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Cold, rainy day in January leads to... Egg Rolls???

You bet! ...i could eat chinese food every other day ( the other ones, i eat mexican ) ... if you know me at all, i've got a 'fried' tooth- right next to my 'sweet' tooth- i LOVE egg rolls! but to buy those frozen "egg rolls" at $4.50 a box is bogus... (and how DO they pack so many preservatives into such a measly little roll??) those msg-laden frozen nuggets are just a waste of space. yes, they are easy. but oh so gross...

You may need to beef up your 'international pantry' for this one... If you're like me, you've got most of the usual asian condiments... you'll need:

fish sauce
oyster sauce
rice wine vinegar
soy sauce
sambal chili paste 
five-spice powder
toasted sesame oil

I also keep an assortment of hot mustards,  sweet and sour sauces and chili pastes on hand

1- 2   (15-count) packages egg roll wrappers
1 lb meat of choice- ground chicken, pork or shrimp (or a combo)
1 small head of napa cabbage- shredded, washed and spun dry
3-4 large carrots, peeled and grated
2 bunches scallions, sliced on the bias (diagonally)
1 package of bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
4 stalks of celery, sliced thinly on the bias
2 T sesame seeds
two-inch peice of fresh ginger, finely minced
5 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 tsp chinese five-spice powder
pinch of lemongrass powder (i use penzey's)
4 T soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
3 T oyster sauce
2 tsp sambal paste
2 T rice wine vinegar
2 T sesame oil

oil, for frying
1 egg, for egg wash
 Preheat large wok.

Add sesame oil to wok. Add garlic and ginger- saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add choice of meat and cook through. Add the 5-spice and lemongrass powders, the sauces, chili paste and vinegar. Heat through. Put in remaining vegetables in and saute until cooked through, but tender. Sprinkle in sesame seeds. Drain and transfer to a large bowl or rimmed baking sheet- spread filling out and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Make an egg wash out of 1 egg and 2 T water.

Lay egg roll wraps out one at a time and fill with 1/2 cup of cooled filling. brush 2 adjoining edges with egg wash and roll up, starting with the un-egged corner closest to you. tuck in sides and roll up, firmly but gently,  to seal.
Make sure you keep a damp towel draped over unused wraps to prevent them from drying out.
-also keep finished unfried rolls covered-
-line a rimmed tray with paper towel and put a cooling rack on top-

Wipe out wok and preheat frying oil to just under 400 degrees. CAREFULLY slide one egg roll into hot oil, then another, not frying more than 2 at a time to prevent crowding and to keep an even oil temperature.
Using long tongs, turn roll over, gently holding it to brown other side.  transfer cooked roll to prepped cooling 'rack'...  Continue with remaining rolls...

You can freeze the rolls after they're completely cooled- reheat in 375 degree oven.

I like to make a simple sweet and sour sauce:
equal parts white sugar and rice wine vinegar
& 1 T hot pepper flakes

Combine in small saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. turn off heat and add:
2 inch chunk of cucumber, finely chopped
let cool and serve with egg rolls...
 (its also good on rice noodles with some chopped roasted peanuts...)




Carmelized Onion Bread Pudding a day old baguette?? you should try this... SOOO tasty with a good ribeye and some haricot verts, OR by itself as a meal with a salad... you can use any kind of bread you have on hand, to suit your taste-i also love using croissants for this, it plays well with the sweet onion... mmm, & NO calories  ;)

Start by chunking the bread into large cubes... let dry on a cookie sheet for a couple of hours... (you'll end up needing about 8 cups of bread total...)
3 large yellow onions, sliced thin
4 T butter
3 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. parsley
salt and pepper
2 c whole milk
2 eggs
2 cups of a combo of two of the following; shredded fontina, swiss, mozzerella, provolone... any good melting cheese- i like a good 'stinky' fontina with the onions

Saute the onions in the 4T butter on medium heat, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Whisk together the herbs with the milk and eggs, season with salt and pepper.
Combine the 8 cups of reserved bread with the herbed milk mixture. Add the cheeses. Spread into a ceramic casserole dish.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, covering with foil if the top starts to brown too fast.

Let sit for 10 minutes before serving...