Lettuce Wraps

I love the lettuce wraps at P.F. Chang's. This recipe jumped out at me the other week as something yummy, light and fresh to make for a summer meal. These turned out really great! I don't know if they're exactly like P.F. Chang's (I haven't been there for a while), but they were really good. Sweet with a little spice. And who knew they would be so easy?

Lettuce Wraps

1 lb. ground chicken
1 small can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Soy sauce, to taste
2 Tbs. hoisin sauce {can be left out if you don't have it}
3 Tbs. Mr. Yoshida's sauce {found at Costco, not necessary but it's so good}
1 Tbs. ground ginger
2 tsp. red pepper flakes {less if you like less spicy}
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 packet of rice noodles {white, in asian section, can be left out if you can't find them}
one head of iceberg or butter lettuce, separated as carefully as possible into leaves

Cook the ground meat in a frying pan over medium heat. While it is cooking, break it up as small as possible with a spatula. Once the chicken is cooked, turn the heat down to medium and add the water chestnuts, green onions, garlic and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Add soy sauce, hoisin, Yoshida's, ginger, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, stir and heat through.

Serve family style in a big bowl with lettuce leaves on the side. To eat, scoop some of the mixture into a lettuce leaf, wrap it up and enjoy.

I don't remember where I got this recipe. It was a long time ago before I had a good system of cataloging recipes, including the original source. We attempted to copy another P.F. Chang's appetizers to go with them, their crispy green beans (tempura fried), but they didn't turn out as stellar. Maybe when I perfect that recipe I'll pass it along too.


Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins

These are the best blueberry muffins I've ever had! They have a yummy buttery taste, they are very moist, the crumb topping is delicious, and they are packed with blueberries. I made them twice in one week, and they made the perfect breakfast treat to take to my brother and his wife in the hospital the morning after they had their first child.

Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins

7 Tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups fresh blueberries

For the Topping:
3 Tbss cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 Tbs sugar

Put a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375. Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners. {The first time I made these I didn't have liners and just sprayed the muffin tin, they turned out fine. The only down side is they have so many blueberries that if you're not careful they'll fall apart when you try to remove them from the pan. So liners are probably best, I just wanted you to know they're not 100% necessary and if you don't have them you can still go for it.}

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the butter. Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan. The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that. Keep a close eye. Remove from heat.

Whisk milk, egg, yolk and vanilla until combined. Add the slightly cooled brown butter and stir to combine.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk and butter mixture and stir gently to combine. Gently but thoroughly fold in the blueberries. Batter will be thick.

Divide the batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.

To make the topping, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups.

Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes then remove from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from Joy the Baker.


Berry Crisp

When my parents were in NYC a few weeks ago my dad had a craving for berry crisp. We tried a few restaurants with no luck. So we made our own at home! It was a perfect summer treat.

Blueberry Blackberry Crisp

2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh blackberries
3 Tbs sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
1/3 cup quick oats
1 stick unsalted butter, well-softened

Preheat the oven to 350. Generously grease an 8×8 baking pan with butter.

Place berries in the bottom of the pan and dust with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Toss to mix in sugar. The berries should be just about to the top of the pan (they will cook down).

For the topping, place the flour, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon and oats in a large bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon. Take 1/4-1/2 cup of the topping and stir it into the sugared berry mixture. Work the butter into the rest of the topping mixture with your fingertips until evenly distributed. Spread the topping evenly over the berries.

Bake the crisp in the dish on a baking sheet on the center oven rack until the topping is crunchy and the berries are bubbling, 55-60 minutes.

Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker.