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Thursday, February 17, 2011


After all of the sugar from Valentine's Day, it is time to bring it back to healthy around here.  I made a new recipe Tuesday night that was healthy; but, it tasted sooo bad and I'm so behind with blogging and reading your blogs that I am not even going to waste my time in telling you about it.

Mary...my friend....if you are reading this....I actually made that recipe as it was written first.....and it was terrible. (Mary recently called my attention to the fact that I seem to ALWAYS change the recipes!) 

So when this recipe turned out terrible, I did what I usually do with recipes from the beginning and changed it up to what I think would have worked better.....and it didn't help.   No matter what I added to it, I just couldn't get the taste right on it.  David ate it and said it wasn't that bad; but I hated it.   Sometimes new recipes are just failures. What can I say!

Dinner last night was a completely different story.  I have been wanting to make these and tell you about them for quite some time now.  It is, by far, one of my favorite meals and one of the freshest and healthiest dishes that I make.  Perfect choice to follow that crazy good meal that we had for Valentine's Day.

Spring Rolls....sometimes called Summer Rolls....depending on which cuisine they are representing are sometimes seen on menus fresh and sometimes you see them fried.  While I like both of them, my most favorite ones are the fresh ones.  This is the version that I make for my family.

I start out with rice paper.  I was able to pick these up at a regular supermarket in Houston with the other Asian foods.  If you are fortunate enough to have an Asian market nearby, you can definitely find them there.

These are Bean Threads.  They are so interesting when you take them out of the package.  They are like dried ramen noodles all curled up into a nest.  You should be able to find these with the other Asian foods in your regular supermarket.

Cover the bean threads with hot water and let them soak for a few minutes to soften them up.  Once they have soaked, drain them and they are ready to be used in your rolls.

I like to use cilantro in my rolls.  I know that there are some people out there who honestly don't like the taste of cilantro.  That's hard for me to imagine as I think it's one of God's greatest gifts.  If you don't like cilantro, you can use basil.  I love recipes that you can change up depending on your personal tastes and what you have on-hand.

I always use cooked shrimp in my rolls.  You can use tofu or make them just with vegetables.  I am sure crab or cooked lobster would be great in them.  Have fun with it and use what you like and have available.

My rolls are not complete without avocado.  Again, in my opinion, this is another one of God's greatest gifts.  I love how it can be used, like cilantro, in both Asian and Mexican cuisines.  My favorites!

I was able to pick up this beautiful yellow pepper at the market the other day so I threw it in to tonight's rolls.  I don't always use these; but it was a very nice addition.

I always use broccoli slaw in my rolls.  I find it much more interesting than using cabbage and carrots.  This is another time that you can use what you like or have on hand.  I try to keep broccoli slaw around to use in stir frys or salads or for those times when I have to have a spring roll.

Last, but definitely not least, is the icing on the cake for me.....fresh chives.  I have used green onions or scallions when I didn't have fresh chives; but in my opinion, they are just better with the chives.  If you don't have any growing at your house, they are worth the splurge to buy them in the supermarket.  They are just the crowning touch, I think

Once you've assembled the cast of characters, it's time to start rolling them up.  The rice paper comes in sheets that feel like plastic.  They have to be softened up before you can use them and just like the rice noodles, warm water will do the trick.  My water was a little too hot when I started and it makes them hard to work with if your water is too hot.  They are, also, hard to work with if your water is too cold.  You are going for a WARM temp here.  I heat my water up and pour it into a pie plate if I am using round paper.  The paper comes in square sheets, as well, and if I am using those, I pour the warm water in a square baking dish.  Once you have the water in the dish, it's time to run the rice paper through the water.  I run the paper through the water like a car wash.....in one side and out the other.....

You need to have a flat place to lay the sheets when they come out of the water.  I like to use a cutting board for that.  It has plenty of space and is great to use for rolling.   Lay the rice paper out as flat as possible.

The next step in preparing your Spring/Summer Rolls is really up to you.  I'm a creature of habit so I add the cilantro first.  Whatever you lay down on the roll first peeks through the transparent wrapper and I like to see the cilantro.  Not only is it tasty but I think it is pretty, as well. 

On top of the cilantro, I like to add the shrimp.  To my knowledge, there aren't any "food rules" to creating these beauties so feel free to experiment and have fun.  I just like the way the shrimp show through the wrapper when it is all rolled up. I didn't have very many shrimp left in the bag so I simply sliced them in half to make them go a bit further.  I have to say that they rolled up a bit better being cut in half than they usually do. I have a tendency to put too much stuff inside of them and therefore have a problem rolling them up.  I'm the same way with fajitas.  I like a lot of different "stuff" inside!  Don't judge...

Next up is the rice noodles.  These are sooo interesting.  They don't have any flavor, at all, really but I love the texture when combined with the other ingredients.  They pretty much take on whatever flavor you add to them.   I have been relying on the dipping sauce to give it flavor but I'm thinking that next time I might add some sort of flavor to the noodles themselves before I add them to the rolls.   Looks like I will be making more of these soon to give that idea a try!

On top of the noodles, I like to add the broccoli slaw.  I enjoy the crunchiness of adding this to the roll in raw form.  I think some people give it a quick saute to soften it up and it's perfectly okay to do that.  Remember, there are not any rules.  You can add whatever veggies....in whatever form....to your rolls.  That's the beauty of this dish!  Let your creativity shine here!

Adding the bell pepper is a perfect example of using what is available and having fun with these rolls.  I don't think I've ever added bell pepper to my rolls before; but, since I picked this beauty up at the market the other day, I thought the sweet flavor would be a nice addition to the roll.  I generally add grated cucumber to my rolls; but since I didn't have one to use this time, the bell pepper took its place.  I was right.  It was delicious in there and so pretty!

My Spring/Summer Rolls are just not complete without the wonderful addition of creamy avocado. 


Last...but definitely not least.....is the addition of fresh chives.  If you can find garlic chives, they are even better than the plain ones.  In Louisiana, they grew like weeds.  They suffered the unintentional chop of the weed whacker on many occasions and continued to grow like crazy.  They were picked up and moved across the street and replanted and still continued to grow like crazy.  I am hoping that I can get a huge pot of them started here so that I always have a great supply of them. Buying the little containers of herbs in the supermarket hurts; but if that's the only way that I can get fresh herbs these days then so be it.  I don't think I'm alone in saying......Come on summer!

Once you have assembled the cast of characters and they are all in their places, it is time to roll them up.  These are rolled in much the same way that you roll egg rolls or burritos.  Fold up the bottom of the roll...

Sometimes the chives go awry but don't worry about it.  Just tuck them in the best you can and continue rolling. 

Once you get the top and the bottom folded down, begin rolling the sides taking care to keep the everything tight as you are rolling them.

To me, these Spring/Summer rolls are really just a holder for the Padang sauce.  I may or may not have a mild addiction to it.

If peanut sauce isn't your thing, this makes a pretty good sauce too.

Thanks so much for stopping in to see me today.  I hope that wherever you are that you are having a wonderful day.  The sun is shining outside and there's a hint of spring in the air.  I'm going to go out and enjoy it.

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage


  1. I've never even ATTEMPTED to make a spring roll! You make it look so easy

  2. That looks so delish! You are way too talented in the kitchen. What time is dinner?

  3. Those rolls look so fresh! And delicious! I'm allergic to the shrimp but I'd just leave them out of mine and have all vegetable, love it as a vehicle for the sauces, LOL!

    I change recipes all the time, whatever works :)

  4. Hi! I’m your newest follower. Please stop by and follow back when you have a chance. You can also add your blog to our Blog Hop! Hope you are having a Sweet Week.

  5. Oh my you and I would have a blast eating together! I also think that Cilantro and Avacado are two of God's greatest gifts. Everything you put in these rolls just made my mouth water. I will have to try these they look fantastic!!!!

  6. I have to tell you that I've never tasted this dish, but your presentation here makes me feel that it's extremely delicious, really, can't wait to try it, thanks for the recipe and step-by-step photos :)

  7. These look so yummy! I definitely should try making them. I love the garlic chives - mine are just now coming back after all of the cold weather. You're right, they grow great here!

  8. Hi Candace,
    I am so excited that you are here today. Your tutorial on Spring Rolls is awesome. I just love spring rolls and have never made them that much. I am coming back to study and take notes. Thank you so much for bringing us this special post to Full Plate Thursday. Hope to see you next week!

  9. Candace we would be great buds in the kitchen. your spring rolls look delicious. I've made them before, but they did not turn out as well as yours did. I will definitely give them another try using your directions.

  10. That looks super good! Gotta try it soon.

  11. I absolutely LOVE spring rolls. I cannot believe I have never tried to make them myself. I'm thinking you need to send a batch of these to me!! :)

  12. I love all of the fresh ingredients! Enjoy your weekend! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  13. Oh, I feel several pounds lighter just looking at this healthy entre. I've never tried making them from scratch... wonderful!

    I.love.avacados too. And that is the precise brand of peanut sauce I buy... with the crane on the label. I could drink it straight out of the bottle.

    We do love Asian food here on the west coast. Now I'm hungry all over again!

  14. That looks absolutely beautiful! But I really want you to make it for me. LOL Maybe I should just move to your house.

  15. Hi, I'm your newest follower from the 40 and Over Follow party. Beautiful blog! Malia

  16. I remember my BFF (she is a Vietnamese-Chinese) taught me how to made these spring rolls when we were back in college! So simple and so delicious. Yours looks wonderful and perfect!


  17. Gosh those look good. I want to be your neighbor. LOL


  18. I think you compensated everybody in your family for the bad recipe by making these beautiful rolls.

  19. Thank you for posting this - it's perfect! I would have never thought to try something like this. (Cilantro and avacado are 2 of my favs, also). Might try and make these this weekend.:)

  20. And no baking? Great! The see-through rice wrappers are intriguing.
    So funny that you tried to modify the healthy dish and it STILL didn't work! Sometimes healthy just doesn't taste good! :D

  21. Good morning,

    Lets see. I love veggies, I love avocado (big time) and I love spring. So this meal was awesome to see. And, welcome to New England. Big change from Louisiana. Especially this winter - at least down here in CT. Thanks for stopping by The Cookbook Diva.

    I've subscribed to your blog.

    Have a great day!

  22. I love these roll Candace. My favorite in summer time for a nice lunch. Nowadays when I open my pantry and see the dry wrappers, I just think of summer.

    The combination looks delicious and next time I will buy me some of that peanut sauce.

    Thanks for sharing.

  23. I hate it when recipes don't work out but thankfully there is usually something tried and true, like these spring rolls, that I can follow it up with, confident that they are bound to work. I love all of the delicious components that you've stuffed these with! I'll take mine with peanut sauce AND thai sweet chili sauce, please!

  24. All I can say is YUM yum & more YUM!

  25. these rolls look delicious! You make it look so easy bella!!! I have always wanted to make these and have never gotten around to it, now I am very inspired :) Keep shining sweet bella

  26. I love all the color in the food! I have never heard of this recipe, but I was amazed by the rice noodles.
    Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

  27. Oh! I have never worked with spring rolls! I know they can be very tricky. I love a great roll though. These look beautiful.

    Thank you for your comment on Chef Dennis' blog today! It was a blast to be a guest poster for him :)

  28. I've never made Spring Rolls, these look amazing! Thanks for stopping by my blog!!!

  29. I absolutely love these type of spring rolls and have made similar ones myself..you've used all my favourite ingredients and made them so pleasing to the eye..love the transparent cilantro.

  30. You did a wonderful job with your summer rolls. I've never let the weather keep me from having them. They always on Thai restaurant menus, so they seem to think they are not seasonal as well. Your instructions are terrific. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

  31. You really did make that look easy! I am allergic to shrimp but I'm sure I could just use veggies!
    I already follow so I'm justing stopping by to say Happy Weekend via Java...

  32. Those are SO beautiful!!! I've played with phyllo dough and I can make a souffle, but I've never made spring rolls before ... might have to try them, since I'm too far away to invite myself for dinner!

  33. This looks delicious! You should really add your blog to the Nestwork and add to the recipe category. People would love it! I am really sick now. I can't believe it! I hope you have a bgreat weekend!

    Mama Hen

  34. I love spring rolls!!! These look delish!! :) I too am a HUGE believe in the God's gift qualities of cilantro and avocado... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  35. I can't wait to try this ... i recently picked up some rice paper but haven't yet used it ... i love the cilantro peeking through your spring rolls!

  36. Hey Candance, just stopping by to let u know that I made these a couple of days ago and they were fantastic. Thanks once again for the inspiration!


  37. Thank you for the step by step recipe. Tried making spring rolls with rice paper some time back, did manage too however found rice paper a little difficult to handle with the slits and also being sticky after the water dip. Will give it another try soon...ur recipe is indeed inspiring.


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