Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

Today I went to the grocery store, and as I was picking up my receipt the coupon machine spit out a coupon just for me: Pamper Diapers. Now I have never ever bought anything close to a baby item, not even baby powder. So my nose did a scrunch as I tried to figure out just how they think they can pin me so well. We live in a strange time.
Originally this recipe calls for a pork loin that you cut into chucks and process in a food processor. But this summer J. and I bought a quarter of a cow and with it came 37lbs of ground beef. So I am always looking for interesting and fun ways to incorporate the large amount of ground beef we have. There is a tad bit of sugar and rice, but it is nominal and necessary. I also included Cellophane noodles (made from mung beans) to give it some texture . You can omit this if you want. This recipe was quick, easy and had just enough heat to spice up this cold January day.
Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
  • 1lb of ground beef (preferably grass fed organic)
  • 2 1/2tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 oz. package of dried Cellophane noodles
  • 1tablespoon white rice (see note)
  • 1/4cup low-sodium chicken broth (or water)
  • 4 scallions sliced
  • 3tablespoons juice from 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1head Romaine lettuce , washed and dried, leaves separated and left whole

Instructions

  1.  Heat a sauce pan of water until simmering. Turn off heat and drop in noodles and let set for at least 20 minutes. Drain noodles.
  2. Heat rice in small skillet over medium-high heat; cook, stirring constantly, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool 5 minutes. Grind rice with spice grinder, mini food processor, blender or mortar and pestle until it resembles fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds (you should have about 1 tablespoon rice powder).
  3.  Bring broth to simmer in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring frequently, until about half of beef is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon rice powder over beef; continue to cook, stirring constantly, until remaining beef is no longer pink, 1 to 1½ minutes longer. Transfer beef to large bowl; let cool 10 minutes.
  4.  Add remaining 1½ tablespoons fish sauce, remaining 2 teaspoons rice powder, shallots, lime juice, sugar, red pepper flakes, mint, and cilantro to beef; toss to combine. Serve with lettuce leaves.
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Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

Am I the only one that doesn’t like eggs? I swear I must be the only person on this planet that just can’t support a plate of eggs. I used to like them when I was small. There was a funny story of how I really wanted to eat something and I knew what I wanted  but I couldn’t remember the name of it. So my little three year old self tried to explain what it was… “ok, it’s white and then it is still white.” My wonderful grandmother finally figured out my toddler riddle: Hard Boiled Egg, because the shell is white and then when you peel it , it is still white. Around the age of 5 I made the decision that I did NOT like eggs, much to the chagrin of my bewildered parents, who probably figured I would grow out of it. But I didn’t.

My husband does like eggs, he likes them so much that we have backyard chickens. So far we have had 9 chickens in the span of a year and no eggs. I repeat, 9 chickens no eggs. Our first experience with the chicken world almost (I am convinced) killed us, I believe the chicken rangler we bought them from might be a serial killer. But it turned out he cheated us and purposely sold us two roosters, and one died. Then one of my students asked if we would help raise chicks, on the week that we were most likely to receive our first egg, Ms. Matilda Ann Justice (dog) killed both of them. So now we have 4 new chickens braving the winter and not producing any eggs.  Sounds a lot like me! Get it? Lame PCOS joke! I always joke that maybe this spot in the world is a black hole for fertility.

So what do I eat for breakfast if I don’t eat carbs and I don’t eat eggs. Long story short…nothing. I don’t have time on weekdays to eat breakfast, but on the weekends I usually put together a healthy snack to tide me till a regular meal. But being that someday soon I will be swimming in about 4 eggs a day… and that everyone in the world seems to like eggs……

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, sliced
  • Salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ lb. smoked Canadian bacon or ham, diced
  • 6 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar
Directions

Combine the zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt in a colander and toss well. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or ovenproof nonstick skillet. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, flipping and stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent. Remove the onions and return the skillet to the stove.

Transfer the zucchini to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Add the zucchini and Canadian bacon to the skillet and sauté over medium-high heat, until the zucchini is just tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the zucchini and Canadian bacon with a slotted spoon. Keep the skillet over the heat.

4. Beat the eggs and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until well blended. Fold in the potatoes, zucchini and Canadian bacon, and cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil to the skillet as needed to lightly coat the bottom. Pour in the egg mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook without stirring until the bottom is set, about 10 minutes.

6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the top is set, 5 to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes.

Place a serving plate on top of the skillet and carefull invert. The frittata should fall out of the pan. Cut into wedges and serve.

Coq Au Vin

This recipe is a bit labor intensive, but the results are satisfying. The meal is a one-pot, vegetables include carrots,celery, onions. Recipe was adapted from The Girl and Fig Cookbook

Coq Au Vin
Marinade:

1 1/2 cups red wine
3 sprigs parsley
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp soy sauce
6 chicken legs
3 chicken breasts (or 6 thighs)

Braise:
1 carrot, peeled and roughly diced
1 onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
6-8 black peppercorns
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 cups red wine
4 thyme sprigs
4 parsley sprigs
6 cups chicken stock

Saute:
1 1/2 cups flour
salt & pepper
8 oz bacon, diced
16 oz button mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cognac (I used Calvados because that’s what I had)
2 cups red wine (or the rest of your 2nd bottle which will be about a cup and a half)
20 pearl onions, blanched and peeled or defrosted if using frozen

 

Marinade the Chicken for at least 24 hours.

Saute the vegetables in oil till soft. Add all the remaining ingredients from the Braise and cook until it is reduced to at least half.

Dry and coat chicken in flour and salt and pepper. Fry bacon, remove and saute mushrooms. Remove mushrooms and add dredged chicken to remaining grease. Place mushrooms, bacon and chicken in braise. Deglaze the pan with remaining wine. Pour into Braise. Cook in oven or on stove top until chicken registers 175 degrees.

 

Serve Hot. Traditionally it served over egg noodles or mashed potatoes, but since we are PCOSing I left them out.