One thing about growing up in Hawaii — I never had to think about the changing of the seasons.  Sure, there was the “rainy season” and summer (aka “tourist season”) but nothing like the changes here, where it can reach over 100 degrees in the height of summer time, to dropping down into the 30s — and snowing! — in the winter.  So I never really thought about what it would take to pursue my new gardening hobby all year round.

My attempts at winter gardening outdoors were only slightly less than pathetic, despite the advice I found online.  I live in USDA zone 8, so I supposedly can grow certain things in late fall, but it didn’t quite work out that way.  The only thing that grew semi-decently was the romaine lettuce.  The snow peas only produced 5 full-sized pods before the frost, and the grasshoppers took a big hit out of my cabbage.

So I decided to try something indoors.  I ordered a seed sprouter from Burpee, and Mung bean sprouting seeds.  I like bean sprouts in stir-fries and other Chinese dishes, but they’re almost impossible to find fresh ones here, unless I want to drive more than 40 minutes to go to the Commissary.  The sprouter came with some directions, but didn’t specify how much seed to leave in each compartment.  Not taking into account the difference in size between seed and sprout, I definitely added too much for the container:

The top tray contained broccoli sprouts, the bottom bunch were the bean sprouts.  From that tiny tray, I pulled out more than 10 ounces of sprouts.  Then the question was, what to do with them?   I decided to make a version of lumpia — which could best be described as a Filipino spring rolls.  I can’t find patis here though, so this is my plainer version, using ground turkey instead of beef.

1-lb ground turkey

10 oz. bean sprouts

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove

salt and pepper to taste

1 package spring roll wrappers

1)  Brown ground turkey with onion and garlic.

2)  Add bean sprouts, salt and pepper.  Cook 2 minutes.  Drain and let cool.

3)  Spoon enough of turkey mixture onto wrapper to make a line approximately an inch wide, and an inch high.  See diagram below for guidelines.  Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper over filling [1], then fold in sides [2] and [3].  Roll upward, and seal with water if using regular spring roll wrappers.  If using lumpia wrappers, you will need a mix of flour and water to seal them.  They should look like thick cigars.

4)  Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat.  You don’t need much, maybe only 1-2 Tbsp. at a time.  Place rolls, seam side down, and fry on each side until brown.

My husband likes to have these with Sweet Chili Sauce, that you can buy by the bottle from the Asian food department of stores.  I like to have these with the following Sweet & Sour Sauce, from the Pearl City High School “Project Graduation 2007” cookbook:

3/4 c. water

1-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (unseasoned)

3 Tbsp. catsup

2/3 c. sugar

Dash of soy sauce

Mix together all ingredients in order.  Cook and stir until sauce comes to a full boil.

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