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Friday, July 20, 2012

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

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Does anyone remember the book The Five Love Languages? If I recall correctly, the love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch, and receiving gifts. There's a test you can take to determine what your love languages are, both in terms of giving and receiving. I'd like to argue that there's a sixth love language, all having to do with making food for others. That, my friends, is undoubtedly my love language. There are few greater joys that making food for others to enjoy, and lately I find it's how I best show my care and affection for those I love.

These Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps are the perfect example of that. Baby Charlie is the newest addition to our friends Mike and Maggie's little family (remember the Cookies & Milk shower?). I love the practice of bringing families with new babies food, and took it a step further with this meal. I carted over the ingredients for this dish and made it in their kitchen, so they got a freshly made meal that didn't require them lifting a finger. To be fair, Ryan and Mike got stuck with clean up duties, because I may or may not have been too busy cuddling a certain adorable newborn!
We all loved these lettuce wraps, which couldn't have been easier to make. They are a bit messy to eat, but when you're changing diapers every half hour, messy takes on a whole new perspective! The meat was flavorful, the drizzling sauce was perfectly spicy, and the peanuts I added at the last minute were the perfect finishing touch. I'd accidentally picked up alfalfa sprouts instead of bean sprouts, but no one complained. Feel free to add or change the toppings to your liking!

One Year Ago: Loaded Baked Potato Dip
Two Years Ago: Whole Chicken on the Grill

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
slightly adapted from Food Network 

-1 lb ground turkey
-2 tsp vegetable oil
-8 oz button mushrooms, chopped
-6 scallions, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 (6 oz) can water chestnuts, chopped
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1 tbsp brown sugar
-1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

for the drizzling sauce-
-3 tbsp soy sauce
-2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
-1 tbsp honey
-1 tbsp Dijon mustard
-1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
-1/2 tsp sesame oil

for assembly-
-about 12 large iceberg lettuce leaves, cleaned and dry
-shredded carrots
-bean sprouts
-chopped fresh cilantro
-chopped peanuts

1. To make the filling, brown the turkey in the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, until no longer pink. Add the mushrooms, scallions, garlic, and water chestnuts, cooking until mushrooms are soft.
2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice wine vinegar. Pour over the turkey and cook for one minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside.
3. To make the drizzling sauce, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup water and stir to combine.
4. Serve the turkey mixture with the lettuce leaves. Spoon filling into lettuce and top with desired ingredients. Finish with a drizzle of sauce.