As I’ve mentioned, I have a lot of cookbooks.
I’m constantly reading and re-reading them always finding a new recipe!
A book that I got this past summer, and really love, is The Family Chef by Jewels and Jill Elmore. Two sisters working as personal chefs in Los Angeles share many of the recipes that they prepare for their own families as well as the families they work for.
I’ve made a handful of recipes from the book, all delicious, but the chicken-lettuce cups are my favorite. They make great leftovers for lunch the next day and if you know you’re going to scrambling at dinner time the filling can be made ahead and it’s a simple to re-heat just before serving.
I’ve made a few adjustments from the original recipe to fit my families tastes. This recipe requires a little prep- don’t be afraid of the ingredient list! It comes together easily once you have all the ingredients assembled. It’s light and healthy and I usually serve them with a side of steamed edamame. Enjoy!
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar
- 4 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 15 cremini mushrooms, finely diced
- 2 medium carrots, finely diced
- 4 green onions, finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 1/5 pounds ground chicken breast
- 1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
- 1 small can of water chestnuts, chopped
- cilantro and slivered almonds for garnish (optional)
- 2 heads butter leaf lettuce
- To make sauce, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, orange juice, agave, water, corn starch and chili paste in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously to combine ingredients; set aside.
- Wash lettuce leaves and set aside on a paper towel to drain and dry.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add peanut and sesame oils. Saute the mushrooms, carrots, celery, green onions, garlic and ginger until soft about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and, stirring constantly, break up the meat. When the chicken is almost cooked, add the salt, pepper and sauce you've set aside. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 5-6 minutes. Take off heat and stir in water chestnuts just before serving.
- Spoon mixture into prepared lettuce cups and top with a few cilantro sprigs and a few slivered almonds and serve.