Ok…the name of this recipe sounds a bit odd…. Lettuce with hot beef dressing? I know, but it's really good! I used grass-fed ground beef, and subbed coconut aminos for soy sauce, as well as skipping garlic, sigh. I'm sure the garlic would make it even better.

Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid's Lettuce Salad with Hot Beef Dressing

One head of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)

One tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil

One tablespoon minced garlic

One tablespoon minced ginger

1/2 pound (1 packed cup) ground beef

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

One tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste

One tablespoon Jinjiang (black rice) vinegar, or to taste

1/2 cup warm water

Two teaspoons cornstarch

One tablespoon cold water

1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame oil

Place the lettuce in a wide salad bowl or serving dish and set aside.

To make the hot beef dressing, place a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in the garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds, then add the ginger. Stir-fry over medium-high to medium heat until slightly softened and starting to turn color.

Add the meat and use your spatula to break it up so there are no lumps at all, then add the salt and stir-fry until most of the meat has changed color. Add the soy sauce and vinegar and stir to blend. Add the warm water and stir. (The hot beef dressing can be prepared ahead to this point and set aside for up to 20 minutes. When you are ready to proceed, bring the dressing to a boil.)

While the beef dressing mixture is coming to a boil, place the cornstarch in a small cup or bowl and stir in the cold water to make a smooth paste. Once the liquid is bubbling in the pan, give the cornstarch mixture a final stir, add to the pan, and stir for about 1 minute; the liquid will thicken and become smoother.

Taste for salt, and add a little salt or soy sauce if you wish. Add the sesame oil and stir once, then pour the hot dressing onto the lettuce. Immediately toss the salad to expose all the greens to the hot dressing. 


I was afraid this would wilt too fast to be able to serve it at a house concert, but I just had leftovers from last night for breakfast and the romaine was still delightfully crunchy. It's super simple to throw together, and it's a much lighter dish than it sounds. I thought the meat would kind of overwhelm the lettuce, but it doesn't at all…in fact, the lettuce is the star of the show. For us, this ended up being three servings (dinner for each of us and breakfast for me), so it works out to between two and three ounces of meat per serving…not bad.

A keeper. You may see it on the table for the Gretchen Peters show. Speaking of Gretchen Peters, take a look at these quotes from other artists. Pretty amazing.

Beautiful, brave and poetic, "The Matador" literally inspires me to tears. Hand over my heart. –Rodney Crowell

This is seasoned writing – full of a woman' s heart and soul – and short stories brought into song length. Full of beauty and real life from a grand voice… beautiful. –Darrell Scott

The songs are timeless and true, and her mastery of melody and language is profound. It's an amazing and beautiful work of art, and people need to hear it. –Mary Gauthier

Not a word is wasted, the imagery and poetry come together with her sublime voice and a concern for humanity. Her songwriting is the standard of excellence you set for yourself when approaching the art of making music. –Eliza Gilkyson

The songs, as always, masterful—the singing and playing are inspired. Honored to get to make such great records with y'all. “The House On Auburn Street” would make Sandy Denny blush. –Will Kimbrough

The song title that popped into my head while listening to Gretchen Peters’ new CD Hello Cruel World was Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”. This is a brilliant collection of songs. –Jimmy LaFave

One good song, these days, is a quiet revolution. An album full of great, truthful songs, is an apocalyptic event. Hail the apocalypse: Hello Cruel World. – Tom Russell