Jun 07 2010

Finger Food Dinner

Published by at 3:11 pm under Dinner,Entertaining,Starters

While considering an easy, Sunday night dinner for two, I settled on lettuce wraps. My assistant and I made them a while back with success, which turned out to be just the confidence I needed to take the basic recipe to the next level — but this time, I was cooking for a girlfriend instead of for him. 

While we were eating, she joked that she could never make lettuce wraps for the man in her life, because he’d be like, “This isn’t dinner!?” It’s true that the wraps probably make a better appetizer and party food than main course. My dad has set up a DIY lettuce wrap station at some dinner parties he’s hosted, and they’re perfect for a buffet-style setting. But I like to think of them as a variation on an Asian chicken salad of sorts, except you get to eat it with your hands. 

Since salad should never be all of a weekend dinner, I made some green beans to serve on the side. The sesame touches weren’t something I was super familiar with, but I’ll definitely be preparing this five-minute dish again. 

Not pictured: Brownies for dessert. I can’t take credit for those, but they were the perfect end to my weekend. 

Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients (Serves 4 as a main course, 6 to 8 as an appetizer):

1 clove garlic, minced

2 pounds ground chicken

3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup chopped green onions

1 cup bean sprouts

1/2 cup chopped cashews

About 1.5 heads iceberg lettuce

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large frying pan and add garlic. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, then add chicken. Cook chicken until brown and crumbly, about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add soy sauce and mix to distribute evenly. Add carrots, onions, sprouts and cashews to pan and stir to combine. 

Place chicken mixture in 4 individual bowls. Carefully tear off lettuce leaves from head, trying not to break the “cups.” Spoon chicken into lettuce cups to serve, and top with Peanut Sauce (recipe below). 

Peanut Sauce

Ingredients (Makes 

5 tbsp. milk (I used skim, but any would work)

4 tbsp. creamy peanut butter

1 and 1/4 tsp. rice wine vinegar

1 and 1/4 tsp. honey

2 tsp. soy sauce

1 and 1/4 tsp. red curry paste

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Spoon onto lettuce wraps to serve. 

Sesame Green Beans with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients (Serves 4): 

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1.5 pounds green beans

1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sesame oil

2 tbsp. sesame seeds


Soy sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and roast in oven for 16 minutes, or until slightly brown. 

Steam green beans for 3 minutes. Heat sesame oil in large frying pan and add green beans. Sauté for five minutes, then add sesame seeds.

Toss green beans with roasted tomatoes and sprinkle with salt. (You could also toss in soy sauce as well, but I stuck to just a sprinkle of salt because of all the soy sauce in the lettuce wraps.)

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