Today I'd like to present an argument in favor of lettuce wraps. Sure, they have a reputation for being a vehicle for ho-hum, low-carb and bland diet food, but there's no reason they need to stay in such a category. Once filled with rich and spicy short ribs, soft and sticky white rice, and potent kimchi as they are in Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner's Family Table, the humble Bibb lettuce leaf transforms into the best sort of wrap. They're strong enough to contain its filling, yet supple and mild enough to not overpower their contents. It's the best excuse to eat with your hands. These particular short rib wraps are super easy to throw together: blend up a potent marinade and let the boneless rib meat drink up its flavor for a couple of hours (or more if need be), heat a heavy pan, and sear away.
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Lettuce cups are always a good time: they're hands-on, tasty, and super quick to throw together. Adapted from Lorraine Wallace's Mr. Sunday's Saturday Night Chicken, these Chicken and Cashews in Lettuce Cups combine lean ground chicken, ginger, and scallions in a sweet soy-honey glaze. Tossed with crunchy water chestnuts and cashews, they make for fine warm-weather eating.
I was determined to include at least one recipe from Guy Fieri Food that could be construed as vaguely healthy (not that the word "healthy" is in Fieri's vernacular). Our healthy Guy Fieri-approved recipe this week comes in the form of these Chicken Lettuce Cups. Full of diced veggies and Asian-inspired ingredients, these lettuce cups are a big crowdpleaser with caramel-y bites of chicken and crushed, fried wonton skins wrapped up in a crisp leaf of iceberg.