Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps {Crock Pot Recipe}

25 03 2014

Last week when I was in Madison, I spent a night at my friend Sandra’s house. Sandra and I work together and have bonded over some of our common interests: she has two adorable kitties, loves to cook, and has a food blog! After work on Tuesday night, she took me for some good ol’ Wisconsin cheese, and then we went back to her place to make some wontons and potstickers!

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Sandra had already prepared the filling- turkey, bell pepper, mushroom, and some spices and we just had to wrap em up!

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I watched her experienced hands form perfect little wontons, and then took a stab at it myself. Mine most certainly did not turn out as lovely as hers, but as we neared the final few I think I finally got the technique down.

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We boiled some, pan friend some others, and did the same for a few dumplings she had in the freezer.

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We made dipping sauces to our taste- using soy sauce, sesame  oil, rice vinegar, chili paste, and a touch of sugar. Normally there would be black vinegar in there, but Sandra was all out!

When we finally dug in (it took quite awhile to hand-wrap all those wontons!) it all became worth the effort. They were so incredibly delicious, I could have eaten an entire plate! Something about homemade dumplings is just so comforting! I don’t think wontons are something I’d typically make for myself, but if I’ve got an extra set of hands or two, I think they’d make a great party dish!

When I arrived home later in the week, I was craving those flavors again so I decided to make something a bit less time-intensive but with similar ingredients: Lettuce Wraps!

Lettuce Wraps

The filling was tempeh, water chestnuts, red bell pepper, mushrooms with a sauce of ginger, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. I let all that cook down in the crock pot while I went for a long bike ride. Dipping sauce was similar, but I added some garlic chili paste to that. Served with some iceberg leaves and some left over rice and voila! Easy peasy!

I’m sure you could make these with ground meat- pork, turkey or chicken would probably work best. You can suit the sauce to your tastes too- you don’t need to stick to my measurements. Play around and find what suits your taste buds best!

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Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

1 block tempeh
4 oz chopped baby bella mushrooms (1/2 a container)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can chopped water chesnuts
2-3 green onions, chopped (add at the end)
1/4 cup soy sauce (more to taste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 TBS brown sugar
Dipping sauce

How to:

1. Cut the tempeh into cubes and steam for about 5 minutes.

2. While the tempeh is steaming, chop your peppers and mushrooms.

3. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar.

4. In a larger bowl, combine the tempeh, sauce, water chestnuts, peppers and mushrooms.

5. Refrigerate the filling for several hours (you can do this the night before, or I did it in the morning for a few hours before leaving for my ride)

6. Cook on low for about 6 hours in the crock pot.

7. Serve with lettuce leaves, rice, and the dipping sauce.

For dipping sauge, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic chili paste, and sugar to taste! Add less chili paste for less spicy! I typically do mostly soy, about half that amount of rice vinegar, a touch of sesame oil, chili paste, and sugar.





Pancake Friday – Matcha Green Tea Pancakes with Warm Berry Topping

14 03 2014

In honor of the upcoming St. Patty’s day, I decided that a green pancake was necessary for Pancake Friday this week!

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I just so happened to receive a bag of Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder (<- affiliate link) the other day, and I figured there was no better way to use it than in my next batch of pancakes!

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I’ve never cooked with matcha powder before and I’m pretty sure the only time I’ve ever really had matcha was in the Starbucks Green Tea latte, but it’s something I’m always intrigued by. It’s chock full of antioxidants and it’s a better source of long-lasting energy than coffee. Why not give it a try again?

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(yay for my new griddle!)

Matcha has a really earthy flavor and I wasn’t quite sure what I would pair with it until I remembered that when Starbucks first came out with their green tea lattes/frappuccinos, they topped them with a berry syrup. So, that’s what I would do too!

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I also added some shredded coconut, because, well, why not?

IMG_1011The pancakes were light, fluffy, and pretty darn tasty! I think the berries on top really made it! As for whether or not I’m really feeling those health benefits, the jury is still out but I will be using this powder again!

Grab yourself some matcha green tea powder and get to cooking friends!

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
2 TBS matcha green tea powder

Wet Ingredients:

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk + extra if your batter is too thick (I used 1 cup milk + 1 TBS vinegar, sit for a few minutes and voila!)
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBS honey
1 TBS coconut oil

For the Syrup:

In a saucepan over low heat, add frozen or fresh berries (I used a pint of blackberries and about 4-5 strawberries) and about 1/4 cup sugar. Cover and allow to reduce to a sauce, stirring occasionally.

green tea pancakes





Pancake Friday – Sweet Potato Pecan Pancakes

7 03 2014

I completely forgot that Tuesday was Fat Tuesday aka National Pancake Day. And I call myself a food blogger! Sheesh.

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That’s okay (well, at least I’m telling myself that’s okay) because I have a pancake recipe for you today!

This is loosely based on a recipe from The Feedzone cookbook, which is all about feeding athletes with REAL food. I’ve actually been making recipes from its companion cookbook, Feedzone Portables every week for my long bike rides. I definitely need to share some of my favorites soon!

Anyhow, this recipe uses one of my favorite vegetables: sweet potatoes! Sweet potatoes are super versatile and can be put into savory dishes or sweet. They’re chock full of all things good for you, but I may have canceled out the “healthiness” of them by all the other stuff I mixed with them. Whoops. At least they’re tasty!

IMG_0956I topped them off with some apples I sauteed in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. If you don’t like the taste of warm cinnamony apples, I don’t know what is wrong with you! ;-)

If you’re interested in making these babies here’s how:

Dry Ingredients:

1/2 cup cake flour
1.5 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Wet Ingredients:

1 small-medium sweet potato, cooked and mashed (no skin!) I just cooked mine in the microwave
1 egg
1.5 cups milk (plus more as needed)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbs melted butter

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Do the usual: mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix wet in another. Combine. Pour 1/3 cup into circles on the griddle. Let bubble and the sides start to cook. Flip.

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