Wednesday, August 31, 2011

chicken lettuce wraps

I love lettuce wraps! It’s one of my summer stables for a light, quick dinner. My usual recipe includes clear bean thread noodles but I decided to switch it up and make a meatier PF Changs-inspired one. This is by no means a copycat recipe for their lettuce wraps, but still yummy none the less. The shrimp dish pictured with the wraps is simple pan fried shrimp with bell peppers and onions. I’ll post that recipe later.   

½ head of iceberg lettuce
20 ounces ground chicken
2 cloves minced garlic
1 red onion -- chopped
¼ cup chopped toasted almonds, optional  
2 cans (8 ounce size) water chestnuts, chopped
½ cup shitake mushrooms, chopped
½ green bell pepper, diced

Cooking Sauce:
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon mirin  
1 tablespoon sambal olek  
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Optional Dipping Sauce:
¼ cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon water

Rinse lettuce, keeping it whole. Set aside to drain.

Heat the wok over medium high heat, add a splash of oil, and then add onions and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until slightly translucent. Add chicken stirring often to break up the meat, then add shitakes. While chicken is browning, mix sauce ingredients together then add to the wok. Cook for about seven minutes until meat is cooked through and well combined. Add water chestnuts and bell pepper to warm through, about two minutes. Plate and top with toasted almonds. Serve with lettuce and additional sauce if desired. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

happy birthday lica!

A very Happy Birthday wish to my favorite co-blogger Miss Lica! Cheers to an amazing birthday-week :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

the waffle window

A few weeks ago we headed down to Portland for a baby shower and squeezed in some time to try a tiny restaurant called the Waffle Window. I found this place a while back and had been wanting to try it but never had the opportunity. Finally we got our chance and it was delicious! There are plenty of options as the menu changes nearly weekly with fresh local ingredients. From savory to sweet or just plain they've got you covered. I'm a waffle person, so this was my spot :) Here's what we had...

Summer Vibes: fresh peaches marinated in a lemon verbena syrup, served with blueberries, whipped cream & berry coulis

Blueberry Lime: fresh blueberries, blueberry-cinnamon compote & lime curd  

Berry Bliss: fresh raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and blackberries topped with whipped cream & berry coulis

The Whole Farm: pepper bacon, roasted red peppers, spinach, sauteed mushrooms & brie 

and Banana Rumba: fresh sliced bananas, caramel sauce, whipped cream & granola crunch 

They were all tasty but my favorite was the Summer Vibes, the peaches were so fresh and full of summer flavor! J's favorite would be the Banana Rumba, but he's really a sucker for anything banana caramel. I'm sure we'll be revisiting the little waffle window in the future, as my sisters' have told me about a raspberry coconut waffle that is heavenly. We'll just have to wait and check back the next time we're in town. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

craving the islands- kalua pork

Lately it feels as though everyone's been talking about Hawaii, whether it's heading there for vacation, wishing they were on vacation or talking about their favorite island foods. With all this talk, it got me missing Hawaii and one of my favorite dishes- kalua pork. Kalua pork is just one of those things that hits the spot, its warm, its smokey, its salty and its delicious. Since I couldn't jet off to the islands or build my own imu (in my apartment) I found this easy recipe and made a few modifications. With only four ingredients and a slow cooker, this recipe couldn't be more simplistic. 

3 lb pork shoulder blade roast (mine were sliced because that's all the store had)
1 tbsp liquid mesquite smoke
3/4 tbsp coarse sea salt
1/4 head of cabbage, shredded

Place pork in the crock pot and stab it all over with the tip of a knife. Rub sea salt all over pork. Drizzle the liquid smoke all over and set crock pot to high; cook for about 10 hours. Until the meat falls apart when probed. 

Turn off the slow cooker and shred pork with tongs or two forks. Then heat a pan on medium high heat and add shredded pork, pan fry for about two minuets then add a few handfuls of cabbage. 

Mix together and cover for 3-5 minuets, until cabbage is tender and slightly translucent. Depending on the size of your pan you may need to do this in batches.

Remove from heat, plate, serve with steamed rice and enjoy a little taste of the islands!