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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Crostinis with Blue Cheese and Requesón

In my quest to try all things Spanish during my last weeks abroad, I attempted to make dishes using ingredients that I’ve not had much experience cooking with in the past (or at all; who cooks with requesón in Los Estados Unidos?!). Also, I’ve been trying to eat as many tiny dishes as I can to get my fill of European-style dining – big lunches, little dinners – before heading back to the gigantic-dish-with-an-extra-side-of-ranch-dressing extravaganza that is my motherland. 

Requesón is a Spanish cheese that I’d never heard of, to be honest, but I see it in every grocery and even a few little corner stores here. Its consistency lies in limbo somewhere between cottage cheese and ricotta, without an overwhelming flavor with a creamy/crumbly texture. Through a bit of online research, it’s also apparently low in sodium and calories, so it makes for a great diet cheese as well. Good to know. Yes – diet food. Sure.

Crostinis are, in my opinion, the world’s best appetizer. Handheld, immensely customizable with as many toppings as you can think of, and “crostini” sounds so much fancier than “little toasts” ever will. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone to share these little guys with, but that was probably for the best since it would have broken my heart to part with any them.

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