We’ve been busy little bees.
This time next week, in 7 short days, I’ll be in the middle of my wedding day massage at Sundance’s spa. There will be nothing left to do but get gussied up and get hitched. As the checklist gets shorter, our smiles are getting bigger. Everything I see brings me joy. (I warned you- I’m a hopeless romantic.)
But we’re not there yet. There are vows to write, favors to D.I.Y., shower floors to seal (don’t ask), table markers to create, seating charts to finalize, honeymoon vaccines to ingest, song lists to compile, puppies to cuddle. It feels like a lot, but we know what all of these to-do list items will add up to.
Yesterday, we took a little ride over to the courthouse. We’re a mere signature away from married!
I just LOVE those big smiles!
Afterward, we had the pleasure of an impromptu cocktail hour with dear friends. We don’t see them often, and I’m thankful we had some time together alone, before juggling time with wedding guests.
John and I are still doing our best to avoid bread, pasta, crackers, tortillas… you get the idea. I have to be honest. This week, there were multiple times where all I wanted was a giant bagel followed by a deep-dish thick crust pizza. But it’s also been interesting to see how much food my body actually needs to feel good. And I’ve discovered a few new recipes!
Last night’s no-bread feast? Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps.
Thanks to P.F. Chang’s, people love this dish. A quick search on Pinterest pulled up a hundred different versions- pork, turkey, tofu, even steak. I took notes from a few recipes and came up with a SERIOUS WINNER, you guys. And look how easy it was!
Minimal prep time included chopping up a shallot, some scallions, fresh ginger, and garlic. A can of pre-chopped water chestnuts made life even easier. Next, I brought out the condiments. I happen to keep a lot of Asian sauces on hand.
Not pictured but also joining the party: Mr. Soy Sauce (low sodium version).
Other prep included shredding a bit of red cabbage and removing leaves from a head of lettuce to scoop yumminess into later. Now it was all about the PORK.
This all happened much more quickly than I expected- which was awesome, because I was starving! I browned the ground pork for awhile, added in the water chestnuts, and then the garlic, shallot, scallions, and ginger. The kitchen smelled delicious.
Next came all of the sauces, except the sesame oil. A little simmering, a little stirring. I tossed in the shredded red cabbage and some chopped cashews and removed the pan from the heat. I stirred in a bit of sesame oil, transferred the goodness to a serving dish, and smiled. It looked so good!
Start to finish, I’d estimate this dish took less than half an hour to throw together- even faster if you have an experienced
chopper-upper prep person in the kitchen with you. I sprinkled a few more cashews and chopped scallions on top for color, and we dug in.
If you’ve never had a lettuce wrap, you simply scoop some filling into a leaf of lettuce and use it like a tortilla. The pork was scrumptious- some spice, some sweetness, some nuttiness. The crunch from the lettuce, water chestnuts, and cashews was awesome. I added a couple of chow mein noodles and REFUSE to count those as a carb.
This recipe would be perfect with ground turkey or diced tofu. I think the filling would also be really good inside a wonton or eggroll! And it took hardly any time at all- BONUS. Because as much as I love fabulous new recipes that keep me in the kitchen for hours, I’ve got a little something I’d rather spend my time on.
At least for the next seven days.
Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground pork (or ground turkey or diced tofu)
- 8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- 5 chopped scallions
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1-2 shallots, minced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic chile sauce (sambal)
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha (more if you like more heat)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- ½ cup chopped cashews
- Lettuce leaves (butter lettuce works well)
- Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Brown the pork for 5 minutes, then add the water chestnuts.
- Stir in the scallions, shallots, ginger, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes. Stir in the hoisin, sambal, soy sauce, and sriracha. Cook for a few minutes. Stir in shredded cabbage and remove the pan from the heat. Stir in sesame oil and half of the cashews.
- Top with a sprinkling of scallions and cashews. Serve with a big spoon for scooping and a pile of lettuce leaves. YUM!