Archive | April, 2012

Lettuce Wraps

30 Apr

We are a wee bit obsessed with lettuce wraps. Low carb, fun and easy to prepare — what’s not to love?
The orange infused hoisin is such a simple joy. This is one of the freshest, cleanest tasting dishes we’ve enjoyed in a while, so it bears hoarding.

At bottom is another lettuce wrap clipping we’ve kept through the years: Martin Yan’s minced poultry with walnuts.

– 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
– 1 lb ground turkey or chicken
– ½ small cooking onion, finely chopped
– 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
– ½ sweet red pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
– ½ lb thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
– 1 tbsp light soy sauce
– 1 tsp Asian chili sauce (or more to taste)
– 1 tsp cornstarch
– 2 tbsp cold water
– 2 tsp dark sesame oil
– ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
– 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
– 2 green onions, finely chopped
– 1 to 2 heads Boston lettuce, separated into small cups
Orange hoisin sauce
– 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
– 2 tbsp orange juice
– 1 tsp grated orange peel
– 1 tsp sesame oil
– ½ tsp Asian chili sauce
Stir sauce ingredients together and reserve.
Heat vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger. Stir-fry until fragrant about 30 seconds. Add turkey and stir, breaking up meat until no sign of pink remains about 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion, celery, red pepper and asparagus. Stir-fry
another minute.
Whisk soy sauce, chili sauce, cornstarch, water and sesame oil together and add to turkey. Stir one minute. Add cilantro, mint and green onions.
Serve with lettuce cups and sauce and let guests serve themselves by filling the lettuce cups and drizzling with sauce. Makes 12 to 16 small cups

From Martin Yan’s Feast: The Best of Yan Can Cook
6 dried black mushrooms
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 pound (225 g) boneless, skinless chicken, turkey or duck
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 small carrot, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup diced water chestnuts or jicama
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Hoisin sauce
12 small iceberg lettuce cups

Soak mushrooms in warm water to cover until softened, about 20 minutes; drain, reserving 1/4 cup (50 ml) of the soaking liquid. Discard stems and chop caps.

Spread walnuts in a pie pan; toast in a 350 degreesF (180 degreesC) oven, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Let nuts cool, then coarsely chop.

Cut chicken into 1/4-inch pieces. Place in a bowl with oyster-flavoured sauce; stir to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add oil, swirling to coat sides. Add ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add carrot, zucchini and water chestnuts; stir-fry for 30 seconds.

Add reserved mushroom soaking liquid; cook until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Add wine and sesame oil; cook until heated through. Add walnuts and toss to coat.

To eat, spread hoisin sauce on a lettuce cup, spoon in some of the chicken mixture, wrap in lettuce cup and eat out of hand.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Pork Crystal Fold, Canadian Living.

serve with spicy cucumber salad

8 large leaves iceberg lettuce

8 large leaves leaf lettuce

1 large carrots grated

1 broccoli stem peeled and grated

2 tablespoons toasted chopped peanuts (optional)

2 tablespoons toasted chopped cashews (optional)

2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 lb fast-fry boneless pork chop

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 green onions finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

4 teaspoons minced gingerroot

1 sweet green pepper diced

1 can water chestnut slivered

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Arrange lettuce on serving platter; add carrot, broccoli, and peanuts (if using) in separate mounds beside lettuce. Cover with damp cloth to prevent drying out. In small bowl, whisk together teriyaki sauce, orange juice, sugar, and cornstarch; set aside. Trim any fat from pork; cut into fine dice. Set aside.

In wok or large skillet, heat oil over high heat; stir-fry green onions, garlic and ginger for 1 minute. Add pork; stir-fry for 2 minutes or until golden. Add green pepper; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add water chestnuts and teriyaki sauce mixture; stir-fry for 1 minute or until piping hot and sauce is thickened. Spoon onto warm serving platter.

Have each person brush some of the hoisin sauce onto lettuce leaf. Spoon some of the pork mixture onto centre; sprinkle with carrot broccoli and peanuts. Fold lettuce over filling and roll up.

Legume Lunch

19 Apr

In our never-ending quest to plan and pack the perfect lunch, this healthy veggie chili really fits the bill.

Nothing new about veggie chili, but we found Gwyneth Paltrow’s combination and proportion of the beans and lentils very pleasing.

I also sprinkled cornmeal and shook in some soy sauce at the end, because although the cooked veggies tasted great, it was a little flat for my taste.

A big handful of crushed tortilla chips was tossed in at the last minute and I won’t say it was a mistake.

The whole batch of chili filled seven lunch containers of over 1 cup each.

Straight into the freezer, and you won’t worry about making lunch!


Gwyneth Paltrow
“This meal was one of the first I devised especially for my children. My daughter is completely vegetarian (she came to this entirely on her own), so protein from beans and other veggie sources are a big part of her life (and therefore mine). I love this chili because apart from the fact that it contains three different types of beans, it easily becomes one of those “dress-up” meals as I call them—a slight adjustment and they transition simply from tasting good to a kid’s palate to pleasing an adult’s. My kids like this chili with rice, and we grown-ups top it off with a tablespoon of creme fraiche (or yogurt), some chopped scallions and cilantro, and a dash of hot sauce.”

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/2 large red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 1/4-inch dice (we used a whole one)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3/4 teaspoon mild chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo (we added more)

1 – 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with their juice

1/2 cup de Puy lentils (small, dark French lentils that hold their shape well), rinsed and drained

1 – 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 – 14-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Big pinch coarse salt

3 tablespoons tomato paste (we used the whole small tin of garlic tomato paste)

Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper. Cook, stirring, for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the chipotle and stir to combine.

Turn the heat up to high, add the tomatoes and their juice, crushing them a bit with your wooden spoon, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes.

Add the lentils and beans. Fill one 14-ounce can with water and add it to the pot, along with the salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 20 more minutes, or until the lentils are soft and the flavors are melded.

Mad Men Brownies

16 Apr

More from the Mad Men food front.

Loving that Megan Draper brought along a signature fire-engine red cannister of brownies from William Greenberg Desserts to Pete and Trudy’s suburban dinner party. And that Pete gamely insisted: “Can we put them in the ice box? Can everyone try it my way?” Such a simple, decadent pleasure.

According to Seth Greenberg, son of William Greenberg Jr., who ran the famous upper East Side bakery on Madison Avenue: “My father got his recipes from the Settlement Cook Book and his aunt’s recipe cards.”

See that recipe at bottom.

Another recipe for WGB brownies comes from the “Loaves and Fishes Cookbook” by Devon S Fredericks & Susan Costner 1980.

“This recipe was given to us by someone who assured us it was the secret recipe of William Greenberg (famed New York brownie maker) and who swore us to secrecy. The recipe was also given to us by a little old lady in Lake Worth, Florida, who thought it was a “pretty good recipe” — which it is if you like dense, lethal brownie.”

New York Brownies
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate (99%) — try to use a really good brand
8 ounces (1/2 lb) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with parchment. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; Set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. (or in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt on high for 1 ½ minutes, stopping to stir every 30 seconds.)

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer until light. Slowly beat in sugar. Beat for about a minute or until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Slowly add melted chocolate to sugar mixture. By hand, stir in flour mixture. Pour into pan and bake for 20-22 minutes – no longer.

Brownies will cook as they stand.

Let cool completely, then chill for a few hours. Remove parchment from pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into large squares.

From the Settlement Cook Book:
1 cup brown sugar
1 square melted chocolate
½ cup butter
½ cup sour milk (buttermilk)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
Mix flour and soda. Cream butter and sugar; add egg, chocolate and the milk alternately with the flour mixture. Grease small timbale moulds; place one teaspoon full of the mixture in each and bake in a moderate oven 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 60 little cakes.

Easter Past

5 Apr

With thanks to Lori, a little retro Easter:

Easter Birdies

3 Apr

Here’s a little earlier Easter treat from 1984’s Seventeen magazine.

We have made these lil’ darlings a few times, and they are easier than they look.