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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cooking Tonight

So tonight I decided to try to duplicate one of the best appetizers from our favorite Vietnamese restaurant (Chargrilled pork spring rolls @ Saigon Noodle House for you locals).  This is what I used...


 Pork steaks, lettuce, matchstick carrots, cucumber, rice noodles, chives, spring roll wrappers, and basil.  You could use any herbs you like...cilantro would be awesome but I can never keep it alive and I didn't have any on hand.


You want your pork steaks still partially frozen.  If they are fresh, put them in the freezer for about an hour before you try this.  I cut my steaks in half and put the cut side down against the slicer blade of my food processor.

It slices them up into really thin pieces that cook up in no time.

This is what it looks like when it's sliced.  Then just salt & pepper the meat, slosh some olive oil over it, stir it up a bit and let it marinate for a few minutes.

We like a little crunch in our spring rolls so I deep fried some of the rice noodles and soaked the rest.  So, heat your oil up good and hot.  I didn't measure the temp. It was not smoking, but hotter than 375, I think.

When it's hot, just drop a handful of rice noodles into the oil...this part was so fun that we ended up making way too many crunchy noodles.  We just kept throwing them in, cause THIS is what happens...

...really quickly...like in less than a second!  It is freaky. and fun. 

see?  everyone had to have a turn

can you see the great mound of them in the bottom right corner?  and we just kept tossing them in :)

Meanwhile, get your grill good and hot.  I put a cast iron griddle on top of the grate while it was pre-heating.  I think it said the temp was almost 500 when I put the meat on.

It just takes a few minutes to cook per side but you do want it to get a good golden sear on the meat.  I didn't do this but wish I had put some butter on the griddle before I put the meat on...that always helps with the golden sear if you know what I mean.  Not to mention butter is yummy.

Flip it over and cook the other side.  It should be more golden than this but I was in a hurry.  The second batch was better, but I didn't get a pic of that.

Back inside, cut up your veggies, herbs and put them in little piles to make assembly of the rolls easier.  You also need to have a damp tea towel  laid out in the assembly area.  Not across the way by the sink like I did so that you have to drip, drip, drip your way over to the assembly area with your...


...spring roll wrappers that have been soaked in hot water for about 15 seconds.  then just layer on your fillings:  lettuce, matchstick carrots, soaked rice noodles, cucumbers sliced into 1/4" x 2" sticks, 1 chive about 2" long, crunchy noodles, meat, and basil


ok, so this is WAY too much filling for this spring roll.  I think you should be able to learn from my mistakes.  you need about half this much filling.  I also think I learned that the lettuce and soaked rice noodles should be on the bottom and top to make wrapping smoother.  If you decide to put meat on bottom and crunchy veggies or crunchy noodles on top like I did...

this is what your roll will look like :(  it's a very sad spring roll.  and it falls apart when you try to bite it because it is overstuffed and the crunchy stuff breaks holes in the sticky springy stuff.  I did better on the next few until I realized I had only 8 minutes till I had to be in the car to take kids to small groups and then I just crammed all the remaining stuff into two gigantic stuffed rolls and put them in the fridge for DW.  I don't think he really cares how pretty his food is.

and then we all went to the dining room and sat around this beautiful arrangement of tulips that I cut from my very own garden....SCCCRRRAAAWWWWKKK!  oK, OK!  the tulips are from Fresh Market...

 ...and this is where we ate...in haste (remember, 8 minutes to etd)...


they just crammed them in as fast as I could roll them, right there at the island.  I think a couple of them pulled up a stool and sat down like civilized people, but I'm not sure...and I think after tasting them, H put his meat in a flour tortilla, piled on cheese and nuked his own concoction, SIGH (my kids say I'm an expert sigh-er).

 but E gave them the thumbs-up...even in their sad looking state.  I used only half of the noodles and wrappers so I have a chance to practice again soon...when I have more than 8 minutes.

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