Flavorful Fridays: The beauty of the uncooked meal

February 28, 2024 at 11:28 a.m.

By EmmaLee Italia • Contributing Editor

As much as I love cooking, there are some days when putting something in the oven just seems to be the last insurmountable hurdle in the day.

It could be deep in the summer doldrums when the house is already too hot to think about heated meal prep. It could be after a long week of too many obligations on the calendar. Or it could be during a Lenten week when I’m trying to balance everyday tasks with attending the occasional evening spiritual exercise at my parish.

      


It’s times like these when my inner Mary and Martha seem to compete for my affections. Yes, like Mary, I need to spend time with my Lord and listen to what he will teach me. But, inner-Martha argues, my family still needs to eat, and there’s only one of me. Sure, they could survive on some cereal or crackers from the pantry – but as the family cook, I feel a strong pull to provide a balanced, nutritious dinner as often as I can.

That’s when I remind myself to think outside the baking dish. A filling and nutritious meal doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time to prepare. A little chopping and stirring, and voila – supper is served. And there’s still time left to devote to God in personal prayer or a church-sponsored event.

This recipe for Spring Rolls I found online more than a decade ago, and I find myself changing the ingredients depending on my mood. But the method remains the same – chop the ingredients, sauté a few of them briefly to soften, mix and wrap. Then chill – not just in the refrigerator, but also mentally and physically. And make some time for Jesus.

EmmaLee Italia is a contributing editor to The Monitor and sole proprietor of Flavors by EmmaLee LLC. For more information email [email protected].


Fresh Spring Rolls

from www.celiac.com


1 pkg. broccoli slaw or Asian slaw                                           2 pkgs. rice flour spring roll wrappers

1 can (or 2 cups fresh) bean sprouts                                       32 cooked shrimp, tails removed, diced

2 Tablespoons soy sauce                                                           1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar                                                                     1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 Tablespoons cooking oil (olive or avocado)                       2 teaspoons sesame seed oil


  • Sauté slaw and fresh bean sprouts approx. 2-4 minutes in olive or avocado oil. (For crunchier texture of raw ingredients, you can skip this step.)


  • Add salt, pepper, sugar and sesame oil. Remove from heat. Add diced shrimp. Drain mixture in colander.


  • Fill large bowl with hot tap water. Spread kitchen towel on counter. Construct rolls one at a time: soak 1 rice paper wrapper in water 15-20 seconds, then lay flat on towel. Place 1/3-1/2 cup filling in center of wrapper, fold up bottom of wrapper, fold in sides, then roll toward the top to seal the roll.


  • Serve chilled, or sauté first in oil to crisp outside. Serve with dipping sauce. Refrigerate leftovers up to 1 week (do not freeze).



Dipping Sauce for Spring Rolls or Egg Rolls

from www.food.com


1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce                      3/4 cup water

2 teaspoons cornstarch                                1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar                                     2 teaspoons white sugar

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)

2 cloves garlic, minced                                  1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and heat just until sugar is dissolved. Serve with rolls; refrigerate leftover sauce up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.


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As much as I love cooking, there are some days when putting something in the oven just seems to be the last insurmountable hurdle in the day.

It could be deep in the summer doldrums when the house is already too hot to think about heated meal prep. It could be after a long week of too many obligations on the calendar. Or it could be during a Lenten week when I’m trying to balance everyday tasks with attending the occasional evening spiritual exercise at my parish.

      


It’s times like these when my inner Mary and Martha seem to compete for my affections. Yes, like Mary, I need to spend time with my Lord and listen to what he will teach me. But, inner-Martha argues, my family still needs to eat, and there’s only one of me. Sure, they could survive on some cereal or crackers from the pantry – but as the family cook, I feel a strong pull to provide a balanced, nutritious dinner as often as I can.

That’s when I remind myself to think outside the baking dish. A filling and nutritious meal doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time to prepare. A little chopping and stirring, and voila – supper is served. And there’s still time left to devote to God in personal prayer or a church-sponsored event.

This recipe for Spring Rolls I found online more than a decade ago, and I find myself changing the ingredients depending on my mood. But the method remains the same – chop the ingredients, sauté a few of them briefly to soften, mix and wrap. Then chill – not just in the refrigerator, but also mentally and physically. And make some time for Jesus.

EmmaLee Italia is a contributing editor to The Monitor and sole proprietor of Flavors by EmmaLee LLC. For more information email [email protected].


Fresh Spring Rolls

from www.celiac.com


1 pkg. broccoli slaw or Asian slaw                                           2 pkgs. rice flour spring roll wrappers

1 can (or 2 cups fresh) bean sprouts                                       32 cooked shrimp, tails removed, diced

2 Tablespoons soy sauce                                                           1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar                                                                     1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 Tablespoons cooking oil (olive or avocado)                       2 teaspoons sesame seed oil


  • Sauté slaw and fresh bean sprouts approx. 2-4 minutes in olive or avocado oil. (For crunchier texture of raw ingredients, you can skip this step.)


  • Add salt, pepper, sugar and sesame oil. Remove from heat. Add diced shrimp. Drain mixture in colander.


  • Fill large bowl with hot tap water. Spread kitchen towel on counter. Construct rolls one at a time: soak 1 rice paper wrapper in water 15-20 seconds, then lay flat on towel. Place 1/3-1/2 cup filling in center of wrapper, fold up bottom of wrapper, fold in sides, then roll toward the top to seal the roll.


  • Serve chilled, or sauté first in oil to crisp outside. Serve with dipping sauce. Refrigerate leftovers up to 1 week (do not freeze).



Dipping Sauce for Spring Rolls or Egg Rolls

from www.food.com


1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce                      3/4 cup water

2 teaspoons cornstarch                                1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar                                     2 teaspoons white sugar

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)

2 cloves garlic, minced                                  1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and heat just until sugar is dissolved. Serve with rolls; refrigerate leftover sauce up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.

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