“I think we should add a little cumin,” he said as he tasted the wooden spoon splattered in marinara. He looked expectantly at me.
“In sauce?” I replied, picturing my Italian mother and grandmother shaking their heads at the thought of this and muttering “mad dun da me.”
Nate and I had just started making dinners together, trying to escape the college dining halls so that we could bring a taste of homemade cooking into our makeshift kitchens when he made this suggestion. It was the first time we were navigating how to stir, chop and slice side-by-side and as he tapped the side of the cumin canister with the red powder sprinkling into the sea of jarred sauce bubbling below, I wanted to yell out, “Stop! You’re going to ruin it!” But instead, I didn’t say anything and to this day, that is the moment I remember realizing that Nate can turn an ordinary dish into an extraordinary feast by adding his special touch.
Since then, Nate and I have made countless dinners together and it still amazes me how he can whip out a bunch of seemingly different ingredients, mix them up and create something unexpectedly delicious to complement our dishes. The shake of a spice? Sure! Add some aioli? Why not?!
So when we first decided to make our own Thai lettuce wraps, I didn’t hesitate when he said “let me see how we can make this better.” Searching our cupboards and pulling out a few staples that always reside in our fridge, I looked on as Nate worked his magic. A few spoonfuls of soy sauce, a dollop of peanut butter and a splash of balsamic salad dressing later, we had our very own Thai peanut sauce. The crunch of romaine, the warm rice, the sautéed peppers and the creaminess of the avocado never tasted so good as it did with his sauce drizzled on top.
These wraps have become a weeknight staple in our house since we can easily add chicken, sausage or beef on top of the bed of veggies for some protein but it is Nate’s homemade Thai peanut sauce that steals the show and has us craving more. It now regularly makes appearances in other dinners we make and I’m excited to share his recipe with you so you can recreate it at home.
It goes to show, sometimes the best flavors are just laying around your cupboards waiting to be used. All you have to do is mix it up.
What you will need:
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Balsamic Salad Dressing
4 tbsp. Peanut Butter
1) Add all 3 ingredients to a small bowl.
2) Heat the small bowl with the ingredients for 45 seconds in the microwave.
3) Stir all ingredients very well.
4) Drizzle on your very own Thai lettuce wraps, stir fry or anything else you would like.