Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Unexpectedly Grateful Heart, part 9

Thai is my new favorite food, and the new Thai restaurant in Tupelo is awesome! Their presentation is lovely and the spices are perfectly balanced. Texture is just right. I'm very particular about presentation, spices, and texture. The icing on the cake is that they know about being gluten-free so they are very helpful with menu choices.

The only really odd thing about their menu is that the spring rolls have vermicelli listed as an ingredient. I couldn't imagine why anyone would put spaghetti in a spring roll, so I asked. "No," they assured me. "We don't have vermicelli in spring rolls.  We have shredded cabbage."  I guess it was some kind of very strange typo that they decided not to correct. 

Spring rolls are one of my new favorites, so I had springs rolls for lunch on Thursday and again for dinner on Friday. Actually, I had spring rolls for supper Saturday.  Sorta. I had bought some spring roll wrappers months ago at the Asian market in Atlanta and carried a recipe around for weeks. Saturday afternoon was the big day. I assembled my supplies according to the listed ingredients. I didn't have garlic so I substituted garlic powder. A chopped yellow onion substituted for julienned green onions.  Portobello mushrooms substituted for shiitake mushrooms. Shrimp substituted for tofu (who wants tofu anyway. Gross!) When I realized I didn't have bean sprouts either, I nearly despaired, but saved the day with chopped celery. It wasn't the same at all. I added some julienned carrots trying to help with the texture. This might not have been going in a good direction. There was no fish sauce in the cabinet so I used anchovy paste. It turned out that about the only ingredient I actually had was cabbage.  I had sugar too, but by that time I was so confused with all the substitutions, I accidentally forgot it. 
Once I had the ingredients all together, I read the next part of the recipe and realized I was supposed to stir fry it all separately. Well, I didn't. It was like a short cut, which, by the way, never works out too well for me. 

I had made such a mess of the ingredients that I moved on to wrapping them up. I'm not sure how you are supposed to wrap something as brittle as glass and as crunchy as a potato chip, so I soaked it in water. That makes it very sticky and I don't recommend it. At last, I had all the ingredients wrapped in one (and sometime two) wrappers. I'm not sure who thought up this food preparation technique, but I wonder if they were on drugs. This was insane. 

Once all this sticky wrapping was done, I had to fry them. Since I only learned how to fry food last week, that was also an adventure. I managed it, and only burned one side of one just a little. You couldn't see it at all if I kept the burned side down. 

Finally it was time to eat. I was sure I had plum sauce for dipping but, alas, it was actually this curry sauce. Totally not the same at all. You will not be surprised that I substituted apricot orange marmalade for that. 

Dinner time finally arrived and I could sample my hard work. They were actually pretty good. Ugly but tasty. What they were not was spring rolls. They were more like fried salad sticks dipped in marmalade. 

I sent Ryan the Wonder Son a picture of my spring rolls. 

"Mom, those don't really look like spring rolls", he text'd. As I look at them now, I am horrified. They look awful. That's because they are not really spring rolls. Just kidding!  They are really fried salad sticks! I have a great recipe for them. Let me know if you want a copy. 

Tonight, I am grateful for all the ingredients in my cabinets, adaptability, instant communication, and the ability to turn failed spring rolls into fried salad sticks in an instant. Tada! Yummy supper after all. 

What I hope for you is that you will look at the failures in your life and think about how those failures can be repurposed in such a way that you find good even in what looked hopeless. That's why I  didn't throw the failed spring rolls away. I could see something good on the other side. I hope you can too.