Last year, my husband and I moved from Jackson Heights in Queens to Danbury, CT. We're happy that we moved - we love our house, our yard, and the conveniences of suburban living. But I must admit that we very much miss the wonderful restaurants, and most of all, the great takeout in Jackson Heights. One of our favorites was from a Vietnamese place that made delicious summer rolls and grilled lemongrass beef, served with all the traditional accompaniments, like rice vermicelli noodles with scallions, nuoc cham, pickled vegetables, and lettuce leaves for wrapping. So, for Bill's birthday last week, I decided to recreate the meal we always ordered. After one shopping trip at the supermarket, and a quick stop at the asian market, I was ready to roll. I boiled shrimp for the summer rolls, made a spicy peanut sauce to dip them in, marinated the beef, prepared all the fresh garnishes, made the vermicelli with scallion oil and lots of herbs... and 2 hours later, we sat down to a Vietnamese feast. It wasn't as quite as good as the takeout had been, but it was fresh and flavorful and Bill was happy.
Sadly, I forgot to bring my camera home to snap a picture of it, but here's a photo of the leftovers. If you want to try your hand, here is a link to our summer roll recipe, as well as Tony Rosenfeld's spicy peanut sauce that was so delicious with them.