If you ever have the pleasure of listening to a conference session or class instructed by Diane Cu and Todd Porter, the main message will stay with you.
Tell your story.
It’s a mission statement that drives beautiful work. It only takes one look at their blog to prove it. It is a theme that comes through in their new cookbook, Bountiful.
When I opened its stunning cover I was immediately drawn into the story. Diane’s story, Todd’s story and the foods and photos that tell the story of time with friends and two of cutest pups you’ve ever laid eyes on.
Bountiful overflows with simple dishes that are full of fresh flavor straight from Diane and Todd’s California garden. It’s inspiring. During a time when food has started to feel more complicated to me, this book brings back simplicity. It’s a welcomed reminder, especially right before the holidays.
I probably don’t have to mention how stunning the photography is, but I will anyway. Moody, intriguing, comforting, rustic -- the pictures are everything I love about food photography. I could study them for hours and still discover new details, new stories.
The photo of the Lettuce Wraps with Almond-Basil Chicken grabbed my attention from the start. After reading through the recipe, I knew I wanted to give them a try. Light and refreshing with that familiar tang of Asian flavors, these could not be easier to make. I'm already planning how to fit them back into our dinner rotation.
Whether you are a new cook, well seasoned in the kitchen or looking for ways to turn garden harvests into simple meals, this book is the perfect fit. It is an asset to any cookbook collection, but I’ll warn you now. This one you’ll want on the coffee table so you continue to be inspired by the photos.
Lettuce Wraps with Almond-Basil Chicken
From the book:
Rarely are we without a head of lettuce in the fridge or a new batch of lettuce seedlings in the garden. Lettuce is the starter or base for many of our meals, particularly those with Asian-inspired menus. Our Vietnamese noodle salads or wraps will always be accompanied by a huge platter of raw lettuce, and often the lettuce dish is the decorative centerpiece of the table. In this versatile recipe, you can substitute shrimp,beef, pork, tofu, or chopped vegetables for the chicken.
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other cooking oil
1 small onion, minced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (455g) chicken cutlets, diced small
1 small red bell pepper, halved, seeded, and diced
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons fish sauce or soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
½ teaspoon rice vinegar
1 head fresh lettuce leaves, broadleaf variety, for wrapping
½ cup (20g) chopped fresh basil
¼ cup (23g) roasted almonds, sliced
1 In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft.
2 Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
3 Stir in the bell pepper, honey, fish sauce, hoisin sauce,and rice vinegar. Continue cooking until the chicken is fully cooked, 10 to 15 minutes.
4 Serve the chicken in a shallow dish alongside a plate of the lettuce leaves. Fill the leaves with the chicken mixture, and top with a sprinkling of basil and almonds.
Disclosure: This book was sent to me for review purposes. I was not required to write about it and received no compensation for doing so.