P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

January 22nd, 2019

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There are several recipes on the internet for this copycat recipe for Chicken Lettuce Wraps from P.F. Chang’s.  I used the recipe from Averie Cooks.  David is trying to reduce carbohydrates in his diet so anything wrapped in a lettuce leaf is a winner in my book.  Crispy butter (Boston) lettuce is the perfect vessel to hold this flavorful mixture.

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The ground chicken is paired with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and chili garlic sauce.  Crunch is provided by water chestnuts.  I served it with roasted butternut squash.  It was a quick and easy meal.

P.F. CHANG’S CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken (I’ve also used ground turkey with good results)
  • 1 medium/large sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, diced small
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Asian chili garlic sauce, or to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger, or to taste
  • one 8-ounce can water chestnut, drained and diced small
  • 2 to 3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • butter lettuce leaves, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

    1. To a large skillet, add the oils, chicken, and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through; stir intermittently to crumbly while cooking.
    2. Add the onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chili garlic sauce, stir to combine, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onion is soft and translucent and most of the liquid has been absorbed; stir intermittently.
    3. Add the garlic, ginger, stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
    4. Add the water chestnuts, green onions, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until tender. Taste filling and make any necessary flavor adjustments, i.e. more soy sauce, hoisin, pepper, etc.
    5.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the lettuce leaves to serve. Recipe is best warm and fresh but filling will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Printable Recipe

Crock-Pot Tuscan Garlic Chicken with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

January 13th, 2019

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Even though we are not feeling the numbing cold of the North, this hearty slow cooker chicken dish hits all of the comfort notes associated with cold weather.  So for a short while I will indulge my fantasies of snow and enjoy this flavor-filled dish. We have been in Florida for two weeks.  So far the weather has been lovely.  I have enjoyed the local New Smyrna Beach farmers’ market and being able to walk to town for a quick bite at the local restaurants.
IMG_8844  When I saw this recipe on-line for this Tuscan chicken dish, it brought back memories of our trip to Italy.  Part of the beauty of Tuscan recipes is the simplicity of the ingredient.  Simple chicken thighs are paired with a creamy Parmesan sauce and enhanced with lots of garlic, Italian herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and baby spinach.

Tuscany Countryside

The rolling hills of Tuscany produce wines, garden fresh vegetables, cheeses and pasture raised poultry.

Tuscany-Kitchen

We were fortunate to find a lovely villa in the Tuscan countryside.  I have fond memories of cooking in this kitchen.

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The crock-pot in my Florida rental house is old and smaller than what I have at home.  But it was just big enough for four chicken thighs to bubble away in the creamy sauce.  On a January day, I was warmed by both this hearty chicken dish and by memories of the Tuscan countryside.  Recipe can be found here.

Beef and Bacon Stew

December 19th, 2018

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With the holidays fast approaching, thoughts turn to warming comfort food.  I would even consider this Beef and Bacon Stew a worthy meal for Christmas Eve or Day.  It has been a challenging week.  We were hit by a freak snowstorm that normally would not occur in North Carolina.  Five days without power tested our coping capacity.

Snow in 2018

It was a test of our capacity to get along without things we all take for granted.  We stayed warm because our home is well insulated and  we have a gas fireplace and a wood burning fireplace.  We stayed well fed because we have a gas stove and oven, plus the grill grate in the fireplace.  We stayed hydrated with jugs of water and other drinks.  The only thing missing was a shower.  That’s why we have friends.  Thank you to Ron and Jackie for a much needed clean up and a delicious dinner.  But next year we are getting a whole house generator.  Weather in our area seems to have taken a more violent and unpredictable bent.

 

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David is actually responsible for this delicious stew.  Over the years he has been cooking more of our meals with creativity and elan.  While I was finishing my wonderful new book in the series from Louis Penny, Kingdom of the Blindhe was chopping and assembling this flavorful dish.  It did require a new ingredient.  Miso Paste.  I found it at Whole Foods in the refrigerator section near the cellophane boxed lettuces.  Do not leave it out as it adds a great depth of flavor to the sauce.

Chistmas silliness

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  I couldn’t resist including this outtake of our Christmas card photo shoot.

BEEF AND BACON STEW (BON APPETIT)

1 Bottle of dry red wine
1 2 1/2 boneless beef chuck roast
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. kosher salt, plus more
8 oz. bacon
3 medium red onions
3 medium carrots
8 coves garlic
4 large sprigs thyme
2 Tbsp. white miso paste
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup parsley leaves and tender stems
Crusty bread (for serving)

Complete recipe here.

Chateaubriand for Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2018

Chateaubriand

Our Thanksgiving dinner was a departure from the usual.  Our Son Michael loves to grill and decided to attempt a whole tenderloin cooked over indirect heat and then seared over the direct coals.  The inspiration came from Meathead Goldwyn in his iconic grilling book Meathead; The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling.  The beef was outstanding.  Served with mashed potatoes and an updated green bean casserole, we never even missed a turkey.

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A whole tenderloin requires a breakdown to get to  a symmetrical log from the center.  The tenderloin tips are cut from each end.  The chain along the side needs to be trimmed away and the silverskin removed.  The trimmings can be used as a few filet mignon steaks, stew meat, and/or ground with some of the fat into upscale hamburgers.

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You will need to fold over the tapered end and tie it with string to ensure even cooking.  Once the chateaubriand is ready, dry brine it in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.  The dry brine is just kosher salt.  Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat all over the cylinder.  After the allotted time is up, remove the beef from the refrigerator and season it with a seasoning rub.

BEEF RUB
2 Tablespoons ground pepper
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

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Set up the grill in a two-zone configuration and get the indirect zone up to about 225 degrees F.  Place the meat in the indirect-heat zone.  It will cook slowly for about 45 minutes.  Check temperature with a meat thermometer.

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When the meat reaches 110 degrees F, move it to direct heat to sear.  Leave the lid open and roll the roast a quarter turn every 5 minutes or so.  When it reaches 130 degrees F in the center, move it to a cutting board.  Cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes or so.

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Slice into at least 1 inch steaks and serve.  Serves 6 to 8 easily.

Parsnip Soup

Earlier in the day Kristen made a delicious Parsnip and apple soup with smoked almonds and scallions.  I don’t have the recipe but anything you add to it is enhanced by using an immersion blender to meld it all together.  Here is a similar recipe.

Kale and Quinoa Salad

One of the most colorful dishes on our table was this fabulous Kale, roasted quinoa, purple sweet potato and apple salad.  It was such a seasonal delight that I would love to serve this every Autumn and Thanksgiving.  Kristen is so creative.  Remind me to get the recipe.  Will try to blog about this again or maybe Kristen will put it on her blog, Menubility.

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I made a Bourbon Pumpkin Pie from this recipe.  I add a Streusal Topping.  Recipe follows.

STREUSAL TOPPING

1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Mix all ingredients.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Cool and sprinkle over cooked and cooled pie.  You will have extra for other purposes.

FAMILY CHRISTMAS 2018

We took some time over Thanksgiving to have photos taken for our Christmas cards.  We are lucky to have Christobal of Azul Photography as a family friend.  Let the Christmas Season begin.

Flammkuchen: Tallinn, Estonia

November 10th, 2018

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Tallinn, Estonia is just 50 miles across the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki.  It shares a history with Finland, but as a Baltic country, it has many influences from Western and Eastern Europe. Its capital, Tallinn, has an intact medieval village that was not destroyed by the wars in Europe.

estonia

We took a ferry from Helsinki and spent two days exploring the Old Town and enjoying the diverse restaurants. Tallinn was a medieval stronghold of the Baltic trading world and was influenced by the Germanic Hanseatic League who ruled the seas.  Flammkuchen is a German (or Alsatian) pizza.

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We enjoyed strolling its cobbled streets and getting lost among the many turreted watch towers.

Flammkuchen 1

Flammkuchen Wine Bar is situated in the Old Town’s Rotermann Quarter in a former old grain elevator.  The limestone walls and grain hoppers give the interior an extraordinary atmosphere.

Flammkuchen Pizza

Flammkuchen pizza differs from other pizzas because the crust does not include yeast.  This yields a very thin and crisp crust.  The traditional version includes creme fraiche, nutmeg, bacon and onions.  It was so delicious I had to make one at home.

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I was very pleased with the results.

FLAMMKUCHEN (Adapted from Curious Cuisiniere)

2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water – you may need a little more
2 Tbls. olive oil

1 Cup Crème Fraîche or Sour Cream
Freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
8 slices Bacon
2 red onions, halved and sliced
Corn meal for baking sheet

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven to 500F.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, water, and oil. Mix until a dough begins to form.  Place the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until it is soft and smooth, You may need to add a little more water. Let the dough rest under a towel.
Mix together crème fraîche and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside.  In a large sauté pan, sauté bacon until it is crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate.

Save 2 Tablespoons of bacon grease in pan.  Place the sliced onions into the hot bacon grease and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into two balls and stretch the two out into rectangles, roughly 10×16 inches each. Place the two onto a large baking sheet that has been generously dusted with cornmeal. Spread the crème fraîche mixture over the crusts, leaving just a little bare crust border. Distribute the caramelized onions over the crème fraîche, and sprinkle the bacon over the onions.  Place the baking sheet with the pizzas into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pizzas are crisp and the edges are starting to darken.  Slice and serve.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.