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Whinging ’til October [Fierce Foodie]

I know I have whinged and complained in the least attractive way about my hatred of the heat in almost every summer post I have ever written, but really, it’s horrible in Pennsylvania.  It’s just a pit.  Our weather lately has bounced between three day downpours and unrelenting killer heat, both accompanied by the kind of sticky, sweltering humidity that leaves you instantly moist the moment you step out of the air conditioning.  Ugh!  And cooking in the heat sounds about as appealing to me as running laps around the house dressed in a balaclava, wool long johns and a sanitary belt.  So it’s no surprise that my favorite refrain around 7 pm is “Let’s have ice cream for dinner… Again!”  And even less surprising that I am running out of pants that fit.

Instead of encouraging more bad habits, here I offer a recipe that I like because it is delicious and malleable; you can switch out the ground turkey for ground chicken or tofu crumbles, use soy instead of hoisin sauce, or turn up the heat by adding a side of garlic chile oil mixed with rice vinegar, and you will still come out with something yummy.  Don’t get caught up on the exact ingredients; cucumber will work as well as carrot.  You can convert it into a mexican spiced dish with fajita seasoning and add avocado.  Be free!  It’s the cool, crisp lettuce surrounding the spicy filling that is the heart of this dish.  The filling cooks quickly and keeps in the fridge for up to 2 days, so you can cook it during a cool respite and have something good and good for you to nibble on when the heat returns.  Because return it must, just as surely as the earth turns, and a feminine and awesome sweatring graces the collar of every shirt I wear from May through October.

Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps
Courtesy of EatingWell


•1/2 cup water

•1/2 cup instant brown rice

•2 teaspoons sesame oil

•1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey

•1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

•1 large red bell pepper, finely diced

•1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped

•1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

•2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

•1 teaspoon five-spice powder

•1/2 teaspoon salt

•2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated

•1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil, mint and/or chives

•1 large carrot, shredded


1.Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice; reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2.Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and ginger; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, water chestnuts, broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder and salt; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

3.To serve, divide lettuce leaves among plates, spoon some of the turkey mixture into each leaf, top with herbs and carrot and roll into wraps.

featured image credit: toastforbrekkie