Let’s Cook Spring Rolls!

(photos taken by Ashleigh Longtine; doodles by me)

(photos taken by Ashleigh Longtine; doodles by me)

Ah, yes.  The spring roll.  My family loves these delicious fried wonders.  We don’t go out to eat much, so if we want them, we usually have to make them ourselves.  I’m in no way a professional, but this is my favorite thing to make/eat, so I thought I’d share it! I’ve adapted this recipe from here.


 

Here's what you need

Here’s what you need:

4 ounces ground pork

 Marinade:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Everything Else:
1 medium carrot
4 water chestnuts, fresh or canned
1 green onion
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sherry
2 tablespoons chicken stock
a few drops sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Oil for deep-frying and stir-frying (have one 48 oz. bottle just to be safe)
9-12 egg roll wrappers (spring roll wrappers work too, but grocery stores in the area never seem to have them)

I did two batches of this recipe for my family, which yielded 19 spring rolls.  (The five of us devoured all of them in one night.)  All the ingredients were things we either had laying around the house, or got in local grocery store.  If you can’t find the napa cabbage, or just want to speed up the process, you can replace the cabbage and carrot with coleslaw mix.


First, put together the marinade for the pork so we can get that soaking while we chop veggies.  Put soy sauce and cornstarch in a plastic bag and mix. Then put the pork in.  I squeeze it around a bit to get the marinade mixed in with the meat.  Then stick it in the fridge.  We’ll leave it there until we need it again.

So now we’ll take care of the vegetables.  Peel and grate the carrot, and cut up your green onion.  Finely chop up the cabbage and water chestnuts.  Mince ginger.  (Quick note on ginger: you only use a little for this recipe, but you  can save the rest of the ginger by freezing it.  It keeps for months!)  You’ll also want to rinse out and drain your bean sprouts.

A quick note on water chestnuts:

A quick note on water chestnuts:

It’s okay if you don’t buy whole water chestnuts.  I just stack slices up until it looks like it might be the size of one water chestnut and then chop them up.  It’s usually somewhere between three to five slices that I’ll count as one water chestnut.

Here's all my veggies together, except the bean sprouts

Here’s all my veggies together, except the bean sprouts


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Now get out a small bowl and mix together the oyster sauce (the stuff smells nasty, but it adds good flavor, I promise!), sherry (the alcohol cooks out), and sesame oil.  After that’s all mixed up, whisk the cornstarch in.  Now set this aside.  We’ll need it later.


 

Take out a large sauté pan (a wok works too) and put about two tablespoons of oil in it.  Once the oil is hot, remove the pork from the marinade and place it in the pan.  Sauté it until it’s cooked through and no longer pink.  Take it out, set it aside, and wash out the pan.

Yay cooked pork!

Yay cooked pork!


 

Add about a couple tablespoons of oil.  Now put the ginger in and sauté until it smells yummy.  This goes pretty quick, so have the rest of your veggies on deck.  Once it smells like yummy ginger, put the rest of the vegetables in the pan and sauté.

Don't forget your bean sprouts in the sink.  I did that once.  It was sad.

Don’t forget your bean sprouts in the sink. I did that once. It was sad.

Sauté all the vegetables together and until they all smell  good and have all wilted a little bit.  Now push them to the sides of the pan.

One veggie ring to rule them all.

One veggie ring to rule them all.

Go get that small bowl of sauce and pour its contents into the center of your newly made ring of veggie-wonderfulness.  Stir the sauce until it thickens, and then mix it in until it coats the veggies.

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Stirrin’

Now mix in the pork.

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Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool a little before you get around to filling the wrappers.

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In the meantime, get the stuff you need to fill the wrappers.  A clean surface, the wrappers themselves, a tablespoon, and a small cup of water.

Once it’s cool enough to work with, position a wrapper in front of you so it looks like a diamond.  Spoon about two tablespoons of filling straight the center of the diamond (don’t worry, the animation below will help clear this up a bit).  Dip a finger in the water and get it a little wet.  Run it along the top two edges of the diamond.  Take the bottom and wrap it up over the filling.  Fold in one side and then the other.  Roll that sucker up, the water on the edge should seal it.  Set it aside, and repeat this until you’ve used all the filling.

How to roll a spring roll.

How to roll a spring roll. (My style.  Because again, I’m no pro.)

Don’t let the filled spring rolls touch each other, as they have the annoying habit of sticking to each other, and then rip open when you try to pick them up again.

This was my first one I filled.

This was my first one I filled.


 

Now for the fun part.  Clean out your pan once more, and pour in oil until it’s about half an inch to three quarters deep.  Keep in mind that oil gets super-hot and is also flammable, so keep an eye on it.  I also keep a candy thermometer in so I can have an idea of when it might be a good idea to turn down the heat a bit (once it starts nearing 400 degrees I tend to try to get it to calm down).  Once the oil’s hit 200 degrees, I start putting the spring rolls in.  This is mostly because I get impatient.  It should be hotter than this, but I start at 200 because at this point I am starved.

Space them out so they don’t touch each other.  

Space them out so they don’t touch each other.  They like their personal space.

I also recommend using tongs to lower them in.

“I wonder why you don’t use tongs,” my dad muttered.

“Because I am really stupid, that’s why,” I declared as I continued to plop spring rolls into the crackling oil using only my fingers.

“Well, that makes sense,” he responded, resigned to whatever fate I might have brought upon myself.  So basically, don’t be stupid like me.

Keep your spring rolls frying until they are a delectable golden-brown.  They’re probably not completely submerged in oil, so be sure to turn them over so the other side can fry too.  Pull them out with metal tongs when they’re done (believe me, I didn’t use my fingers for that, otherwise I wouldn’t be typing this now) and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.  Repeat until you’ve finished all the spring rolls, turn off the heat, and let the oil cool down.

Et voila!  You have yourself some amazingly yummy spring rolls that are practically ambrosia.  You may want to let them cool down a minute or two before eating them.  It’s a good bit of work, but I think you’ll find it’s worth it.

 

(photos taken by Ashleigh Longtine; doodles by me)

Here is a sweet and sour sauce recipe that is extremely easy that you could throw together while frying up the rolls, if you’d like something to dip them in.  (Just don’t lean over the pot when it’s super hot and get vinegar fumes in your eyes and jerk back, coughing.  “Wow, that was entertaining,” my dad laughed as I blinked away the pain, “like slapstick.”)

 

“One and One Is Three!” Ohio Machine and Skyline Chili Announce Partnership

Machine Gets Motivated To Score Double Digit Goals For Their Fans

The Ohio Machine signed a new partnership with Skyline Chili it was announced today by Machine President & General Manager John Algie. The Machine and Skyline Chili will run the One And One Makes Three promotion at all Machine home games, rewarding fans for the team’s on-field performance.

As part of the partnership, the One And One Makes Three promotion rewards Machine fans in attendance at home games with a free 3-Way from Skyline Chili every time the Machine score 11 goals or more in a home game. The free 3-Way offer is good at all Columbus area locations with additional purchase. Through the new promotion, Skyline Chili becomes the first Ohio Machine partner to reward Machine fans in attendance with on-field performance-based giveaways.

“We are excited to partner with such an iconic Ohio-based brand,” Algie said. “Creating a giveaway around the team’s performance takes our fan experience to another level and I know our fans will be cheering for Skyline Time each and every game.”

“Skyline Chili is proud to be a bigger part of the community that we love and we are looking forward to our exciting new partnership with the Ohio Machine,” said Joe Dominiak, Senior VP of Franchise Operations for Skyline Chili.   

In addition to the One And One Makes Three promotion, Skyline Chili will free Cheese Coney offer on every Machine Game Day Roster to be distributed to all Machine fans upon entry to the stadium. Free Cheese Coney offer is good at any Columbus area locations with additional purchase.

Full season, half season, flex plan and single game tickets for the Machine’s 2014 season are now on sale. Season tickets to the Machine’s 2014 season range from General Admission at $92 to a Field Level Box at $2,400 and include seven regular season home games plus a 2014 MLL playoff game. Information on 2014 Machine tickets can be found at www.theohiomachine.com/tickets. 

Editors Note: “Yum!”

Concord Township: Set Sail for Scenic Scioto

Coyote at the Ohio Wildlife Center
Coyote at the Ohio Wildlife Center

Concord Township – Cross Section of America!

Even if you don’t dock your boat at the Leatherlips Yacht Club, you can still cruise down both sides of Concord Township in your stylin’ set of wheels.  Spring is the perfect time for a windows-down, radio-up kind of drive.

The Scioto River cuts right down the middle of Concord Township, flanked by state routes 745 and 257 on either side.  The community of Bellpoint is in the north, Rathbone is in the middle and Shawnee Hills holds strong in the southern part.  The Delaware County part of Dublin is at the southern tip. [Read more…]

Maple Syrup Festival

Maple Syrup Festival

It’s one of the early signs of spring in Delaware County – the annual Maple Syrup Festival at Camp Lazarus put on by the Boy Scouts of America – Simon Kenton Council. The temperature this past Saturday got up to nearly 50 degrees, and you could tell people were itching to get out of their homes and enjoy the sunshine after a long and brutal winter.

For a $5 admission and $5 all-you-can-eat pancakes, it’s an event filled with entertainment for the whole family. Ironically, the festival’s namesake (Maple Syrup) was in short supply. The Boy Scouts were proud to explain the syrup-making process, and it involves a winter that has frequent daytime temperatures above 40 degrees, and nights below freezing. Since our Central Ohio winter didn’t start seeing daytime temperatures above 40 until this past week, the sap just wasn’t running enough in time for the festival. By opening weekend only three gallons of syrup had been tapped.

Maple Syrup Festival

Winding your way through the campground you were likely to see visions of yesteryear and how the early settlers would have lived. Kids were happy to ride in a horse-drawn carriage, visit a Blacksmith, cut and brand their own piece of wood, churn butter, shoot BB guns, throw tomahawks and much more!

Maple Syrup Festival

Maple Syrup Festival

Maple Syrup Festival

Maple Syrup Festival

Maple Syrup Festival

Maple Syrup Festival

Maple Syrup Festival

Two other presentations that were not to be missed included a firing of an historic cannon and Native American dancing.

Maple Syrup Festival

Maple Syrup Festival

The Simon Kenton Council has things down to a science at this point since this is their 27th year for the annual Maple Syrup Festival. Program Director Ken Ruppel gives much credit to the 175 individuals who volunteer their time to make it all possible. It was clear that the volunteers enjoyed themselves as much as the families enjoyed attending.

To view more photos from the event, visit my Flickr page and scroll away!

 

Experiencing Delaware’s newest legend, Son of Thurman

 

Delaware’s newest restaurant, Son of Thurman, is now open for business! My family and I went last Friday night, their second day open, to try it out.

We have never ventured down to the original Thurman Cafe in German Village, so we weren’t totally sure what to expect from this experience. I had kept track of a few of the improvements via the Son of Thurman facebook page, but it doesn’t compare to the first time you walk into a new renovated space. [Read more…]

Meals On Wheels will not be delivered Tuesday, January, 7 2014.

The Council for Older Adults, which serves senior citizens in the Delaware County Ohio geographical area,  has canceled all “Meals On Wheels” deliveries due to the inclement weather for Tuesday, January, 7 2014.

 

 

 

 

Sandusky Street Through The Eyes Of a 4 Year Old.

Caitlyn leading the Sandusky Streettour.

Meet your local Sandusky Street Tour Guide: Caitlyn

The the Delaware, Ohio Tour Begins!

My daughter is a typical four-year old. She loves Pizza. She loves to paint. She loves when you read a story to her. For the longest time, I would pack up the car and head down to Columbus to hit up the big brick and mortar shops to give her the “Saturday with Daddy” lineup of said good food, books and all around Daddy-Daughter fun. As I began my journey in discovering the city and county I live in, it dawned on me…we can do all of that right in our own home town. If my daughter could have it her way, she’d follow this line up every day. I hope you enjoy the real journey my daughter and I took on the weekend of October 26th.

Amato’s Woodfired Pizza

Amatos two

The pizza here is awesome, but today I’m here for dessert

Our first stop is Amato’s Woodfired Pizza. Situated right on the corner of Sandusky Street and William Street, Amato’s serves up simply fantastic wood fired pizza and other items that I literally dream about. I’m pretty sure that everyone has “that” pizza shop wherever they are from. Are you from Chicago? It’s probably Giordano’s or some other fine deep-dish place. Do you hail from Niagara Falls New York? Then you probably have a soft spot for Buzzy’s Pizza. For me, Amato’s is the pie that represents all of central Ohio. If I ever move away, this will be the pizza I miss and plan trips to come back for. Yeah, it’s that good.

The Tiramisu has me in a trance

The Tiramisu has me in a trance

But you knew that already. Amato’s also serves up some of the best desserts that your taste buds can desire. Lucky for my daughter, Daddy loves dessert. On this day, as Caitlyn finished up her pepperoni pizza, I began to work on a fantastic Tiramisu that I fell in love with at first bite. It was just the perfect mix of creamy and coffee goodness layered on top of soft lady fingers that sadly did not last long enough for my gluttonous appetite. The fun doesn’t stop there. The Cannoli we had reminded me of my favorite Cannoli from my college days in Niagara Falls. Caitlyn approved of all, and Daddy was quite full.

 The Bare Bowl

The Bare Bowl

The Bare Bowl

After two quick street crossings and we found ourselves on the east side of Sandusky Street in front of one of the best arts & craft activity places I’ve ever seen for kids (of all ages): The Bare Bowl. The Bare Bowl offers an all inclusive create your own experience that my daughter loves returning to time and time again. The idea is simple enough. You start by selecting a piece of pottery you want to paint, usually plates, bowls, mugs and things of that nature, but they also offer ornaments for Christmas and other neat designs. The price includes all paint and design stamps you want, plus the glaze. T

Painting Mugs: Best way to pass a Saturday in Delaware Ohio

Painting Mugs: Best way to pass a Saturday in Delaware Ohio

here’s no time limit, no studio fees. They also offer birthday parties as well! $25 bucks reserves the date. Then you pick the price range for the ceramics you want, and they put them on the table for your kids to paint however they wish. You can even bring your own cake, and do presents there.

Caitlyn selected a mug for her Grandmother that lives in Texas, “Abuela”. My mom loves everything

The Bare Bowl’s holiday themed window

The Bare Bowl’s holiday themed window

Caitlyn makes for her, so when her birthday came up I knew this would be the perfect thing that my daughter could make for her. Caitlyn smiled and laughed as she used six different colors to paint the inside and outside of Abuela’s mug. Once we were done, we used a blow dryer to make sure the paint was dry, and then handed it off to the staff behind the counter. Seven short days later, our beautiful glazed mug is ready to mail to Texas!

Bare Bowl Mug 3

The Finished Product. Perfect!

Beehive Books

Bee Hive Books: Your new favorite local bookstore

Bee Hive Books: Your new favorite local bookstore

Crossing Sandusky once more to the west side, we came to what is quickly becoming my favorite book store: Beehive Books. Beehive Books reminds me of “The Shop Around The Corner” from the movie You’ve Got Mail. It’s your local book store, filled with warm smiles, fantastic coffees and tea, and book offerings for all ages and styles. Nearly all of my downtown Delaware explorations begin and end at Beehive Books and not just because of the convenient parking lot in the back. Beehive a great selection of new books as well as what I would consider some of the comfiest couches and chairs in Delaware County.

Talk about selection!

Talk about selection!

Caitlyn loves to come in here with me to browse for new books in the kids section, where my Fiancé has a soft spot for the café in the front of the store. There’s always something happening at Beehive Books. Book signings, poetry readings, you name it. This is a place you can relax, and enjoy the treasure that is a locally owned bookstore. Not that there’s anything wrong with the big stores, but I’ve grown very fond of the little shops that could. Beehive is a true gem.

Something Sweet Coffee & Bakery

Bonus time! Something Sweet is the new coffee home on the corner of Sandusky and William. This is the place where I had the best Pumpkin Spice Mocha I have ever had, hands down. So next time you stop by the new Barley Hopsters, or grab a bite at Amato’s, give the Northeast Corner a shot and enjoy a great cup of Joe.

Something Sweet Coffee & Bakery on the corner of Sandusky and William Street

Something Sweet Coffee & Bakery on the corner of Sandusky and William Street

 

 

Boy Scout Troop 61 Lasagna Dinner Fund Raiser

Wednesday 11/13/13 5-7 pm Asbury UMC Boy Scout Troop 61 is hosting a lasagna dinner.

This is a monthly event held on the 2nd Wednesday of every month through May.

Donations are accepted for dinner and all proceeds go to fund the troop throughout the year.

Asbury United Methodist Church is located at 55 W. Lincoln Ave.

Try Vito’s Tonight!

Mike Shaw knows his wine. And as the owner of downtown Delaware’s Vito’s Wine Bar, he ought to. When asked how many bottles of wines he has in the store, he answered “135” without a beat.

And liquor?

“Three bourbons, 15 varieties of scotch, and seven Irish whiskeys.”

What about best your cocktails?

“Manhattans are our best sellers by far, with Old Fashions in a close second.”

Shaw’s employees are quick to add that the Sangrias, Margaritas and Lemon Drops are also top notch, and made with freshly squeezed fruits every day, too!

Vito's wine selection

Employee Austin shows off one of Vito’s 135 bottles of wine.

As a beer drinker myself, I had to know if there were any beers on tap. I was happy to see Stella, Moerlein’s Exposition Lager, Stillwater’s Saison, and Iron Fist Brewing Co.’s Stout.

The beers are top notch, but it’s the cuvée that really makes the Vito’s experience. If you haven’t experienced it, the cuvée is a big thing in the self-serve wine world. It consists of a climate controlled station that holds up to four wine bottles and dispenses based on the vino’s preference of a taste, half a glass or a full glass.

VitosCuvee

Vito’s has three cuvée stations, and Shaw trades out the varieties about every two weeks depending on the wine’s availability and popularity. The entire system operates with just a card, and the push of a button. The card can be purchased at $20 to start, can be spent over any period of time, and is refillable.

Shaw opened Vito’s in 2011 and it has been a consistent part of the downtown atmosphere ever since. With a beautiful make-over to an otherwise plain space, it was quick to attract the eye of Main Street Delaware and won a Design Award within the first year of its opening. Vito’s also hosts musical entertainment on a semi-regular basis and has two large flat-screen televisions.

It’s obviously easy to see yourself spending quite a bit of time at Vito’s watching a game on the big screen and sipping an Old Fashioned, so order a bite of something sweet or savory to satiate your appetite. The flatbreads or artichoke dip are great to share, but you’ll want to save the chocolate molten lava cake with caramel and sea salt all for yourself.

If you haven’t been able to make it to Vito’s yet, or if this article has given you a craving that you can’t curb, it’s perfect timing! Tonight (Thursday, October 24) Rob Rehm, owner of Redde Hedde Farms, is planning a craft beer tour through three of Delaware’s top craft beer stops. The tour begins at Barley Hopsters at 6 o’clock, then will migrate to Vito’s and Staas over the course of the night. You already know what I think of Staas (like a boss!), so I’m definitely in on this! I hope to see you tonight, too.

Keep your eyes to DelawareO for more from me on Barley Hopsters and their move into the new location at 1 North Sandusky!

VitosStainedGlass

Fall Family Activity Roundup!

One of my daughters in the hay maze at Miller's Country Gardens last year.

One of my daughters in the hay maze at Miller’s Country Gardens last year.

Fall is here!

I can’t say that fall is my favorite season– I can find something to love during every part of the year, and I’m almost always ready for the change of seasons right around the time is comes. But fall has so many things I love– pumpkin everything, crisp apples, football and sweaters.

As October gets started, here are some fun things to do with your family! Please add your favorite fall day trips and things to do in the comments.

 Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!

Of course, I have to start this roundup with pumpkin farms. There are several different places you can go which, I think, all cater to a different sort of crowd.

If you have older kiddos and you’re looking for a lot of activities, Leed’s farm is definitely the place to be. www.LeedsFarm.com. Leeds has a zip line, slides, hayrides, pedal carts, corn boxes– if you can think of something farm and fall related, they probably have it. This is on top of the farm animals for younger and less adventurous kids to enjoy. Admission is $10 for kids 3-18 and $8 for those over 19. Adults over 55 are free to get in, but would need to pay for any rides.

Lehner’s pumpkin farm in Radnor is great for groups and younger children. In addition to a hayride and play area, there is a petting zoo, train rides for children and adults, and an 8 acre corn maze. Christy Lehner is one of the owners and is a school teacher, so she can easily help you put together an educational trip to the farm for your preschool or home-school group. www.LehnerPumpkins.com

Though it is much more low key than Leed’s and Lehner’s, Miller’s Country Gardens also offers some fun fall activities. There is a hay bale maze for young children (last year, my girls were just short of two and they loved it), as well as a large corn maze for the older set. At Miller’s you can take a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch and pick your own pumpkin! www.MillersCountryGardens.com

 Festivals and other outdoor Fun

There is also Freeman’s Farm Fall Festival at Freeman’s farm in Galena. Activities are happening weekends through October and include a petting zoo, scarecrow making, and hayrides. Freeman’s Farm Fall Festival: www,FreemansFarm.com

Kilbourne Fall Festival is coming up quick, October 5th. Just a few miles north on highway 521, the little village of Kilbourne hosts an event with a parade, storytelling, a petting zoo and games. The parade starts around 11:30, so get there early for a day full of fun!

Fall is a fantastic time for star gazing, and Delaware is lucky to have the Perkins Observatory just south of town on Highway 23. Regular programs include a tour of their observatory and an astronomy talk. If skies are clear, you could get a look through their telescope, or during the day programs, you could get to see a rocket launch. Tickets sell out fast for their programs, so if you’re interested in going, be sure to get to their website to order soon www.Perkins.OWU.edu

Preservation Parks has several programs that look interesting for the fall. At Deer Haven Preserve on October 26th there will be a Beautiful Bats program. On October 19th there’s an Apple Celebration at Gallant Farm. Check out all of their events at www.PeservationParks.com

I’ll be posting more information about this in the coming weeks, but don’t forget the Northwest Neighborhood Association’s annual Ghost Walk.This guided tour around downtown Delaware is being held October 19th from 6-9pm. Tickets are $15, and include a free movie of your choice at the Strand Theater afterwards.

 Halloween Family Fun!

The first event of the Halloween season is the Delaware Halloween Party on October 26th. There will be hot dogs, a marshmallow roasting bonfire, games and lots more.

Gallant Woods has a lot of programs going on, but I think the most interesting is going to be the Trick or Treat Trail on October 27 from 1-4. Costumed kids can walk the trail gathering candy from characters as well as a hay ride and pumpkin decorating.

Several area churches are hosting “Trunk or Treat” events where cars are decorated and folks hand out goodies from their trunks. There are usually games and lots of fun to be had. LifePoint Church in Orange/Lewis Center is hosting theirs October 27 from 4-6.

 Getting Ready for Christmas Already

The Arts Castle hosts their Castle Arts Affair November 8-10. The castle will be decorated for Christmas and there are great hand-crafted, affordable pieces that could be the perfect gift for those on your list!

 For those chilly and rainy days

Fundamentals has three different author visits scheduled for this fall. Come by and meet Tyler Whitesides, author of the Janitors series on October 15 from 6:30-8pm; Robert Sabuda, a paper artist who has made some gorgeous pop-up books on October 22nd from 6:30-8pm, and Mindy McGinnis, a local author whose first book release Not a Drop to Drink was just released September 24th, on Ocober 26th again from 6:30-8pm.

Both the Arts Castle and OWU’s Ross art gallery have several exhibits going on. The Arts Castle Equine Jubilee will be open for viewing until October 23rd.

I hope everyone gets out during this beautiful fall weather and enjoys Delaware! Be sure to comment below where you’ve been and what you enjoyed!