Vietnamese-Style Wild Snapper Lettuce and Noodle Wraps

Gather the troops! This is a super fun meal to share and it’s quick and easy to make. Be sure to use Seafood Watch to find a best choice for snapper at your local grocery store or fish market. Enjoy! (P.S. This recipe was recently featured in Clean Eating Magazine!)

vietnamese-lettuce-wraps

Photo by Andrew Grinton

Yield: 4 servings

 

Dipping Sauce

¾ cup distilled white vinegar

3 tablespoons raw cane sugar

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1 lime)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

½ thai chile, thinly sliced, or more to taste

 

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

 

Lettuce Wraps

8-ounces vermicelli noodles

12 red leaf lettuce leaves (6-ounces or ½ bunch)

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 cup fresh mint leaves

1 cup fresh thai basil leaves

8-ounces small carrots, (approximately 4 small carrots) peeled, cut in half widthwise and thinly sliced lengthwise

 

Add water to a large saucepan (enough to boil the noodles) and bring to a boil. Add noodles and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes until noodles are soft. Drain and rinse noodles under cold water and place in a bowl.

Arrange lettuce, herbs and carrots on a tray or plate.

 

Snapper

1 pound skinless snapper fillets (¾ to 1-inch thick), pin bones removed

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

 

Pat fish dry and season fish evenly on both sides with salt. Cut fish into 3-inch by 1-inch strips.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add oil. Heat until hot and oil is shimmering, approximately 2 minutes.

Add fish strips, adding the thickest strips to the pan first, and let cook for 2½ minutes total, flipping the fish every 30 seconds. Fish will start to flake when done.

Transfer fish to a plate. Serve immediately.

Gather the family/friends around the table! To serve, place some noodles on a leaf of lettuce. Add some carrots, fish and fresh herbs. Roll or fold the lettuce to form a wrap or pocket. Spoon over some sauce (or dip the lettuce wrap in the sauce). Eat and repeat!

Note: If you are not up for making the wrap, you can always shred the lettuce on your plate and add the other wrap items on top and spoon over the sauce like a salad dressing.

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Flank Steak Wakame Crepe Tacos

flank-steak-wakame-crepes-with-wakame-avocado-puree

Flank Steak Wakame Crepe Tacos

(Give your tacos a boost of wakame, a highly nutritious superfood!)

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Crêpes
Yield: 10 (7-inch) crepes + 1 practice crepe J (first one is always chalked up to practice)

¾-ounce dried wakame
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ cup water
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
¼ cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the wakame in a blender and blend on high to turn into a fine powder. Remove 3½ teaspoons for this recipe. Set the remaining wakame powder aside. (You will be using it later.)

2. Place the eggs and olive oil in a large bowl and whisk until the eggs are mixed.

3. Add the water and whisk until well combined.

4. Add the flours, salt and pepper and whisk until well combined.

5. Add the wakame powder and whisk until just combined.

6. Place a crêpe pan or small nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat.

7. Once hot, measure approximately ¼ cup batter (you can use a 2-ounce ladle for this), and pour into the center of the pan.

8. Quickly rotate and tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

9. Cook for 1 minute 30 seconds, then flip the crêpe over with a plastic spatula. The crêpe should be cooked, maybe even very lightly golden brown in colored, but not dry or crispy.

10. Cook the second side for approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool. Once the crepes are room temperature, it is fine to stack them.

Flank Steak
1½ pounds flank steak
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
¼ of a small head of red cabbage, sliced thinly
3 scallions, sliced thinly on a bias
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup picked fresh cilantro leaves
sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce), to taste
1 avocado, sliced

1. Pat the steak dry with a paper towel. Pierce, in rows, both sides of the steak with a fork.  Cut the steak into four equal-sized pieces, cutting with the grain. Season all pieces/sides with the salt and pepper. Cut the steak into four equal-sized pieces, cutting with the grain.

2. Place a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add grapeseed oil and heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Lay steak in pan and cook, flipping once every minute, until well caramelized. Use your digital thermometer to achieve the perfect medium-rare, 125 to no more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The total cooking time will be 5-9 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the steak.

3. Remove steak from pan and let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.

4. Cut cooked steak pieces in thin slices against the grain.

5. To assemble, lay a crepe down. Top with some purple cabbage and scallions. Lay a few steak slices on top and some avocado. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds and a drizzle of sriracha. Garnish with some cilantro leaves. Fold up and enjoy!

Photo: Ronald Tsang

P.S. This recipe was recently featured in an issue of Clean Eating Magazine!

Roasted Za’atar Potato Wedges with Harissa Sour Cream

These are delicious. Let me state my case. Super Sous made these the other day and then we had to have them 2 days later and again 2 days later because they are addictive! Crispy, salty, earthy and a bit lemony from the sumac in the za’atar. Pair it with the spicy, cool, tangy harissa sour cream and, well, let’s just say – I say serves 4, but we ate the whole batch between the two of us in just minutes. Case closed.

P.S. You can watch me make this on YouTube.

Zaatar Potato1

Zaatar Potato2

Roasted Za’atar Potato Wedges with Harissa Sour Cream

Yield: 4 servings

 

28-ounces mixed small potatoes (red, gold, purple) or fingerling potatoes, cut into equal-sized wedges

3 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon za’atar

 

Place a parchment-lined sheet tray on the middle rack in your oven.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place potatoes, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Toss to coat the potatoes with the oil and salt.

When oven is preheated, remove sheet tray and arrange potatoes on the sheet tray in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, stir potatoes and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove sheet tray from the oven and transfer baked potato wedges to a large bowl. Add 1½ tablespoons olive oil and za’atar and toss to combine.

Serve za’atar potatoes on a plate with harissa sour cream on the side.

 

Harissa Sour Cream:

½ cup organic sour cream

½ teaspoon harrisa

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Mix to combine in a small bowl.

Turkey Stuffing Burger

Because sometimes you can’t wait until Thanksgiving to have turkey and stuffing.

Turkey Stuffing Burger

Turkey Stuffing Burger

Yields: 4 burgers

 

1 medium yellow onion, chopped roughly (2 cups)

5-ounces button mushrooms, quartered

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup fresh corn (kernels)

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped roughly

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

¼ cup panko bread crumbs

¼ teaspoon red pepper (chile) flakes

1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ pound ground white turkey meat

 

Combine onion and mushrooms in a food processor and pulse 13 to 15 times until the mixture just begins to clump together.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering, approximately 1 minute.

Add the onion mushroom mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is gone and the mixture is just beginning to caramelize, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the corn, garlic, and fresh herbs. Stir and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.

Add the panko, chile flakes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and remove from heat.

Add contents of the sauté pan to a food processor and pulse 15 to 20 times until the mixture just begins to clump together. It will look like wet stuffing.

In a large bowl fold together the “stuffing” ingredients with the turkey.

Form 4 equal sized patties and place on a parchment-lined tray or plate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Place an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove from refrigerator, transfer to a parchment lined sheet tray and bake, flipping the burgers once halfway through cooking, until the internal temperature of the burger reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (use a digital thermometer) approximately 25 minutes.

Place a large non stick saute pan over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Let sit over medium-high heat for 1 minute, until the oil shimmers. Add the burgers and flip after 30 seconds, just enough to sear the bottom side. Sear the opposite side for 30 seconds and remove from heat.

 

Burger Fixings:

4 toasted hamburger buns

¼ cup whole grain Dijon mustard, plus more to taste

¼ cup mayonnaise, plus more to taste

4 slices of tomato

handful of mixed greens

12 slices avocado

 

Spread mustard on bottom side of buns. Top each bun with turkey burger, tomato, 3 slices of avocado and some lettuce. Spread mayonnaise on top of buns. Put together and dig in.

 

Wild Dungeness Crab Stew

It’s a one pot wonder, it’s delicious, healthy, sustainable and it’ll serve a family, dinner party or just yourself – for many meals. What more could you ask for?

Wild Dungeness Crab Stew

Wild Dungeness Crab Stew

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small

1 fennel bulb, cored and diced medium

4 celery stalks, cut into thirds lengthwise and diced small

6 carrots, peeled and chopped roughly

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

3 cups corn kernels

2 ½ cups lima beans

2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, spots or greening removed and diced medium

4 cups vegetable stock

5 sprigs thyme, tied together with the bay leaves (use butcher’s twine)

2 bay leaves, tied together with the thyme sprigs (use butcher’s twine)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 pound Dungeness crab meat

Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish

In a 5.5 quart pot, set over medium heat, add the olive oil and the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are soft, translucent, and lightly caramelized.

Add the fennel and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the celery and fennel begin to soften.

Add the carrots, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 6 to 8 minutes until the carrots begin to soften.

Add the garlic and the Old Bay seasoning and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.

Add the corn, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes, stock, and herb bundle. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are just cooked through.

Turn off the heat. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine.

Add the crab, gently stir to combine and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper.

Remove and discard herb bundle and serve stew in bowls garnished with some hand torn parsley.

We Should Have Packed a Lunch

Being from Northern Virginia, having moved to Colorado, then continuing westward to (and settling in) Los Angeles, its rare that I have an opportunity to take such long, beautiful drives across the landscape of Texas.

 

Unlike the towering, snowcapped mountains of Colorado, or the colorful, undulating Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, driving through the middle of Texas, with it’s beautiful ragged oak trees, numerous cattle ranches, and the occasional oil pump is an exploration of just how vast an area can be. Ask anyone who has dared drive the entire length of the state. It is massive. Yet, unlike the sleep-inducing drive on Interstate-5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco, or long stretches of Interstate-70, the drive between, say, Dallas and Houston has personality.

texasdrive

 

However, there is one thing this 4-hour stretch of asphalt does not have. Food.

To be fair, all long-distance drives in this great Nation are riddled with “Big Box” fast-food joints, and almost all are completely void of any “non-processed” food options. You can see their signs from miles away, like weeds sprouting tall from the earth. Calling to you like sirens. Coaxing weary (read “bored”) drivers to pull over and enjoy yet another $3.99 meal of requisite burger (or fried chicken sandwich), fries, and soft drink.

So much food. So little nutrition.

Unfortunately, I think these fast food joints are here to stay for a while. So, maybe (as Latte suggested before our recent drive from Houston to Dallas) we should consider packing some food for our longer drives. Or, shorter drives. Or, airline flights. Or, for our lunches at work for that matter. That way we, as a Nation, can control what we eat more often, and not fall victim to those fast food sirens calling to us from the jagged rocks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.

$3.99 might be cheap in the short haul, but over the long journey of life, it can seriously take it’s toll on our health.

Then we really pay the price. Big time.

So…

Be sure to pack a lunch.