Springrolls and Springtime

Tomorrow is officially the beginning of spring! Yay! Today I made tortellini pasta with tomato sauce. I got the tortellini frozen and the sauce was from two different jars but I always add in my own extras to make it taste better. I added in some onions, garlic, celery and carrots sauteed in butter, salt and pepper. As a result of that my fingers now smell like onions and celery. Not the worst smell in the world, but difficult to get rid of.

Today was another day of 80 degree weather in March! Crazy. Not that I'm complaining. Having spent seven years of my life in a country where the average temperature is eighty degrees - this isn't bad. However, I've been back in Chicago now for about four years so my body has readjusted to this usually cold city.

I've been taking plenty of walks to the park with my daughter, Aria, and she is loving it. Although, she's getting to that stage in life where she wants to explore independently - which usually means walking in the opposite direction that I want to go.

We went to the park the other day and saw the resident Canadian geese napping in the sun. Although it seemed like they were giving me the evil eye for waking them with my camera clicking.

I made springrolls a couple days ago. To me, springrolls are fresh and eggrolls are the ones that are fried. I like both but springrolls are just easier to make - plus I don't have a pan to use for frying. It's very easy to make, just a little time consuming because you have to prepare all the parts separately and then roll them up. It's at times like these when I'm glad I live near Chinatown and Asian foods are readily available at the nearby grocery store. These didn't turn out like ones I've had before - but this was the first time I've made them all on my own. I was mostly proud of how the sauce turned out, that is almost the most important part because basically all the flavor is in the sauce.

They are very easy to make. This is what I filled my springrolls with but you could really fill them with anything you wanted. 

-Spring roll wrappers
-rice or bean noodles, also called cellophane noodles
-chicken, boiled and shredded into small pieces
-basil leaves
-spinach leaves
-grated carrot

On a large plate filled with warm water, soak a wrapper until limp. Lay wrapper out flat. Place a couple tablespoons worth of each ingredient on the wrapper, just off center. Roll the wrapper tightly, folding over the ends in the process - just like rolling a tiny burrito. Place on a plate and continue rolling springrolls until you've used all your filling.

Spicy Sweet and Sour Dipping sauce
-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
-1/4 cup lime juice, from 2 to 3 limes
-2 tablespoons fish sauce
-1/3 cup white granulated sugar

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Let the bowl stand for half an hour or more to allow flavors to fully meld.


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