We don't have any fall color here yet, so here's another food post.
I had not cooked spaghetti squash very often before this last six months or so, because I didn't know how to prepare it. The outer skin is very hard and I had trouble cutting into one. Peeling them is hard too. Then I read that you could bake or microwave the entire squash before peeling. Easy!
You simply pierce the squash in several places, like a potato, so it doesn't explode, and microwave it for 10 to 18 minutes, depending on how big it is and on your microwave power.
On a recent shopping trip I found the smallest spaghetti squash I had ever seen. They are usually about the size of a football. This one couldn't have been more than six inches end to end!
In less than 10 minutes steam was coming out the holes and it started to crack so I knew it was done.
I took it out and let it cool for about an hour. If it wasn't done, the stand time would finish the job.
I cut it open lengthwise, removed the seeds and dark colored stringy stuff attached to them. I then scraped the pulp into a bowl with a large tablespoon. This little squash gave me about three cups of pulp. Although this could be done just before dinner, it can be held in the refrigerator for a couple of days. There are many recipes for it from plain to fancy.
The best way to think of Spring Rolls is that they are an Asian hand held salad. Traditionally they contain rice noodles or bean threads. It was Craig's suggestion that I try using spaghetti squash instead, and it has become a favorite of mine.
In California, you can buy Spring Roll Skins at most large grocery stores in their international foods section. I don't know about other parts of the country, but I'm pretty sure they are not hard to find anywhere. (When I was a young wife in Milwaukee, I had to go across town to a special Mexican grocery to buy tortillas.)
Spring roll skins are thin and hard, and made from rice flour.
Making spring rolls is not difficult, but it does take some time and practice. It is best to prep all of your ingredients in advance.
Spaghetti squash: prepare as above, or use rice noodles made per package directions. Cool either.
Fresh mint and fresh basil, lettuce, preferably romaine or leaf: shred or cut into fine strips. Put in separate containers. I use coffee filters instead of bowls for the prep to cut down on dishes.
Carrots: cut match stick size, or shred with box grater.
Avocado: not shown above, peeled and sliced.
A protein: I used cooked shrimp that I cut in half down the center line. You could use tofu or imitation crab legs.
I thought about taking pictures of how to roll them, but there are several very good tutorials on the web. Just Google "how to make spring or summer rolls." I needed both hands.
The top roll on this plate was an experiment. I realize that it might not be possible to get fresh mint and basil when we are in small towns or national parks. I also wanted to make one without any shrimp. Recently I bought a refrigerated tube of basil made by 'Gourmet Garden' and found in a produce section. The "fresh by" date says it will keep four months in the refrigerator. It squeezes out like toothpaste. I also have dried mint and cilantro on hand.
So I made one with larger slices of avocado instead of shrimp, a line of tube basil, generous sprinkles of dried mint and cilantro, and extra shredded lettuce. It was quite nice. I did some research on the internet and found the 'Gourmet Garden' also makes mint in tubes. Their store locator shows many stores including Walmart Superstores. It might be possible to get it there!
Finally, we always eat spring rolls with a couple of different dipping sauces. I like the peanut sauce made by 'House of Sang,' and Craig likes a home made sauce made with oyster sauce, chili, sugar and garlic. If anyone want the recipe send me an email.
Give them a try. Experiment with the ingredients to suit your own tastes.
My daughter says my eight year old grandson likes to roll his own! It's that easy.
Oh, and they are low calorie, low fat, and low carb!
Whats for dinner at your house (or RV) tonight?