We entertained special girlfriends on Saturday evening. We always do our gatherings as a potluck, and I wanted to prepare something healthy and a little unusual. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
Our gatherings are also always filled with tears-in-our-eyes laughter. Our sacred trust in each other allows us to poke fun at our weakest moments, but also to support each other. The slap-your-thigh funniest moment of the night, (but also a very poignant moment), occurred as we were discussing the Preface of the Kitchen 2.0 Cookbook, which addresses sugar addiction. One of the gals revealed that she felt she might be addicted to sugar. She and I started comparing experiences, and she laughingly described the moment her husband discovered a wayward Oreo wedged between the passenger door and the seat of her car. That lonely little cookie was the only survivor of a moment of humiliation and regret. She’d bought the cookies to eat secretly in her car, so her husband wouldn’t know she was eating so many of them. But, in an act of desperation, (that’s the poignant part), she jettisoned the remainder of the cookies out the passenger window at 50 mph. Her only recourse, in an effort to stop her binge, was to catapult the Oreos out into the darkness. The look on her face was priceless when I high-fived her and admitted I’d done the same thing plenty of times! The squirrels probably used to salivate every time they spotted my Jeep coming towards them down the parkway!
My point? The shame of addiction causes people to go underground with their feelings and actions, instead of reaching out. It’s the loneliest part of addiction. Of course, we all roared with laughter over the image of our sweet girlfriend, (who has such high morals that she probably considers littering cookies right up there with the 7 Deadly Sins), flying down the road in her truck, ejecting Oreos like they were on fire!
As women, we embraced her struggle, validated and empathized with her angst, and insured her that the next time we’re behind a car that’s shooting Oreo’s out the side window, we’ll beep the horn and wave! (The struggle is real.)
Okay. Back to the Bang Bang Chicken.
We began with a pound of chicken tenderloins, poached in water with thinly sliced ginger and garlic. While that was bubbling lightly, I made the sauce: sesame oil, reduced-sodium tamari sauce, balsamic vinegar, chili oil, ground Sichuan peppercorns, and 1 scant teaspoon sugar.
When the chicken was cooked, we tossed it with the sauce and shredded it with 2 forks. Plating was easy: spoon the chicken into the lettuce cups, top with carrot and radish matchsticks, diced cucumber, sliced scallions, a few unsalted peanuts, and Sriracha sesame seeds. (Yes, that’s really a thing!)
It’s easy to adjust the heat of the meal. I knew a couple of the gals weren’t huge fans or hot, spicy food, so I halved the amount of chili oil and peppercorns, but when I make this the next time, it will be full strength. I’m thinking I’ll make the peanut sauce from the Thai Chicken Salad post last week. It would be a great compliment to these wraps! They are extremely low calorie, so plan something else in addition to serving these as a meal. They was perfect for our potluck, and everyone loved them!
Making a toast to special friends, loads of laughs, delicious food, and The Oreo. Here’s to you, ladies. I love you all!
Bang Bang Chicken in Lettuce Wraps
- 1 lb chicken tenderloins
- 2 Tbsp fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp reduced-sodium Tamari sauce
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp Chinese chili oil
- 2 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tsp sugar
- 15 leaves baby romaine lettuce
- 1 English cucumber
- ½ cup matchstick carrot
- ½ cup matchstick radishes
- ½ cup sliced scallions
- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 70 no-salt added peanuts
- Place chicken, ginger and garlic in a saucepan with water that just covers the chicken. Bring to a boil, and then turn down heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, covered, or until chicken reaches 165º internal temperature.
- Remove from heat, skim off any foam, and place chicken in a large bowl. Discard ginger and garlic.
- In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, chili oil, Tamari, vinegar, peppercorns and sugar until well emulsified. Pour over chicken and let it marinate for about 10 minutes.
- Shred the chicken and stir the sauce around to fully coat every piece.
- Spoon chicken into lettuce cups. Top with radish, carrot, cucumber, scallions and 4-5 peanuts.