Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Pacific Northwest’

Staycation-Mango Spring Rolls

RKW Spring roll wrap Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are happily in the process of switching our mindset and culinary menus from the thick layers of Winter warm to Spring layers and lighter, fresher fare. It’s at this time when I eagerly await the first bulbs to emerge from their sleep and buds to pop from the trees.

Afternoon walks linger when the warmth of the sun’s rays replace my winter down coat. Our living room view becomes its own Planet Earth series time-lapse moving from once black and white to muted grays and browns and now the Technicolor slowly pours on with vibrant shades of green and yellows.

The song birds are back and I half expect Julie Andrews to burst out from the greening fields with the “Hills Are Alive”. But I don’t think this crosses everyone’s mind like it does mine; all those car rides with my 5-year-old requesting to hear the sound track over and over again, could be the reason for my Spring memory replay.

But Spring is a time to hit the refresh button. Spring cleaning, depending on who you are, can invoke a number of ideas. First the house comes to mind but next my cravings begin to change from rich hearty foods to those that are lighter and fresher. Not much is growing for us yet, and I am aware that mangoes are not “in season” (are they ever here in the Pacific Northwest?) But I know many who traveled south…way south, for Spring break. So, for those of us who didn’t hit the Southern Hemisphere, but rather, enjoyed our staycation; here are mangoes for you!

Staycation- Mango Spring Rolls- makes 6 -10
This recipe was inspired from The Solitary Cook‘s recipe found at Food 52 made with a good friend one afternoon.

RachelleKWeymuller/ Mango Spring Rolls

Ingredients For Shrimp Steam Bath:
(this might be the spa part of your staycation, lean over to indulge in a steamy facial 😉

3 cups/24 ounces of water (enough to cover mango skins, limes and shrimp)
2 mango peels – washed (use the fruit for sauce and spring rolls 1 each)
1/2 sweet onion- quartered
1 lime- sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon sea salt
black pepper to taste
2 dried japonés chiles – chopped (add more if you like more spice, my kids don’t)
8 ounces shrimp uncooked, washed and deveined ( go for wild caught spot prawns, rock shrimp or US farmed shrimp if possible)

*Have ready a bowl of ice water  to immerse the shrimp and keep them from overcooking
For The Shrimp Steam Bath:
In a stainless steel pot add all ingredients but the shrimp and bring to a boil.
Once water is boiling add the shrimp and reduce heat to medium.
Cook until shrimp are pink about 3-7 minutes.
Drain cooked shrimp and immediately place in bowl of ice water to keep them from overcooking.

Shrimp Steam Bath

Shrimp Steam Bath


Ingredients For The Mango Sauce:

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (we were out so we used Bragg’s Amino Acids and it worked well)
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sesame oil
2 limes (zest from 1 lime and juice from 2 limes)
1 mango fruit – (from the steam bath) pit removed

For The Mango Sauce:

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth
Place in serving a dish and set aside until ready to eat


RKW Spring Rolls

Ingredients For The Spring Rolls:

8 oz Vermicelli Noodles (Beans Thread)
1 mango-(from the steam bath) pit removed, small cubes
1 bunch cilantro (20 stems and leaves) – chopped
1/2 a cucumber – peeled, seeds removed, chopped
1/2 cup  green onions – diced
All the cooked, now cooled shrimp – tail removed and chopped
Juice of 2 limes

8-10 rice paper wraps (spring rolls skin)
9 inch cake pan (for softening rice paper wraps)
1/4 inch hot water (for cake pan and rice paper wraps)

RKW_0097 noodles for spring roll

Cooked Vermicelli Noodles


For The Spring Rolls:

Soak Vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes in hot water then drain and set aside.
Combine; mango,cilantro,cucumber, green onions, shrimp and lime juice to a bowl and toss.

Prepare rice paper wraps:
Add hot water to 9 inch cake pan
place 1 rice paper wrap at a time, submerged in hot water, for 10 seconds to soften.
*Keep hot water handy to add when water in cake pan cools.

CL-mango-spring-roll RKW_0082
Build your Spring Roll!
Place softened rice paper wrap on your work surface
Put a small amount 20 or so Vermicelli noodles down the middle of the roll/wrap
Place 2-3 Tablespoons of filling(mango, cucumber, green onion etc) down the middle leaving room on the sides to fold
Begin to wrap the spring roll (similar as you might a burrito) starting with the side closed to you, then fold each end and finish by rolling the last over the opposite side ( the only one left) and seal.
Set on a serving platter with the seam side down, I like to use a chilled metal one (Yay, a wedding gift I am happy to use).
I have found that if there are left over Vermicelli noodles the kids love it plain or topped with a little extra mango sauce is a great left over snack.

Mango Spring Rolls

Mango Spring Rolls


Head Shot Rachelle
Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
“Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel And Community”

Starting Seedlings & Garden Planning

After months of cold and dark, we at Caramelize Life love to look forward to spring by starting plants from seed indoors.  Snow covers the frozen earth and the bountiful green garden of last year is hard to remember.  It is time, in the deep dark of February and March, that planning spring starts and a garden layout is particularly inspiring especially here in Northern Mountains of Washington.

For timing your indoor starts, February/March is the perfect time to take stock of your seeds.  If you have gathered seed from last year’s garden, wonderful, and if not, making your mail orders or stopping by your local supplier now fits the timing for spring planting.

In the Methow you can find our favorite seeds sold at  They carry seeds from our very own Twisp Ancestree Herbals and Uprising Organics that sources seeds sown by Pacific Northwest growers including Kelleigh Mc Millian’s Sowing Seeds Farm from Twisp River.

Begin by taking stock of what and how much your family will eat throughout the year.  For instance, if you use a lot of onions in your meals, plan a plot that is big enough for cold storage (or freezing) that lasts the year (for our families that is a plot 8×12’ at least).  We use more and more tomatoes every year (for fresh bites for sure, but also for canning, salsas, frozen sauces, you name it) so our tomato plots continue to expand.

We seed cayenne peppers, jalapeño peppers, several tomato varieties and tomatillos.  Each of these plants comes up easily, but you will need a south facing window and possibly an additional light close to your plants (our solution is an old ski pole with florescent light hanging from adjustable ropes to change position as the seedlings grow.)  Watering with mist seems to work best for all these heat loving plants, and their moisture needs are minimal.

Keep a close eye on your seedlings as they come up.  Tomatoes in particular can become gangly, but it’s possibly to gently push them down or build up soil around them.  Little cotyledons (the non-productive leaves) will help anchor the plants, and we like to coax them towards the soil.

Keep in mind when your growing season begins to time your planting of seeds.  For us in the Methow Valley, we count on possible frost until the end of May.  This is the soonest the tomatoes can go in the ground.  Most, however, have a much longer growing season.

If you are curious about your planting season and want to know what zone you live in there are several sites that can help you determine what will grow best in your area and when to plant. has an interactive map for Wa, Or, and Id. and the Sunset online site has an in depth look at the PNW as well as links to everyplace else.

There is nothing like green little baby plants to lift spirits towards spring.  Love them gently!

%d bloggers like this: