Shrimp Spring Rolls

Since I've officially been cooking for the past couple years now, I've realized my favorite season to cook is during the winter months. Ohhhh, how I miss the days of rich and hearty soups, stews, and fall off the bone short ribs that have been simmering away in the oven for hours on end. Alas, summer is here and I do not want to turn on the oven whatsoever. Summer food is so blah since meals need to be healthy and light due to bikini season. Gone are the days of thick sweaters and baggy clothes that could disguise the extra insulation needed to keep warm during the cold winter days. Woe is me.

BUT, have no fear! These spring rolls will put the "spring" back in your step and dinner will be on the table without you even breaking a sweat. Lobster made these outstanding spring rolls the other night and they were so good we've eaten them twice in the last three days. I've never worked with rice paper before and it was so fun rolling up these little creations. The fillings are limitless so use your imagination and stuff them with whatever you like. We used a mixture of cabbage, carrots, beansprouts and shrimp flavored with ginger and garlic. We also made two different dipping sauces with hoisin and peanut butter which were the perfect accompaniment to the spring rolls. Try making these next time it's blazing hot outside and hopefully summer cooking will be fun again :)

Spring Rolls
Loosely adapted from here
SERVES: 4 as an appetizer, 2 as the main course

1 medium carrot
1 cup each green and red cabbage, thinly sliced
8 shiitake mushrooms
1 cup of thinly sliced green onions
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup ginger, minced
1/4 lb of shrimp, crab, or tofu
Olive oil
Rice paper

Cut carrot in thirds. Cut each third into matchstick size pieces. Place in bowl. Thinly slice red and green cabbage and place in same bowl as carrots. Remove stems from mushrooms and discard. Next, roughly chop mushrooms and set aside. Mince garlic and ginger. Grab a medium sized saute pan and a large saute pan and place pans on stove over medium high heat and add a bit of oil. Place half the garlic and half the ginger in each pan and saute until fragrant. Add shrimp to smaller pan and season with salt and pepper and cook until shrimp are cooked through. Add the bowl with cabbage into large saute pan and saute until carrots are just tender. You don't want to cook the vegetables all the way through since you still want them to retain their crunch. Halfway through cooking cabbage add the mushrooms until soft and browned. Season veggies with S&P. Turn off heat and cool mixture. Chop shrimp into smaller then bite size pieces and set aside. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dampen a paper towel and place on top of a plate. Take one rice paper and dip into bowl and swirl around until it's just pliable. Place rice paper on top of damp paper towel and lay flat. Next take small mixture of veggies and place in the middle of the rice paper. Next add a small amount of shrimp on top of veggies. Take sides of paper and fold in over the mixture. Take bottom half of paper and fold over the mixture and roll it tight so mixture is securely trapped inside paper then keep rolling until you reach the top of the paper and place on serving plate seam side down. Basically how you would roll up an egg roll. Serve with hoisin sauce or peanut dipping sauce. These are best served right away. If you have leftover mixture do not make rolls ahead of time and keep in fridge because the rice paper will dry out. Enjoy!