Sunday, September 21, 2008

Autumn Rolls

I've decided to learn to sew. Actually, I've been wanting to learn, then I broke my leg and got trapped in the house for three months and counting (three month broken leg anniversary tomorrow!! Maybe I'll bake a cake!). So I thought what better time to learn to sew than when I'm stuck in the house with very little to do. Besides baking and cooking, all I do most of the time is sit on the internet, then play the Sims, then watch TV. Lately I've been watching a lot of Friends. I've been living a very boring life.

It took me a little less than three months to actually get a sewing machine, but finally, with the good advice of my dad, found a good looking one on Craigslist for very cheap. I had been considering getting a crappy, mostly plastic, bottom-of-the-line new one, since I can't exactly go shopping around to Goodwill and Salvation Army looking for a used one, because I had totally forgotten about Craigslist. I only use Craigslist to look at the 'pets' section. Thats where my love, Puff, came from. Friday Alex and I rented a Philly Carshare Prius (I want one) and drove to Jersey, where we bought a new laptop, and then drove back to Philly and went all the way to the opposite corner of the city to get my new sewing machine! It's the older kind that comes in a desk, with drawers to put things in, and it folds down into the desk. It weighs a ton. And Alex had never seen a sewing machine that folds into a desk, so he was amazed. It is pretty cool.

Yesterday I cleaned it off, opened it up and cleaned out the lint, and downloaded the entire manual. I love the internet. I threaded it, turned it on, and it works! So I'm playing around and hopefully I can teach myself how to make clothes. Otherwise, I'll just make a lot of pillowcases, cloth napkins, and curtains.

Also, I'm taking the train to Chicago and Milwaukee in a little less than two weeks, anyone have any food suggestions? It'll be a long train ride, but I'm excited about packing food for the train, and watching movies on my new laptop!

For dinner last night we roasted a duck that's been thawing in the fridge for a few days. I didn't do too much to it, just filled the cavity with herbs from the garden and salt and peppered the skin. For our vegetable and side, I made summer rolls, but I used a combo of raw and cooked vegetables, so I'm calling them autumn rolls. Since it is fall, finally, almost. It's cool enough that we can sleep with the windows open, although last night I ended up putting the air on because it was so loud in the street outside our window.

Summer/Autumn Rolls
makes 6
rice paper wrappers
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 cucumber
a big handful of cilantro and Thai basil (or regular), chopped
2 eggs
1 T gf soy sauce
2 T mirin, divided
a big handful of shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
2 handfuls spinach
1 T garlic
rice vermicelli

Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Put rice noodles (just a small amount) in a bowl, and when the water is boiling, pour most of it over the noodles (to cover) and let sit until noodles are softened, about 5 minutes. When softened, drain and then rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.

Beat the 2 eggs, then add 1 T mirin and the soy sauce. Heat a small pan, and add a little oil or butter. When hot, pour in the eggs, and swirl a little like if you were making an omelet. Cover the pan, and let cook a few minutes on medium-low heat until egg is fluffy and all the egg on the top is cooked. Slide onto a plate and stick in the fridge.

Heat another little bit of oil in a pan, and add the garlic, cooking for a minute or two. Then add the mushrooms, cook 3 minutes (medium heat) then add the other T mirin. Cook until the mushrooms begin to brown a bit, then transfer them to a plate and stick that in the fridge as well.

Using the same pan, put in the spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper, maybe some pepper flakes, and 1 T water, then cover and cook 1 to 2 minutes until just wilted and still bright green. Stick that in the fridge.

Cook the sliced onions in a little bit of oil until softened, and add to the collection in the fridge.

Once everything is cool to the touch, collect all your fillings and pour the reserved hot water (from boiling the noodles) into a wide, shallow bowl. Soften the rice paper wrappers in the water, then fill with a big pinch of each ingredient, and roll up, as seen here. Repeat, serve with sweet chili sauce.

For dessert we shared this funny chocolate bar from Hungary, called 'Happy Cows'.


  1. happy cows-- how cute!

    i used to have a sewing machine like that- brings back memories to hear you talk about yours!
    it's gorgeous btw

  2. Ooo, your sewing machine looks lovely! I remember when I learned to sew - my sewing teacher made us do paper sewing before we could move on to the little seam samples. Then, maybe we could make a pin cushion. hehe, it was fun! I hope that you enjoy leaning to sew!

  3. Anonymous11:23 PM

    Re: Chicago

    Depends on whether you'll have a car or not...

    For a complete Italian meal, made by an Italian family with 4 of 7 kids with celiac, try DaLuciano's. It's in the close-in suburb of River Grove. Google them, they have a website.

    In Milwaukee you should go to the gluten free grocery store, can't remember the name right now, google it, you'll find it.

    Any specific chicago questions, email me at rseuler at hotmail dot com. Lived there for nine years until a year ago.


  4. is that a Kenmore 10? I used to have one and it was of the best machines ever made.

    also, I'm GF and recently found your blog and have been in awe of your recipes. so amazing. I'm still adjusting (and eating a lot of Amy's frozen GF meals because I haven't fully learned to cook GF yet). I'm happy to find you online.

  5. I'm not sure what exactly it is, but I love it!
    Let me know if you want any advice or help with anything! I know going GF is really hard at first. My emails at the bottom of the page.