22 March 2012

The Certainly Not Perfect Egg Roll

Dear Friend,

            Many years ago while a freshman in college, I sat eating in a Chinese restaurant with my good friend Sue and listened to her grumble about the egg roll that she ordered.
            “ This has been processed and frozen,” she complained.
            “ How do you know?” I asked innocently.
            “ Well, just look at it!  Have you ever seen an egg roll rolled so perfectly?” she exclaimed.
            “ Actually Sue, I have to confess. I never saw an egg roll before,” I said looking a bit sheepish.
            “  Really Jude, you need to eat out more often,” Sue said forgetting her disappointment over her meal for a moment.
            Obviously Sue and I had very different backgrounds and eating out was considered a big deal in my farming family. 
            “ What are they supposed to look like?” I asked staring at the one lonely bite Sue took before pushing it to the side.
            “ Not like this.” she answered.
   Over time that memory stayed with me as did Sue’s friendship. Then one day I decided to try my luck at preparing a homemade egg roll after seeing a package of wrappers in the new fresh food market in town. I looked at the back of the package for a recipe and it did not appeal to me at all so I decided to create my own filling. It is as follows:
stir stir stir


then fold

the certainly not perfect egg rolls

Hot oven (very important) 425 degrees. Be sure it is preheated before putting in the eggrolls.
Spray a fry pan lightly with oil

1 head of Savoy cabbage, chopped
3 carrots large and grated. You can just chop them small as well.
1 pkg of firm tofu, crumbled
A handful of shitake mushrooms or any kind really, just be sure to finely chop them
About 10 oz of chopped spinach or as much as you like. It cooks down.

2TBs of soy sauce
2Tbs Maple syrup (most of the time I use a bit more)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger or ¼ tsp of dry ginger (you can use more but it will get spicy)

Add the cabbage and carrots to the fry pan over medium heat. Sauté until cabbage begins to cook down.  Stir often. Stir in the mushrooms and tofu. Lower heat, put cover on, and let it cook down for about ten minutes. Stir regularly. Remove cover and add the spinach. Stir until spinach is cooked. Add the soy sauce, maple syrup and ginger. Keep vegetables on simmer until all liquid is absorbed. Remember stir, stir, stir.

Let it cool. Prepare a cookie sheet by spraying it with oil, or pour a bit of oil on it and spread around. Now you are ready to wrap. Place a small amount in the center of the wrapper. Cross over back to front, then again side to side and one more turn. Moisten the end with a dab of water for it to seal.  Roll the egg roll in the oil on the cookie sheet ( you also could just spray the top of them)and bake for about fifteen minutes, turn over and then they only need about five minutes more. They should be golden brown and crispy. And that’s it.

The first time I made these, I took several to Sue and her love of eggrolls returned. I hope you love them too. Oh one more thing. I serve them with warmed apricot jam and soy sauce. Enjoy!



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