Thursday, September 24, 2009

Summer Rolls for Sunday Supper - Tablescape Thursday







Last weekend we were asked to stand in for friends at a function that was scheduled to overlap the dinner hour and extend well into the evening. No mention was made of food. It seemed probable that food would be served, but experience has taught me that probable is not always the sure thing we assume it to be. Rather than chance a long evening without food, I decided to make a late lunch that would carry us through the evening, whatever happened. I love to prepare Asian food on these occasions. It's light and easy to prepare but filling enough to make evenings with uncertain meals easier to handle. We have a low table in our living room that's used for a lot for meals. It has a view of the fireplace and with candles and flowers it's a great place for dinner for two. Fortunately, we both can still manage the ups and downs that are necessary to sit at a table 18 inches off the floor. We are, however, no longer taking bets as too how long that will continue. My primary china service is white, but I augment it with special pieces, usually from special places, that make our ethnic meals seem more authentic. The red-lined cups I've used here are part of a tea service given to me by a client who became a friend. The lids are used to hold dipping sauce while the cups usually hold the clear soup that begins our meals. The chargers are from an old employer's kitchen. That gorgeous geranium is from one of the window boxes we use to tart up the decks that surround our home. I know it's old-fashioned but I really want the food to be the focus of a meal with family and friends. I deliberately try to keep things understated and use small pops of color try to keep the table interesting. I'm really pleased with the simplicity of my Asian table. I was also pleased with the simplicity of the meal I prepared for us. My choices? Pho Bo, a Vietnamese soup, and summer rolls. My recipe for Pho Bo can be found here and the recipe for summer rolls and a simple dipping sauce appears below. In Vietnam these rolls are called goi cuon, or salad rolls. They are bundles of shrimp or chicken that are combined with rice noodles and fresh mint before being wrapped and rolled in a paper thin rice wrapper. I hope you'll try the homemade version of both. They are really fresh and lovely. They are also easy to make.


Summer Rolls...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients: 1/2 pound thin dried rice noodles
12 (8-inch) round rice paper sheets
2 cups tender lettuce leaves cut crosswise into 1-inch strips
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup frsh cilantro leaves
5 green onions, cut into 3-inch lengths, then cut lengthwise into thin strips
12 medium shrimp cooked, peeled and halved lengthwise or 1/3 pound shredded chicken
Dipping sauce

Directions:
1) Bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Drop in rice noodles and remove from heat. Let stand 8 to 10 minutes, gently lifting and stirring noodles occasionally as they stand to separate the strands and cook them evenly. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again. Set aside.
2) Fill a large shallow bowl with hot water.
3) To make each roll: Place 1 sheet of rice paper into water and submerge it for about 15 seconds. Remove it carefully, draining off water. Place it on a work surface. On bottom third of sheet, place following ingredients in a horizontal row;
1/4 cup noodles, some lettuce strips, some mint leaves and some cilantro leaves. Sprinkle green onion slivers on top. Lift wrapper edge nearest to you and roll it up and over filling, tucking it in under them about halfway along wrapper and compressing everything gently in a cylindrical shape. Fold in sides as though making an envelope. Place a portion of chicken or 2 shrimp halves, pink side down, on rice sheet just above cylinder. Continue rolling wrapper and press seam to close it. If it is too dry to close, moisten it with a bit of water to seal. Set the roll on a platter, seam side down and continue to fill and roll wrappers until you have 8 to 10 rolls.
4) To serve, leave rolls whole or cut in half diagonally. Serve with a dipping sauce. Yield: 8 to 10 rolls.

Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce ot 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Directions:
1) Combine garlic, sugar and chili-garlic sauce in a small bowl or on a cutting board; mash to a paste.
2) Scrape into another small bowl. Add fish sauce, water and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Transfer to small bowl/bowls for dipping. Unused sauce will keep for 1 week in refrigerator. Yield: 1/2 cup.

Recipe adapted from Quick and Easy Vietnamese by Nancy McDermott

This recipe is being linked to Tablescape Thursday hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.

60 comments:

Kathleen said...

Looks lovely, Mary...

My Little Space said...

Do you get the sheets from the store or you make you own? REally nice and transparent!

Lynda said...

A beautiful table and a delicious meal. Perfect!

Mary said...

My Little Space, I will try anything once. I tried once to make my own rice wrappers and will not repeat that ever again. I buy the wrappers in an Asian market.

Heidi said...

What a beautiful table scape Mary. The food looked yummy as usual and the table dressed up looks so good you don't want to eat off it :0)

Blessings,
Heidi

Deanna said...

Dear Mary,
Your table is outstanding!
I'll be back to visit your Blog, One Perfect Bite.

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment.
Autumn Blessings,
d from homehaven

the ungourmet said...

Oh I haven't had these salad rolls in ages. Now I'm craving one!

Your table setting is just lovely!

niartist said...

Ooooo! This is great! Thanks for sharing! Come by and check out my giveaway - I think you'll like them! :)

Selba said...

What a nice table setting, Mary :)

I love Vietnamese food!

Debinhawaii said...

Beautiful tablescape and summer rolls are a particular favorite of mine.

KathyB. said...

I need more time to cook and bake! I love the simplicity of your tablescape. ( by the way, was there food at your function?) And the recipe is one I know I would love, then I got sidetracked by your "Linkedwithin" recipe for garlic rolls, which I WILL for sure be making. More time.....need more time....

Martha said...

What a pretty table. Love the simplicity.

And although I've never made them I do love summer rolls -- a Laotian friend DOES make them and it is always a treat when she does. We certainly eat our fill!

Debbie said...

Beautiful table and food! My daughter in law is from Indonesia and she makes delicious rolls. So good....

Jamie said...

Too funny! We foodies are all alike, afraid of going anywhere and either finding bad food or no food at all. I love the Pho Bo soup with Summer Rolls meal! How perfect! I have been so wanting to make these at home, never have. I'll use your recipes!

And beautiful new family photos on the side bar. What a group of gorgeous women!

puna said...

I love this. There's a special place in my heart for Japanese settings. And the spring roll is perfect.

petite nyonya said...

Very nicely made pho bo & the presentation is lovely!

Madam Chow said...

Oh, these look so good. And I need you to set my table, which never looks this good!

Sarah said...

I'm going off to make those summer rolls. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the lovely table setting. ~Sarah

Katherine Aucoin said...

Gorgeous table scape. At first I thought this was a tablescape from an upscale restaurant.

Jane (Frugal Fine Living) said...

Your tablescape is lovely, and those summer rolls look delicious!

Jane

Pam said...

The table looks really pretty Mary. I love the summer rolls and the sauce sounds especially good.

Amy said...

Yummy, yummy..Your summer rolls look so healthy and delicious. I also love the tablescape. Simple and elegant. Thanks for sharing. Amy :)

Barbara said...

Very Nice, It all looks yummy! I love spring rolls.

Cathy said...

What a beautiful and dramatic table, Mary. Your summer rolls look so tasty.

sourcreamandjam said...

Beautiful table, and both the summer rolls and pho bo sound scrumptious. I'm looking forward to trying them! I'll be out looking for the rice wrappers tomorrow.

Brenda said...

This looks and sounds so yummy! I'd love to be a guest at your place!
Brenda

Mary said...

KathyB, this was a long meeting. It was a planning precursor to a political fundraiser for a pro healthcare group and it ran from 4 to 10. Around six, appetizers and wine and beer were served. I'm glad we ate at home.

Heidi said...

Hi Mary,
A lovely table,I love the color combo it's a perfect choice for the evening and the menu. I wish I could come for dinner...love asian food, and recently discovered a wonderful Cambodian rest. which is fabulous. Yum.
Thanks so much for visiting, come back soon!
Heidi - Heart and Home

The Blonde Duck said...

It looks like something out of an elegant restaurant! How lovely!

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Love your setting.The red really pops !

Cass @ That Old House said...

Ummm Mary this looks good - I am a complete novice when it comes to cooking Asian foods; this is so lovely to look at as well!

I may attempt these; I'm going to visit my daughter in California for a week, and I'm printing out and taking this recipe with me! I think it's something she would like, too.
It will be a bonding experience. :-)

Cass

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Mary, what a gorgeous table scape. Everything looks beautiful as always.
Sam

Denise said...

Your table is beautiful. I love to make those summer rolls too and just serve them with hoisin sauce!

Fifi Flowers said...

YUM!!! Those are my favourite!!! I'm jumping in my car right now... see you soon... I hope you made plenty!

Flower said...

Delicious food and a pretty table. It's nice that the two of you can celebrate a regular day with flare!! I have learned to prepare for such evening functions, too! A cookie just doesn't work when it's time for a meal. :))
Thanks for the recipe!

Tammy@InStitches said...

What a pretty table and the food looks delicious too.

Lynn said...

Thank you for coming by and enjoying my "Lovely Tablescape!"
Yes, I agree. The catsup tied everything together.

Farmer Jo said...

Yum! I love the dishware as well.

SPLENDEROSA said...

Mary, I could never do this !!
You are an artist, my dear.
Marsha

A Year on the Grill said...

That is a beautiful table setting

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I love the table setting. I was just telling hubby about the Tablescapes group last night.
Summer rolls are some of my favourite foods. Rolled and stuffed foods just taste better!

Claudia said...

This looks so scrumptious and you lay the prettiest table. Just stunning. I'd happily sit there and feast any day of the week.

susan said...

The table is perfect for this meal. I looked at the Pho Bo recipe and it really sounds delicious! You were smart not to assume anything :)

Ms. Bake-it said...

Hello Mary,

What a gorgeous setting! I love the simplicity and colors. It looks so serene.

Like you, I tried making my own rice wrappers and am pretty sure I will not tackle that adventure again!

Thank you for sharing both the setting and the recipes.

~ Tracy

maryt/theteach said...

The table setting is just beautiful! :)

girlichef said...

It is simply beautiful Mary :D

Katy ~ said...

Tablescape is just lovely; so clean and sleek!

Summer rolls are perfection!

Nancy @ La Chambre Rose said...

perfect...food and setting.

Lele said...

Summer rolls are one of my favorite afternoon snacks, too!

Julie said...

Hi Mary,Beautiful table and food...
xoxo
Julie

xinex said...

Thanks for the recipe, Mary. I have always wanted top make this but did not know how.....Christine

figtree said...

Ive always wanted to make these..now I have no excuse!Figtreeapps

Baking Monster said...

Mary these rolls look so good I have always wanted to try these but have never known where to start thanks.

nannykim/ spindle cottage said...

Love your tablescape--it is beautiful and very artistic--stunning really. Would love to eat the food too!!

Dining Delight said...

Very nice 'scape and the food looks yummy!

DD

Sandy said...

Beautiful table, and the food looks wonderful. My first visit and I loved it, can't wait to try some of the recipes. Thanks for visiting.
Sandy

Blondie's Journal said...

Hi Mary,

I love the Asian theme!! It looks so serene. The spring rolls are a masterpeice, I have torn many a wrapper!!

Have a happy weekend!!

xoxo
Jane

Rettabug said...

Stunningly simple clean lines with brilliant pops of color...I LOVE IT!
I have some of that same Bavarian crystal, too & was planning on using it next week. :)

Your recipe sounds delish & I hope to try it very soon. Thanks for sharing it & your beautiful table.

Michelle Kearney said...

Beautiful!

Elizabeth G. said...

I'm so busy reading all the recipes that I wasn't going to leave any comments, but I have to tell ya that this recipe sounds unbelieveably good. I love Asian and I love fresh veggies and shrimp, so this one is right up my road.

thank you so much for sharing!

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