Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vegetarian Egg Rolls My Way

One evening, my sister brought back a piping hot vegetarian egg rolls from one of our favorite Viet-Namese sandwich/restaurant in downtown San Jose.   It was very tasty & it's vegetarian.    My sister and I decided to test making our own vegetarian egg rolls.   The challenge is "less greasy and healthy egg rolls."     We have eaten enough egg rolls throughout our lives, and we came to the conclusion that they are just simply quite greasy inside and outside.    Even at our favorite Pho noodle house, their Cha Gio is quite greasy sometimes.    You can't really avoid it with anything deep fried.    With all the possible simple ingredients available from the market close by without going to the Asian market, this is one of the best vegetarian egg rolls we've made.

We did not want it to be skinny like lumpia, but not as large as the Shanghai style 'delicious' egg rolls.    Since the egg roll wrap comes as a standard size, then, the control is in the amount of filling we put in.  

2 small carrots, peeled and shredded with peeler/shredder hand tool - about 1/2 Cup
1/2 head of smallest cabbage, very thinly sliced - about 1-1/2 Cup
4 Shiitake - Hydrated with hot boiling water, thinly sliced
1 roll of rice sticks - Hydrated with hot boiling water & cut with scissor into 4" strands
1 Organic Extra firm dry Tofu - Thai Spiced  (from Organic section), thinly sliced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper or any other spices you would like... how about cumin? or ??
1 package of egg roll wrap

You can buy most of the items here at the Asian market with no problem.  You can find the paper thin egg roll wrapper at the Asian market.     My wrap is one of "those" thick egg roll wrapper.   It kind of gets in the way of "taste" with its 'thick' doughiness.   But it will have to do.     *Key:  cut everything as thin as possible -  1/16"

In a microwavable bowl  or plate (no plastic material, please)  Cover the bowl with microwave proof lid (to capture steam) & Microwave carrots for 2 min.   Remove Set aside
Microwave the cabbage for 2 min. also   Set aside.
In a larger bowl, mix everything together.

Place the wrapper on a clean kitchen counter.   A bowl with some water to seal the wrap.
Place good amount of fillings on the wrap.  Dab your fingers with water and moisten the edges of the wrap.  Start folding.    Place the wrapper's end down.   In the meantime, heat up frying oil - pure vegetable oil in a small 1 Qt pot.  Fill out to 3" of oil.   Prepare the rest of the egg rolls. 
Drop a very tiny piece of  "dry"  food into the oil.    Watch to see if it starts bubbling and dancing.   Then, it's ready.  Deep fry the egg roll until the wrapper is light-medium brown. 

Makes 12

Appearance wise and for crispiness, I would prefer to use the thin rice egg roll wrapper. 
We are happy with the result.     No greasy filling.     Keep in refrigerator to store.    I took it to work the next day as ... well, it was for lunch, but I end up eating it as my breakfast.  
Ah! ha!   Chinese breakfast burrito!!    It was good without heating it.    It was tasty.

Pink Lips 2012 - My Lotus

One beautiful Sunday late afternoon, I found my lotus "Pink Lips" poking it's head in the shade between it's large fanned warrior lotus leaves.    I said, "Oh Wow!, when did it show up?!"   I have been waiting for the sign of blossom pod since May.    No sign on any of the lotus this year.  Chawanbasu and Pink Lady did not show up at all this year.   And here it is, the single one and only Pink Lips.     Since it is already late afternoon, I knew I will have to wait for the morning to open up.   So the next day, I waited and waited.    Enjoy!  Namaste.

 Around 5:30 am
 Slowly the Pink Lips started to unravel its petals like the YOGA stretch.
 All the leaves are stretched wide like the radiant warrior. 
 As the Pink Lips started to open up, it filled the air with its unspeakable wonderful fragrance.

 Soon, a bee found it's way.  Dancing happily in it.

 It flew up and out for a few seconds and I noticed it sent a loud buzzing sound.  Then a moment later, another bee showed up, and it went right into the lotus to exchange with the other bee.  It too started to dance happily in the Lotus.
 At the end of the day, it closed gracefully in resting pose of Shavasana

 That very evening, the wind kicked up.  I knew that was the last time I would see it the next morning.  The next day, when I returned home, the Pink Lips started to fade - releasing all it's energy to the mother earth.

Today, the single stem of beautiful Lotus pod continue to grow.  It's seeds are growing larger and ready to rebirth.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2012 Tomato-Day at Morningsun Herb Farm

 It was quite an experience when you thought you have seen and tasted all the tomatoes there is in the world, yet to find out that there are over 90 varieties.     Tomato Day 2012 at the Morningsun Herb Farm is my first experience to taste all these tomatoes one at a time non-stop.   I thought I was turning into a tomato afterwards.


This one is an interesting peach - sweet, crispy, and beautiful golden yellow.  I thought it was a nectarine I was tasting for a moment.
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