Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lettuce Wraps of Gratitude...

So hallelujah and huzzah and hurrah, the fearsome Technology God has smiled down upon us (or at least taken the appropriate measure of pity) so we've finally got working email/phone/TV-we-can-ignore functionality back at the bungalow and suddenly things are a little less "Pa, could ya go fetch some water from the well? I'm feeling mighty parched," around here and for that, I am deeply grateful. Six weeks - six weeks and you're midway through a trimester! - without have made us all a little more resourceful, a little more apt to suggest an early evening stroll, and a lot less reachable, and through the fresh lens of being unplugged for so long, I can see how technology has its benefits and drawbacks - don't throw that lightning bolt at me, scornful Technology God, oh, please be merciful - in a way I was only theoretically clued in to before. And though I was tempted to cackle all melodramatically "See ya, suckers!" at my fellow library computer room denizens - with the occasionally loud personal electronic devices and weirdly stretched way-the-hell-out arms totally crossing into my territory and giggling teenaged boys punching one another on the shoulder to show off soft porn on their monitors - when I skipped out of there this morning, I also feel like we endured something together (a hostage situation, getting stuck on an elevator without power) and while I don't exactly have survivor's guilt, I will always have empathy for those who are at least somewhat unmoored in the ocean of technology. I can see that all this talkety-talk is making the Dark Lord of Technology raise an overgrown eyebrow contemptuously towards me so I will end it now with a good recipe you should try at home and the acknowledgment that I am truly grateful to be plugged back in.

Lettuce Rolls of Gratitude

2 cups dry rice, your preference

1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted

1/2 cup smooth, natural peanut butter
2 cups water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar (found in the Asian section of your natural foods store)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Two small can water chestnuts, drained and slivered
1 or two heads of Bibb, Butterhead or Boston lettuce, washed, leaves separated and allowed to dry
1 lime, cut into wedges

Cook the rice. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for three minutes. Add the peas and steam until the broccoli is bright green, about five or six minutes.

In a blender, add the peanut butter, water, and garlic. Squeeze the ginger into the blender, releasing the juice but not the pulp. Add the rest of the ingredients up through the turmeric. Blend that sucker up until smooth.

When the rice is done, put it in a large saute pan with the broccoli and peas. Mix this together with the peanut sauce, stirring over medium heat until the sauce has thickened. Oh, yeah! Add the water chestnuts.

When it's all thickened and thoroughly combined, serve portions lovingly spooned into individual lettuce leaves. Roll up or eat taco-style with the filling in the middle. Serve with extra tamari, lime wedges and Sriracha or hot chile sesame oil. You will love this, I promise, and it will taste like a big production but it's really not.

This produces a lot of the middle part, the stuffing, which is delicious on its own as vegetable rice with peanut sauce. I brought some of the leftovers along with us to the farmer's market last week and this guy with bright blue eyes came over and asked which booth he could also make such a purchase. I smiled but let him down gently. "It's from home," I said, "I'm sorry." He thanked me anyway. Make this delicious vegan meal, bring some leftovers out in public and see if the same thing doesn't happen to you.

So with that, I'm back, babies. And it feels good.



  1. Yummmmmmmmm.....!
    hey, I wish I could be there for the World Wide Vegan bake sale!


  2. Thanks, Deb. I wish so, too! (If this is Deb U. how is Wellesley treating you?)



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