Anyhow, lately all I want to eat are things involving cold veggies- salads, sandwiches, and now... summer rolls! I got this idea in my head and had to make it happen immediately. The first challenge was finding the proper wrappers. At the first store, all they had were frozen spring roll wrappers. I bought them, however, after immediately panicking and googling it with my phone on the sidewalk, I determined that they were the wrong thing and are really meant for fried/baked spring rolls. What you actually want are rice paper wrappers. They are dry and should be on the shelf in the Asian section. These are the ones I got, but there are apparently many brands:
You can put almost anything you want in there. Your favorite veggies, chicken, shrimp, tofu- whatever! Anything you can put into long thin slices. I chose cucumber, red pepper, carrots, and instead of one of the protein choices, used avocado. You'll also want some type of herb- mint/cilantro/basil- I used cilantro. The important thing is to chop it all up ahead of time because you're going to need to move quickly.
Now- the rice paper will be very dry and stiff when you take it out of the package. I filled an 8x8 pyrex pan with warm water. Submerge a sheet until it is soft (not tooooooooooo soft, or it'll break. it'll also keep getting softer so if it feels a tad bid stiffer than you'd like when you first take it out, that's ok). I had a variety of badly shaped rolls, but when making the most successful ones, I just immediately folded the rice paper in half, put the filling in the middle, then rolled it around the veggies as tightly as possible. I'm not going to lie, it was kind of hard to get it tight. I'm imagining it is similar to attempting to role nice looking sushi. They were all edible, but the half sized ones were definitely the most sturdy.
You could dip this in any variety of sauces, but I decided to make a simple peanut sauce (because I can't resist a peanut sauce). I used 3 tbsp peanut butter, 3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, and a squirt of sriracha (if you use regular natural peanut butter add a dab of honey. if you use peanut butter with sugar in it, then don't). This made a lot of sauce- definitely enough for two people.
(I wanted to cut a roll in half to take a lovely picture, but was afraid my rookie-rolls would fall apart, and it was my dinner, so I had a big interest in being able to eat it).
The combination of the peanut sauce and the crunchy veggies and the creamy avocado- SO GOOD! I can definitely imagine these being a staple in the summer when it's hot out and the idea of turning on the stove or oven is overwhelming. They were really fresh and good- try it!