Sunday, March 15, 2015


Several years ago my clever sister shared with me that she had some Asian plates, etc. that she used to set a special table for take-out Chinese food.  I thought what a great idea and I was on the look-out for some dishes for hubby and I.  Just seems at the time that these were very easy to find at HomeGoods, Marshall's and World Market.  I have not seen them lately but that does not mean they are not available. Most Asian grocery stores also carry a line of plates, cups, serving platters and bowls. If you have a restaurant supply store in your area they generally sell to the public.

 Table set...
 I love the heavy Japanese cast iron teapot.  Makes a great cup of jasmine tea.


Chicken Lettuce Wraps 
Butter Lettuce
Brown Rice
Stir Fry Asparagus and Onions
Trader Joe's Chicken Gyoza Pot Stickers
Trader Joe's Gyoza Dipping Sauce
Spicy Dipping Sauce for Lettuce Wraps
Jasmine Tea

Cooks notes:  We love brown rice and that is mostly what we have when we have rice (OK, I admit we do LOVE chicken Rice-a-Roni) but the rest of the time it is brown rice which does take much longer to cook.  I have had a rice cookers for what seems like forever my first one was not sealed and when I made rice that little cooker made a whole lot of noise (clink, clink, clink the bouncing lid hitting the top of the cooker) and it took a very long time to cook.  Once we discovered the "Zoj" we were sold.  We had purchased the larger, stainless steel unit and then one day at Costco discovered they had a smaller one and we bought it because we thought that for traveling and staying in condos it would be great - it's the one we use all the time now. It also works just great for steel cut oats, other types of rice, etc.

Zojirushi Rice Cooker

I think they cost a little more than other rice cookers but oh so worth the money.  One great feature is that once the rice is cooked it goes to a warm cycle for a long period of time, so if we are having rice for dinner, about 3:00 I will put the rice on to make sure it is ready for dinner - brown rice is one of those things you don't want to forget to put on for dinner, because it takes so long to cook.


Chicken Lettuce Wraps
2 1/2 Pounds of boneless, skinless chicken tenders, diced*
1 Large onion, diced
1 small can of water chestnuts, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced
2 Tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
Bunch of green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup of shredded and then chopped carrots
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tablespoon of Thai sweet chili sauce (or more to taste)
1/4 cup prepared hoisin sauce 

*Trim off any fat or gristle left on the tender

Using about 1-2 Tbls of cooking oil cook the diced chicken until cooked through. Drain off any remaining grease & liquid (I draw it off with a turkey baster) and then add the onion, ginger & water chestnuts, cook until the onion is translucent, then add the hoisin, garlic, soy sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce and the vinegar - once you know the chicken is done you can set aside until ready to serve.  Just before serving heat up the mixture and then add the green onions, sesame oil and carrots, stir until the onions and carrots are a little cooked - ready to serve a la taco style in the bibb lettuce.  You can use iceberg lettuce but I prefer to use the bibb as it holds up better to the mixture and is easier to eat and tends to fall apart less.

This will serve at least (4) people, we always have lots of leftovers with just two people - we will have two dinners out of this meal.

Stir Fry Onions & Asparagus

One pound of fresh asparagus
One large sweet onion (if not available a yellow onion will do)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Chop the onion into a medium-large dice, wash the asparagus and cut off the woody ends and cut on the diagonal.

In a frying pan with some EVOO add the onions and cook for a bit and then add the asparagus and stir until the asparagus is just done - not too done.  Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Pot Stickers & Dipping Sauce
If you don't live near a Trader Joe's you can find pot stickers in the freezer section (just follow the instructions on the package) of most grocery stores and most grocery stores will have an Asian food section with a selection of sauces. When we had this dinner I made a sauce for the chicken wraps - a la PF Chang's and used the Gyoza sauce for the pot stickers. If you look online you will see lot's of knock off recipes for the PF Chang's lettuce wrap sauce. I just made a mixture of low salt soy sauce, some artificial sweetener (or sugar), water, a little of the sweet Thai chili sauce, etc. whatever suited my fancy at the time.

Let's eat!

A nice addition would be chop sticks but we do better with a fork!  Personal preference, most of all bon appetit!


Gyoza dipping sauce & pot stickers, Trader Joe's
Rattan mats, Pier One
Red Mats, HomeGoods
Cast iron tea pot, Oriental goods stores and specialty stores, World Market
Zojirushi Rice Cooker, Zojirushi NS-VGC05 Micom 3-Cup (Uncooked) Electric Rice Cooker and Warmer
Asian plates, bowls & serving dishes, HomeGoods & World Market

Asian chargers, Hobby Lobby
Napkins, Williams-Sonoma

Thank you for stopping by.



  2. Anonymous, thank you for your kind comment. These are really good and if you like lettuce wraps you should try these, yummy! Thank you for stopping by. j.

  3. Your table looks beautiful! When my boys were little I would set the table according to the kind of food we were having but have gotten lazy since it's just my husband and me. Thanks for the recipe for lettuce wrap - looks delicious.

  4. Thank you so much for your kind comments Ellen. My boys are gone too but I am admittedly a dish-a-holic so special table settings feeds my addiction! We love the wraps and this dinner is pretty healthy with a good dose of protein and if you watch the oil you are using (which is easy to do) fairly low-fat.Thank you so much for stopping by the blog. j.