Tuesday Blues

Talk about a disappointing night. Downright boring really. I had grand plans for greatness that never transpired. I do not know what I was thinking. Just one of those nights, you know? Matthew suggested a concert. I declined. Too early in the week for livery. I swear, sometimes I am 34 going on 75. No age bias here. I had to work later than usual. My car alarm clicker is zoning out so I stood chattering in the parking lot with uncomfortable winds whipping as I tried to unlock my car. People warm in their cars were staring. It was awkward. We are currently enduring unseasonably cold temperatures. Sunday was in the 70s and yesterday brought sleet as well as a bit of snow. Thursday calls for a wintry mix. I seriously hope that this weather is an anomaly because this is getting to be a bit much. This said, it could be worse. Much worse. Like Manhattan. At least when it snows here, we are ordered to stay home from work. Yesterday was also a Tuesday. Too early in the week to begin mixing up pina coladas or tapping kegs. I could go on forever. A curiously blasé and bum night for sure. Moving on.

On Monday night, I made an uber large production of dinner. Especially for a Monday. I abandoned our meatless mantra and stuffed and roasted a chicken with all the trimmings. It was splendid and perfect given the precipitation outside. We cozied up with a movie and it was fabulous. Last night, I had planned to make turkey meatballs in a roasted lemon broth with curly kale. For whatever reason, I was not exactly feeling the cooked kale. I just wasn't, which is strange because I can always be tempted and lured with the green stuff. A hearty kale salad with raw garlic, olive oil, shaved cheese and toasted walnuts was much more my speed. No walnuts in the house though so not on this night. I heard something about too much kale being a bad thing and that one need mix it up with other greens. Seriously? One can never win. Drives me crazy. First egg yolks, then something else and now this. I also didn't have the stamina to get my hands dirty mixing meat into balls and patiently watching them brown in oil. I will make it this weekend for sure. A bit of a Prima Donna this night I was. Plan B. Sometimes second best ends up finishing first. 

With ground turkey and lemons on hand, I rummaged around the refrigerator and found a fresh package of  heads of romaine. I have started buying these at my grocer. They go by the name Artisan and are outstanding. They are miniature in size, wonderfully crisp and oh so fresh. I could eat them leaf by leaf. Come to think of it, I have. One small head makes a perfect size side salad for two. Simply remove the end, wash and peel as you like. I am into chopping things finely these days. Praise be for my Cuisinart simplifying that task. In one drawer I found green onions standing guard for guacamole. I buy gorgeous ones from a local Mexican market down the street. I have never seen whites so bulbous. They are award winning. A small packet of fresh basil was in the second drawer. When we are not growing our own I like to keep a packet on hand for sauces. Once the temperatures warm up, my green thumb will reappear. I peered in the pantry and pulled out a can of black beans. An easy supper of lettuce wraps was quickly in the works. I pulled this together in around fifteen minutes and the end result was sublime. Give it a go. That's a wrap.

Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from Food and Wine
Recipe: Todd Porter and Diane Cu


1 lb of chicken, turkey or pork
1 packet of basil - stems removed and chopped
1 white onion - chopped 
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 inch knob of ginger - peeled and chopped
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS honey or maple syrup or brown sugar
1 TBS fish sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Allspice
2 lemons or limes - the zest of the rind and juice of one / keep the other on reserve for later
1 can of black beans - gently heated on the stove - you can also use garbanzo beans or black eyed peas
1 head of lettuce - you can use Artisan Romaine, Bibb or even Collard Greens (I put out two options for good measure)
5 green onions - chopped
A bunch of fresh cilantro - stems removed and chopped

Make It Work

1. Heat 1 TBS olive oil in a pan at high heat. Let it sit for around three minutes until its good and hot. Add your onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Let it all cook for around five to eight minutes.

2. Once the onions are golden and fragrant, add your pound of flesh. Mix it all around. This will take around ten minutes to cook through.

3. Now add the chopped basil, sesame oil, fish sauce and honey. Mix it all around and cook for another five minutes. Now add the zest of the lemon or lime as well as the juice of it. Give a generous stir.

4. To make your wraps, take your lettuce, add a scoop of your cooked beans followed by an ample spoonful of meat. Sprinkle with the chopped green onions and a squeeze of the lemon or lime juice.

To add a bit more bulk, this would also be superb with cooked brown rice, jasmine rice, farro, millet or even quinoa.

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