I don’t ever remember describing anything as “boss” when I was a youngster, even though I grew up in the 80s. Maybe I just wasn’t cool enough. This could be true since I just found an amazingly not cool photo of me as an 11-year-old. (If you’re reading this while standing up, I admonish you to sit down. You will fall over from laughter. Or shock.)
I don’t know if I can show it to you…
…I just can’t…
…It’s too amazing NOT to share…
…EVERYONE was awkward at some point as a child, right?…
…Maybe not THIS awkward…
…Okay, here goes…introducing 11-year-old, child of the 80s Rachel…
(Thank you, Mom and Dad, for loving me enough to put braces on my teeth. Twice. Yes, it took two tries.)
You can see how far I’ve come, which brings me to this recipe. A few years ago while cooking, I looked and felt like that skinny little girl with the bright blue clip in her permed hair–awkward and unsure, but still smiling and giving it a try. Now I feel more like…me. I like to try new things but add my own spin to recipes.
Take these Boston Lettuce Wraps for example. I’m eating locally so I wanted to see if I could turn the lettuce from my garden, local chicken thighs, spring onions and mushrooms into something spicy with an Asian flavor. Success! This recipe is delicious and so flavorful (adapted from Iowa Girl Eats; Iowa Girl also rocks. I love her blog!).
Totally BOSS Boston Lettuce Wraps
1.5 pounds chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (use tofu and water chestnuts to make it vegetarian)
Cooking oil – vegetable works best for this recipe
Dash of kosher salt and pepper
1 sweet onion
About 12 crimini mushrooms, diced on the smaller side
2 carrots, peeled and diced on the smaller side
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (more if you like it really spicy)
2 Tablespoons honey (local of course!)
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon water
3 Tablespoons natural peanut butter
Boston lettuce leaves, I had about 12 nice-sized leaves in my garden ready for picking
5 spring onions, sliced
A handful of cilantro for garnish
Rachel’s Asian Sauce:
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons local honey
1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce
Heat oil in large skillet or wok (I busted out my wok since I use it so rarely) over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with a dash of kosher salt and pepper. Add chicken to the wok and cook through. You might want to turn the heat down to medium high. Set chicken aside.
Add the onions to the same skillet or wok. Stir and cook for a couple minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, and mushrooms. Allow to cook for five minutes or so until veggies are just tender.
In the meantime, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili sauce, honey, sesame oil, peanut butter, and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Allow this to hang out while you turn your attention to the veggies.
Now add the chicken back to the wok and pour the sauce over the chicken and veggie goodness. Heat through before putting in a serving dish.
Serve with spring onions, cilantro, and the special sauce. I served a side dish of oven-roasted snap peas with mine. Just add 1 teaspoon sesame oil and a sprinkling of soy sauce to a pound or so of snap peas. Place in a 475 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes until browning but still crisp. (I’ve done this with olive oil and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce when I didn’t have any sesame oil in the pantry. It works just as well.)
The husband and I devoured this meal. I ate way too much. Cooking and then eating these Totally BOSS Boston Lettuce Wraps made me feel less like 1987 Rachel and more like this: