Thursday, July 10, 2014

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Every time I order lettuce wraps at a restaurant, I am reminded how simple they are, 
and have recently been whipping them up at home.  Here's how I like to do it.

Oh, and all the steps, up to eating, were done a day in advance. 

YumFest, right! 

Grab a head (or 2 or 3...) of bib lettuce in the produce section

 1 lb. ground turkey (93% lean is preferred) and
in a small bowl mix: 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce,
1 tablespoon sriracha and 2 tablespoons light brown sugar)

 Use a fine grater (I get out my zester) to finely grate
carrots (yield ~1 cup grated carrot)

 Pulverized goodness

Cook the turkey thoroughly, then stir in the sauce and
carrot (add more heat, sweet or sodium to the sauce to 
meet your liking.  I do think the measurements I gave
you are a good base though)

It's hard to find that cup of grated carrot, huh! 
Sneaky, sneaky!!

 Chop the zucchini and drop into a pot of boiling water
for 1-2 minutes.

 Remove from the boiling water and submerge
in an bowl of ice water, to stop the cooking.

 Turn the heat off the boiling water and drop
the mai fun noodles in the pot.  They will
sit in the hot water (off heat now), covered,
 for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, drain the noodles.

 This step is for sure not compulsory, but I think it adds
 a wonderful crunch and is super simple.  If you want the
crunch, but aren't up for this step, use store bought 
crispy chow mein noodles.

I use my pizza wheel to make strips of wonton dough.
I find the packages of wonton wrappers in the 
produce section at the market.

 In a saucepan heat 2 inches of canola oil, test the temp
by dropping one strip in and watch it dance, if you will
 (I am not a seasoned deep fryer, but these are hard to screw up)

Use a metal tong (or spider skimmer) to remove from the oil 
when they are light golden brown in color. Place on a
plate with paper towels to drain.  

These can be made several days in advance, just store air tight.

 All the fixings for delicious Asian Lettuce Wraps:
Bib lettuce (cut off the base and cleaned very well and
wrapped in towel to dry), the ground-seasoned turkey, wonton
strips, jullienned sweet peppers, blanched zucchini, sliced
scallions, lightly salted cashews, cooked mai fun noodles.

Also, if you want whip up some more sauce, that was stirred into the
ground turkey, for topping the wraps.



Sunday, July 6, 2014

Balsamic Candied Bacon Brussel Sprouts

While it is the heat of summer, and no one (including me) feels like cooking in the house, I was missing my brother (who I just left after a big family vacay in Kentucky) and must have been thinking of him as I ran to the grocery (without a list, of course) to restock the refrigerator after a week away. I picked up bacon and brussel sprouts, the stuff dreams are made of in side dish heaven (and my brother's favorite). 

What you need:
2 pounds brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
8 ounces center cut pork bacon
small white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons light brown sugar (optional)
cracked black pepper
balsamic vinegar reduction
1/4 cup raw pecans

Line a baking sheet (with a generous lip) with aluminum foil
and parchment paper.  Top with brussel sprouts, onion and bacon
(I use my kitchen utility scissors to cut the bacon into bite size bits) 
cut and roll in the bacon bites in brown sugar.  
Top the pan of goodness with cracked  black pepper and a pinch of salt.

Back at 375 for approximately 1 hour. Remove the pan from the oven 
after 30 minutes to stir, coating the vegetables with the bacon fat 
(this is where center cut pork bacon is a must, renders less fat and will not require any drain off)

After the hour cook time, throw in the raw pecans, chopped roughly,
and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Drizzle with a bit of balsamic reduction and toss around with 
a fork. I really love the reduction from Trader Joe's, but you 
can find different brands of reduction at any old market. I used to 
make my own, so if you want to give that a whirl, here is how I did it

So easy and delish!!!