Nov 27, 2012

Wrap It Up!

Spiced Beef Tongue Lettuce Wraps
See recipe under "Slip Me Some Tongue" August post
To view larger, click on photo 
Wraps are easy to make, and they are good for you. The best wraps are lettuce wraps, leaves of lettuce filled with whatever you like to eat, there are so many variations, limited only by your imagination and taste preferences. 

Lettuce wraps are also a great way to use leftovers from a previous meal but in a totally different way. Try making lettuce wraps the next time you have a party by putting out the components so everybody can put together their own. 

Pick a theme, like Mexican, Greek, or Asian, then decide what will work inside the wrap that goes with the theme. 

I have found that for best results, pick the largest, most pliable lettuces leaves. Boston, romaine, iceberg, red leaf lettuce, radicchio, napa cabbage, or large spinach leaves are possibilities. Core the lettuce and soak in ice water for an hour or two for easy removal of intact leaves. Separate the leaves and drain each one individually, then refrigerate on a towel for a couple of hours to crisp them. 

Lettuce leaves or cups can also be rinsed, dried and stacked, wrapped in a plastic bag and refrigerated several hours or overnight. Be sure to dry the lettuce well before serving. You can also use spices, sauces, yogurt, sour cream, and salad dressings inside the wrap to give it more flavor. 

Kids like wraps also because they can make it themselves and put what they like in them. So the next time you want something different to eat, "wrap it up"... with lettuce.

Wrap Recipes:
Ahi Poke Wrap
1 pound sushi grade ahi tuna
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup scallions, finely minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
8 butter lettuce leaves

Cut tuna into 1/2 inch chunks. Toast sesame seeds. Toss tuna with sesame seeds, sesame oil, ginger, scallions and soy sauce. Serve in lettuce leaves with steamed white rice. Makes 8 servings.

South of the Boarder Wrap
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
12 bibb or Boston lettuce leaves

In a large bowl, combine the first 12 ingredients. Refrigerate until serving. Just before serving, stir in avocado. Place 1/2 cup chicken mixture on each lettuce leaf; top each with 2 teaspoons sour cream. Fold lettuce over filling. Makes 6 servings.

Greek Salad Wrap
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, cut in chunks
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup kalamata olive halves
1 green onion, chopped
seasoned salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 3/4 cup cut-up or crumbled feta cheese
6 butter lettuce leaves

Combine all ingredients except lettuce leaves. Toss until blended. Chill until serving time. To serve, place some of filling mixture on lettuce leaf, wrap up and eat out of hand. Makes 6 servings.

Mu Shu Pork Wrap
1 small head napa or savoy cabbage
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 (8-ounce) boneless pork loin, trimmed
1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
4 mushroom caps, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3/4 cup sliced green onions, divided
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

Reserve 8 cabbage leaves. Shred remaining cabbage to measure 2 cups. Combine soy sauce and next 3 ingredients (through cornstarch). Cut pork crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stack several slices vertically; slice pork into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Repeat procedure with remaining pork. Add pork, carrots, and mushrooms to soy sauce mixture; toss. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add 1/4 cup onions; sauté 30 seconds. Add shredded cabbage and water; sauté 2 minutes. Remove cabbage mixture from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add remaining 1/2 cup onions and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add pork mixture; sauté 3 minutes or until done. Add cabbage mixture; toss. Place about 1/3 cup pork mixture into each of 8 reserved cabbage leaves. Makes 4 servings, 2 wraps per serving.

Spicy Asian Chicken Wrap
2 1/2 ounces bean threads (cellophane noodles)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chile paste with garlic
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken
12 large Boston or romaine lettuce leaves

Cover bean threads with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes or until softened. Drain, and rinse under cool water. Chop noodles. While bean threads soak, combine cilantro, soy sauce, chile paste, and oil in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add noodles and chicken to soy sauce mixture; toss well to coat. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each lettuce leaf; roll up. Makes 4 servings of 3 wraps each.

Asian Beef Wrap
16 Boston, bibb or butter lettuce leaves
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons minced pickled ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Asian chile pepper sauce (optional)
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts,
drained and finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside. In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often and reducing the heat to medium, if necessary. Drain, and set aside to cool. Cook the onion in the same pan, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and chile pepper sauce to the onions, and stir. Stir in chopped water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter, and pile meat mixture in the center. To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into a lettuce leaf. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito. Makes 4 servings.

Asian Turkey Wrap
1 1/4 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 4)
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
12 Boston lettuce leaves
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce (green top)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons roasted red chili paste
1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for about 6 minutes or until turkey is browned. Stir to crumble. Combine turkey mixture, onions and chopped water chestnuts in a large bowl, stirring well, and set aside. Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk together hoisin, soy sauce, rice vinegar and roasted red chili paste and drizzle over the turkey mixture. Toss to coat completely. Add about 1/4 cup turkey mixture to each lettuce leaf. Makes 6 servings of 2 wraps each.

Asian Barbecued Fish Wrap
This barbecued fish wrap recipe is great for a pupu or a light lunch around the grill.

4-6 fillets fresh 'white' fish, such as opakapaka (snapper), mahi-mahi, etc.
2 heads iceberg lettuce

Marinade For Fish:
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3-4 cloves garlic, minced

Dipping Sauce:
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 red chili, minced and de-seeded or 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili
1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger), grated
1+1/2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Topping Suggestions:
2-3 cups bean sprouts
1 cup fresh coriander (cilantro)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped or ground
1 cup fresh basil
3 spring (green) onions, sliced

Stir marinade ingredients together in a cup or small bowl. Rinse off the fillets and cut them into thirds or quarters (smaller sections, roughly 3 inches long, are good for this dish). Place these sections in a flat-bottomed bowl and pour marinade over fish, making sure all sides of the fish have marinade on them. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator while you make the dipping sauce and prepare the toppings.

Stir all dipping sauce ingredients together in a sauce pan. Place pan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Taste-test, adding more chili if not spicy enough. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If too salty, add more lime juice. When the sauce is hot, add the cornstarch-water mixture and stir. When sauce has thickened, remove from heat and set aside until you're ready to eat. This sauce can be served warm, or at room temperature.

Prepare the toppings you have chosen. Place them in separate bowls on the table where you will be eating.

For the lettuce wraps, carefully cut out the core of each head and discard. Now you should be able to carefully peel away the separate leaves. If lettuce is unwashed, carefully rinse under cool water. Pile the leaves back together and place on a plate on the table.

Brush your grill with oil and heat up, then grill the fish until inner flesh is opaque and flakes easily. To serve, place the barbecued fish on a plate and place on the table. Now invite your guests to assemble their own wraps. Start with a leaf of lettuce. Add a small "bed" of bean sprouts, then place 1-2 pieces of fish on top. Add whatever toppings you'd like. Makes 4 servings.

Tuna and White Bean Wrap
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 can (6-1/2 to 7 ounces) solid white water-packed tuna, drained
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil or use two to three teaspoons dried
2 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 can of (15 ounces) cannelloni beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and well drained
6 leaves of red leaf lettuce

In a medium bowl, combine together tomatoes, tuna, green onions, basil, capers, vinegar, olive oil, garlic pepper and seasoned salt. Mix until blended. Gently fold in beans. Wrap up some of mixture in each lettuce leaf. Makes 6 servings.

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