Thank you to California Grown for connecting me with California growers and encouraging California consumers to “Choose California Grown” when they can.
I was honored to be selected by California Grown via The Clever Girls collective to receive a sample of organic asparagus straight from the grower and to create a recipe with it. Finding this beautiful fresh asparagus on my doorstep over the weekend was pretty awesome.
I was so excited to work with California Grown because eating locally is a passion of mine. I grew up in an agricultural community. My parents' house has always been across the street from an organic almond orchard, and I just feel connected to food grown here in California. I participated in 4-H and FFA and now we have our own garden and we raise chickens for the eggs. Eating as locally as possible is a great choice for the environment, as less resources are used on transporting the food. I like to know where my food is coming from, and I feel like it is important for my children to know the reality of where foods come from.
We try to eat as locally as possible, either from our own garden, the farmer's market or by buying produce grown in California from the grocery store. If you don't see any produce marked with the California Grown logo, you can ask your grocer to find out which produce was grown in California.
California Grown also has a great website with great information, recipes and videos showcasing the farmers who grow produce here in California. This California Farmer video features Barbara Cecchini of Cecchini & Cecchini. This is one of the many family operated farms growing asparagus within California and this video offers an insider’s look.
Now, onto the recipe that was inspired by this beautiful asparagus.
I was sent three bunches of aspargus, so I used two packages of egg rolls wrappers, and still had some asparagus leftover. It made a lot of egg rolls, a little more than 40. If that is way too much for you, I would buy one package of egg roll wrappers and one bunch of asparagus.
You will need:
For the filling:
Aspargus (1-2 bunches depending of amount of egg rolls desired)
1 head of cabbage
1 large yellow onion
1 bag of bean sprouts
1 container of mushrooms (approx. 15-20 mushrooms)
You will also need:
2 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/2 Tablespoon chopped ginger
1/2 Tablespoon Lemon Grass paste (or throw in some fresh lemon grass and remove it after cooking)
1/2 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
And finally, you will also need:
1-2 packages of egg roll wrappers
1 pound of ground chicken
Cooking Spray, like PAM
1/2 cup of water
I started by chopping the cabbage into long strips, like you would for cole slaw. I put that aside in a large bowl
I then cleaned the mushrooms with a damp rag and removed the stems by snapping them off the cap. I sliced all the mushrooms thinly. I set those aside, and sliced the onion into thin, long strips.
I put the ground chicken in a large pan with the sliced onions and mushrooms and cooked it until the chicken was done and the onions were translucent.
I then added all the sauces and seasons listing above AND the chopped cabbage and the bag of bean sprouts.
I stirred all of the ingredients together and let them cook on medium for a minute or two. I then turned down the heat to low, and then placed all of the asparagus on top of the filling. I then splashed about 1/2 of a tablespoon of soy sauce across the asparagus and covered it with a lid (or use foil!)
I let the steam from the filling cook the asparagus for about 8 minutes, and then I removed the asparagus carefully with tongs.
I set the asparagus aside to cool and then transferred the filling to a bowl to cool. I let it all cool down on the counter for about a half an hour. You have to use your hands to wrap the eggrolls, so it can't be too warm.
After they cooled down, I first pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees. Then, I pulled out my baking sheets and covered them in foil. I do this every time and it helps so much at clean-up time. Then, spray the baking sheet with the cooking spray.
Now, comes the slighty-tricky-but-easy-to-learn part. Let's learn to roll an asparagus eggroll, shall we?
First, use a slotted spoon to place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling on top of the eggroll wrapper as shown below. If your filling is a little liquidy, let the liquid drain through the slotted spoon.
Then place 1 spear of asparagus atop the filling and fold the wrapper over, as shown below.
Next, you're going to pick up 1 corner of the wrapper and fold it in across and behind the asparagus
And then, do it with the other corner, as shown below.
Roll the eggroll up on so the edges are held down/ You should have something that looks like the eggroll below. Fill a small cup or bowl with water and place next to your "rolling station." Dip your finger in the water, then apply that water to the exposed top triangle of the egg roll. Continue rolling until complete and looks...like an eggroll!
As you complete each eggroll, place them on the sprayed baking sheet. When you have filled the entire sheet, spray the tops with a little more cooking spray. This step is important and will help to make the eggrolls crispy. Then, place them in the preheated 375 degree oven. I baked mine for about 15 minutes and I found it pretty unnecessary to turn them over. I did turn one batch over halfway through, but I liked the way they looked better without turning them.
This is what mine looked like when I took them out of the oven.
|What a happy little asparagus and chicken egg roll!|
I was pretty happy, too when I sat down to this. I served four other adults when I made these, and honestly, they all loved them. No one missed the fried aspect of a regular eggroll and the chicken supported the Asian flavors really well. They were actually really beautiful in person, too. They would be perfect for a party as an appetizer! I served mine with sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard and it was wonderful! Yum!
I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as my family and I did!