I’ve been making and eating a lot of lettuce wraps recently. For lunch, for an appetizer, for no real reason at all. I know it might not sound very exciting, but trust me, I'm talking about some high-maintenance lettuce wraps here.
High-maintenance in the best way possible. Bear with me now...
Not the kind of high-maintenance that would scare you away. You know I don't like things to be too complicated around here. Just the kind of high-maintenance that takes something that needs a little fixing up and making it a little fancier.
It all started when I found the most beautiful head of butter lettuce at my local Whole Foods, that was grown here, locally in Brooklyn. Beautiful lettuce from Brooklyn? I was smitten. This lettuce was meant for big, beautiful, veggie-filled lettuce wraps.
I started with a basic lettuce wrap with lots of raw veggies and some pea pesto that I had made recently. They were delicious. The pea pesto really made the wrap, but I thought maybe it could use a little something else.
A few days later, Michael and I wanted a snack, and I had a little leftover butter lettuce so I decided to make some more lettuce wraps. This time I added some black beans for some protein and a dash of hot sauce for some spice. These lettuce wraps rocked our world.
Because they were so good, I had to make them again. This time for myself for lunch, but I went one step further and I decided to make my own hot sauce. I have been dying to make my own sriracha for quite some time and in browsing some favorite blogs of mine I found this great recipe to make a proper sriracha (one that would taste exactly like the original but without the added preservatives) however it requires days of fermentation. Something I will be tackling soon, but not today. I needed some hot sauce, pronto.
So I found a few other recipes, this one from Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen, via this post from Sarah from Sprouted Kitchen. It looked super easy so I gave it a go. This hot sauce is awesome. Although it is not exactly like sriracha, it is close enough for me. I made a large batch and have been putting it on anything and everything.
I have a thing for hot sauce if you couldn't guess.
Now, of course, if you are not a hot sauce person, you can totally leave it out. The lettuce wraps are just as great without it. You can also make up any combination of veggies and beans that you like. White beans and red pepper, chickpeas and carrots. This is a fridge leftover kid of recipe.
What's also great about these is that they are like a reconfigured salad. So if you are bored with your salad routine, go make yourself some fancy, high-maintenance lettuce wraps for lunch.
I probably wouldn’t describe myself as someone with a green thumb. It’s not that I am not one with nature, or have no instincts when it comes to plants, it’s probably more because I approach growing things the same way I approach cooking. I prefer to go in blindly with little direction and see what works and what does not.
I planted my first garden this summer and it was very apparent that this approach probably does not work as well in the garden as it does in the kitchen. Or maybe it does, depends on how you look at it. I did make a lot of mistakes, and I learned some key lessons from those mistakes, so maybe that will make my garden next year that much better? I sure do hope so.
Last summer I volunteered one day a week at The Stone Barns Center for Agriculture in their dooryard garden hoping to learn a little from the experts: the passionate farmers and gardeners who work there. I did learn to make a killer trellis from found objects, and I learned about all kinds of plants and vegetables that I had never heard of, but most of all I learned that I had a lot to learn.
It was kind of overwhelming, especially for someone with very little knowledge of gardening. So when it came time to build and plant my garden this summer, I decided that I was not going to try and learn everything. I was just going to plant some seeds, give it some love, and see what happened.
The result? An out of control amount of zucchini, cucumbers that are popping up in and around my grape tomatoes, and enough pumpkins to charge for hay rides and pumpkin picking in my backyard this October. As well as a bunch of lettuce that never surfaced, and carrots and scallions that I’m certain were eaten by some sneaky little creatures.