This past week, I joined my sister Dee in Miami!

Dee was the recipient of the President’s Award from her employer which included an all expense paid trip to Florida.  This was a very prestigious award and the company provided 4 days of the royal treatment.  The best part… I was invited as Dee’s guest!  Yes, I am one lucky sister!

We had the luxury to select two excursions as part of our experience in Miami.  My top choice was to enroll in a culinary class at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, a beautiful and historic landmark in Southern Florida.  The cooking class was a kick and exceeded my expectations.  I love cooking and hoped to learn a new trick or two.  Our fabulous teacher and chef was Jeannette Stefan-Ozga… here she is with my sister Dee!

There were about 15 of us present for the class and we were divided into 4 groups: Team Spring Roll, Team Crab Cake, Team Asparagus and Team Tuna.  I really wanted to be on Team Spring Roll as I had never cooked anything using spring roll wrappers.  Plus, I was intrigued by the recipe! 

Here I am with my teammates.  Team Spring Roll rocks!  We worked very well together and made a mean spring roll. Check these beauties out….

For those of you on a gluten free diet or low FODMAP diet, these rice spring roll wrappers are a wonderful way to enjoy an Asian style spring roll without wheat.

Team Crab Cake made an amazing crab cake, which was crispy on the outside and light, fluffy and flavor-infused on the inside.  To create this great texture, the crab cake mixture was dipped in flour, egg and finally the breadcrumb mixture and then cooked up in a skillet with oil. [Unfortunately not FODMAP friendly 🙁 ]

Dee was on Team Asparagus, here they are… They sure like they are having fun, right? 

Team Asparagus made a delightful phyllo dough asparagus dish with parmesan and prosciutto.  Here the rolled asparagus awaits their trip to the oven.

My sister Dee and her teammates did a wonderful job plating their phyllo dough rolled asparagus…beautiful, right?

One of the little tricks we learned in class was how to curl up sliced scallions and turn them into little curly-Q’s.… cut scallions in small strips and drop into ice water.  The small green threads curl right up.  Adding the curly-Q’s onto your plate for decoration looks very cute!

Here is our  GREAT group…we had so much fun! 

NOW that I am back home with my family (Yay, I missed everyone!) and I now know how to use rice spring roll wrappers, I thought I would create a heartier spring roll.  My daughter Chelsea was home thankfully so she gave me a hand with this project.

First we used this little gadget to julienne cut the veggies, this is simply called a  julienne peeler. I learned how to properly use one of these gadgets at my cooking class!

I cut up some carrots, cucumber and summer squash.  To infuse color into the spring roll, use primary the julienned skin of the summer squash and cucumber rather than the mushy white center. [I learned this trick at my cooking class too!]

Then I briefly marinated some chicken breast and cooked it up with some Asian seasonings and sesame seeds.  Whipped up some rice stick noodles and then hydrated the spring roll skin in hot water which just takes a minute. Here Chelsea is about ready to roll the cooked chicken, noodles and veggies…

How deelish does this spring roll look?….YUM!

Here’s my recipe!