Monday, June 28, 2010

Ancient Chinese Secrets

Every few months, my husband and I get together with a group of friends for a dinner party.  Years ago, someone in the group wrote down the names of lots of countries on different little slips of paper and put them in a container.  Each time we meet, the next country is drawn at the end of the night.

It's not an outrageous amount of work for anyone, no matter how many people come, because everyone brings a dish.  We end up with tons of food, and everyone learns a little something about the dishes from the selected country.

So for China night, I decided to make Spring Rolls.  I'm not a big fan of fried foods, so there was no cooking involved.  Just some chopping, wetting, and rolling.  I have to admit, a cheated a bit and got my dipping sauce from Pei Wei, because in my opinion, theirs is the best.  And I go there often enough that they were happy to give me loads of it for free!  Yay!  I love free!

I boiled some rice noodles and used those, along with chopped  cucumbers, carrots, peanuts, baby shrimp, and cilantro.
Then I took these spring roll wrappers, and soaked them (one at a time!) in hot water until they became soft and very bendable.
The final step was to put those chopped ingredients in the middle of the wrapper and roll things up neatly and tightly.  And voila!  (Altho, I don't think that is the proper Chinese word...) 

I have to admit, I was so tired of assemblage that I had to lay down for a short nap after I was all finished!

Which left my husband completely on his own for the making of the home-made fortune cookies.  I was so impressed by his work!  I don't know exactly what recipe he followed, but I know it involved some sugar, egg whites, cornstarch, vanilla and almond extract, and perhaps a few other ancient Chinese secret ingredients. 
The country selected for our next dinner party is Mexico.  So guess who's hosting? The Arista's~  Ole!

19 comments:

Art and Clasp said...

Your spring rolls look really good! I've always thought they were a bit intimidating to make but they look do-able. And homemade fortune cookies too, wow! Very impressive :)

Valerie said...

Your spring rolls looked yummy! What a fun idea. I have a friend who does something similar with three other couples. I don't know how they go about choosing the country though. I'm anxious to see what you make for Mexico. Will there be margaritas? :o)

Emelie - C'est LA vie said...

I love this dinner party idea - how fun!
As for homemade spring rolls and fortune cookies... Super impressed!
Bet it all tasted as good as it looks... Xx

Gina Lento said...

Looks Yummy...if you need any Mexican Recipes, just holler.

Blog looks Good!

Gina Lento

Melissa Sarno said...

Very cool! Sounds like a fun idea to draw names out of a cup. Does anyone put in any countries that are really out-there? I definitely want to make some fortune cookies sometime.

Robin Norgren-Well of Creations said...

The two thing I miss most in Germany-chinese and mexican food! Your spring rolls look very tasty!

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Oh my goodness, that is a labor of love! But homemade spring rolls and homemade fortune cookies, how lovely and impressive! Did your husband make the fortunes too?

shari @ little blue deer said...

Wow! The spring rolls look gorgeous, I love spring rolls, prefer them to egg rolls! And the fortune cookies, woo hoo! XO!

malia said...

what a great idea-- i might have to steal it.
and that food looks really tasty...

this free bird said...

Okay your spring rolls look amazing and you guys made the fortune cookies TOO?? I'm starving for the spring rolls!! One of my absolute faves!

I love the idea of drawing a country and having it be the theme...please take pictures of the Mexican extravaganza. You just know there's gonna be some great stuff there!! Tamales, anyone??

I gotta go get something to eat. STAT

molly YEH! said...

that is such a cute idea with the different countries! are there any real obscure ones???

those spring rolls look delish! and i am so impressed at those fortune cookies. i wonder what types of fortunes are in there...

Kerri said...

oh yes!! fermin put his own fortunes in there. he made really funny ones and had to be sure to keep the adult and kid ones separate! ;)

Kerri said...

oh, and yes, some very obscure countries. some we've never heard of that mainly just eat beans and rice!

Kerri said...

um, yes. we mainly eat tx mex around here so if anyone would like to send me a true mexican recipe i would be mucho mucho appreciated!

elizabeth said...

Happy (belated) birthday!

You may have motivated me. I keep wanting to make these, but I must confess that the chopping of the carrots and cucumber and such into matchstick pieces makes me feel too lazy. But they taste so good.

Kristi said...

What a fun idea and those spring rolls look soooo yummy!

David said...

A most impressive (and ambitious) effort, Ms. Kerri! If you ever decide you want a change of pace, Mango Thai (on Lovers between Preston and the Toll Road) is excellent!

Lori said...

I wish I could pick a spring roll out of your blog and eat it right now! I tried to make them before and had such a hard time. I either soaked the wrappers too long (soggy and ripping) or not long enough (stiff) and so they weren't so good. I'm impressed!

Suzanne said...

Wow, those look amazing. You make it look so easy.