I wish that I could say that I come up with all of my meal ideas with my own magical powers, but alas, that is not the case. Since I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen so much, I am always looking for inspiration and when I find an idea or recipe I like, I add it to a running list. I LOVE lists. And when I take a to die for bite at a restaurant, I dissect the flavors, study the appearance and make mental note of the ingredients then try to re-create it myself. I am not afraid of a kitchen challenge. I recently found a recipe for lettuce wraps via Martha Stewart's iPhone app and for the past few days, I could not get this idea out of my head! The first time we ever met was at P.F. Changs and I have been hooked ever since. I do not have a valid excuse as to why I have not thought to add these to the Moore Menu before. Our dinner tonight was fresh, fast and a nice exotic flavor diversion for the taste buds. Everything was ready in under an hour- my idea of a perfect weeknight meal. I served our lettuce wraps with another P.F. Changs inspired bite. Peel and seed cucumbers, cut in large chunks and toss with soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and toasted sesame seeds!
My attempt to re-create a P.F. Changs favorite is a collaboration of a few recipes I found online as well as my own mental notes. I never forget a perfect bite. Not to mention, shopping in the international foods aisle in the grocery story always makes me feel a bit more worldly.
Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps
1 lb. lean ground beef (I can't wait to try these with ground chicken)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
2 tbsp. minced pickled ginger
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 tsp. sesame oil
Cook beef in skillet, breaking up so there are no large chunks. When meat is cooked through, transfer to a large bowl. Use the skilled to cook the onions and garlic. Sautee until onions are transparent, about 3 minutes. Add water chestnuts, green onions and ginger, then sautee for about 2 more minutes. Stir in soy sauce, Hoisin, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Add beef to the skillet and marry everything together. Serve with Boston bib lettuce or iceberg lettuce and for an extra kick, Sriracha sauce (hot chilli sauce).
*I recommend always having seasoned rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce on hand. I not only use these items in Asian cooking, but they are great in marinades and dressings and lend such a unique flavor.