V-Day Delights Part 2: Wrapping Up with Dinner

You can’t have a part 1 without its follow-up, so now that dessert and all its scintillating joy is out of the way, we can make our way through the dinner portion of Valentine’s Day evening.  Oy, just thinking about that dinner makes me hungry now; everything was immaculately executed for once—no hiccups, no over or under seasoning, just resplendent and fairly light dinner with an Asian flair.

Now, I have to give props to Guy Fieri (yeah that burly bleached blond chef who eats like an ogre on his Triple-D show).  Surprisingly (or not), he makes some really good food himself, and personally I enjoy watching him simply because he is not as pretentious as some of the Food network folks, and has good tips.  So When I saw a show all about wraps, I felt inspired to follow suit.

And so, I endeavored to make Asian Orange Turkey Lettuce Wraps, and Shrimp Rolls with a Pineapple Pickle Salsa (the pineapple recipe is all Guy’s).

I think the most amazing thing about the evening was that I was able to do accomplish all this at once in the span of two hours or so, along with the tiramis-who.

First up: Asian Orange Lettuce Wraps!Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast (or chicken breast if you prefer)
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ large jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 tsp crushed ginger
  • Assorted shredded veggies: carrot, lettuce, broccoli, sprouts etc (I used shredded broccoli slaw from the salad section of the grocery store)
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • Juice of one navel or Cara Cara orange
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • Chili flakes
  • 1 head of Lettuce

Oki Dokey, pull out a large frying pan or skillet. Heat it up to medium with a few tbsp of oil, and start to sauté the onions and peppers.  Add in the garlic and ginger, mixing it all up something fierce and making sure not to let the garlic burn.  I’ve discovered the warm succulence of a soft bite of garlic, and now I really enjoy biting into small bits of it as a surprise for the palette.  If that isn’t your thing, just add crushed garlic instead.

In the meantime, mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce, orange and zest, chili and sesame seeds in a bowl so it’s all incorporated.  You might need to add a bit more of each ingredient if you want your meat to have a bit more liquid. But don’t overdo it, these will be wrapped after all.

Just needs the Sauce now

Anyhoo, sprinkle some salt over this and add in the ground meat. Turn the heat up a bit more and stir the meat around until everything is lightly browned on the outside.  Once the meat has been cooked through, drizzle the sauce mixture over everything and lightly stir, reducing the heat to a simmer.  Stir in the shredded veggies and simply let everything soak in the orange-soy flavors… Keep it on super low heat if you’re going to serve it soon, so that it remains heated but doesn’t overcook or dry out.  Add Chili Flakes to garnish and add some kick if you like.

 

To prepare your lettuce, take the head of lettuce, remove the top layer (usually kind of wilted) and what I found was easiest is to slice the piece off at the base where it’s connected and gently fold back and loosen, so you have a nice lettuce cup.  Do this multiple times depending on how many wraps you want, and save the rest of your lettuce for a salad or whatever.  Stack the cups on a plate and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

To make a wrap, place a few spoonfuls of meat in the center, then fold over the thickest part of the lettuce first (the base), then do the three other sides to make a nice and tight lettuce wrap.  Yum Yum Yum!!!

And now, moving on… to Shrimp Rolls with Pineapple Pickle!

Ingredients

  • 10-12 shrimp, peeled, deveined and split lengthwise in half (so you have a thin version of the shrimp)
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ¼ tsp crushed ginger
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • Sprinkle of black pepper, paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Chopped cilantro
  • ½ red or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ lemon

For Pineapple Pickle:

  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • ½ japaleno pepper, diced
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple, small cubes
  • 6 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • Salt and pepper

First things first: if you can, try and find shrimp that’s already peeled and deveined, as that will save you a lot of creepiness and extra work.  I don’t enjoy cleaning them at all, but unfortunately I didn’t have a choice this time around.  These are small appetizer finger foods, so I made about 20 of them. Thus you only need about 10-12 shrimp cleaned, because you’ll need to split them in order to make them thinner to roll, and thus double you’ll double your quantity.

Anyway, mix your shrimp with garlic, ginger, lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika and olive oil and let it sit for a good few hours in the fridge if you can.  While that’s going you can make your pineapple pickle.

In a small frying pan, start to sauté the onions and jalapenos until they have softene.  Then basically throw in everything else and keep the heat on low, letting it simmer and cook together, softening the pineapple so it just lightly disintegrates and gets pickled with the vinegar.  The vinegar adds a special kick to the jalapenos so you don’t need extra red pepper as its already spicy.  You can add salt and black pepper to taste though.  Set that aside and let it cool.

And back to the shrimp rolls we go!

To prepare your wonton wrappers, mix your beaten egg with the milk, and lightly brush or dredge one side of the wrapper with the egg wash and place it in front of you at a diagonal.  Then take one shrimp and lay it long in the furthest corner from you.  Add one bell pepper, some chopped cilantro leaves and an extra sprinkle of black pepper or squeeze of lemon if you like. Then just roll the whole thing towards you into a long tube.

Do this for all of them, and then heat up a frying pan with light olive oil or canola/vegetable oil on Medium-just baaaaarely high heat.  These cook fast, and you don’t want to burn them, but you want the wrapper to crisp up at the same rate as the shrimp cooks, so you’ll have to adjust to find the best heat for your pan.

Fry them up and let them dry on a paper towel to drain extra oil.

Serve them alongside a nice helping of the pineapple pickle and you have an amazing new treat for yourself, your loved ones, and most likely future guests! These were pretty super easy to make and were just so crunchy and tasty.  The Pineapple Pickle has an excellent tang that complements the shrimp rolls perfectly.

The lettuce wraps and shrimp rolls were both simply tasty amazing treats, but hands down the Shrimp rolls stole the show!  Well, I think the desserts did actually. G surprised me with some desserts as well, mini parfait cups filled with tiramisu, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate mousse and fruit tart.  We’ve been indulging for the better part of the week now.  Good thing the weather has warmed up so I can start running again! Not a moment too soon!

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