thai-ish chicken lettuce wraps

Joe worked at P.F. Chang's in college and I ate more lettuce wraps and Great Walls of Chocolate over the course of that year than a single person should in a lifetime. I can't imagine why I would wake up puffy from head to toe after consuming 87% of the recommended daily sodium intake in a single meal.... 

Anywho, I remain as devoted to the love of lettuce wraps now as I was then. The only difference is that now, 2,090mg of sodium would send me into cardiac arrest. So, after much experimentation, I've finally settled on a lettuce wrap recipe that satisfies my nostalgia but doesn't make me resemble a blow-fish the next morning. 

 

 

*Please note that you can tweak this recipe to your liking very easily. Don't eat chicken? Substitute organic turkey. Hate cilantro? Leave it out-- though I'm not sure how anyone could hate cilantro. Seems preposterous to me. 

**If you're sitting there wondering what makes these THAI lettuce wraps, I suppose it's the lemongrass and cilantro and thai chilis I use to garnish. However, if the truth must be told, I find Thai food far superior to Chinese food so, in the name of the power of labeling, I called them Thai because it just sounds better. 

Thai-ish Chicken Lettuce Wraps

 

Ingredients


for the filling:

1 lb organic ground chicken
1 can diced water chestnuts
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp lemongrass paste (optional)
1/2 red onion, diced
3/4 cup mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup shredded carrot (I was out of carrots that day but I typically add them)
1 cup cilantro, chopped, divided for serving
3 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 head organic iceberg lettuce
1 tbsp organic coconut oil

 


sauce:


1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp sambal paste
3 tbsp coconut aminos/tamari/soy sauce
4-5 dashes of fish sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce (I will omit this when I am on Whole30)


for serving:

sliced cucumber
chopped salted peanuts
sliced thai chili or jalapeño
chopped scallions
toasted sesame seeds
chopped cilantro
your favorite kimchi
Sriracha

 

How to do it:

In a large skillet, sweat the ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and onion in the tablespoon of coconut oil. Next, add the chicken to brown. As chicken is cooking, drain your water chestnuts and make the sauce. When the chicken is completely cooked, add the water chestnuts, mung bean sprouts, shredded carrots, cilantro, and scallions.

Add half to three-quarters of the sauce and mix well. Use the remaining sauce for serving

Serve in iceberg lettuce leaves with your favorite toppings.   
 

homemade organic chicken bone broth

I've made no secret that I love bone broth. Beef, chicken, turkey... you name it, I love it. Bone broth is gut healing, full of collagen which is great for your skin, bones, and skin, and is a substantial source of protein.

Beyond its' health benefits, it also tastes really fucking good. Between cooking with it in some form and sipping on it when I'm feeling run-down, I go through quite a lot of it and, unfortunately, bone broth-- versus just broth which isn't as nutritionally beneficial-- is pricy as fuck. To top it off, even the highest quality store-bought bone broth isn't nearly as nutritious and flavorful as slow-simmered broth made on your own stove. Most importantly, making it yourself ends up being far more cost-effective. 

 

Here is a bone broth I've made frequently as of late that has a Mexican flavor profile. However, the beauty of making your own broth is that you can control the ingredients: you don't like cilantro? Substitute sage or thyme for an earthier, more subtle flavor. 

Note: You don't have to use all organic ingredients. Obviously, you should use whatever you can afford and is available in your market. However, when making bone broth, an organic chicken really does make a difference in the outcome of your broth. I've tried using a factory-farmed shit chicken and that's exactly what it tasted like.

bonebroth

Organic Chicken Bone Broth

Ingredients

1 organic whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
2 organic leeks, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 organic yellow onion, quartered
1 organic garlic pod, halved horizontally
3 organic carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 organic celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 bundle organic cilantro, bound with kitchen twine
2 inch organic ginger root, peeled and quartered
1 tsp organic whole peppercorns
1 tbsp sea salt

1 pinch organic red pepper flakes
4-5 qts filtered water (yes, filtered matters)


Here's how to do it:

In a large dutch oven (I use this one and it's the perfect size) add the chicken and surround it with all of the other ingredients. Pour in the filtered water so that it covers the chicken completely. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about four hours. Every thirty to forty-five minutes or so, do a quick skim of any obvious fat or scum that rests at the surface. 

When completed, remove chicken into a separate bowl (you can shred it to hell and use for other meals throughout the week. You can also freeze for later, just remove the skin prior to freezing because it'll be the opposite of crispy and, in my opinion, chicken skin that isn't crispy isn't worth a second glance.) Remove and discard veggies. You will need to strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve in order to remove the peppercorns, garlic peels, or any other debris. Return to pot and allow to cool at room temperature completely before transferring to fridge or freezer. Once cooled, it will be a gelatinous pot of healthy, magical goodness. 

 

Drink up and use to your hearts' delight!!! 

carrot + red lentil + coconut milk soup

I pride myself on being more of a MacGyver in the kitchen than a trained chef who meticulously plans out everything she cooks. My appetite is far too impulsive for any alternative and last night was no exception.

My stomach told me it wanted soup and, since I aim to please, soup is what it got.  

I would like to add that having a well-stocked pantry and fridge does help making spur-of-the-moment meals all the easier to make. I almost always have the majority of these ingredients on hand because I cook with them so often throughout the week.

 

 

Speaking of, would you mind giving me some feedback?

I'd really love to know if any of you would be interested in more food posts? I'm no food blogger but I am a pretty good self-taught home cook. Over the past couple of years, quite a few people have asked for details on recipes I've posted over on the 'gram; it'd be easier for me to post recipes in-full here versus writing them in the comment section under a photo. Plus, here they can be categorized and logged. For example, what about a more detailed post that shows you what I buy at the market every week-- like my pantry and fridge staples-- which allow me to create these spur-of-the-moment meals? If you couldn't care less, trust me, I get it-- I don't expect anyone to give a shit about what's in my fridge. However, I love cooking and I love writing, so if you, too, enjoy cooking and enjoy reading my writing, I'm not against making this a more regular thing. Thoughts? Opinions? Please, do share!!! I mean, I do aim to please, ya know... 

 

Now... about that soup!

Carrot + Split Red Lentil Soup

7 carrots, peeled + chopped

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 cup split red lentils

6 cups chicken bone broth** or vegetable stock*

12 oz full-fat coconut milk (about 3/4 of a can)

2 inch piece of ginger, grated or finely minced

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 inch piece of turmeric root, grated (can sub 1 tsp turmeric powder)

3 tbsp ghee** or coconut oil*

1 tbsp umami paste** (optional)

1 tbsp miso paste** 

1 tbsp thai red chili paste**

Garnish with sliced jalapeño, sliced avocado, scallions, cilantro, extra drizzle of coconut milk, and even hot sauce.

*substitute for a vegetarian version **links provided

 

Here's how you do it:

Sweat the onion, ginger, garlic, and turmeric in the ghee or coconut oil until all are tender and the aroma blossoms. Add your chopped carrots and sweat for about five minutes. Next, add your chili paste, miso paste, and umami paste. Stir and mix for a minute or two until the veggies are coated in the flavoring agents. 

Next, add the split red lentils. Allow them to get coated as well and toast in the pan for a couple of minutes. Add your bone or vegetable broth. (NOTE: if you are using a broth that isn't low-sodium, you will likely not need to salt your soup. If you use a low-sodium broth, wait until the soup is finished cooking to season with salt because as it reduces and thickens through the cooking process, the salt intensifies in flavor.) Bring to a low boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the lentils and carrots are soft and tender. Finally, add your coconut milk and stir to blend into soup. 

Ladle into a bowl and serve with your preferred garnishes. I had avocado and scallions on hand but cilantro and sliced jalapeño would be equally amazing.

Enjoy, babes!