Lettuce Wraps

lettuce

* – from Today 

1 head of sturdy lettuce such as bibb, romaine or iceberg
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds ground turkey or chicken
1 small bell pepper (green, red or any other color you prefer), finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup finely sliced scallions, light green and dark green parts only (from about 2-3 scallions)
Sriracha or other hot sauce for serving

3

1 to 2 days ahead: Prep the lettuce and make the filling

Prep the lettuce: Separate the head of lettuce into individual leaves. Rinse and dry, either with a salad spinner or by hand, using clean kitchen towels or paper towels to pat the leaves dry.

Refrigerate the lettuce leaves until ready to assemble and serve, either inside the salad spinner or between layers of clean, dry kitchen towels or paper towels in an airtight container to wick away excess moisture. (Lettuce leaves can also be stored in individual serving sizes for lunches on the go.)

Cook the meat: Whisk the broth, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.

Add half the ground meat in handfuls, distributing it in a single layer in the pan. Cook without stirring until the meat starts to brown, then stir and start breaking up the meat into smaller pieces.

When the meat is no longer pink, transfer it to a bowl. Add the remaining oil and meat to the pan and cook in the same manner.

Finish the filling: Return all the meat to the pan and add the bell pepper, carrot, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.

Whisk in the reserved broth and cook for a few more minutes to thicken the broth into a sauce.

Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions.

Store the filling: Transfer to a lidded container (or multiple containers, if you’re sending the wraps off to school or work for meals) and refrigerate until ready to eat. The cooked filling can be made up to 2 days in advance.

2

Ready to eat? Reheat and serve!

Reheat the meat in a covered skillet over medium-low heat until warmed through, or zap in the microwave in minute-long increments, stirring between each to warm evenly.

Spoon the warmed filling into the lettuce leaves (about 1/3-1/2 cup filling per leaf, depending on the size of your lettuce) and drizzle with Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce, if desired.

City Tavern Restaurant

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“Most genteel tavern in America” – John Adams

This is one of my favorite stops in Philadelphia. The City Tavern is a restaurant that serves gourmet cuisine using authentic 18th-century recipes inside of a historic 18th-century building. This spot was a favorite meeting spot of the Founding Fathers and of many members of the First Continental Congress after long days at Carpenters’ Hall. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Richard Henry Lee and Peyton Randolph were some of the regulars. It was built in 1773 and the location of the first Fourth of July Celebration in 1777. The building was partially destroyed by fire in 1834, demolished in 1854, and rebuilt in time for the 1976 United States Bicentennial. It is owned by Emmy Award winning TV host and James Beard-nominated Chef Walter Staib. He has a cooking show called A Taste of History that explores America’s culinary beginnings by getting to know the Founders through the food that they ate. The City Tavern building has five levels and includes kitchens, a bar room, two coffee rooms, and three dining rooms. Servers and staff members dress in colonial costumes that reflect the times of old. You can order a flight and sample the four main beers that are named after the founding fathers themselves. Research was done to recreate these drinks. I ordered their delicious Colonial Turkey Pot Pie and a Thomas Jefferson’s 1774 Tavern Ale for dinner. This flaky pot pie is filled with chunks of turkey, mushrooms, early peas, red potatoes, sherry cream sauce and baked in a pewter casserole. It was fantastic and I enjoyed my beer as well. This was such an amazing experience for me as I am a huge history buff and this place gave me an opportunity to have a taste of history.

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Thomas Jefferson’s 1774 Tavern Ale

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Colonial Turkey Pot Pit

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My first visit in 2009

In 2009, I visited Philadelphia for the first time while touring the East Coast and discovered the City Tavern after going on a ghost tour. It was a cold rainy night and I ended up having a Brawler from Yards Brewing Co. It was such a fun first experience for me knowing our Founding Fathers used to hang out in this spot and drink brews. I noticed that they sell a cookbook of some of their popular dishes. I hope to pick it up someday.

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City Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Turkey Sliders

_MG_9003Every year after Thanksgiving I have all this turkey left over. This year was no different. So I always try and come up with something creative to make with it. Last year it was turkey pot pie. This year – turkey sliders. I stacked turkey, stuffing, cranberry and gravy on some dinner rolls to make these awesome little goodies. It made for lunch at work every night this week.

Thanksgiving

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I love cooking on Thanksgiving. I’ll have the Macy’s parade on in the background followed by some football games while I cook. It’s fun to plan and organize all the ingredients and what to cook first so that everything comes out hot. I just love how cheap all the food is at this time of year. Best advice I heard is to take your list of sides and cut it in half (I have a tendency to make too much). This year I had the honor to cook for several people without family, so I bought an almost 25 lbs turkey. This year I brined my turkey with a killer blend from World Market. Some of the sides I made were a green bean casserole, sausage stuffing, deviled eggs and pumpkin pie. I’m thankful my turkey came out great!

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We had over fifty people show up for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was a blessing to serve them and eat and fellowship with them. I saddens me that Thanksgiving gets overlooked because it is such a wonderful holiday. I love spending time with friends and family in community over food.

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Still a classic….

DSC04663I like to Black Friday shop just as much as anyone, but it belongs on Friday…

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Chipotle Turkey Chili

* – Another simple yummy Trader Joe’s recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 (1.3-pound) package ground turkey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can black beans or kidney beans
3/4 cup refried black or pinto beans (use entire can for thicker chili)
1/2 cup chipotle salsa
2 tablespoons barbeque sauce
Sour cream and/or fancy shredded Mexican blend cheese (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions 5 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until brown, breaking it up as it cooks. Add ground cumin and cook 1 minute longer.

2. Add remaining ingredients. Stir refried beans into chili until dissolved. When chili comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Garnish with sour cream and/or cheese.

Rudy’s BBQ

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Rudolph Aue (Rudy) opened Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q in Texas in 1989. Now Arizona has locations. Rudy’s offers the best of Texas BBQ – brisket, sausage, turkey, ribs, chicken, and pork loin. I took my kids here for a fun evening of getting our hands dirty. So basically you choose your meat and a side or two. I went for the Baby Back Ribs, Corn-on-the-Cob, Rudy’s beans and a cream soda. It was all good and we had a fun time. I love both the Rudy’s original and sissy “sause”. You can buy them both in their store to take home. It’s interesting that they built this location in Chandler across the street from another BBQ restaurant. So I guess we will see a bit of a rivalry in the future on who serves up the better BBQ.

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Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Turkey Day

This year for Thanksgiving I cooked up a turkey and a bunch of sides while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. I brined my turkey with a great mix from World Market. But the sides are really what make the meal for me. Some of the sides I included were a green bean casserole, stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberries and a pumpkin potato pie. I had a lot of turkey left over, so turkey sandwiches were for lunch everyday after Turkey day. I also made a great turkey pot pie loaded with vegetables using flakey biscuits as my topping. I went to quite a few homes for Thanksgiving and made a creamy mac n cheese and some pumpkin cheese swirls for dessert to bring along. It was a fun year for me in the kitchen and a blessing to have many friends and family to share all this food with.

Turkey Pot Pie

Creamy Mac n Cheese in the crockpot

Pumpkin cheese swirl bars