Kate and I have been friends for nearly 25 years. For nearly a quarter of a century, we have laughed together, cried together, traveled together, and even lived together. I more or less think of her as a sister.
When I started to think that I could use some help keeping up with the blog, Kate was an obvious choice. Not only is she one of the best cooks I know (she studied at the Culinary Institute of America), but she is also one of my most favourite people on the planet. Though she has never blogged before, she is a much better writer than I am, and I know she is going to be awesome. You guys will totally love her.
Kate has two biological children (one is nine and the other is four months) and two step-children aged seven and ten. She has been married for two blissful years to the doctor husband of her dreams, and they live in a big beautiful house in Seattle.
I am so pleased to announce that Kate has joined the Hungermama bandwagon and will be a regular weekly poster from here on out! Given her classical training, Kate’s cooking style is quite a bit different from mine: she will be able to share tips and tricks with us that we don’t even know exist. But don’t be intimidated! At the end of the day, Kate is just another mama trying to feed a family of six (!) with limited time and patience (and she’s totally rocking it). Please give a warm welcome to my girl, Kate!
Lettuce Wraps-by Kate Davies
At least once a week we try to have a ‘make your own’ style dinner. The ingredients are displayed on the table in separate dishes (a drawback when it comes time to do dishes, but well worth it), and the kids are allowed to assemble their own meals. It’s incredible how much more appealing a taco, a salad, a panini, or a lettuce wrap can be when they make it for themselves.
It’s quite difficult to make an objectionable lettuce wrap at our table. I make sure that even if someone goes overboard on one or two ingredients, they will still end up well-fed and reasonably well-nourished. If you can find living lettuce (Boston or Butter Lettuce), it is the most flexible and forgiving for little hands. Romaine or green leaf work well, too. Tofu and chicken are my go-to proteins; Chinese sausage, ground pork, and white fish are also delicious. Have fun with the sauces. We like soy sauce, fish sauce, sweet chili sauce, and teriyaki for our wraps, but you can find your own favorite dressings or dips to keep on hand.
Lettuce WrapsPrint Recipe
- 4 boneless, skinless thighs
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 head lettuce (Butter Lettuce, Green Leaf, Red Leaf), or 3 heads Romaine
- 400g (2 cups) brown rice, cooked
- 1 sliced bell pepper
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 1 large handful (1 cup) bean sprouts
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 English cucumber, sliced
- chopped toasted peanuts
- fresh herbs (such as mint, cilantro, and/or Thai basil)
wash the lettuce, and set aside to dry on a clean dish towel.
add the chicken thighs to the combined ingredients for the marinade, and store in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
while the chicken hangs and the rice cooks, arrange the garnishes on plates or in separate bowls.
heat a skillet to medium high, and add 1/4 tsp vegetable oil. Immediately add the chicken thighs, allowing them to sear (without stirring or moving them) for about 2 minutes, or until a dark crust begins to form around the edges*.
flip the chicken pieces, add a splash of water or chicken stock, and finish in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest piece reaches 165° F, or 74° C.
chop the chicken into manageable chunks, throw everything on the table, and call your peeps to dinner.
*if you use tofu, flip it once and stop there.
Store bought or homemade Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce) is delicious with lettuce wraps, but if fish sauce isn’t your favorite you can use sesame vinaigrette, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, or sweet chili sauce from the supermarket.