October 8: Lunchbreak - Cous Cous and Chicken in Soothing Lettuce Wraps
Todd Wilbur

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Houston's Cous Cous

1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup water
1 cup uncooked couscous 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup sliced radishes 1/2 cup whole fresh mint leaves 3/4 cup golden raisins 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered 1/4 cup chopped green onion 1/3 cup raw almonds 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Bring the orange juice and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Keep the couscous covered for 4 minutes. Pour the hot couscous into a large bowl and fluff it with a fork, breaking up any chunks. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil and toss well. Cover and chill for a couple hours, or until cold. Stir in the oil just before serving.

P. F. Chang's Chicken in Soothing Lettuce Wraps
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon chili oil
2 Tablespoons chopped green
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Chinese hot
mustard paste
1 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

Stir-Fry Sauce
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large skinless chicken breast fillet
one 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and minced (about 1 cup)
one 6-ounce can diced straw mushrooms, drained and minced (about 2/3 cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic 3 Tablespoons chopped green onion 1 to 1 1/2 cups fried maifun rice sticks
4 to 5 iceberg lettuce cups

Make the special sauce (for spooning over your lettuce wraps) by dissolving the sugar in the water in a small bowl. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili oil. Add the chopped green onion and set the sauce aside until you're ready to serve the lettuce wraps. Eventually you will add Chinese mustard and garlic chili sauce to this special sauce mixture to pour over each of your lettuce wraps. 2. Prepare the stir-fry sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. To prepare the fi lling for your lettuce wraps, heat 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan or wok over high heat. Sauté the chicken breast for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan to cool. Wipe out the pan.
As the chicken cools, chop your water chestnuts and mushrooms into pieces that are about the size of small peas. If you haven't fried the maifun rice sticks, this is a good time to do that. When you can handle the chicken, hack it up with a sharp knife so that no piece is bigger than a dime. With the pan or wok back on high heat, add the 3 remaining Tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan. Cook the mixture for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the stir-fry sauce to the pan and sauté the mixture for a couple more minutes, then stir in the green onions and spoon everything out onto a bed of fried maifun rice noodles on a serving dish. Serve the chicken with a side of lettuce cups. Make these lettuce cups by slicing the top off of a head of iceberg lettuce right through the middle of the head. Pull your lettuce cups off of the outside of this slice. Prepare the special sauce at the table by adding your desired measurement of hot mustard and chili sauce to the special sauce blend: 1 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce for mild, 1/2 teaspoon of mustard paste plus 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce for medium, and 1 teaspoon of mustard paste and 3 teaspoons of chili garlic sauce for hot. Stir well.
Assemble each lettuce wrap by spooning the filling into a lettuce cup, adding special sauce over the top and eating it like a taco.