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Wrapped in leafy goodness

I love making and eating lettuce wraps. They are versatile, easy and fun to eat. They look impressive on the plate and when people are served there is almost always an “o my, that looks good” to follow. You can put anything you like on your wraps. Trust me when I say that these wraps will make you and your guests smile and you will look and feel like a culinary genius.

When making wraps I go with the season. If it’s hot outside like it is in Chico during the summer I will usually make them with a spicy sausage topped with a little cabbage and an Asian sauce I make. Since it is winter I made two different types involving beef spare ribs on one and beer battered shrimp on the other.

The wrap on the right involved braising beef short ribs in beef stock and porcini mushrooms. I used my Fagor all-in-one cooker for this task. I cooked them on the slow cooker setting set on high for about 3 hours. At the three hour mark I removed a cup of the liquid and placed into my sauce pan to reduce. I reduced that liquid by half so I had a nice sauce to finish the wrap with. The wrap itself was just some of the rib meat and shredded cabbage topped off with a tablespoon of the sauce. This warp was flavorful and very basic but that is the best part, lots of flavor with very minimal ingredients.

The next wrap is a wrap that I got the idea for out of my vegan cookbook called Veganomicon written by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero. The recipe itself is called Corn and Edamame Sesame Salad. The corn and edamame is seasoned lightly with soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds. The salad itself can be placed on anything but in the cookbook it is placed into radicchio cups. I loved the radicchio but my brother said it was a little bitter for him. So use your taste buds on this one. If you would like the recipe just send me a message.

Now as you can see from the picture I added a little something extra. It is a beer battered shrimp. I made my batter with a Bigfoot beer from Sierra Nevada brewery. The beer’s deep flavor complemented the salad perfectly. The reason the shrimp looks dark is not because I over fried it but because I used an Emeril spice mix that my mom gave me for Christmas. Beer batter is something that I have spent years getting just right. The key to frying anything properly is oil temperature. I get my oil to about 350 degrees before anything goes in. Remember that once you start to fry anything your oil temperature will drop and if your oil isn’t hot enough to begin with you will end up with a soggy mess. Keeping your oil at the right temperature will ensure that whatever you are frying will cook properly and it will ensure that your finished product doesn’t absorb too much oil in the cooking process.

I hope that this article will give you the confidence to step outside of your traditional meals and maybe see your lettuce as more than just an accessory to dinner. It makes a great vehicle for just about anything you can think of and makes eating dinner fun to eat.

 

Written By

David Aguiar
Photo submitted by
David Aguiar

 

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