TESTED RECIPE: Barbecued Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Rachel Ray's Barbecued Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps received a decent review at my house. No standing ovation and no encore was demanded, but a repeat performance would probably be welcomed sometime in the future. The dish is healthy and pretty simple. The picture above shows the cast of characters aka. ingredients. I didn't time it, but the recipe probably did take 30-minutes, as promised by RR. The most time consuming part of the recipe wasn't necessarily cooking, but prepping. Most of the "cast" required some primping... slicing, dicing, mincing, grating. But once that was done, throwing it all together in a stir-fry was easy peasy.

I made a few changes to the recipe: I used regular mushrooms instead of Shitake, used the entire red bell pepper instead of 1/2, added some garlic chili sauce, and next time, I'll add more Hoisin sauce to add flavor.

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Get the recipe for the chicken wraps here.

For dessert I made Ina Garten's lemon cakes (I guess last night was a Food Network-themed night!). Now this recipe got rave reviews. We scarfed down half a loaf. The cake was deliciously tart and sweet, with the texture and crumb of a pound cake. Here's the recipe:

Photo from The Barefoot Contessa cookbook.
  • Photo from The Barefoot Contessa cookbook.

Lemon Cake, adapted from Ina Garten

Makes 2 loaves.

Cake:

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)

3 cups flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Syrup:

½ cup sugar

½ cup lemon juice

* Glaze:

2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

3 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. (I sometimes use smaller loaf pans for cute little lemon cakes loaves. Make sure to shorten the baking time if you use the baby loaf pans.)

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small bowl. Microwave for one minute and stire until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

* I decided to forgo the extra glaze and the I think the cake tasted perfectly wonderful without it.

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