New Year’s Eve Asian dinner

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I was supposed to be up skiing today, New Year’s Eve, with my Heart but after my little accident on Tuesday I couldn’t go.  We hadn’t nailed down what we were doing and I was feeling inspired so I decided to surprise him, after his long (8 hours) day of teaching, with an Asian dinner.
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I decided on lettuce wraps and Vietnamese summer rolls.  After a lovely lunch of Pho with my son, who has a terrible cold so what’s better than a huge bowl of soup, we went off to the Asian market.  I had written down ingredients but, unfortunately, totally forgot about the sauce for the lettuce wraps so I sorta made my own with what we had on hand. I think it turned out just fine.

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Thai Basil

 

 

 

 

Img_5071 Vietnamese Summer Rolls – I should have taken pictures of all the ingredients but once I was on a roll… oh well!  Inside: cooked shrimp, rice noodles, cucumber, mint, Thai basil, cilantro, mung bean sprouts, green onion, leaf lettuce.  The insides just take time to cut up, etc… the most difficult part is definitely the rolling.  The rice paper is softened in warm water for about 30 seconds, until soft & pliable but not TOO soft.  It is actually surprisingly strong but also sorta sticky and it all had to be done quickly so the paper wouldn’t dry out and tear.
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Also, I took out the four papers but by the time I had finished the first two, the other two papers had curled up from just the moisture in the air & the heat in the room and had cracked.  It was fascinating and totally makes me want to see how restaurants do these in volume. I am sure that this is a practice makes perfect sort of thing so I’ll definitely try it again.  Served the summer rolls with a store bought spicy peanut dipping sauce.

 

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Lettuce Wraps: I bought some marinated beef (ribeye) and pork at the Asian market.  I’ve used the beef before, it is basically a bulgogi marinade. The pork was in a spicy marinade with onions & peppers.  I cooked the meat on a high temperature on the stove-top griddle pan with no oil, just the marinade.
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The ingredients for the wraps: cooked Asian rice, mung bean sprouts, green onion, mint, Thai basil, cilantro, cucumber, beef, pork, shrimp, sauce all wrapped up in red leaf lettuce.

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Each is made by the individual so ingredients vary by taste. Messy but pretty yummy!

 

 

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Additional dishes: a selection of vegetable pickles,

 

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 sashimi grade salmon with soy sauce for dipping (I totally forgot the wasabi but the salmon was very good anyway),
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steamed shrimp shumai – store bought.  I could only be So ambitious for this meal and I’m ok with the frozen shumai.

 

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DYI tabling – I didn’t feel like digging out the “big” table so we were very creative with what we have.. it was actually kind of fun and interesting.
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And a champagne toast at midnight – Happy New Year and Welcome 2011 !

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