Finally! My friends and I resurrected our long-lost girls’ night last week. It was glorious. We have a few tiny people under our care now, so scheduling has become more challenging. I had all but given up hope on our weekly meet-ups until Alissa proposed a get-together last Monday. I offered to host, naturally, so we could have a whole place to ourselves.
Six months had passed since our last ladies-only dinner, but we all remembered the drill. I’ll tell you how we do it in case you would like to start up your own, which I highly recommend!
Basically, we coordinate plans in our little five-person Facebook group. In the past, we stuck to Wednesdays, which made scheduling easier. Everyone shows up roughly around our standard girls’ night dinner time (6:30-ish).
We keep the dinner simple. Typically, the host offers a main dish and the others contribute a side, drink or dessert (which could be as simple as a green salad, bottle of wine and a chocolate bar). Last week, I cooked up a basic frittata out of leftover vegetables. Alissa assembled a kale salad with tahini dressing while Margaret poured mimosas. Jordan showed up with wine and Tessa brought a ready-made dessert. Ta da! We were all set.
As usual, we started in the kitchen and eventually moved to the table for a long dinner. Cookie was over-the-moon excited to have company and I was equally—but hopefully, more subtly—thrilled to catch up with my dear old friends. We shared more than a few belly laughs throughout conversations about relationships, careers, concerns and good news. All standard themes for girls’ nights, but for good reason.
I’m super excited that Dark Horse sent me a few bottles of their Sauvignon Blanc to serve at my next girls’ night. Dark Horse isn’t kidding when they describe their wine as bold. I don’t remember the last time I took a sip of white wine and went, “Wow!” but that’s the reaction that I had when I tasted their Sauvignon Blanc. It’s light, refreshing and crisp with bold, tropical, citrusy flavors. I have no doubt that my friends will love it, and at under $10 a bottle (yes!), I won’t be surprised when it starts showing up at our backyard barbecues this summer.
Dark Horse’s Sauvignon Blanc inspired these unexpected spring rolls. They feature tropical mango, crisp bell pepper and peppery arugula, dunked in a bold, creamy lime and cilantro avocado sauce. The ingredients might seem like an unlikely combination at first glance, but I promise, they were meant to be together! I can’t wait to serve up this bold pairing at our next girls’ night, which I hope will happen very soon.
- 3 cups lightly packed arugula, roughly chopped
- 2 ripe mangos, sliced into long, thin strips (see photos)
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, membranes removed and sliced into long, thin strips
- 2 jalapeños, seeded, membranes removed and sliced into long, thin strips
- 4 green onions, green and white parts, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- 6 to 7 round rice papers, also known as spring roll wrappers or spring roll skins
- 2 ripe avocados, diced
- 1/3 cup lime juice (about 2 large limes, juiced)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fill a shallow pan larger than your spring roll wrappers (a pie plate works great) with warm water. Fold a lint-free tea towel in half and place it next to the dish. Place your prepared spring roll fillings within reach.
- Place one rice paper in the water and let it rest for about twenty seconds. You'll learn to go by feel here—wait until the sheet is pliable but not super floppy. Carefully lay it flat on the towel.
- Leaving about an inch of open rice paper around the edge, cover the lower third of the paper with about 1/2 cup chopped arugula. Top with four slices of mango down the length of the greens, followed by several slices of bell pepper and jalapeño, and finally, a sprinkle of green onions.
- Fold over one long side to enclose the filling, then fold over the short sides like you would a burrito, and lastly, roll it up, stretching the remaining long side around the the roll to seal it. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- To make your avocado sauce, combine the avocado, lime juice, water, cilantro and salt in a small food processor or blender. Purée until smooth and transfer to a small serving bowl. If you won’t be serving the rolls immediately, press plastic wrap against the surface of the dip to prevent oxidation.
- Slice the rolls in half on the diagonal with a sharp chef’s knife or serve whole, with avocado dipping sauce on the side.
Storage suggestions: Rolls are best served right away, but they were still in pretty good shape one day later. Just store the rolls in the refrigerator, covered. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the avocado dip to prevent oxidation before chilling.