Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gluten Free Thai Wraps, Cheesecake Factory Style

First of all, let me give out this disclaimer: I do not cook Asian food. At all. I'm no good with the chopping and the matchstick carrots and the meat that is ground super small and the fancy vegetables and sauces. So the fact that I am even posting about cooking Asian food at home is a triumph for me. And when you are eating gluten free, it's almost torturous to go somewhere and order Asian style because you are always so worried about the soy sauce and contamination. My best defense so far has been to just avoid it and train my palate to have a hankering for, oh, say, Mexican or something else that's easier.

On my recent trip to Disneyland we stayed in a hotel across the street from the Cheesecake Factory. Score! We ate lunch there one day with our family and the waitress suggested I try the Thai lettuce wraps with two of their gluten free salad dressings. I took the bait. And I'm so glad I did. It was one of the most delicious lunches I've had in a long time. And the Godiva chocolate cheesecake is gluten free, so I of course had to sample that for dessert. All in all, it was divine. But the whole time I was eating it, I thought, I could totally make this at home. My friend Morry wrote this post about her Vietnamese wraps a few weeks ago, and if you want the authentic, actual how-to for rice paper wraps, check it out. I was purely copying the restaurant in my own kitchen, and I knew what would make or break this dish was going to be the sauce. Browsing through the aisles of my local grocery store, Harmon's, I found these two salad dressings. San-J's Tamari Ginger (spicy and delicious), and Cardini's Honey Mustard (mellow, sweet, and tangy) At the Cheesecake Factory they give you two dipping sauces, one is a honey mustard and one is...something else that I can't remember. But it was Asian style yum-o. So I took about two parts Tamari Ginger and one part Honey mustard and mixed it with one tablespoon of San-J Tamari sauce. It's extra yummy, and a pretty close match to those two sauces.
Then I got out my old reliable, George Foreman. I really prefer the outdoor grill for my meat, but this one comes in handy sometimes when it's cold and windy outside and you don't want to put on your boots. So I grilled up some chicken tenders.

Then I chopped me some veggies. Don't laugh. They aren't chopped great, but they got the job done. I had butter lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts, green onion, and cucumber. I really should have sliced the cucumber into matchsticks, looking back on it. They would have fit into the wrap better.

Then, I just did it all up together and dunked it all in that glorious sauce mixture. It was so yummy. I love the flavor of the bean sprouts and the crunch of the carrots and cucumbers with the chicken. It was so worth my time chopping and dicing and slicing. I may have to do it again sometime. It just goes to show that if you pay attention when you eat out, you can pretty much replicate most dishes that you like. Or at least come pretty close.

Happy eating!

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