Beef Stir-Fry – Wait, No

So, I had made a beef stir-fry and worked very hard on it and of course was going to make a post about it, but every time I tried to write the post it wound up something like “I made stir-fry and it was fast-paced and hard and if my boyfriend wasn’t there to help it would have turned into a giant pile of mush reminiscent of the ‘mistake’ a novice cook in The Sims makes.” There just wasn’t much to say other than I found stir-fry difficult being that you had to constantly be on top of things (and with me having to check the recipe 500 times it made it tricky), but despite everything it was really delicious and filling. Good meal, boring post.

Upon the advice of my friend Rudy (head brewer at Buffalo’s own Community Beer Works) I dug out my dusty copy of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything which I have had lying around unopened for quite some time. It is an EXCELLENT book for someone like me. The internet is a fabulous resource, but having everything all in once place laid out in basics I am sure will prove to be invaluable. As I was flipping through I noticed a recipe for rice paper spring rolls and thought it would be fun to try, and plus I had to eat tonight anyway (I swear – if I had not chosen to blog about something that wasn’t vital to daily living, I would not have the time!) so off to Wegmans I went.

The recipe called for shrimp or some other leftover meat, and to not break my “assembling food is not cooking rule” I got some chicken breast and boiled it up, and shredded it with a fork. As that was cooking I peeled shredded the carrots myself (which got everywhere), measured out the bean sprouts, chopped up the peanuts, mint, cilantro and garlic and also made the sauce to dip the rolls in. The sauce consisted of minced garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, lime juice and sugar (I actually forgot that I was out of white sugar as the other day I left it in reach of *ahem* the dogs and came home from work to find it strewn about the floor, so I used brown sugar instead. And for the record, my dogs are capable of reaching the top of my fridge so once in a while things DO get left out where they can reach them! You think I’d know better by now…)

To actually make the rolls, you take rice paper, dip it in a bowl of water that’s 110 to 120 degrees and then put in the filling and roll it up! It was pretty tricky to work with and I ruined quite a few sheets of the rice paper by mistakenly letting them fold over on themselves, before figuring out how long to leave them in the bowl (the sheets get more pliable even after you take them out of the water) and to not let them fold. Putting the filling in and rolling them while keeping them tight enough was not something that I mastered, and I couldn’t quite get the ends to fold over and stick and the paper ripped in a few spots. Oh well. I have a ton of leftover rice paper so maybe I will make them again soon and be able to master it! Aesthetics aside, they tasted really good and it was a perfect easy thing for me to make being that I was just cooking for myself tonight, and I have found that making a big grandiose dinner is only fun when someone else is here. The sauce was really spicy (I tend to go overboard on hot ingredients being that I LOVE spicy food) but had a good flavor, but I would also like to try these with like a Thai peanut sauce. And maybe next time I’ll be able to roll them tighter so that the filling doesn’t fall out in the sauce when I dip!

I had some leftover chicken that wasn’t enough to save to use in something else, so despite the aforementioned sugar incident, I smuggled it to Chops (who was patiently watching me cook) since it is my old man’s birthday!


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