Adventures of trying to raise little gourmands and appreciators of good food: Summer Roll Edition.
Here to happily report that even after 4 days of all sorts of cake, ice cream, pasta, tacos and burgers while relaxing at the beach with our in-laws (hey, we’re flexible!), Grace couldn’t have been more elated to see a table full of color, texture, flavor, and fun on our last night of vacation. Spring rolls make for such a beautiful, interactive meal. Moving forward, we will call them summer rolls. It’s June and we filled ours recently with shrimp, Georgia peaches, basil, cucumber, mint and more. We enjoyed them outside – hello summer!
Kids can surprise you. The past two times we’d made these with friends, Grace enjoyed adding random things to the water bowl and grazing on all the filling options. Yet this time, as I was having a few quiet moments getting everything ready for dinner, Grace came down from her nap, sun kissed skin, wispy hair, saw the table and declared “we’re making fring rolls!” (She has trouble pronouncing her S’s sometimes :).) I felt a little internal victory. Her sleepy aura immediately became energetic. She climbed straight into her chair and with such gusto, knew just what to do. I could have told her to handle the “rice sheets” more delicately and line everything up in the center, nice and tight. But she was far too confident and immersed. In her mind she was doing everything right from start to finish. You’ll notice, some of them aren’t the most tidy looking but they all were delicious. Scroll down for the “recipe” and a few helpful notes. Round up some friends, some kids and give these summer rolls a try in the coming weeks. They are as good for you as they are tasty. Happy summer, happy cooking!
P.S. I’m in the market for a good dipping sauce recipe. Please share if you have any!
Shrimp, Peach & Veggie Summer Rolls
Generously serves 4 adults, 1 toddler & a baby
- For the shrimp:
- 1 lb fresh as you can get shrimp
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Handful cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime, sliced
- 2 kohlrabi, peeled and sliced
- 1 English cucumber cut into wide matchsticks (cut in half, then halve each half, then slice lengthwise)
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
- Red, yellow & orange bell peppers, sliced thin
- Handful of sunflower shoots
- Handful each of basil and mint leaves
- 3 free-stone ripe peaches, halved and sliced
- 1 pack of rice paper (you will need a big bowl of water to dip the paper in)
- Dipping sauce of choice (we had a sweet/spicy store-made mango coconut red pepper sauce)
- Peel, rinse and pat dry the shrimp.
- In a bowl combine shrimp, garlic, ginger, olive oil, salt and pepper. Give a good toss and let shrimp come to room temperature while marinating, about 20 minutes.
- Grill or sear shrimp on medium high-heat, about 2 minutes per side until firm, pink and easily coming loose from the pan. Toss with cilantro and lime. Set aside to cool or put in the fridge.
- Once the shrimp is cooled, lay all the vegetables, greens, herbs and shrimp out on a large surface.
- Fill a large mixing bowl with water and get a platter out to set your finished products.
- One at a time, dip your rice paper in the bowl of water just until it starts to get flimsy and soft. Gently lay it out flat on a plate and in the middle, add peaches, shrimp and vegetables of choice. If you are making these to eat on the go (great beach or camping food) drizzle a little sauce over the filling. Roll it up, tightly and gently as if you were forming a burrito. I fold the left and right curves in first to cover just the edges of the filling, then fold from bottom to top as tight as possible.
- Repeat until you’ve used up all the rolls or filling!
- Dip in sweet chili sauce, peanut sauce, soy sauce, whatever your heart and appetite desire.
- Most importantly, enjoy!
- You can do all the chopping the night before or earlier in the day when you have a few minutes to get it all out the way. Sit down at a table rather than standing over a counter.
- Shrimp can be cooked in advance and served cold.
- Go ahead and make a few for the little ones, since the ones they will “make” might not end up in tact. Make them incredibly small, tight and bite size. See images below. I did Grace’s (2.5) about the width of a medium carrot – small enough to hold and easily take a bite of.
- If you have a baby, steam some of the vegetables while you are chopping until soft enough to finger feed or puree with a touch of your favorite dipping sauce.
- These are great to make with friends and family. Folks can enjoy customizing theirs to their taste preferences and it gets everyone involved.
- Make a big batch to have on rotation for lunch or dinner.
- You can easily add or subtract to any of the above ingredient list depending on what you have or what you like/don’t like. We’ve done them with peanuts, papaya, pork, egg…so many options!
Mamma and toddler summer rolls
Note: The cucumber, kohlrabi, sunflower shoots, basil and cilantro all came from our super scrumptious CSA share run by an amazing friend, Jenn of Chickadee Farms. We look forward to receiving her delicious produce every week!