Shrimp Summer Rolls

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For some reason, typing summer rolls brings the “Summer Lovin’” musical sequence from Grease into my head. Come to think of it, this summer really has seemed to happen so fast. While I will not lament its passing until it is officially behind us, the cooling temps and shorter sunlight hours are moving us into this direction of summer’s inevitable end, it seems.

You will not hear me protest its demise too much. I sit here though with a window open, and the day’s plans include removing the air conditioner from the window in the bedroom. It took a cardigan to participate in the past two nights roof shenanigans: playing Banagrams and out-Jaggering Davis at Mick Jagger impersonations. I have discovered that the key to Jaggerisms is pumping, not gyrating the hips. Elvis gyrates. Jagger pumps. Although, I have to admit, I come nowhere close to the holy grail of Jagger impressionism, Noel Fielding from The Mighty Boosh.

Back to summer rolls (…those summer niiiiights), you’ll have to get some rice paper roll wrappers from the Asian food section of a nice grocery, or happen to live in an area that just has those things at the normal grocery. You will use 1 for each roll you intend to make. I suggest 2 per person, and this recipe makes enough for 12 rolls. I suggest setting up a fairly structured mise en place before you even start making these – things can start to get a bit hairy if you’re in a cramped space.

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Grilled Asparagus with Creamy Scallion Dressing

Grilled Asparagus with Creamy Scallion Dressing

A few weeks ago, I went home for a last minute trip back home to Tennessee. The timing was just right, and I was overdue for a visit: my grandmother had open-heart surgery recently and was recuperating. I also wanted to spend some time with my niece and nephew before they moved back to North Carolina. Luckily I was able to find a reasonable fare, and I bought a ticket with 2 days notice to make my way back south.

Let me just say that my niece and nephew are 1 and 3 years old, and after three days with them my appreciation and respect for my sister-in-law went through the roof. Being home all day with those two requires an energy level that I just didn’t know possible. If I could figure out a way to bottle those kids’ energy and sell it, I could quit my day job.

It goes without saying that they’re absolutely adorable; they just happen to also be ornery little monsters. I was relieved to see that my grandmother is spunkier than ever and made sure to provide large spreads for us each day. Even though we beg and plead for her to let us help, she refuses and goes about her way making salads, sandwiches and corned beef – plying the wee ones with popsicles and conveniently hearing “sure, one more slice” when offering pie.

In addition to the food and baby time, I got to spend time with my dad and brother doing one of our favorite family activities: watching horrible action movies. My brother and I spent most of the evening trying to convince my dad to watch a good action movie and take him to see Pacific Rim. We were not so successful on that front, but it was a delightful visit, nonetheless.

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Thai Fish Cakes with Dipping Sauce

Thai Fish Cakes with Dipping Sauce

After a 5 long years at my current company, I’ve decided to accept a position at a new ad agency. I’m excited to try my hand at something new, and I took last week off as a bit of a post-work staycation.

Since I had some more time in my hands, I decided to revisit my resolution to eat more Southeastern Asia-inspired foods. Seeing as most take out places are far from super diet friendly, it had seemed like ages since we’d gotten some of our old favorites.

Finding this recipe seemed like it could be pretty easy weeknight fare, considering the use of canned tuna. While it is slightly more labor-intensive than originally planned, it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t see whipping these up after work.

Finally, as a caveat: I normally don’t fry things at home. After setting my kitchen cabinets ablaze whilst making home fries in high school, I’m a little gun-shy when it comes to oil frying.  Still, I decided it was time to face my fears; this recipe was just meant to be pan fried.

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