Yesterday we had our friends Caleb and Kara over for dinner. As you can see from the photo to your left, Lucy did not want me to spend my time making the meal. So I strapped her to me, which is not the easiest way to make a meal, and started cooking. Here I am making spring rolls, and she had finally fallen asleep. Despite having a baby strapped to me, it was a very fun evening. I had only met Kara a few times before so it was great to get to know her better.
For the dinner we made the yellow Thai curry that Alec and I like so much. Here is the link to that: https://meteaandlucy.com/2011/04/05/yellow-coconut-curry/
To accompany the main dish we made vegetarian spring rolls and pork steamed dumplings. To finish off the meal I meal I did a key lime pie. I have been making key lime pies for a number of years and slowly improving on it. I think I might have perfected it last night (not to sound too arrogant about my pie or anything).
To be honest, I made too much food like usual. You would not need to make all these things for a dinner. You could probably have a nice appetizer dinner with spring rolls and dumplings for example.
This is a recipe you can easily modify according to taste.
Spring Roll Wrappers (You can find these at Asian grocery stores or the ethnic food aisle at your grocery store. They are large, hard, translucent discs)
Warm water in a large dish
Thin rice noodles
Green onions (cut lengthwise)
Radishes (cut very thing)
Carrots (I use a peeler to cut carrot ribbons)
Firm tofu (cut into long strips)
Take the hard wrappers and soak them in warm water until they are soft and flexible. It will take about 30 seconds to a minute depending on the water temp. Move the wrapper to a large cutting board and lay it flat. Put the fillings in the center of the wrapper:
To fold them up I do it like they roll burritos at Chipotle ( I am guessing most of you know what I am talking about here). So you take the bottom of the shell and bring it up over the filling, then fold the sides in, then roll it up. Make sure all the folds are nice and tight.
I served them with soy sauce and Sirachi sauce. You could serve them with any number of Asian sauces though.
I had made these years ago when Alec and I were first dating. It is a recipe I modified from a Thai cookbook called Easy Thai (the recipes are not as easy as the name would imply).
1/2 pound ground pork (cooked and slightly cooled)
1 small can of water chestnuts
A sprig or so of cilantro
1 dried red hot chili (you could leave this out if you don’t want them to be spicy)
Salt and pepper to taste
Take all the ingredients and put them in the food processor, and blend until nice and smooth.
Once it is blended you are ready to fill the wrappers. I put about 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of each wrapper. I line the outside edges with water and then seal them up.
I don’t really have any advice on rolling them up because mine did not look all that great.
To cook them, fill a large pan with water and put a colinder in it. If you have a steamer, use that. I do not have a steamer and this worked fine. Put about 5 dumplings in at a time and cover. It will take a few minutes to cook them. You will be able to tell when they are done. The wrappers get kinda translucent looking. You can always eat one or two just to make sure though!
Key Lime Pie:
I really hyped this up, but it is good. I originally found a recipe online. Since then I have drastically changed it. I think the real trick is using a flour/butter crust instead of a graham cracker crust. I know this sounds weird because they are always made with graham cracker crusts, but I swear this is better.
The pie crust:
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sticks of butter (cut into 16 pieces and put in the freezer for about 15 minutes)
1/3 cup very cold water with 3 tablespoons of sour cream or full fat yogurt mixed in–it really doesn’t matter which one
Put everything except the water mixture into the food processor and pulse until blended. Add the water mixture bit by bit until it is the right crust consistency.
Once it is mixed, divide into two. Shape into a 5 inch disc which will be about 1 inch thick. You only need one crust for this dessert, so put one in the fridge to cool and put the other in the freezer to keep for later (when you want to use it just take it out and thaw it in the fridge over night).
Roll it out and put it in a a glass pyrex pie plate. Here is an easy pie crust tip I got from Jaime Oliver. If you aren’t into rolling out pie crust, cut the dough into thin strips and press it into the pie plate. It works just fine. Cover the shell with greased tin foil and fill with pie weights. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.
While the pie crust is baking make the filling.
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lime juice (I used to use key lime, but I can’t tell the difference between key and regular limes. Regular limes are much cheaper and it is much easier juicing big limes instead of all those little limes. Make sure you use fresh limes juice not any of that bottles stuff).
Zest of one or two limes depending on size
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth.
Once the pie shell comes out of the oven, drop the oven temp to 325, fill the crust with the filling, and put it back into the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes.
Let the pie cool until room temp and then put in the fridge. When you are ready to eat top with whipped cream. I whip my own cream because it is really good. For a pie this size put about 1 cup of whipping cream and one tablespoon of white sugar. Whip until thick.