I love to cook.
I also love to eat.
Luckily for me, the two go hand in hand.
And that’s pretty epic.
But you know what’s even more epic? When I get to do what I love and share that with other people. Like what I’m doing here, right now on my blog with all of you. Whoever you are, I have no idea since likely only one percent of people who read these posts actually say something on my blog. But, that’s OK. I get it. I understand. We’re busy. I’m busy. I read lots of blogs – 55 to be exact. I just counted. That’s a hell of a lot of blogs to be reading, every day. But I do it, because I like to.
They provide me with inspiration and ideas and insight and wonder. And every once in a while I read something starkly compelling or discover something so delicious my eye mouth waters, or come across a photograph so beautiful I have to linger on it for a few minutes before moving on. Only then do I leave my measly little comment; my humble attempt to esteem the artist who put forth the excellent work at which I’m now oogling. And who knows if they read it. I don’t. But I leave it because I feel compelled to.
And speaking of being compelled to do something, I felt compelled to write this post.
This post is about spring rolls. Because spring rolls are freakin’ delicious. (censored for Jesus, my sorry) But it’s also about a lot more.
It’s about telling you what I love to do and that’s COOKING and EATING and LICKING ON ICE CREAM CONES and TAKING PICTURES and FINDING SALES AT THE GROCERY STORE and STARING DOWN RIDICULOUS PEOPLE LIKE MY EYES ARE PUNISHING THEM and EDITING PHOTOS UNTIL THEY LOOK AWESOME and INSTAGRAMMING WHATEVER I FEEL LIKE and SKIPPING LIKE A CHILD WHILE I RUN and DANCING TO TECHNO and FOLDING FRESH LAUNDRY and SCRATCHING MY BUTT JUST TO MAKE SURE IT’S STILL THERE AND NOT DOUBLED IN SIZE and LISTENING TO PREDICTABLE MUSIC and SPRINTING THE LAST HALF MILE and WRITING WITHOUT FILTERS and STARING AT THE SUNRISE LIKE IT’S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FREAKIN’ THING I’VE EVER SEEN.
And BLOGGING. Yes, I LOVE BLOGGING. But you know this.
But back to cooking.
This week, my friends Ben and Laura got engaged. Isn’t that great? I helped out in a small way by cooking them dinner. (Awesome, I made dinner. What’s the point of this story? I’m getting there.) The catch is, Laura was diagnosed with a whole slew of food allergies recently and now she can’t eat half the foods she used to because they’re making her sick and weak and tired.
Her days are drastically different now that she has to worry about everything she puts in her mouth, read every label at the grocery store, and 20-question every waitress in a restaurant about what’s in the food. Because if she eats something that’s on ‘the list,’ it can leave her feeling like death. And I think that sucks. I honestly can’t even imagine.
So what did her charming fiance do? He emailed me a list of all of the things she couldn’t have and asked me to create a meal for them that was completely safe for her to consume. So I dreamt up a menu so creative even I was impressed.
Homemade spring rolls with thai dipping sauce. Steamed broccoli with snow peas. Sauteed ginger chicken. Chocolate avocado pudding. Coconut vanilla ice cream. And stevia-sweetened mojitos. Not to brag or anything but everything was damn delicious. At least that’s what they told me. I just hovered over it for the hour it took me to prepare before jetting out of the house as they walked through the door.
And you know what’s awesome, besides the fact that she said ‘yes’? Laura cried. She cried because she was surprised, because she was happy, and because she was so overjoyed that she didn’t have to worry about what she couldn’t eat somewhere for the first time in months. She cried in relief. And that, made me cry (OK, not in front of anyone but more like in private at home a.k.a. while I’m writing this sappy post.).
I know she cried because I went to their engagement BBQ last night and got to hear the whole story from their eyes. And way more than the ‘thank yous’ and the momentary praise and recognition for being the group’s pseudo master chef, I was floored because they loved what I made.
That’s what this post is all about. It’s about telling you how exciting it is when you do something that you think you’re good at, that you love. And even if you perceive yourself as not being that great; when other people – or even one person – tells you they like what you’re doing it makes your freaking day. Nay, your month.
So here I am, riding my creative wave and telling you I don’t want to stop and I’m going to try my hardest not to. I’m going to try my honest best to keep making myself to do what I really love to do, because it matters. Even if it only matters to one out of 100 people, or one out of 1,000 people, or no one and just me – I’m going to keep doing it.
OK, now the recipe. Bravo if you made it through this entire post. And if you did, I’m giving you an internet hug because you deserve it. As well as a spring roll dipped in the best peanut butter sauce you’ll ever lay Asian-food-loving mouth on.
Spring Rolls & Peanut Dipping Sauce
1 cucumber, sliced in skinny strips
2 carrots, matchstick sliced
large bundle fresh basil
1 cup rice noodles, cooked
shrimp, cooked (optional)
2 big spoonfuls (creamy or crunchy) peanut butter
one healthy splash soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1-3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1-3 Tablespoons hot water
Method | I find Erin’s video tutorial for preparing spring rolls to be most helpful. As for the peanut sauce, whisk all the ingredients together until you get the consistency you desire. I prefer slightly thick but a little drippy. Everyone has their own preference on sweetness and spice – I like a good balance of both – so play with it until you get the flavor you like.
Eat. Pray. Love.
Ironic, but true.