We moved!! The Boyfriend and I are officially Brooklynites. We got a lovely little garden level apartment in Brooklyn Heights and we are (finally) all settled in. But we’ve been on an emotional roller coaster.
First, ecstasy: We found a place! They dropped the price! It’s adorable and big and homey, the perfect combination of tons of character (brownstone, fireplace) and really amazing renovations (the fridge has a wine rack — whaaaaaat).
Then, petulance: We didn’t want to pack up the old apartment and moving is so annoying and why can’t our stuff just fly there like in Harry Potter? Oh and then we had to hire a company just to disassemble the couch on the sidewalk and then reassemble it in the living room (who’d have thought that there was a whole business devoted to sofa emergencies?), which opened up a new category of jokes about how we are just never moving again because CouchGate and good thing the apartment is homey enough to die in.
Followed by smugness: Inviting over all of our friends to check out the morning glories on the patio and soliciting suggestions about what type of wood, exactly, we should burn in the fireplace. And, yes, it is cheaper than our old apartment, can you believe it? Hang on, I’ll show you the built-in closets, I die.
After which we got exactly what we deserved, which is complete and utter panic. This morning on my way to the shower, I found a rat poop in the kitchen. Imagine me: hair wild from sleep (every morning it manages to stick both up and down — a style that would be an impressive feat if not so utterly hideous), mouthguard in, in my giant t-shirt, coming across a small brown poop on the kitchen floor. Rat droppings.
I immediately called the super, who apologized profusely. I accepted her apologies with grace and just a trace of disgust (to remind her that we are better than rats, and this is clearly an apartment problem and not an us problem). Still in my adorable outfit, I covered the poop with a bowl to preserve the evidence and walked through the entire apartment shaking the furniture and banging on the walls to scare the rat out of its hiding place, to no avail. The super called an emergency exterminator, who agreed to come over immediately and confirmed that mice droppings would be about the size of grains of rice, and rat droppings would be bigger. “This is definitely bigger,” I told him gravely. We fretted and wrung our hands all morning – “unacceptable” “disgusting” “we cannot tell our friends” “how on earth did it – eeek, they? – get in?”
As agreed, the exterminator arrived at noon. I invited him in – again, graciously with just enough disgust – and led him to the bowl-covered poop. Dramatically, I leaned down and lifted the bowl off the ground like one of those waiters at outdated french restaurants removing the metal plate covers. The exterminator squatted down, clicked on his flashlight and exhaled. “Ma’am, this does not appear to be a rat dropping.” I gasped and my mind raced – if not a rat, what? A raccoon? A feral cat? A bobcat? “Ma’am, this is a coffee bean.”
So then I apologized for making him come all the way out for a coffee bean, and apologized again for my tone on the phone. And then I called the super and apologized profusely for both the mix-up and the drama. And then I called the BF at work and told him — giddily because no rats!!!!!!!!!!! — that he really should have examined the poop before he let me make a hullabaloo and also, this is what we deserve for all the smugness about the flowers and the greatness of the greatroom and the jets in the jacuzzi-style bathtub (oh, did I forget to mention that earlier? The bathtub has jacuzzi jets. NBD.)
None of this has anything to do with these fantastic summer rolls, except I had them for dinner on Sunday night and again for lunch yesterday and I’m probably going to have them again for lunch today, in my beautiful new kitchen that is now confirmed rat-free. They require a bit of cooking up front, but I just made a lot of everything and now all of the ingredients are in the fridge (not too far from the wine rack, incidentally) and I can just assemble them and have a spicy, crunchy, cool, refreshing lunch. The particular mix of what you put inside is not terribly important — I used rice noodles, cucumber, pickled carrots, avocado slices and shrimp, but shredded lettuce, daikon, or radishes would be just as crunchy and refreshing and could sub in for any/all of what is below here. These little summer rolls are all about the sauce — which is nutty and spicy and tangy, and a perfect compliment to a cool little roll. Oh and you should definitely follow the package instructions on how to roll up the rolls. The BF and I relied solely on our extensive experience of observing Chipotle burrito rollers, and our first several rolls were abysmal. But then I got the hang of them!
Sort of like this new Brooklyn apartment, no? Starting to get the hang of it…
Flashback! One year ago on Leighto-Greato: Sriracha Deviled Eggs
- ½ lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ⅓ c. honey
- 2 T. sriracha
- 1 bunch carrots
- ¼ c. rice vinegar
- ¼ c. sugar
- 1 t. salt
- ½ c. water
- ⅓ package vietnamese rice noodles (available on amazon here if you can't find them at your local grocery store), prepared according to package instructions
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced very thin
- 1 avocado, sliced very thin
- 10 vietnamese summer roll wrappers (available on amazon here if you can't find them at your local grocery store)
- 2 T. peanut butter
- 1 T. thai sweet chili sauce
- 1 T. sriracha
- 1 T. hot water
- 1 T. lime juice
- 1 T. soy sauce
- Pinch of each salt and sugar, to taste
- Rinse and pat the shrimp dry, making sure that they are fully peeled and deveined, and discarding the tails.
- Whisk together honey and sriracha in a small bowl. Add shrimp, mix to coat, and set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
- Heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, at the shrimp and brown on each side. Baste with the marinade if you have time (they will cook very quickly). Be careful not to burn them -- the honey will darken and caramelize quickly. Set aside to cool.
- Just follow the package instructions. Will probably involve bringing water up to a boil, adding the noodles, covering, removing from heat, and letting the noodles stand for 5-10 minutes.
- Once they are cooked, drain and set aside to cool.
- Shred the carrots with a vegetable peeler and roughly chop. You don't want carrot relish, but you don't want huge long strands of carrot either.
- Cover the carrots with rice vinegar, sugar, salt and water, and stir to combine. Set aside to pickle at least 20 minutes.
- Whisk together all sauce ingredients until fully combined. Taste for flavor and adjust.
- Follow the package instructions on the rice papers. For real, though. You might think you know better than the package because you have watched Chipotle employees roll a million burritos, but you are wrong. You know nothing, Jon Snow.
- Once the rice papers are damp, add the fillings. A few sticks of cucumber, a pinch of carrots, a slice of avocado, some noodles and a few spicy sweet shrimp. Wrap those suckers up, and don't stress out because they are going to be ugly until you get the hang of them.
- Serve with the spicy peanut dipping sauce.