Monday, October 20, 2014

ASIAN LETTUCE WRAPS, Turkey or Edamame & Asparagus

It’s the beginning of our South Florida winter and you have no idea how exciting that is.  Okay, we don’t really have four seasons, we have two; there’s a hot, humid and wet season, and then there’s a warm, clear and dry season.  
As I sit here, the air is dry, the temperature is in the mid 80’s, the sky is clear…and I’m wondering why the heck I’m inside with you instead of outside enjoying the perfect day!

Just joking!  Yes indeed I’d rather be here with you…Forget you pretty blue sky!

You know what else I’d rather be doing?

Eating these Asian Lettuce Wraps aaall over again!

Lettuce wraps are like Asian tacos, and they are all about the filling!  There are no pesky tortillas to fill up your belly so you can eat like a dozen lettuce wraps and not feel stuffed when ya get up from the table.  Actually, I love tortillas, especially when they’re Handmade Tortillas, but there’s a time and a place for tortillas, and this is neither the time nor the place! 

The recipe instructions call for cooking the turkey and veggies in the same skillet.  But for us; Billy eats meat, and I don’t; so I get two skillets on the cook top and stir-fry the vegetables and the ground turkey separately, dividing the onion, garlic, water chestnuts and sauce between the two pans.  I used turkey in this instance, but the recipe works equally well with any ground meat. 

This time, for the vegetarian version I used Edamame Hummus that I had leftover, and had I not had that, I’d have added plain edamame to the veggies. 

I love the contrast of cool crisp lettuce, to the warm savory filling.  I also love that because the “tortilla shell” is lettuce you’re eating your salad and entrĂ©e all at one time; two birds with one stone!

I can no longer resist, the bright blue sky is beckoning me and it just won't quit (I probably shouldn't have put my desk in the window if I wanted to get any work done) so go I must!  Thanks for hanging with me y'all!


Serves 4

¼             cup                     Hoisin sauce
¼             cup                     Rice vinegar
2              Tbsp.                   Rice cooking wine
1/8           tsp.                    Toasted sesame oil
2              Tbsp.                   Grape seed, avocado, or canola oil, divided use
1               lb.                      Ground turkey, chicken, or pork
1               cup                    Onion, small dice, about half of a large onion
2               cloves                 Garlic, minced
2               cups                   Asparagus, cut into about ½ inch pieces
1                                        Red bell pepper, small dice
1-8            oz. can                Water chestnuts, small dice
                                          Seasoned rice noodles, recipe follows
1               head                    Ice burg (or 2 heads butter lettuce), leaves separated

1.  In a small bowl whisk together the Hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, rice cooking wine, and toasted sesame oil; put that sauce to the side.
2. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with about 2 teaspoons of the grape seed oil and add the ground turkey to the skillet; cook over medium-high heat until the turkey has browned and cooked through.  Remove the turkey to a bowl.
3.  Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining grape seed oil, add the onion and cook stirring for about a minute, until the onion is soft.  To the onions add the garlic, asparagus, and bell pepper, cook while stirring for about another minute, until the veggies begin to soften.  Add the browned turkey, water chestnuts and the sauce that was mixed in step 1.  Stir and cook for a couple of minutes until the veggies are cooked to your liking.  Remove to a serving bowl.
2.  Fill the lettuce leaves with the turkey filling and rice noodles  and enjoy them like an Asian taco (it's best to use two leaves per taco)!

1-6            oz. package          Vermicelli rice noodles
2               Tbsp.                   Rice vinegar
¼              tsp.                    Toasted sesame oil, divided use
1               pinch                   Crushed red chili pepper

1.  Put the rice noodles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water.  Allow the noodles to soak for 2 to 4 minutes, until soft.  Drain the noodles well and return them to the bowl.  Toss the noodles with the vinegar, sesame oil and crushed red chili pepper.

Note:  *To make these vegetarian, omit the turkey, and reduce the ingredients for the sauce in half, also only use half of the water chestnuts.   Fill the lettuce cups with the veggie mixture, noodles and Edamame Hummus

You may also like:

Miso Glazed Eggplant & Kale
Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

Pork & Sweet Potato Tacos with Chipotle Cream
Broccoli & Cashew Stir-Fry

Thursday, October 9, 2014


One of my favorite snack foods is edamame.  It’s healthy, it fills me up to get me through to the next meal, and even though it’s filling edamame doesn’t weigh me down.

Edamame refers to soy beans that have been harvested while they are green and immature enough to be eaten raw.  They are high in protein and fiber, and packed full of vitamins and minerals.

Billy and I have been going out for sushi quite often lately, and we always order edamame, so when we were sitting at home and had a craving for a healthy snack, we just couldn’t eat plain edamame…Just couldn’t!

So I blitzed it instead!  

Just to be clear, the edamame got blitzed, I didn’t get blitzed!  To quote Eliza Doolittle, “I’m a good girl I am!”  And now I will be singing “I could have danced all night” for the rest of the day cuz I can’t get it out of my head…My cats are gonna looove it!

Any hoo…By blitzed, I mean that I tossed the beans into a food processor with a few savory seasonings, and blitzed until it was spreadable, even dippable.

The success of Edamame Hummus is using a light hand in the layering of the seasonings so that the dip is complex yet the delicate flavor of the edamame still shines through, that’s why the oil is flavored with garlic rather than adding garlic straight into the dip.   

In fact Billy’s words were, “You know why this is soooo good, is that nothing is over powering the edamame, so ya can taste the edamame.”  Someone had been watching Master Chef with his wife!

And look at this pretty, mint green color!  It’s like a touch of spring among all the fall pumpkin that’s going around.

It’s pretty, and it’s tasty, and it’s healthy, Edamame Hummus Dip has got it going on!


Makes about 2 cups

3              Tbsp.      Avocado, grape seed or canola oil
1              clove      Garlic, sliced
1 ½          cups       Shelled edamame beans, cooked according to the package directions (I used two 10 ounce packages of whole pod edamame)
¼             tsp.        Toasted sesame oil
½             tsp.        Soy sauce (low-sodium)
3-6           Tbsp.       Water
¼                          Lemon, juice only
1-2            pinches   Sea salt (smoked sea salt is really good)

1.  Add the oil and sliced garlic to a small skillet (which has not been pre-heated), and cook over medium heat, turning the garlic frequently, until the garlic turns golden in color.  Remove the pan from the heat and let the oil cool completely.  Once the oil has cooled, remove and discard the garlic.
2.  Add all of the ingredients, except for the sea salt, to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until the hummus is your desired consistency.  Taste for seasoning and add some sea salt if needed.
3.  Eat immediately, or cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Serve with rice crackers, pita bread, Melba toast, and cut up veggies.