Asian Lettuce Wraps

By admin | July 24, 2011

These Asian Lettuce Wraps were a hit at a recent Kidney BEAN class presented by Kaiser Permanente.  During KIDNEY BEAN, RD Winnie Foley helps renal patients navigate the complex nuances of their diets.  And I, bring those recommendations to life with yummy recipes which we then eat. :)

This basic recipe is the foundation for many delicious lettuce wrap meals to come.  Make this once, then the next time you can add your favorite seasonal vegetables like zucchini or carrots, or make an Asian style cabbage slaw or pickled cucumber salad or marinated onions to go along with it.  Fresh herbs like mint, cilantro or Thai basil would be a refreshing finish. If you want to incorporate some carbohydrates to this low-carb dish, add rice or noodles.  Kick it up with additional spice, or other bold flavors to your liking.

  • 1 head Boston Bibb or Red Leaf Lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced pickled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Sriracha or other hot pepper sauce (optional)

2-3 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced for garnish

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil (or spray with cooking spray) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until they start to brown.  Add the garlic and ground turkey stirring often to break it up, until brown and thoroughly cooked.
Drain any excess oil (with lean turkey there shouldn’t be any) and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed, about 5-7 minutes.Remove from heat, stir in the scallions and scoop a small amount of the meat mixture onto the lettuce leaves, which can be rolled and eaten like tacos.
Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter, and pile meat mixture in the center. To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into a lettuce leaf. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito, and enjoy

Basil Squash and Corn Fritters

By admin | July 24, 2011


1 medium sized zucchini, coarsely grated

2 yellow squash, coarsely grated (minus the seeds)

corn cut from 1-2 cobs

2 large eggs

1 scallion, finely chopped

1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped

1/2 cups all-purpose flour

salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the grated zucchini and squash in a colander set in the sink to let it drain for 10 minutes, pressing occasionally to extract excess water.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl; add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Use your clean hands for this part.

Heat oil in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat (350 degreesF). Form fritters from about 2 Tbsp of batter, and cook them on one side until golden brown (7-10 minutes). Flip once, and continue cooking another five minutes or so on the other side.

Note: I served these with spicy shrimp at the National Black Arts Festival’s Summer Fest.

Mussels w Lemon and Sundried Tomatoes over Spinach

By admin | July 16, 2011

2 lbs mussels, de-bearded

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic,  minced

zest and juice from 2 lemons

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup tomato juice, like low sodium V8

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes

pinch cayenne pepper

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

1 10-oz bag baby spinach leaves

salt/pepper to taste

In a pot, saute onions 3-4 minutes in oil over medium high heat.  Add garlic and sundried tomatoes and continue cooking until the mixture starts to caramelized.

Add wine and scrape the browned flavor from the bottom of the pan.  Reduce the wine by half then add lemon juice, lemon zest and tomato juice.

Once that comes to a simmer, stir in the mussels, season with pinch of cayenne, salt and pepper, and cover the pot with a lid.

Cook 5-7 minutes or until they open.  Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Arrange spinach in a large bowl.  Pour mussels and sauce over the spinach and toss with tongs until the spinach wilts. Serve immediately, discard any mussels that don’t open.

Pesto Tortellini Caprese Style

By admin | July 15, 2011

1 lb tortellini pasta cooked until al dente

4 oz basil pesto

4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 bunch fresh basil, chopped

1) Cook tortellini in salted water until just al dente.  Rinse under cold water. Toss w/ 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and refrigerate.

2) Meanwhile cut fresh mozzarella into 1″ cubes, add pesto and freshly cracked black pepper to taste, and refrigerate  at least 20 minutes.

3) To assemble the salad: Combine pasta, marinated mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil. Drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp good quality olive oil and serve.

Raw Corn & Black Bean Salad w/ Tomato Lime Vinaigrette and Flamenco Shrimp

By admin | July 15, 2011

corn cut from 6 ears of corn

2 18 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 scallions, chopped (greens and whites)

1 bunch cilantro

juice and zest from 1 limes

1/2 cup low sodium V8 juice

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 Tbsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed)

1 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 Tbsp Life Chef Flamenco Spice Blend

Combine lime juice and zest, V8, spices (salt & pepper to taste) with olive oil in a bowl and whisk to combine.  This is the vinaigrette.

Combine corn, beans, cilantro, scallions in a bowl.  Pour vinagrette over the bean mixture and chill for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in 2 skillets over medium high heat. Sear shrimp in both pans for about 3 minutes, then add Flameno Spice Blend, toss, and continue cooking on the other side for another 3 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and no longer translucent.

Add cooked shrimp to the corn/bean salad and serve immediately.