A Weekend Catch Up – (And Recipe for My Vietnamese Salad Rolls)

 

F336EC86-9C92-4046-B90A-079F23EB2AEFSunday.  Blue skies and big white fluffy clouds.  The storm has passed.  On Friday and Saturday we got more rain than all of March.  We drove through the storm, my sister, mother and I, along country roads to the town of Langley where we found the perfect dress for my sister’s upcoming wedding,  then celebrated with lunch and a prosecco toast.

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The plan was to purchase all the necessary items for the Spring garden this weekend but it was too soggy to make the drive to the garden centre, I’ll go next weekend.  This year I’m skipping the tomatoes and flowers and think I’ll stick to culinary herbs because I use them so much for cooking.  Nothing like being in the middle of a recipe and stepping out to pick fresh rosemary and basil to complete a dish.  I will also create a cat garden for Salem and Merlin with Lavender, Catmint and Cat grass to graze on. Last year they enjoyed sitting out on a sunny morning, rubbing their faces in the Catmint then taking a nap in the shade under the table.

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Life is slowly beginning to pick up it’s pace. After the darkness of Winter and life revolving around being indoors it’s nice to open windows once again, to see the sun.  We walked to and from the hockey game on Thursday, comfortable in our Canucks jerseys and light jackets.  My husband buys season tickets each year and I join him for a couple games a season.  Hockey Night In Canada is a pastime after all and even for someone who isn’t a huge sports fan, the energy at the arena is electric; thousands of people converge dressed in their jerseys and caps, grabbing a beer at the concession,  funny dance off’s during the breaks, giveaways and fingers crossed for the 50/50 draw. It’s especially fun when we’re winning, which we did. 4 Canucks – 2 San Jose. Go Canucks Go!

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I did a good Spring clean of the house last week including re-arranging the kitchen. The slow cooker’s gone to sleep in the cupboard until it’s needed again in the Fall for stews and Sunday roasts.  I try to cook with as many local and in-season ingredients as I can throughout the year.  Fresh food, veggies and fruit start to appear on the shelves at the grocery store.  One meal we love making at home are Vietnamese Shrimp Salad Rolls.  Dipped in spicy peanut sauce, I like to add mint leaves to mine. These rolls are so satisfying yet light.

You will need:

  • A bag of jumbo shrimp, (boil them until cooked and then cool) cut lengthwise in half. I prep them early in the day and let them sit in the fridge until I’m ready to start.
  • 1 pack of round rice paper wrappers
  •  Lettuce leavesor red leaf, thick stem ends removed, cut in half
  • Thin rice noodles (vermicelli)
  • 1 cup carrotsshredded
  • 1 cup red cabbagethinly shredded
  • 1 cup bean sproutsfresh
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • scallions thinly sliced lengthwise

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  • Place the vermicelli rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. They should be soft in about 6-7 minutes.  Drain and cool with cold water, refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Fill a pie dish or large tray with warm (not hot) water, large enough to hold the piece of rice paper.
  • Set a damp dish towel on a cutting board. Immerse one rice paper sheet into the water for about 20 seconds.
  • Remove, shaking off excess water and lay flat on the dampened cloth. The paper may still seem stiff, however, it will soften as you build each roll.
  • Lay one piece of lettuce over the bottom third of the rice paper. On the lettuce, place a small handful of noodles,  followed by shredded carrots, the cabbage, and a few bean sprouts.
  • Roll up the paper tightly halfway into a cylinder. Fold the sides in an envelope pattern.
  • Lay 2 shrimp halves, cut side down, along the crease. Place a few cilantro and mint leaves on top of the shrimp. Keep rolling the paper into a tight cylinder to seal.
  • Repeat with remaining wrappers. Place on a place or tray with the seam side down.

 

Serve immediately with peanut dipping sauce.  There are many recipes to make your own online but these are the brands I like to buy.

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These take a little practice but once you’ve made a couple, you get the hang of it and you can work faster and they won’t fall apart. I’m usually more than good with 2, 3 if I’m very hungry.

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Yesterday we went to my sister in law’s home to meet their new puppy.  Her name is Honey and she is the most well behaved puppy I’ve met. She loves being held and napped at our feet with her toys.  Seth’s cousin and her husband were visiting from out of town.  We see them at least once a year. We ordered pizza’s  and sat around the kitchen talking; music coming from the living room, the kids playing in the basement and the rain coming down. You know, family time.

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How do you enjoy your weekends? Do you spend it with family? or perhaps enjoying a hobby?.  Dinner will be beef broccolini with steamed rice and an asian salad. Last night we watched the Forests episode of Our Planet on Netflix. Maybe we’ll watch another tonight. 

The sun is slowly disappearing.  Feeling a sudden chill, I close the windows.  Grey clouds have moved in from the West. I wonder if more rain is on it’s way.  I’ll log on to The  Weather Network. I can hear Canadian geese honking as they fly over the building. This is Salem and Merlin’s favourite time, late afternoon. They sit on the balcony and watch the birds head home for the evening. The crows stop in to bathe in large puddles left after the rain.  

Happy Sunday.

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

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