Tag Archives: nuts

Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Nuts, and Making the Meals the Universe Wants You To Make

I blame Emily Dingmann.  A day after looking through this interesting Learnist board she’d created on fancy nut butters, my husband brought home, completely on his own, a jar of spicy peanut butter.  Today, I had nothing in the house to make a real dinner with except a package of chicken, some butter lettuce, bell pepper and….that jar of spicy peanut butter.  Clearly, the universe was compelling me to make peanut chicken wraps.  Clearly.

Sadly, I don’t have an actual recipe to share with you.  I can tell you that I heated canola oil and a tablespoon of Chinese 5-spice powder in a pan and then fried died chicken in it, added half a diced onion and one diced bell pepper, and a couple chopped leaves of basil.  Then I added a big scoop of spicy peanut butter, thinned it out a bit with chicken stock until it coated the chicken mixture without being too runny, and served it in lettuce cups with chopped peanuts and some chives from my garden.  That was about it.

Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Despite what this blog and my Evernote recipe notebook might lead you to believe, most of my cooking doesn’t involve recipes at all.  It just involves me saying, “Hm, what should I eat?”, perusing the refrigerator and cupboards, finding a few ingredients and thinking, “Yeah that seems good” and just sort of throwing things together.  I never think much of it; chances are you do the same thing.  But I do often get questions and exclamations of wonderment from friends and acquaintances who aren’t as comfortable just throwing culinary paint at the wall, as it were.  “How do you know what to put together?  How do you know how much?  How do you know it’ll taste good?”

The answer is, I don’t always, except I sort of do, and it usually works out.  Part of it is knowing what individual ingredients taste like (raw and cooked), which comes with experience; part of it is being able to imagine how they’ll taste together, which comes with experimentation; and part of it is being confident in your instincts, which comes down to trusting yourself a little bit.

Maybe you’ve never considered trying a spicy peanut butter; maybe you’ve never thrown a scoop of peanut butter into a dish with chicken; maybe you’ve never imagined spreading peanut butter on a grilled cheese sandwich, but you should because it’s delicious.

Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Unless you have a peanut allergy.  I mean, it’s delicious but it’s not worth anaphylactic shock.

I can’t really think of anything that is worth anaphylactic shock, off the top of my head.  Unless you’ve been in the desert for months without the slightest bit of chocolate and some desert mirage offers you an Almond Joy.  Then you eat that sucker.

No, seriously, don’t do that if you have a nut allergy.  I’m just kidding.

Anyway, for the rest of you, if the Universe gives you a nut, use it to make something delicious and new to you.  The Universe wants you to experiment.  It wants you to be happy.  It wants you to make delicious food.

Also, it thinks you should check out the following Learnist boards on peanuts and things you can do with them.

Also, it said you look really cute today, so kudos.


Toffee Break: Homemade Heath Bars

I want to make a disclaimer on this post: I don’t really eat that much junk food.  Honestly.  I know it seems like it, what with every other post being a chocolate cake or a marshmallow mousse or fruity alcoholic drink or yet another homemade candy bar.  I eat a lot of fruit, veggies, whole grains and nonfat dairy.  Honestly.  It’s just that those things aren’t nearly as fun to write about.

But anyway.  Let’s move on to the topic at hand.  Which is a post on yet another homemade candy bar!  But not just any candy bar: homemade Heath bars.  Do you know what a Heath bar is?  I didn’t.  It’s toffee, wrapped in chocolate.  Do you know what toffee is?  Sugar and butter.  Which is then smothered in chocolate.  So that’s three essential food groups right there.  Oh and there’s nuts, too, so that’s…you know…vitamin E.  And protein…

My boss Lynne requested these.  And I blame Jeff.  He started this, requesting a batch of homemade Snickers bars, which turned out remarkably well.  Then another coworker requested M&Ms, which I haven’t figured out yet, and then Lynne requested Heath bars for her birthday.  Now that those are conquered, I’ll have to work on Take 5 bars, Butterfingers and Twixes.  And then I’m going to fall into a deep sugar coma that will hopefully last all winter, so I can skip the whole “freezing my butt off” thing.

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