Last Saturday night at work the bass was thumping and the din of conversation from patrons was at a level much louder than a roar. Guests were packed in around the bar, around the host stand, and tables were not turning fast enough to get reservations down on time. It was a night of constant movement, endless trips up and down the stairs to and from the kitchen and never really being caught up. As I came home to my still apartment at 2:30am, my ears still throbbed and my body pulsed from the residual energy of the night. I crawled into bed feeling my feet and joints aching.
Sunday night rolled around and it was a dinner for 4 with the husband and another couple. A trip to the Upper East Side for shabu shabu and multiple carafes of sake. After a couple of hours of good conversation we made our way back onto the subway for the late-night ride home.
Monday was another dinner out with friends, this time Korean barbeque. Dish after dish was brought to the table along with cocktails and wine. The view from the 39th floor in this Koreatown joint was breathtaking. As often happens with this group of friends, our conversations around the table grill lasted hours, meaning yet another late night (though so worth it).
By the time Tuesday rolled around I was ready for nothing more than a simple evening in, with simple food that would be light and healthy. Lettuce wraps seemed just the thing. Brown rice for the base to add a little heft, chicken breast, and lots of veggies. For a sauce a homemade ranch made with yogurt inspired by Not Without Salt. And since I knew the husband had just had a long day at work I added on Honey Buttermilk Biscuits from Saveur as a treat. Though they probably don't fit the "good for you" category, they are one of the best things I've made in recent history (and I've made a lot of great food lately). I devoured the leftovers for breakfasts and lunches because I couldn't get enough. I guarantee you won't be disappointed with them. You should know they make a MASSIVE biscuit when prepared exactly as the recipe calls for, though when paired up with something as light and healthy as these lettuce wraps you won't feel quite so bad about eating a whole one (or two).
Chicken Ranch Lettuce Wraps
makes about 8 wraps/4 servings
2 large chicken breasts
1 1/2 c. cooked brown rice
2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, chopped
1 can (15 oz.) chopped tomatoes (or fresh chopped tomatoes if they are in season)
8 large butter lettuce leaves
ranch dressing (recipe below)
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and then cook the chicken breasts until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly, then shred using 2 forks.
Mix together the shredded chicken, brown rice, carrots, cucumber and tomatoes. Spread onto the lettuce leaves and top with a dollop of ranch dressing. Roll up and serve immediately.
(adapted from Not Without Salt)
3/4 c. Greek yogurt
3/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 t. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 TB fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 c. milk
Mix together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Add more milk if necessary to make a thinner dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.