My most recent culinary adventure with the kids was making spring rolls.I was pretty sure the reaction from my three diners would be varied, but I tried it anyway. Summer tends to keep us outside playing until hunger sets in and we need food immediately, and these rolls come together quickly.
These could not be easier to make. I kept ours simple by only stuffing them with noodles, a couple of veggies and tofu. Mint from the garden made for a refreshing taste in contrast to the strong dipping sauce.
In my search for ingredients, Nature's Oasis was the only place that had spring roll "skins," or wrappers, in stock. I prepped the stuffing ingredients, which took only a few minutes.
The rice paper gets soaked in a wide pan of room-temperature water for a few minutes. I soaked four at a time because there were four of us rolling. I told the kids to lay them down in a diamond shape. They need to be kept damp, otherwise the wrappers stick together and are impossible to deal with.
The kids placed small handfuls of each filling onto their rice papers, then folded the bottom edge of the diamond onto the filling, fold in each side to enclose the filling, then roll them as tightly as possible. The papers are slightly elastic and stronger than you think. The kids had no problem rolling these up, though Clay needed a little help getting his tight enough. They were thrilled with their creations, and it was a very quick project. It didn't interfere with their playtime for long.
We made these spring rolls in the morning, stored them in the fridge, and pulled out the plate at dinner for instant gratification. Emma, 8, loved these. She is easy to please with food. Molly, 6, was not so easy. She emptied the contents out of her wrapper and ate them. Clay, 4, was proud that he had assembled a couple of the rolls, but eating them was not as enticing, though he did try - I think. I enjoyed mine, then Emma and I shared the leftovers the next day.
These spring rolls are satisfying and light for a summer appetizer. Try them with your gang for a ready-made snack or light meal.
Margery Reed Poitras has 10 years of experience as a professional chef and eight years experience as a mother.