17 March 2010

Vegan Lettuce Wraps

I decided this morning that I absolutely had to have lettuce wraps like PF Chang's.  My dilemma: distance.  I definitely don't want to drive 45 minutes each way to order appetizers.  So, I set out to find some cook-alike recipes that would fit the bill and taste like the PF Chang's version.  I mostly depended on this website for guidance.  I made mine with just veggies.  I was shocked at how delicious these turned out.  I didn't make the dipping oils, but I thought they were fabulous without.  I should add that this should make enough for 2 adults as the entree, or 3-4 as a side or appetizer.

My hints for this recipe:
  • Look for rice vinegar and sesame oil in your grocery store's "International" aisle with the Asian goods.  
  • Chop your stuff really small, about the size of a kernel of corn. But, by all means, if you want large chunks--go for it. 
  • Use clean, dry iceburg lettuce leaves or napa cabbage leaves.  I prefer the iceburg.
  • To spice the cooking oil a bit, I added a few shakes of dried red pepper flakes.  I let it heat a few minutes this way before adding the veggies.  
Here's My Recipe:
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  • 2 TB olive oil 
  • 2 TB sesame oil
  • 1 – 6oz can sliced water chestnuts, minced 
  • 4 fresh button mushrooms, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 of a carrot, shredded
  • 1-2 TB of green pepper, minced
  • 2 TB soy sauce or tamari (low-sodium preferred)
  • 2 TB light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
  • 10 Lettuce leaves for the wraps
  1. In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar.  Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil and sesame oil in a wok or large skillet on medium-high heat.  Sprinkle red pepper flakes in.  Let heat about 4 minutes.
  3. Add in water chestnuts, onion, garlic, carrot, green pepper, mushroom and the sauce created in step one.  If you're using meat, add it here as well.
  4. Stir occasionally.  I cooked mine about 7-8 minutes, letting some of the liquid cook off.  The sauce will brown up as it cooks.  
Serve in lettuce leaves.  I added a tiny bit more soy sauce to mine because I love it.   They're absolutely delicious!!  You can definitely add more veggies to suit your tastes.

09 March 2010

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Blueberry muffins are some of the only muffins I really like.  So, when a friend asked me to find her son a yummy blueberry muffin recipe, I was super stoked.  I went on the hunt immediately and stumbled across this recipe.  I love streusel topping, so this is the one recipe I absolutely had to try.  I made only a half batch since there are only 2 of us here in my house and we definitely don't need a dozen of these tasty babies sitting around.  The recipe that follows is for the full dozen.  The only change I made was to add more sugar and cinnamon to the streusel topping.  My favorite thing about these muffins is that you get fruit in every single bite!

Here's The Recipe:
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Muffin Ingredients:
  • 4 TB Earth Balance, or your preferred butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg replacement (I use Ener-G)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder (seems like a lot, but is perfect)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Streusel Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup + 1 TB sugar
  • 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 + 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 TB cold Earth Balance or your preferred butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line muffin pan with 12 liners (I use the unbleached, 100% recycled paper ones from the organic store which don't need to be greased).
  3. Cream butter and sugar in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Blend in egg and vanilla.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and milk and blend until combined.
  6. Gently fold in fresh blueberries.  The batter will be quite thick and you'll need a spoon or scoop to get it into the liners.  
  7. Fill the liners 2/3 of the way full.
  8. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the dry streusel ingredients.  Then, using a dough mixer or a fork, cut the butter into the dry mix.  The butter will need to be in pea-sized bits.  There will also still be a bit of dry sugar mixture.  
  9. Using a spoon distribute the streusel topping evenly onto the muffin cups.  I used my finger to gently press it down so none rolled out of the liners.  
  10. Cook on medium oven rack for 25-29 minutes, or until the streusel carmelizes and the muffins are cooked through (toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffins comes out clean).  Remove to a cooling rack and let cool at least 5 minutes before eating because those berries are very hot.
I suggest you tuck in while they're still pretty warm with a little butter.  YUM!!!  I can never go back to the packaged muffin mix after eating these.  Best blueberry muffins I've ever eaten.