Friday, August 26, 2011

Video games with a side of cabbage and carrot egg rolls...

We have been without cold water, or a flushable toilet for about 36 hours.  I was beginning to really despair when I finally! got through to the building management company today.  Apparently there was a major pipe burst in the boiler room.  At the same time, repairs were happening in the apartment above ours.  No warning about the water being notice that there was an emergency and we'd be without water.  Just BLAMMO...  Well, thankfully, the water was all back on about 20 minutes after I hung up with the management company.  They also assured me that a contractor would be calling me about some other repairs that I've been pestering them about...fingers crossed that the contractor actually calls and can show up in the next few weeks!

Anyhoooo...with the water drama resolved, I was able to wash up a massive amount of dirty dishes, clean the counters, and get on with life.  JP didn't seem too bothered by the water issue, and primarily spent the last day and a half with his new video game, Deus Ex.  Since it was his birthday on Wednesday, I allowed him to stay up late and play the game as much as he wanted on that day only.

Before you run out and get this game for your kid, you should know that it is rated M - and with very good reason.  Of all the rated-M games that JP has expressed interest in, this one has by far been the most violent and bloody.  The online reviews that I read all did a poor job of expressing just how bloody this game can be, not to mention the swearing - more than I expected.  Before I allow JP to get any game rated T or M, I make him figure out why the games have those ratings, and to read multiple reviews, including those posted at Common Sense Media.  He has to convince me that the games are ok before I allow him to play them, or buy them.  I think we both weren't entirely prepared for Deus Ex.

That said, however, we talk frequently about video games and game violence, language, drug use, sexual themes, and all aspects of the games (and of movies...).  We talk about the fact that these are just games; they aren't real.  We talk about the fact that some people get so wrapped up in their games and in these fantasy worlds that they begin to obsess and become game addicts.  We talk about the pros and cons of gaming in general.  When was the last time you had a talk with your child about these types of things?  As a result of our discussions, my son has made up his own mind about some games being too violent or graphic.  He's told a friend, "Dude, I think you are a little too into this.  It's just a game.  We should take a break and do something else for a while."  Talk to your kids...they need to hear you.  Talk to your kids so that they are empowered to make smart choices when you aren't around.  Your kid may not want to hear it, but you need to talk to them anyhow...

Enough soap boxing...on to the cabbage and carrot egg rolls!  Originally, I had planned to make these for dinner last night, but with the water drama, that didn't happen.  And, I was so excited to have the water on this morning that I couldn't wait until dinner time to cook! These turned out so much better than I expected!  JP is allergic to soy sauce, and I don't like oyster sauce, plum sauce, or many other sauces that seem to be in or accompany many egg roll recipes.   So, this recipe is without those additions...  These came out tasting fresh and had just the right amount of crunch to go with the soft veggies inside.  I should also tell you that I am terrified of frying anything in a pan of oil, so I did more turning and fiddling than necessary while cooking these.

Amended to add:  I have been reading egg roll recipes all week, and although I used just what was in my own fridge, and took measurements, tasted and adjusted, etc along the way, I realized today that my mind was also guiding me along the lines of recipes I had read, in particular the peanut sauce recipe from Love Veggies and Yoga.  You can read the original recipe HERE.

Cabbage and Carrot Egg Rolls with Sunflower-Sesame-Ginger Dipping Sauce
1 package of egg roll wrappers (I used 8 out of the entire package of Nasoya brand wrappers.)
1/2 of a red cabbage (mine came out to about 3/4 of a cup)
1 large carrot, peeled (about 2/3 of a cup)
1/4 C sprouts (We had alfalfa sprouts on hand, and I packed the 1/4 cup.)
4 scallions, including green parts
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for frying (or your favorite type of oil)

Shred your cabbage and carrot.  Make sure the cabbage and carrot pieces are small enough that they won't rip your wrapper when you fold it up.  Dice the scallions.  I like to peel my carrot, and then just use the peeler to keep going and make thin curly strips from the carrot instead of bothering with a knife.  You could also grate the carrot.  If you haven't minced your ginger, do so now...peel the skin off first.

Add 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil to your frying pan.  Add all of your vegetables, including the sprouts and ginger.  Cook, stirring and turning frequently, until soft. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding salt or pepper, if you like. Set aside to cool.

Once your veggies have cooled, place an egg roll wrapper on the counter in front of you, fill and roll according to package directions (mine had a nice graphic on the back, Nasoya brand...available in our grocery's produce section).  

Pour a few Tbsp of olive oil in your frying pan, and gently place a few egg rolls in the hot oil, turning occasionally as they become golden brown and crispy.  I pour in just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and no more...I am way to chicken, and recall an incident involving a friend's sister being badly burned by spattering hot oil.  Once browned on all sides, set aside on a plate layered with paper towels to soak up any excess oil (I used so little oil there was not much to soak up!).

To make the dipping sauce:
1/3 C sunflower seed butter (or peanut or almond butter...whatever you prefer)
1/4 C maple syrup
1/4 C vinegar (just plain white vinegar works fine)
1/4 C sesame oil (the flavor really does make a big difference!)
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp chili powder (I found the sauce was a bit too sweet without the chili powder...the chili powder gives a little heat and kick)

Use a blender (I used my immersion blender) to combine the ingredients until smooth.  My sauce turned out very thick.  You could thin it with more syrup, vinegar, oil, or even just plain water.  Taste, and adjust seasoning.

Serve two or three egg rolls with a small dish of dipping sauce, and enjoy!

Our mail has been coming quite late so I don't have a mail call entry for today...

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