Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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An Adventure with Spring Roll Wrappers

Yesterday morning I laid out some frozen chicken to prepare for supper.  I didn't know what to fix yet, but there it  was, at 7:00 pm, thawed, on the counter.  This wasn't ordinary grocery-store chicken, but one of the unlucky roosters that were a product of my "I-want-to-incubate-eggs" experiment.  That experiment yielded more roosters than laying hens, so from now on I'll leave the incubating to the professionals and just purchase newly hatched girls.

So far my experience with these roosters is that they are TOUGH and the last couple of times I cooked one it was an all day thing in the crock pot and they turned out to be chicken and dumplings.  Even after cooking it all day long the breast meat just got bigger and bigger the more it was chewed!  So, my mind got out of the chicken-and-dumpling pot and spied the handy-dandy grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  There was some Chinese cabbage from the garden in the crisper, along with carrots harvested several weeks ago.  I'll share the recipe(s) I prepared, but the story is more about the wrappers themselves.

I don't eat out often, but when I do I like to eat things that I don't normally prepare at home.  Vietnamese food isn't something I make very often, but I had a dish once with the rice noodles and spring rolls that was delicious, so that's my inspiration for supper.  I bought a package of spring roll wrappers a while back and have been wanting to use them--here's my chance!

At 7:00 pm I ground the chicken and put it in a skillet with diced onion and some minced garlic (yes, I use the stuff in the jar), soy sauce and pepper.  I cut shreds of the cabbage and put it in the pan long enough to wilt,  then I took out enough of this mixture to make a few spring rolls.  I added chunks of onion, celery, carrot sticks and bigger slices of the Chinese cabbage to the pan of chicken.

I started a pot of water boiling to cook the rice noodles and pulled the spring roll wrappers out of the pantry.  Nice package.....

PENTAX Image

Once I got it open I couldn't decide what was packaging and what was the actual wrapper.  They were stiff and had embossed marks on them like an inner cover in a can or something.  See what I mean?

PENTAX Image

Okay, no instructions on the package so I go to the computer.  "Immerse in warm water for up to 30 seconds to soften" and then wrap your ingredients.  I've got the pot of hot water ready for rice noodles, so that seems easy enough.  I carefully dip the stiff wrapper into hot water so I don't burn myself and Voila!  It turns into something similar to wet plastic wrap and is folded up into a wad.  Okay, maybe the water is too hot.  I took a dinner plate and ran warm water from the faucet into a thin layer and laid a wrapper in the water for about 30 seconds and it softened up miraculously so I could roll up the ground chicken mixture and make a spring roll.  I fried them in a little oil and ate the rice noodles with the chunky mixture left in the pan.    At 8:15 I was cleaning up the dishes--see, it doesn't take that long to prepare fresh food INCLUDING grinding your own meat!

Of course this wasn't quite as tasty as the Vietnamese dish I had in a restaurant with my best friend, but I was in my jammies in my house ......that means a lot on a cold wintry night!

 

 
 

Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Fritters

We've spent most of our lives being told to "eat your vegetables" and now that we are, we're being told to "eat your green vegetables".  For years and years I tried to act as though I liked greens (spinach, turnip, chard, kale, mustard) in the cooked stage, but it was all an act.  Having been raised on canned food both at school and at home, greens were just a slimy mass that required vinegar poured on them to make them palatable enough (huh?) to go down.

In my opinion, anything that requires vinegar in order to make it palatable shouldn't be eaten anyway.  Enter fresh greens.......

Although I'm still struggling with the texture of a bowl of cooked, steamed sauteed or otherwise heated up greens, it is definitely getting better.  I actually lightly steamed/cooked some fresh kale in beef broth a couple of months ago and it was DELICIOUS!  I since haven't been able to duplicate the event.

The menu for supper was all lined out the other night, but something green was absent from the list, so I ventured into the garden, picked a small bunch of Swiss Chard, medium sized leaves, and headed back to the kitchen.

Here's the recipe:

9-10 leaves of Swiss Chard, medium size (about 2 cups cut into thin shreds)

2 small sweet potatoes (about 1-1/2 cups grated)

1 egg

1 Tablespoon oil

1 Tablespoon or so of flour 

a couple of teaspoons of honey

salt and pepper to taste

Put the oil in a large nonstick skillet and turn on medium heat.  Mix the grated sweet potato and shredded chard in a bowl and add the egg and flour, honey and salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.  Drop by big spoonfuls onto the pan (oil should sizzle when mixture is added) and mash out into fritters about 4" in diameter.  Let them cook on one side until browning and crispy then flip over and finish cooking on the other side.  Drain on paper towels and enjoy hot!  Actually, when I cleaned up the pan most of the oil was still in there.

Yet another yummy way to enjoy those all nutritious green veggies!

 

 
 

"New Way" with Swiss Chard

I say "new way", but someone had to dream it up--I love Allrecipes.com and when I'm trying to find a different way to prepare a veggie that's the first place I look.  This recipe is Baked Swiss Chard with Feta Cheese and actually I bought some feta cheese last trip to the grocery store.  So, here goes:

1 bunch of Swiss Chard, stems and leaves separated

1 onion, chopped

4 large garlic cloves (I added this part and left them whole)

1 TBS olive oil

salt and pepper

2 TBS olive oil

4 oz crumbled feta cheese

Wash the swiss chard and tear the stems out of the leaves; put these in a bowl with chopped onion, peeled garlic cloves, and toss with 1 TBS olive oil.  Place on an oiled baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until onion is starting to brown.

Toss the leaves in the 2 TBS olive oil (I only used 1 TBS here) and salt and pepper to taste.   Careful with the salt; the cheese is pretty salty in itself......Place the leaves on top of the stems and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese (I only used 2 ounces instead of 4) and put the pan back in the oven for 15-20 minutes longer,

 

or until some of the leaves are starting to get crispy on the edges.

YUMMY!

 
 
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