Archive | May, 2012

Turkey Lettuce Wraps and Cold Rice Salad

29 May

This dish is one of my husband and my favorites.  When we’re out at P.F. Chang’s, we both love the Chicken Lettuce Wraps, so when I came across this recipe from Melissa D’Arabian, I knew it was something I had to try.  If you’re not familiar with Melissa, she has a great show on Food Network called Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa D’Arabian.  Her promise is… “4 people, ten bucks, infinite possibilities”.  I’m a huge fan of Melissa’s and many of the meals I cook at home come courtesy of her on-air kitchen.  If you’ve never seen her show or cooked her recipes, this one will make you a fan for sure.

Start with the Cold Rice Salad since it’s best served chilled.

Turkey Lettuce Wraps and Cold Rice Salad

 

 

Cold Rice Salad

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups long grain white rice, rinsed

Salt

2 cups +/- peas, blanched

1 red bell pepper, chopped

Directions:

Place the rice in a pot or rice cooker with 3 cups water and a pinch of salt.  Cook as you normally would.  Once done, spread the rice out on a sheet tray and let it cool completely.  Next, combine the rice, peas and red bell pepper.  Toss gently

 

Dressing

Ingredients:

3 Tbl rice wine vinegar

8 Tbl vegetable oil

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a small bowl add the rice wine vinegar, a small pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper.  Mix together and slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil and then the sesame oil.

Pour the dressing over the rice mix until thinly coated.  Taste and re-season if necessary.  Put in fridge until ready to serve.


Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients:

12 oz ground turkey

2 tsp vegetable oil

8 oz white mushrooms, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (16 oz) can water chestnuts, chopped

¼ cup soy sauce

1 Tbl brown sugar

1 Tbl rice wine vinegar

Iceberg lettuce

Directions:

Brown the turkey in the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink.  Add the mushrooms, garlic and water chestnuts and cook until the mushrooms soften.  In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar and vinegar, pour over the turkey mixture and cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

 

Drizzling Sauce for Wraps

Ingredients:

3 Tbl soy sauce

2 Tbl rice wine vinegar

1 Tbl honey

1 Tbl Dijon or other spicy mustard

1 Tbl Sriracha sauce

½ tsp sesame oil

½ cup water

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients

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You must have…

25 May

“You must have long range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short range failures.”

  ~ Charles C. Noble

Yummy Chicken Tortilla Soup

25 May

This dish is really easy to make but it tastes so good, you’d think it came out of your local Mexican dive.   I’ve been making it for a while and I tweak it a little each time, experimenting with the spice level, etc.  I think I’ve finally come up with the perfect way to make it for us.  Of course the beauty of most recipes is that you can tweak it to suit your own family’s taste buds.

I’m writing this out in a little different format because I’ve found it just works better for me for this particular dish.

Yummy Chicken Tortilla Soup

 

(A)

½ stick butter

1 large finely diced onion

1 seeded and diced jalapeno

2 diced garlic cloves

½ bag baby carrots, cut into thin coins

 

(B)

½ cup flour

 

(C)

4 cans chicken broth

1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes

1½ tsp ground cumin

1½ tsp red chili powder

1½ tsp salt

1½ tsp lemon pepper

3 Tbl hot pepper sauce

2 (14.5oz) cans hominy

 

(D)

1 lb chicken breast (either uncooked and cut into bite-size pieces, or cooked ahead of time in a crock pot and then fork shredded, that’s my personal preference)

 

Directions:

In a stock pot over medium heat, melt butter and add all ingredients from (A) until onions are translucent.  Add (B) and stir until completely absorbed (you may need to add a little water).  Add all (C) ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.  Then turn heat up to a low boil.  Add (D) and cook for another 15 minutes*.  Keep on low to maintain heat.

*Instruction is the same whether chicken is cubed and raw or cooked and shredded.

Put broken up tortilla chips on top and sprinkle with a little Mexican cheese.   And finally… dig in and enjoy!

 

People who admit…

23 May

“People who admit they’re wrong get a lot farther than people who prove they’re right.”

  ~ Beryl Pfizer

The Third Angel, by Alice Hoffman

23 May

This was the first book I’ve read from novelist   Alice Hoffman.  Initially I came across her books on Amazon and they sounded interesting so I added them.  I have several of her books on my “books to read” list, but since this was the one my local library had, this is what I got.  To be honest, I’d never heard of her before, but that’s okay, she’s probably never heard of me either.

The Third Angel follows three women’s lives as they flow together and apart, linked by the same tragic love story and mysterious ghost ~ The Third Angel.

The story is told in reverse order, which I have to say was a little confusing for me.  In my defense, I didn’t read the book every day.  And like most books I’m reading, I’m lucky if I get a few minutes on my lunch hour to read and then a few more right before bed.  I usually have to re-read a few pages just to remember what’s going on in the story.  Such is my life and the reason I get lost in the stories sometimes.  And not that I’m calling Ms. Hoffman out, but I think some authors write as though we’re going to open the front cover and not close it again until we’ve finished every last page.  Not my case, and I doubt it’s your case either.  Having said that, I enjoyed this book.  I won’t say I loved it, but it was good.

Each woman is at a crossroad in her life.  The first, New York attorney Madeline arrives in London in 1999 after having had an affair with her sister Allie’s fiancé, Paul.  Maddy is faced with coping with the impending marriage, and with Paul’s terminal illness – which echoes the girls’ mother’s cancer during their childhood.

Part II focuses on 1966 London and to Frieda, Paul’s future mother, who falls for a drug-addicted songwriter on the rise knowing he will break her heart.

And finally, Part III takes us back to 1952 to Maddy and Allie’s future mother.  Lucy is 12-year-old well wise beyond her years.  She spends her time with her nose in a book and doing her best to tolerate her father’s new wife.  They sail from New York to London for a wedding and while there, Lucy becomes innocently involved in a love triangle that can only have a devastating end.

Each woman faces up to her challenges in her own way, proving that everyone in the end is responsible for his or her own destiny.  What Ms. Hoffman does is remind us we are all hurt and broken, stumbling through life and fumbling for love, but sometimes we can still find the way to where we want to go.

The only rock I know…

21 May

“The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.”

  ~ Lee Iacocca

Vegetables and more vegetables…

20 May

To say I’m exhausted right now would be the understatement of, well I don’t know…let’s just say I’m bushed.  Ha ha ha.  Intentional pun there for those of you who are just as tired as me and may have missed it.

I went out this morning and picked up my good friend Monique to do a little plant shopping.  What a great way to begin my Sunday.  I wanted to return a raspberry I had purchased yesterday and pick up a few things that I needed for my front vegetable garden.  Monique also gave me cuttings from her gorgeous yard (a few more strawberries to put in my crate and some fern for my front yard).

Along the fence we have Ace Tomatoes and Corn and then Zucchini Squash next to the rose bush.  I planted 6 different kinds of peppers… Better Belles, Golden California Wonder, California Wonder, Sweet Banana, Jalapeno and Red Bell.  There’s a Straight-neck Squash and finally a Lemon Cucumber to round things out.  Again, I planted Marigolds.  Aren’t they cute?

Front Vegetable Garden, May 2012

I tried to model this year’s garden a little after last year’s.  Re-plant those that worked well and didn’t take up too much of my time, and say farewell to those that just didn’t work out.  Even thought I didn’t have much luck with my corn last year, Greg really wanted it so of course I’m going to give it another go.  Wish me luck.  Most of the peppers are new so I’m excited to see what happens with those and especially looking forward to the Lemon Cucumber.  My seedlings didn’t make it so when I saw the plant this morning I had to plunk down the $1.48.

This garden is on the side-yard along the driveway, so I don’t have to worry about the dog trampling the plants or the cat laying down sunning himself.  The new garden is in the backyard and I’m going to have to watch it a bit closer.  Our yard is full of squirrels and birds and I’m curious to see how much time they’ll spend in there.  I keep having to shoo the dog out of there, but I know she’s really curious because it’s all so new.  When the cat goes out he either finds a sunny spot to plop down or he naps under the arch of Blooming Night Jasmine, so I don’t think he’ll be a problem.

Front Vegetable Garden

You might be wondering if I just have vegetables and no fruit.  Well, when I first purchased the house almost 23 years ago, there was a small lemon tree in the back yard.  Growing right in the grass area.  Not the ideal spot for any kind of tree, it was really in the way.  Anyway, after a few years I yanked it out.  Since then, we’ve planted 2 apple trees and 2 pluots along the back fence.  In addition, we also have one very, very large, very, very old Avocado tree that is probably as old as the house (circa 1920).

Here’s a close-up of one of my Angels.  He watches over my garden but is a bit camera shy…

Shy Angel

Time to rest now.  Maybe I’ll just sit back and watch the fruits (or vegetables in this case) of my labor bloom.  May your day bloom as well.

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