Monday, July 13, 2015

The Long and Winding Road to Egg Rolls and an Orange Apricot Dipping Sauce

July 7 - I had a rough night. I struggled to survive.  I cannot begin to express how absolutely awful it is to live with heightened depression and anxiety. Another "invisible disease"; for the most part I look okay, and even sound okay. Yes, I do use a cane much of the time, and that is something you can see, but you can't see the inner pain. I've been dealing with depression and anxiety my whole life, and right now is as bad as it has ever gotten.  I'm not sure which is more crippling - the chronic pain syndrome, or the depression and anxiety. I have an appointment with the psychiatrist today, and that is a good thing.

Until then, I will huddle in the corner of my couch, trying to figure my way out of this mess. (As it turned out, the only way out of the mess was to tell my psychiatrist what was going on and admit myself to a local psychiatric hospital.  Three days in a very special kind of hell.  But that's most certainly another blog post).

Today is supposed to be the day I conquer egg rolls.  So I put some hard boiled egg white on a very small roll, and called it breakfast.  Egg roll breakfast, get it? (Pathetic, I know).

So I researched recipes for egg rolls, and started mixing up bits and pieces from different versions and out of my feverish head) to come up with this, my very own egg roll recipe.

My recipe includes pork and shrimp.  It's best to prepare each of these first, then set them aside.  You can do these days in advance.  You can move to the next step and finish preparing the filling.  The only thing you cannot do in advance is fill and wrap the egg roll without frying it within a few minutes.

Ground Pork Char Siu Style
3/4 pound ground pork
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sherry
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
½ tsp Chinese five spice powder

Place the pork in a heavy skillet.  Sprinkle over the garlic, ginger, sugar, and five spice powder.  Turn the heat on to high and cook the pork breaking it up with a wooden spoon and stirring to combine the spices.  Lower the heat to medium and add the soy sauce, honey, sherry, and hoisin sauce.  Stir while cooking, until the liquids are evenly absorbed by the pork.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely before using in the egg roll.  I put it in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Marinated Cooked Shrimp

1/2  pound fully cooked salad-size shrimp (100-150 shrimp per pound), defrosted, rinsed, patted dry.  Next time, I am going to try with medium shrimp.
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon sherry
1/2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 tablespoon Hokan chili sauce with garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

With Six You Get Egg Roll 

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
canola oil for frying
4-5 cloves finely chopped garlic
equivalent amount finely chopped ginger
3-4 scallions, white and green parts sliced diagonally

2 red chili peppers (looks a bit like a red jalapeƱo), seeded, deveined, halved crosswise, cur into matchsticks

2 cups cole slaw mix 
1 cup bean sprouts
1-3.5 oz. box shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced thin
1/2 pound marinated shrimp (recipe above)
2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
3/4 pound ground pork cooked char siu style (recipe above)
1-1 pound package egg roll wrappers (about 20 wrappers)
Thai basil leaves
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a small bowl, combine the the oyster sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Combine the cornstarch with the shrimp and set aside. In a wok, heat several tablespoons of the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger, garlic, and minced onions, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the scallions, red chili peppers, and shiitake mushrooms. Stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add the cabbage and sprouts, stir fry for 2 minutes, then push to the side to expose oil on the bottom and add the shrimp.  Let the corn starch coating set on each side of the shrimp, then stir fry in with the vegetables.  Add the cooked pork and oyster sauce mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir fry 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

To assemble, place 2 or 3 Thai basil leaves just below the center of each wrapper, then spoon about 1/4 cup of the filling in a rectangular shape on top of the That basil. Fold in the ends toward the center about 1/4-inch. Then, beginning at the bottom, roll up the wrapper, like a jelly roll, using a little of the egg wash to seal the end tightly. Repeat until all of the egg rolls are done.

Fry the egg rolls in batches until golden brown, stirring occasionally for overall browning, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve warm with the Orange Apricot Dipping Sauce.

1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 1/2 tablespoons Gold's prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Hokan Chinese chili sauce with garlic

Stir the above ingredients together well. Serve with the egg rolls

Oh dearie me, it's been five days since I started this post - I apologize for my absence, but I had to take care of something rather important. But I'm back, and happy to have finished these egg rolls and a sauce to go with them.

I have shared the most personal experience of my brief hospitalization, out here publicly because I know my situation is not unique.  If you ever find yourself hitting bottom, contemplating a final solution, GET HELP.  And then, immediately develop a relationship with a psychiatrist and a therapist.  God bless the depressed, and God help us.  It's not easy feeling grief.

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