Dinner Without Flames - Apron Diaries Blog at Allrecipes.com - 98110

Apron Diaries

Dinner Without Flames 
May 27, 2009 10:35 pm 
Updated: Jun. 8, 2009 4:52 pm
I didn't cook dinner. I chopped and I sliced and I rolled, but at no time did fire come into it. Not that I have anything against fire. Fire is good. It certainly makes eating most animal protein less creepy. And truth be told, one component of my dinner came into contact with heat at some point before I bought it. But someone else dealt with that part. I just paid for the convenience.

I did this to see if I could make dinner without turning on the oven, the stove, or even the outdoor grill. And I wanted something more interesting than a main dish salad. So I stopped at the store on the way home and picked up cooked shrimp, a mango, and an avocado. I already had lettuce and asparagus at home that I knew I had to use up. And I had a pack of Vietnamese rice paper wrappers that had been sitting in my pantry ever since that day in the distant past when I picked them up on a whim at the Asian grocery.

So I made fresh spring rolls with two dipping sauces, and felt mighty proud of my achievement. Now if only I could get my rolls to look pretty. Oh well. Practice, practice, practice.

I looked at lots of spring roll and lettuce wrap recipes on this site, and here's what I came up with:

18 Vietnamese rice paper wrappers, 8.5" round
12 ounces cooked medium shrimp
1 avocado, sliced
36 thin asparagus spears, blanched
1 bunch mint from my garden, thinly sliced
Lettuce leaves (I used a ruffled red leaf variety)

Dip one rice paper wrapper into warm water until it softens, about 15 to 20 seconds. (I used a 10" skillet and replenished the warm water when it got cool). Lay the damp wrapper flat on a damp dinner plate. Working from the left edge of the wrapper to the mid-point, place three shrimp in a line. Cover shrimp with a slice of avocado, two asparagus spears, and a generous sprinkle of mint. Top with lettuce so the ruffle is towards the edge of the wrapper. Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper over the filling, fold the right edge over, then roll up into a cylinder.

Serve immediately with Mango Sauce (made ahead of time from this brilliant recipe by Ryan Nomura, with whom I am now secretly in love on the strength of this sauce alone) and a hot chili dipping sauce (try the one from this gorgeous recipe by Paula. Give her spring rolls a try sometime, too.)

Now here's the thing. I only got my share of spring rolls because I happened to snag three for a photo. By the time I got back to the table, my husband and teenage son had wolfed down the rest. I'll take that as a compliment.

Now it's your turn to share your favorite no-cook meals, and I don't mean take-out. I'm looking for hot weather, summertime dishes that hit all the right spots.

Thanks for the visit, and happy cooking!
Fresh spring rolls with mango and chili sauces
Photo Detail
Spring rolls before the wild rumpus began.
Photo Detail
May 28, 2009 5:00 am
pretty pictures! they look good = )
May 28, 2009 9:08 am
That looks really good. I love spring rolls and honestly that is one thing I just never, ever think to make. It's going to be hot here again today so maybe I'll keep the kitchen cool and do that. You had me stumped and I had to really think about a non-cooking dinner and then remembered when all the kids were home sometimes we would do "toothpick dinner". Anything that could be pulled out of the fridge and cut up small and jabbed with a toothpick was fair game. For instance, any leftover chicken, pork chops, steak, cheese, fruits, veggies, etc. I would put out an assortment of dipping sauces, or whipped cream(for the fruit), yogurt, whatever was in there that could be eaten cold. I remember the kids thought that was a hoot.....and the best part....very little clean-up & you cleaned out the leftovers in the fridge.
May 28, 2009 9:25 am
Hi Avon. That "toothpick dinner" idea sounds like big fun! Did you ever see a movie called "Mermaids" where the mom would make nothing but hors d'oeuvre for dinner? She (Cher) would be having this raging argument with her daughter (Winona Ryder) while she's putting together a platter of tiny tidbits with toothpicks stuck in. Then she slams it down on the table and that's dinner. Hysterical!
May 28, 2009 9:27 am
Hi aeval. Thanks for the compliment. I have to do a lot more practicing before I can get my rolls not to look like little unmade beds. At least I get to eat the practice pieces.
May 28, 2009 10:02 am
I love spring rolls, it looks delicious!
May 28, 2009 10:25 am
I don't have many meals that don't require any cooking, oven, stove, barbecue, etc. Does stopping at the store for cheese and wine count? I do a lot of layered salads with all the veggies I have on hand. They usually turn out so big you don't need anything else!
May 28, 2009 11:19 am
Wow, your rolls look yummy, yummy, yummy... I sometimes slide a slice of mango in mine too...Thanks, foodelicious, for inspiring me to make some soon!
May 28, 2009 5:25 pm
Peanut butter and jelly? LOL...You spring rolls look and sound delicious!
Jun. 2, 2009 2:35 pm
What a great idea. I never think to make spring rolls. For no cook nights I usually do the chicken/Greek salad, or shrimp/Ceasar salad, or we do salsa/guac/hummus with bunches of chips/crackers/flatbreads and veggies,olives, cheeses & fruit. There use to be make your own sub nights, but since we left the east coast we can't find real Italian cold cuts.
Jun. 8, 2009 4:52 pm
Hi MarknLeann - I like your ideas for grazing. I could eat like that almost every night. Thanks for the visit, and I hope you find those Italian cold cuts or something just as satisfying.
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Two working adults and a kid in school. Someone has to cook and that someone is usually me. *sigh*
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