Thai Lettuce Wraps with a Sweet Ginger Sauce

Tofu Thai Lettuce Wraps with a sweet garlic and ginger sauce.

(Rachel – The Vegan-Eatin’ Daughter)

I love P.F. Changs. It’s my go-to special occasion restaurant when I get to do the picking (I’m still working on Jared and Asian food–baby steps). In fact, that’s where I asked to go for Mother’s Day. We took Jackson along and sat outside on the patio on a beautiful Spring day. As usual, the service and food were both great. Their chefs understand and respect vegan diets, which makes eating there so easy. However, the view was of a busy mall parking lot and there was an out of control gnat problem. I longed for my own patio with our country pasture view and my own personal fly swatter.

I’ve started to notice more often than not, I regret dining out. Whether for comfort, ease with Jackson, or control over what goes into our food, I just really prefer eating at home these days. So this week, I made my own version of P.F. Chang’s famous lettuce wraps. Fine dinin’ in my t-shirt and yoga pants on my own back porch. Aahhh.

Just like theirs, these can be made with tofu or chicken. The sweet ginger sauce is good enough to drink. And since you made it at home, their really will be no one around to judge you if you choose to do so. Just make sure you save some for the lettuce wraps.

Arrange the lettuce cups in a pretty flower-like arrangement and serve the cashews, cilantro, and green onions right on the cutting board for a fun and easy presentation.

Thai Lettuce Wraps with a Sweet Ginger Sauce

Serves 4 entree sizes or 8 appetizer portions

Ingredients

Stir Fry
1 block of firm tofu, crumbled or chopped into small cubes (could also use shredded or chopped chicken)
canola oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 chili pepper, sliced thinly
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 14.5 oz can baby corn, drained and chopped
1/2 c. diced canned pineapple (reserve juice for sauce)
1 8 oz can water chestnuts, drained and roughly chopped
1 8 oz can bamboo shoots, drained
2 green onions, chopped
several lettuce leaves (iceberg or romaine work nicely)

(Other veggies like shredded carrots and cabbage would work well in this too)

Marinade & Dipping Sauce
1 T. canola oil
2 T. fresh ginger, minced or finely diced
1 T. garlic, minced
1/2 c. Braggs Amino Acids (or Soy Sauce)
3 T. sweet chili sauce (in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores)
2 T. brown sugar
1 c. pineapple juice (buy a 15 oz can of diced pineapples and use juice here and pineapples in stir-fry)
1/2 c. veggie broth or water

Toppings
1/2 cup toasted cashews, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
1 green onion, chopped

Directions

Marinade & Dipping Sauce
In a sauce pan, heat canola oil on medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Set aside 1 cup. When you get the stir-fry going, bring remaining sauce to a boil, then simmer on med-low to reduce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir-Fry
Use half of the reserved sauce to marinate the tofu or protein for 30 minutes or longer. (This can be done the night before to save time the next day.)

In a large skillet or wok, heat about a tablespoon or so of canola oil on medium high. I like to chop as I cook, so chop the onions while the oil is heating, then chop the garlic and add it, then the chili, then the mushrooms, baby corn, pineapple, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots.

In a separate nonstick skillet, heat about two tablespoons of canola oil and the tofu on medium high heat. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining reserved sauce and cook for a few more minutes. Then, combine the tofu with the veggies. Add the green onions at the last minute. (Follow similar steps for chicken, but adjust cooking time as needed.)

Serve in lettuce cups, with chopped cashews, cilantro, and more green onions for toppings on the side and individual sides of the dipping sauce.

Notes: I changed the recipe slightly from what is pictured. I cooked the tofu with the veggies and it tasted good, but didn’t pick up as much color as it gets when cooked on it’s own, so I adjusted it so yours should have more color than mine did. Also, the lettuce I used was Living Lettuce. It looked really pretty, but got mushy too fast. It needs something sturdier like romaine or ice berg.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Thai Lettuce Wraps with a Sweet Ginger Sauce
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-pm
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Creamy Vegan Fruit Salad Dressing

Creamy Vegan Fruit Salad Dressing

(Becky — The Butter Lovin’ Mama)

When my five year old grandson Georgie was about three and a half, my husband Greg (“Poppy” ) took him fishing with my son, Georgie’s Uncle Zeke.  The thing about Zeke is this:  he is the most optimistic person in the universe.  So he over-estimates the fun and “ease” of everything, while disregarding things like obstacles, mileage, gale force winds, the limits of the human body, gravity, and reality.

Zeke with his youngest son Titus, trying to “fish”

Zeke told Greg that there was a great fishing hole “just a little walk down the road” where they could let Georgie and Zeke’s two little boys (Nate and Titus)  wet a line. Knowing Zeke as he does, Greg should not have been surprised when Zeke’s definition of a “little walk” would turn out to be at least a mile long hike (each way). This,with three preschool boys in tow, not to mention poles and tackle boxes.

Georgie and his Poppy “fishing” — which means mostly throwing in the line and “untangling”

George and his cousin Nate (Zeke’s eldest) fishin’ on a mountain lake

In the end Greg carried Georgie the mile back home on his shoulders, and both of them arrived after their “evening of fishing with Uncle Zeke and cousins,” at our house, exhausted and famished.  Little Georgie disappeared into the kitchen pantry, then came out dragging an enormous warehouse-purchased bag of tortilla chips that was at least as tall as he was.  Tugging the bag over to his Poppy with his last ounce of strength, Georgie sighed and declared: “I want ALL of dem.”

I know how Georgie feels.

Last night for some reason, I was especially craving fruit salad.  On a lark, I whirled some dried cantaloupe I bought a local health food grocery store, with about a cup of creamy coconut milk in my Vitamix blender.  The result was more than I bargained for: it was perhaps the best fruit salad dressing I’ve ever tasted.  I poured this gorgeous pastel orange cream over a small bowl of berries and kiwi, and it was so good, I ate it all, and had another bowl. Then another.  Yes, I ate “ALL dem” berries and kiwi because the creamy dressing was just that scrumptious.

I bequeath this easy delicious two ingredient recipe to you.  If you are like me, this will be your new favorite topping for everyday and holiday fruit salads.  Though I am also an optimist at heart (Zeke’s outlook doesn’t fall very far from his Mom’s personality tree), I promise you I’m not exaggerating.   And if you want to get your kids to eat their fruit, this is a great way to get them  to eat “ALL of dem.”

Creamy Vegan Fruit Salad Dressing

Becky’s Creamy Vegan Fruit Salad Dressing

Ingredients

1 cup coconut milk (not “lite”)

1/3 cup chopped dried fruit (cantaloupe, apricots, papayas, or mangoes recommended)

Dried cantaloupe  You can also use dried apricots, papayas, or mangoes in this recipe for similar results.

*If the fruit is particularly hard, or your blender not particularly powerful, try soaking the fruit in hot water for about 5 to 10 minutes, then draining water off before blending

Pinch salt

The two main ingredients for Creamy Vegan Fruit Salad Dressing

Directions:

Into powerful blender or food processor, put coconut milk and chopped dried fruit.  (If you can find the dried cantaloupe, I loved it in this recipe.  I found mine at Sunflower Market.) Start it on low and then move to most powerful setting and blend until the fruit is completely emulsified and the “dried fruit cream”  has no grainy pieces in it.  Add pinch salt (about 1/4 t. or less) and blend again.  It tends to thicken up in the fridge as the coconut milk gets cold.  I like it fresh from the blender and also from the fridge.  Delicious both ways.

Creamy Vegan Fruit Salad Dressing (Made from coconut milk and dried fruit)

Arrange fruit on pretty plates and drizzle on dressing.   A beautiful side dish, snack or summertime dessert. Coconut oil and milk has some impressive health benefits. Click here for peer reviewed research.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Creamy Vegan Fruit Salad Dressing
The URL:  http://wp.me/p1UwM9-mz
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved