of March 24, 2007
to Fold and Roll Spring Rolls
roll wrappers (also known as rice paper, spring
roll skin, edible rice paper, summer roll wrappers)
are used in both Vietnamese and Thai cuisine
for preparing fresh or fried spring rolls. The
circular wrappers are thin, brittle, and opaque
and marked with a cross-hatched pattern.
main raw material used for rice paper production
is white rice. White rice powder is mixed with
tapioca flour to make the rice paper glutinous
and smooth. The thin flour and water batter
is spread evenly on conveyor belts, steamed,
and then transferred onto long rectangular bamboo
frames. The lengths of rice paper are then sun-dried
and ventilated. Finally the rice paper is cut
into circles, squares, or rectangles and packaged
Roll or Rice Paper Wrappers can be found in
most major grocery stores in the Asian food
isle. A popular brand that is easy to use can
be seen below.
To prepare, submerge the rice paper into a plate
of shallow water a few seconds just to soften,
one at a time. Do not oversoak or the rice paper
will start to disintegrate.
remove and place a moist wrapper on a clean
damp kitchen towel. If you are quick and experienced,
I find a clean wooden cutting board works fine
too. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of your filling
horizontally on your wrapper, just below the
the bottom of the wrapper up over the filling
and gently press down.
in both of the sides of the wrapper and gently
press to seal.
rolling the spring roll up towards the top of
the wrapper. If your wrapper won’t seal
closed, sprinkle the top with a bit of water
or make a roux of one part water and one part
cornstarch to use as a sealant.
with dipping sauce and enjoy a delicious and
In method two, after placing your filling horizontally
on the wrapper in the middle of the wrapper,
you fold the right side, then the left side
and gently pat.
fold the bottom of the wrapper up over the middle
and roll two more times to complete the package
and seal as before.
I find this second method works best if using
more bulky fillings.
of March 18, 2007
- Great for Snacks, Soups, Stir-Fries
Edamame are green immature soybeans that are
picked while still sweet. For a healthy snack,
steam edamame in their pods, sprinkled with
coarse salt and eat them right out of the pod.
Look for edamame in the freezer section of your
grocery store and in farmers' markets in summer
and fall. They are sold both whole (in their
pods) and shelled.
Soybeans are as high in protein as eggs, milk,
and meat. They are also a very good source of
iron, zinc, and B vitamins.
Shelled edamame are also good steamed and used
in salads, stir-fries, or simmered in soups
of March 11, 2007
to make a Panini Sandwich without a Panini Grill
to make your own grilled Panini sandwiches,
but don't want to spend more money on another
kitchen appliance? Enterprising home cooks can
improvise, using everyday household items, to
make excellent panini sandwiches, without the
grand expense of a panini grill.
grills cook sandwiches on both sides simutaneously,
by weighing down the sandwich while grilling,
then turning over and repeating the process
on the other side, a close facsimile can be
produced. The only difference is that the sandwich
cooked in a frying pan will not have the distinctive
panini grill marks.
the traditional type of bread used for panini
sandwiches is ciabatta bread, virtually any
type of bread can be used. Stuffings can include
poultry, meats, low fat cheeses, flavored low
fat mayonnaises, herbs, roasted red peppers,
artichokes, spinach . . . let your imagination
prepare a panini sandwich without a panini grill,
simply heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
or nonstick spray in a frying pan or skillet,
to medium high temperature. Add the assembled
sandwich to the pan and place a clean brick
wrapped in aluminum foil, or similar object
on top. A cast iron skillet that will fit into
the skillet you are using works great too.
heat down to medium low and let sandwich cook
for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove weight and check
brownness of bottom side of sandwich. If browned,
turn over and place brick back on top of sandwich.
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, check for doneness.
When cooked to desired temperature, remove panini
sandwich from pan. Cut in half, carefully, because
steam will probably arise from the center of
of March 04, 2007
to Warm Flour Tortillas
you just love those warm flour tortillas that
you get in Mexican restaurants? Not only is
the tortilla warm but it is soft with those
little scorch marks on each side.
what is the best way to heat up your flour tortillas
your tortillas are very fresh and soft, you
can flash a tortilla across a hot dry pan for
approximately six seconds on each side. Allow
the tortilla to dwell until it begins to puff
slightly. By then you'll have the perfect tortilla.
Tortillas can also be warmed in both conventional
and microwave ovens (These are the best methods
if your tortillas are a little stiff and not
quite as fresh):
warm in a microwave, sprinkle each tortilla
with water, wrap them in waxed paper and
microwave on high power for 45 seconds.
microwave between slightly damp paper towels
or place on a plate and cover with a damp
paper town. Microwave for 30 seconds to
one minute, depending on the number of tortillas
and the make of the microwave oven.
to warm in a conventional oven, preheat
the oven to 300 degrees, sprinkle each tortilla
with water, wrap the batch in aluminum foil,
and heat for 6 to 8 minutes.
you may preheat oven to 250 degrees. Wrap
a stack of tortillas in a damp distowel
and place in a casserole dish of similar
size. Cover with a lid or a piece of aluminum
foil tightly on the dish. Place in oven
for 20 minutes.
the tortillas are heated, transfer them to a
tortilla warmer to keep them nice and hot. Or
on a plate under a warm damp dishtowel.