There are times when you come across a cookbook that truly reflects the life and souls of those who wrote it. That is certainly the case with Bountiful: Recipes Inspired by Our Garden by Todd Porter and Diane Cu, known in the blogging world as White on Rice Couple.
While the cookbook highlights Todd and Diane’s fresh, garden-inspired recipes and beautiful, inviting photography, it is really so much more than just another pretty cookbook. It is a story of their love of flavors and textures, and of sharing their creative dishes with family and friends.
The book is also laced with descriptions that will lure you into reading every headnote of every recipe. When describing the bed of kale in their garden, the couple writes, “After a hearty rain, the raindrops settle and glisten on the leaves like little balls of light.” I don’t know about you, but that makes me yearn to wander straight into their garden, with a fork at the ready.
If you ever have the opportunity to meet Todd and Diane, you will quickly discover that their generous natures extend far beyond the words on their blog or the scenes of breaking bread with friends.
They share their knowledge without question. They look you in the eye when you are speaking with them. They remember details of things that you told them two years before, things that should have seemed so small to someone else, but were important to you. They just are who they say they are. And that’s saying something.
As someone who tries to cook with seasonal ingredients as much as possible, I appreciate the layout of the book. It is divided into categories such as “Roots & Bulbs”, Peppers & Chilies” and “Citrus”. There are not a lot of heavy sauces…just fresh, simple recipes that highlight the flavors of fresh produce.
I chose this recipe for almond and basil chicken lettuce wraps for a couple of reasons. First of all, we love to eat with our hands. There is something about passing around the plates of lettuce leaves and hoisin-spiked chicken, as well as little bowls of fresh basil and toasted almonds, that makes us feel as though we are truly sharing a meal with each other.
Second, the chicken mixture is packed with flavor but light in calories and fat. I did decrease the amount of oil called for in the original recipe and was very happy with the result.
And last but not least, all of the ingredients except for one were already in my fridge or pantry. That’s a win-win-win!
If you love cooking and are looking for some serious inspiration, be sure to add Bountiful: Recipes Inspired by Our Garden or pick up a copy for your favorite home cook. I guarantee that they’ll be thrilled.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey (or agave), fish (or soy) sauce, hoisin sauce and rice vinegar. Reserve.
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft. 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the red bell pepper and reserved sauce. Continue cooking until the chicken is fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
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.
Other lettuce wrap recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Baked Turkey, Quinoa & Zucchini Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps
Cookin’ Canuck’s Salad Cups with Quinoa, Shrimp, Avocado & Lemon Dressing
The Comfort of Cooking’s Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Everyday Maven’s Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps
Making Thyme for Health’s Peanut Sauce Tempeh Lettuce Wraps
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced small
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded & diced
- 1 tsp honey or agave nectar
- 2 tsp fish sauce or soy sauce
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- ½ tsp rice vinegar
- 1 head Boston leaf lettuce
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup sliced almond, toasted
- In a small bowl, whisk together the honey (or agave), fish (or soy) sauce, hoisin sauce and rice vinegar. Reserve.
- In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft. 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the red bell pepper and reserved sauce. Continue cooking until the chicken is fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
- 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.
This recipe was reprinted with permission of Todd Porter and Diane Cu.
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