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It’s Mardi Gras season, time for gumbo! If you question anybody from Louisiana or the Mississippi Sound about making gumbo, the first thing they will tell you is about making the roux. My college roommate (from Metairie), my brother’s girlfriend (Biloxi), and my parent’s neighbor of 35 years (New Orleans), have pretty much all told me the same thing, “My mother used to take out an old penny and sit it next to the pot. ‘You’re done when the roux is the color of this penny.’” Now, these women certainly did not have the same mother, but they shared the same story. I’m guessing making a proper roux must be a rite of passage for a kid from around those parts, and probably a bit challenging because it requires a little patience. 25 minutes or so of stirring can seem like forever to a 10 year old!
After two months of holiday indulging, my friend Patrick informed me that he was going to lose weight in the new year, to get ready for his upcoming wedding to his fiancé Kelsey. “How are you planning to do that?” I asked, curious to know how this young man, a former college football player who could probably bench press a Volkswagen, would approach the challenge. “Lettuce wraps,” he replied.
Well Patrick, this one is for you. And it comes from my best pal and blogging buddy, the incredible marvelous Jaden Hair of SteamyKitchen.com, from her newly released cookbook, Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites. (In fact, all of the recipes in her book would be great for your new year resolution, hmmm, maybe I’ll get you a copy as a pre-wedding gift!) These lettuce wraps are easy, fast, and fresh with stir-fried chicken, green onions, shiitake mushrooms (mushroom flavor bombs), and sweet bits of mango, seasoned with sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce, and served in butter lettuce cups. You can easily whip them up in less than half an hour.
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