Vietnamese Summer Rolls

We love Mark Bittman, the New York Times' "minimalist" food writer. After watching his recipe on Vietnamese summer rolls a few weeks ago, we've been salivating in our sleep over them. A trip to Whole Foods this afternoon provided the perfect opportunity to collect the fresh ingredients that are essential to this super simple, inexpensive meal.

With the help of my beautiful neighbor, Cristina (we're in Bethesda, MD for the weekend), we were able to whip together the entire dish in about 15 minutes. Mr. Bittman provides a recipe for a spicy sauce, but we found a sweeter, peanuty alternative from Whole Foods that worked wonderfully. We boiled some edamame as a side dish, and added freshly-ground sea salt. No utencils, interactive, so yummy.

So check his recipe here, or follow our alternative:

three carrots
fresh basil
romaine lettuce
1/2 1b. shrimp
rice noodles
rice paper wraps

(dipping sauce)
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 tsp. water
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. honey

Shred carrots, tear up pieces of lettuce and basil leaves, and assemble on plates. Cook the shrimp (place them in boiling water for about three minutes, until pink) and the noodles (place them in boiling water for three minutes, until soft). Place shrimp and noodles on plates. Boil water for rice paper wraps, and pour into a large bowl. Let sit for five minutes. Dip rice paper wraps into the bowl of hot water, and let soften (about 5 seconds). Add ingredients to the wrap, and roll it up. For the dipping sauce, mix all of the ingredients together. That's it.