Super Bowl time is a fun time to get together with friends and family and root for your favorite team, the team you have in the football pool, or just for the love of the game. It’s fun to look forward to your favorite Super Bowl fare of nachos and big sandwiches, but sometimes it’s also fun to just mix it up a bit.
Usually, by the end of January, regardless of whether it’s been fair weather, or cold and snowy, most people have had enough of the dark mornings and late afternoons, baarren trees, dull gray lawn and the cold. Holiday lights, the warm glow of candles, and the coziness of feeling like you’re hibernating until spring is really nice and warm, but even that gets old after a while.
Why not decorate the house with lighter, brighter colors — maybe with an island theme? Think of your favorite summertime beverage or look for some calypso music or your favorite summertime tunes while waiting for the game to start. Choose a menu that has some bright and sharp flavors that can conjure up some feelings that spring/summer is right around the corner.
My sister-in-law is Asian. She cooks a mean lasagna, a delicious chicken soup and pot pie and great spaghetti and meatballs — but her egg rolls, spring & summer rolls and Chinese chicken cabbage salad are to die for.
Here is my rendition of Vietnamese summer rolls and dipping sauces along with a few other recipes that puts a twist on usual Super Bowl fare and gives a taste of warmer, brighter days to come!
Vietnamese Summer Rolls
24 medium shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined and cooked
4 ounces dried rice stick noodles or rice vermicelli
16 (8-1/2-inch) round rice paper wrappers
1 cup or so of baby carrots cut into match sticks (2” x ¼ )
1 bunch fresh mint — chopped small
Fresh cilantro sprigs — chopped small
1 medium English cucumber, peeled and cut into 2” x ¼ sizes
Baby romaine lettuce leaves shredded
Sweet chili or peanut sauce
Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, and drain. Slice the shrimp in half, length-wise. Have all ingredients prepped, chopped and in prep bowls. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 2-3 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat. In a row across the center, place 3 or 4 shrimp halves, a small amount of carrot sticks, cucumbers, mint, cilantro, vermicelli and lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
As far as dipping sauces, you can either buy a sweet chili dipping sauce such as Blue Dragon Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce, some bottles are even made it with mango also, or something called Blue Dragon Vietnamese Dipping Sauce – Nuoc Cham which is a classic Vietnamese fish sauce with fresh chili, sliced carrots and garlic. You can also purchase a peanut sauce in the same section of your grocery store. Or you can try these recipes: