It’s Saturday as I’m writing this, one thirty in the afternoon and it’s the first time I’ve sat down since I woke up this morning. Weekends are for relaxing (aren’t they? Or do I have that wrong?). My weekends are more work than my weekdays lately. I have two days to clean the house, run errands (grocery shopping), spend time with my toddler (who is a full-time job) and work on Love and Duck Fat.
On Sunday I cook as much as I can to make sure we have healthy, home-cooked meals for the week. This Thai beef lettuce wrap recipe is one of our new favorites.
Gluten-Free, Paleo, Real Food, Organic, Grass-fed…however you want to label them; these beef lettuce wraps are a delicious, healthy recipe to add to your weekday meal lineup. I like to make a double batch of the beef filling and use it for dinner one night, and then use the leftovers in an Asian beef salad the next day.
Beef lettuce wraps are light, flavorful and full of crunchy texture. They are easy to make too. I usually keep a few pounds of grass-fed, organic ground beef in my freezer to pull out for meals later in the week. Ground beef is one of those versatile, affordable staples that make a busy schedule just a little easier.
When life is busy (and a little overwhelming) in times like these, you know what I do? More!
Yep. I committed to working out 20 minutes a day on top of everything else so I can manage my stress and get in better shape. I’m almost through my first week, and it’s hard, but I need to do something for myself–even if a toddler is climbing all over me while I’m trying to do yoga.
It’s a lot to handle, and sometimes I think I should just quit Love and Duck Fat for a while—I mean, why am I here? I’m certainly not getting paid (much beyond expenses) for my time, and blogging takes a LOT of my time. There’s recipe creating, cooking, photographic, photo editing, writing, social media promotion, emails to answer, blog maintenance.
I’m not complaining. After all, I started this blog and I’m very proud of it. I’m compelled to keep doing it—and maybe someday it will lead to something that would make the hours worthwhile in a more monetary sense. That would be nice…to be valued enough for what I do to get paid for it so I don’t have to go to that OTHER job where I feel like what I’m doing could be done by anyone.
Love and Duck Fat is all mine, and that’s why I’m taking the few quiet moments of my day (when my son is napping) to sit here and share this Thai beef lettuce wrap recipe with you. I would love to hear what you think about handling a busy schedule, priorities and blogging. You do you do it? Please share in the comments!
Rinse the lettuce leaves and pat dry, keeping them whole by cutting the stalk and peeling away the leaves one by one.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and add the chili flakes and ginger. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant but not brown. Add the onion and carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes, until soft. Add the beef and sauté beef until nearly cooked. If using Grass-Fed beef it is usually lower in fat and you may not need to drain the grease.
Add the garlic, water chestnuts, mushrooms, soy sauce, fish sauce to the beef mixture. Cook until mixture is lightly browned.
Cut half the lime and squeeze juice over the beef mixture. Slice the remaining lime and use as garnish. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Garnish with scallions and serve with lettuce leaves and optional dipping sauce.
Mix all ingredients together and stir until combined. Garnish with scallions.
If you love oysters and New Orleans cooking like we do, this sausage and oyster gumbo recipe is for you!
It’s full of fresh vegetables, smoky sausage and oysters. The flavors are perfect together; making this one of the best gumbo recipes I’ve ever had.
Do you love Louisiana food? We certainly do. Whether it’s Cajun or Creole; we can’t get enough. I’m talking about recipes like etouffée, crawfish, boudin, jambalaya and gumbo. We live south of New Orleans—Miami—and we can’t seem to find a restaurant that serves good Louisiana cooking.
Our way to solve this deficiency is to cook at home, which usually results in food even better than what we would get in New Orleans. As I’ve mentioned before, we are lucky enough to have access to super-fresh Gulf seafood from Casablanca’s seafood market. This legendary market has boats arriving daily and serves up an astounding array of fresh local seafood right in the heart of downtown Miami.
Unfortunately, the secret is out. Now I have to jockey for a parking space to get my seafood fix and wait forever in lines. Sad me 🙁
To make this heavenly sausage and oyster gumbo recipe, you can use freshly shucked oysters or save yourself the trouble and buy the pre-shucked refrigerated oysters in the seafood section of a good grocery store. Buy some nice Louisiana-style smoked sausage or Andouille and you are good to go—except for file powder. Do you have it? Don’t fret if you don’t. File powder is not necessary for a good gumbo. Even the folks in Louisiana will tell you so. I prefer to add okra in its place. It thickens gumbo just like file would.
The key to making a gumbo is the roux. It sounds like something magical and hard to do when you hear people mention it, but it’s very easy. I have to mention my sister-in-law here because she gifted me an heirloom quality roux spoon. Isn’t it nifty? I never knew they had a “thing” just for this purpose!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! Check back soon when I’ll be sharing my favorite recipe for Shrimp Etouffée. What’s your favorite Louisiana dish?
In a skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage well in the 2 tablespoons of oil. Remove sausage from the skillet and set aside.
Using a large heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter melts and foams, add the flour. Use a wooden spoon to stir the flour into the butter to prevent any lumps. Continue to cook and stir the roux until it is brown and nutty-smelling, about 15 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo by Tyler Florence http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/shrimp-and-oyster-gumbo-with-okra-recipe.html
Add the onion, celery, red and green bell pepper, garlic, Cajun seasoning and thyme to the roux and cook for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
Pour in the chicken stock. Add the okra, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally.
Toss the oysters (and oyster liquor) in the pot and cook another 10-15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper and a dash of Tabasco sauce if needed.
To serve: Ladle gumbo in a wide bowl. Top with cooked rice. Sprinkle with green onion or parsley. Don’t forget to place the hot sauce on the table.
Recipe adapter from Shrimp and Oyster Gumbo by Tyler Florence
You can make this pork tenderloin with Guinness glaze for St. Patrick’s Day or any day of the year. It’s a delicious dish for beer lovers. The Guinness glaze is sweet and savory, with a good hoppy bitterness added from reducing the Guinness to a thick syrup. The pork is tender and juicy. Served with a wedge of roasted cabbage and buttery parsley potatoes, this recipe is a fresh alternative to the old corned beef and cabbage.
Back in 2011, the USDA lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature of pork to 145 degrees instead of 160. This is important to know when cooking something as lean as a pork tenderloin. Over cooking produces a dry, chewy piece of pork—something I’m sure everyone has experienced. Cooked correctly, pork is juicy, pale pink and tender enough to cut with a fork.
If you love Guinness (or know someone who does) try cooking with it more often. It goes well in stews and soups, adding richness and color to the dish. With notes of coffee and chocolate, Guinness goes well in dessert recipes too. Don’t miss this recipe for Guinness chocolate cake with Bailey’s Irish Crème Anglaise or Guinness Ice Cream Floats.
Add the Guinness, apricot preserves, brown sugar and garlic to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook on low heat, stirring every few minutes, until the sauce is reduced to a thick syrup, about 20 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon.
Heat oven to 425 degrees F/220 degrees C.
Trim any silver skin from tenderloins with a small sharp knife. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Season tenderloins well on all sides with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pork and sear until browned on all sides, about 10-12 minutes.
Brush the tenderloin with the Guinness glaze and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook pork 10-15 minutes, basting once. Remove from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (63C). Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve the pork drizzled with more glaze.