free spirited. Milpa or “Las tres hermanas” is how I epitomize a community should be. A Milpa is a crop growing system that includes (but not limited to) maize, beans and squash. These plants are nutritionally complimentary and feed off of one another to grow and yield for many milpa cycles to come! Just like a community they each rely on one another to grow. I find it appropriate to utilize those two names to describe the contents of myself and this food blog.

Community plays an ENORMOUS role in cooking. It unites people, stories are told, recipes are shared, hands of all ages and ethnicities are helping, senses are activated and memories are made. You create a bond with your food, you make a connection and you share a piece of yourself with someone where you might not find the words to convey and express emotionally. That is what I hope to do for all of you, share a piece of myself through my recipes in hopes that you will in turn try them at home or with friends & family. With that said lets get cooking! Continue reading