Right about now is when I really start bemoaning the fact that the summer fruits are long gone, the fall apples and pears are becoming more and more expensive and the berries, well, unless I want to take out a second mortgage they aint gonna find themselves in my grocery basket. As I forlornly push my cart through the aisles of sad looking rock hard mangos and grapes that are minuscule in size and flavor I spy (with my little eye as my kids used to say) grapefruits. EUREKA!! I have achieved fruit.

Those sweet and sort of tangy almost sour yellow/red juicy citrus fruit are actually very affordable right now, You’ll find them in your supermarkets right next to the bags of Clementines (expensive but delicious), oranges, limes and lemons. The grapefruit is equally at home served for as is for breakfast, in a salad, juiced in a drink or even in a dessert it can be used interchangeably (depending on your taste) for just about any other citrus fruit. Fresh grapefruit juice is nectar from the garden and if you’re trying to lose weight you might want to substitute the grapefruit juice for the orange you usually reach for, it actually has 20 less calories per 8 oz glass than orange juice.

You can find grapefruits in a variety of color and sweetness levels. They run the color gamut from white to pink to red and most of the varieties are grown right here in the U S of A with Texas being the biggest supplier with Florida, California and Arizona not too far behind. As always, I love giving food facts along with the recipes so if you ever wondered why this particular fruit is called “grape-fruit” it’s because the fruit grow in a cluster, on a tree and it kinda sorta looks like a bunch of grapes when you see them in their natural state.

The following recipes are simple and deliciously addictive. Just be warned, if you’re utilizing the juice or the fruit of the grapefruit with meat or fish as a marinade, don’t let it sit too long. The acid in the fruit will turn the meat or fish mushy if left soaking for more than an hour or so.

BROILED GRAPEFRUIT (dairy or pareve)

2 large grapefruits, well chilled

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sliced strawberries for garnish

Prepare the grapefruit by cutting it in half and slicing a thin slice off the bottom of each half (this will help keep it stable when cooking). Using a small, sharp knife, section the grapefruit halves to loosen but not remove the segments. Basically, cut each segment around the membrane making sure to not cut through the rind. Place the sectioned halves in a glass baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Divide the mixture into 4 and spoon (our use your hands) to press the mixture evenly over the 4 grapefruit halves. Broiler until the topping is bubbly about 2 to 3 minutes. Watch this carefully, it will burn quickly. Serve immediately with the slice strawberries. Serves 4. Can be doubled or tripled

grapfruit 3



4 red or pink grapefruit, peeled segmented and cut into bite sized pieces

12 ounces mock crab, cut into bite sized pieces

1 14 oz. can hearts of palm, drained and sliced

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1/3 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup sliced green or black olives

A pinch or two of salt, to taste (may not need as the olives can be very salty)

Combine all the ingredients except the salt in a large glass bowl. Mix to combine and season with salt if desired. Serves 6

Modified From EatingWell: January/February 2013


1 orange, peeled, sectioned and cut into bite sized pieces

2 grapefruit, peeled, sectioned and cut into bite sized pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 green onions, sliced thin

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons orange zest

1 teaspoon grapefruit zest

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt and black pepper

4 salmon fillets, skin removed

2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

Chopped parsley for garnish

For the salsa: In a bowl combine the orange and grapefruit pieces with the olive oil, parsley, green onions, capers, orange zest, grapefruit zest, and red pepper flakes. Mix to combine, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

For the salmon: Preheat the broiler. Brush the salmon on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Broil 5 to 6 minutes and remove from oven. Brush tops with the honey or maple syrup. Return the salmon to the oven and broil for 1 minute. Remove the salmon and place it on a serving platter or individual plates and then top with salsa and chopped parsley and serves. Serves 4. Recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Submitted by Randi Augastinick Indianapolis IN


1 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 grapefruit, peeled and the segments cut into bite sized pieces

1 avocado, peeled and diced into small pieces

2 green onions, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan with a lid combine a 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 3/4 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the rice to the boiling water and bring back to a full boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Let the rice cool to room temperature. While the rice is cooling, in a small bowl, combine the garlic, orange juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and rice wine vinegar. Whisk to combine.

Once the rice is cooled place it in a glass salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Add the grapefruit, avocado and green onion and toss just to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4, this can be doubled or tripled

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2 pomegranates, seeded

2 oranges, peeled, sectioned and cut into pieces

3 grapefruits, peeled, sectioned and cut into pieces

2 apples (Granny Smith or Honey crisp) sectioned and chopped into bite sized pieces

2 pears, chopped into bite sized pieces

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice or orange liqueur

Combine all the ingredients in a glass salad bowl and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving for all the flavors to meld. Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish.

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© Eileen Goltz grapefruit 13a


Black VS Green Olives, Which Would You Choose? Great Recipes

Every parent who has ever sent a child to summer camp knows about color wars. That fight to the death Olympic like couple of days where what color/team you’re a part of defines you, empowers you and generally consumes every waking moment. In our house color wars revolves around olives; team green and team black.

Yes, we’re a house divided and while I’m the captain of team black and my husband is the captain of team green our ambivalent side shifting children could care less. They just want olives.

Just so we’re clear, aside from their taste and color olives all come from the same tree. The only difference between them is the state of their ripeness when picked (green ones are harvested when they are immature, a bit denser and a tad more bitter and black ones stay on the tree just a little longer and have a more mellow flavor). All olives must be cured before being eaten and they way they are cured with determine their, final flavor and texture.

Olives are one food you can keep on your pantry shelf, unopened for 3 to 4 years. Once opened, keep them in their original brine in a container with a lid or the original jar. For the most part we use the stuffed green olive or the black from the can in most of our recipes. However, get creative and try some of the other varieties that specialty markets and gourmet sections of your supermarket now carry


manzanilla:  Spanish green olive, available unpitted and/or stuffed


picholine:  French green olive, salt-brine cured, with subtle, lightly salty flavor


kalamata:  Greek black olive, deep purple, almond-shaped rich and fruity flavor


niçoise:  French black olive, small in size, rich, nutty, mellow flavor, high pit-to-meat ratio, often packed with herbs and stems intact


liguria:  Italian black olive, with a vibrant flavor, sometimes packed with stems


ponentine:  Italian black olive, salt-brine cured then packed in vinegar, mild in flavor


gaeta:  Italian black olive, dry-salt cured, then rubbed with oil, wrinkled in appearance, mild flavor, often packed with rosemary and other herbs


lugano:  Italian black olive, usually very salty, sometimes packed with olive leaves


sevillano:  Californian, salt-brine cured, very crisp


Modified from


Olives are typically not the main ingredient in a recipe. That being said the following recipes are all olive centric and showcase the full bodied flavor of these bite size treats. While you can interchange the different types of olives in the recipes you should know that some are saltier than others and you need to adjust the recipe accordingly.



This is a thick olive topping that is terrific with crackers, bread or on chicken or fish.


2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 to 4 tablespoons capers

2 anchovy fillets, rinsed

1 3/4 cups pitted black or green olives (or a combination)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (fresh is best)

1/3 cup olive oil

Black pepper to taste (optional)


In a food process combine all the ingredients and pulse until the mixture forms a paste. Makes approx 2 cups


Modified from



4 large tomatoes cut into chunks

1 large cucumbers, peeled and diced

1 green pepper, cleaned and chopped

1 red pepper, cleaned and chopped

1 red onion, sliced thin

1 head romaine, shredded

1 to 1 1/2 cups feta cheese, crumbled

14 to 16 Kalamata olives, pitted




1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and black pepper to taste


Combine all the dressing ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine and set it aside. In a salad bowl combine the tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, onion and romaine and toss to combine.  Top with cheese and olives and drizzle the dressing on top. Toss to coat and serve. Serves 6.


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4 chicken breasts

1/2 cup olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 1/2 cup uncooked rice

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 large can whole tomatoes

14 to 16 large green or black olives

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon chili powder or more to taste


In large skillet heat the oil and lightly brown the chicken. Don’t cook it totally, just brown the outside. Remove the chicken from pan and drain it on paper towels.  Don’t clean the pan.  Add the onion and green and red pepper to pan and cook slightly. Stir in the garlic and rice. Cook stirring until rice is turning golden. Add the tomatoes, olives, chicken broth, oregano and chili powder. Bring the mixture to a boil and then add the chicken. Cover the pan and cook, at a simmer for 30 to 35 minutes or until the chicken is done. Serves 4.


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Butter for greasing pan

1 cup panko bread crumbs

16 oz cream cheese, softened

8 oz grated sharp cheddar

1 pkg. taco seasoning

16 oz sour cream, divided

3 eggs

1/3 cup diced green or black olives, drained well

1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced

1/2 cup salsa

2 cups of your favorite guacamole or avocado dip

Chopped tomatoes for garnish

Chopped olives for garnish

Cheddar for garnish

Corn chips


Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch spring form pan and then coat it with panko bread crumbs and set it aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, cheddar and taco seasoning until fluffy; stir in 1 cup sour cream. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Fold in the olives and peppers. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Combine remaining sour cream with salsa and spread the mixture on top. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan and then remove sides from spring form. Top with the guacamole. Garnish the additional tomatoes, olives and cheese. Serve corn chips.    Serves 12 to 16.


Submitted by Reggie Magaran Chicago IL



2 (6 oz.) can Lindsay Naturals Green Ripe Olives, drained and chopped

1/2 cup jarred roasted red pepper, diced

4 ounces crumbled feta

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

toasted pita wedges, crackers, thinly sliced baguettes or tortilla chips

Italian flat leaf parsley as a garnish


Place the olives, red pepper, feta, oregano and lemon zest together in a bowl.  Gently toss together.


Spoon the mixture into a small bowl and place on a larger platter.  Surround the bowl of with the pita wedges, crackers, baguette slices and/or tortilla chips.  Or spread the olive mixture onto the pita wedge and/or baguette slices, garnish with flat leaf Italian parsley.  Place on a platter and serve, crackers and/or baguette slices, garnish with flat leaf Italian parsley.  Place on a platter and serve immediately.


This recipe was created By cookbook author Joanne Weir, modified.




1 (7.5 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and diced

1/2 cup diced Lindsay® Ripe Pitted or Lindsay® Greek Kalamata Pitted Olives

1/2 cup diced plum tomatoes

1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons light or regular sour cream

2 tablespoons light or regular mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours before serving. Serve with crackers or chips. Serves 6 (1/4 cup) servings.


Modified from




2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 chili peppers, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons flour

2 1/4 cups chicken broth

2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 (1 lbs.) box macaroni pasta, cooked

8 ounce grilled chicken breast, diced

1 (6 oz.) can California Black Ripe Olives, whole, pitted

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/8 teaspoon paprika


Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9X13 baking pan. In a saucepan melt the butter. Stir in peppers and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes until smooth and golden. Whisk in the chicken broth, a half cup at a time, until smooth and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in cheese and remove from heat. Add the cooked pasta, chicken and olives. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Top with breadcrumbs, sprinkle the top with the paprika and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8


Recipe courtesy of the California Olive Committee, modified



You can add or subtract the amount of veggies as you please!


1 (16 oz.) can whole corn, drained or 2 cups fresh off the cob

3 to 4 cups cooked rice

1/ 2 cup chopped red pepper

1/ 2 cup chopped green onions

1 cup chopped black olives

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded

1 to 2 tomatoes, chopped and seeded

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/ 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/ 4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese


In medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, corn, rice, peppers, green onions and olives. Toss to combine. In a jar with a lid combine the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, parsley, mustard and garlic powder. Shake the dressing to combine and pour over the salad. Cover and chill several hours. Stir in the shredded lettuce just before serving then top with the Parmesan cheese. Serves 6 to 8


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1 pound pasta (fusilli or bow tie), cooked according to the package, drained, kept warm

5 small zucchini cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 (28 ounces) can Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped

1cup black olives, sliced

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 pound Mozzarella cheese shredded or cubed

2 to 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese for topping


Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and saute zucchini until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper and put them in a large bowl. Add the pasta, tomatoes, olives, 1/3 cup Parmesan, rosemary and 1/2 of the mozzarella. Mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine Place the mixture into the prepared pan and then sprinkle the top.

Cover the top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan and bake until cheese is melted and the top slightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 4 to 6


Modified from The New Pasta Cookbook by Joanne Glynn

It’s Tuna Time


            Tuna fish is one staple that is always in my pantry. Obviously, there are days when time is short, we open a can of tuna, smash it together with some mayo, throw it into a sandwich and call it dinner. BUT, when we do have the time to cook, how many of us reach for that cute little can in order to satisfy that take me back to childhood craving that pops up every now and then.

Tuna is a member of the mackerel family and Albacore Tuna is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef or chicken. Tuna is considered a fatty fish because of its supply of omega-3 fatty acids. This polyunsaturated fat has been shown to protect against heart disease and may also fight breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers. It’s also thought to have a role in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

There are a lot of varieties and grades of canned tuna to choose from. What you choose will depend on your tastes and the specific recipe. Solid or fancy pack will contain large pieces of tuna and is usually albacore. Only albacore tuna may be labeled and sold as white tuna. I’m happy to pay the higher price for white tuna because it has a milder flavor and lighter color. In fact, it looks very much like canned chunk chicken and I sometimes substituted it for chicken in some of my recipes.

Chunk tuna has smaller pieces. Flaked tuna is fairly broken apart and best used for salads where the tuna is mashed and mixed anyway. The latest tuna product to hit the market is tuna packed in vacuum pouches with no added oil or water.  If unopened, canned tuna can be stored in a cool cupboard up to one year. Any leftover canned tuna can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator and use with four days. Tuna salad with a dressing can be refrigerated up to three days. Cooked tuna dishes such as casseroles can be frozen up to two months.

When it comes to tuna everyone needs to drop their preconceived notion that it’s just for lunch, because a can of tuna can be much more than a sandwich filling or salad ingredient. Canned tuna can be the main ingredient in a creative main course, appetizer or salad.



This recipe is great for break the fast or Shavuot

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 3/4 cups milk

1 can (7oz) tuna, drained

1 teaspoon chopped pimiento

1 can (4oz) mushrooms, sliced — drained

2 hard-boiled egg — diced

1 teaspoon minced onions

Cheese Biscuits

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese

3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450. Make the cheese biscuit dough and then make the tuna pie filling.

Melt the butter in saucepan and add the flour and salt, mixing well. Add the milk slowly; bringing the mixture to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the tuna, pimiento, mushrooms, hard cooked egg and minced onions. Mix well and bring the mixture to a boil. Pour the mixture into a greased 2-quart casserole. Arrange cheese biscuits on top.

Cheese Biscuits:
Sift dry ingredients together into a bowl; cut in shortening. Add grated cheese. Add milk, stirring with a fork until all flour is moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured cloth-covered board and knead gently for 20 seconds. Roll to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with lightly floured 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on top of hot tuna mixture in casserole dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.


1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese — softened

1 7 oz can solid white tuna — drained and flaked

3 tablespoons diced green pepper

3 tablespoons diced onion

3 tablespoons diced celery

5 olives, pimiento stuffed — diced

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a food processor combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the pecans. Process just to combine. Remove the mixture from the bowl of the processor and shape the mixture into a ball; cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour. Roll the chilled ball in the chopped pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. This can be made 2 days in advance. Serve ball with assorted crackers.
Makes approx 2 cups.


A simple and elegant alternative main dish salad
1/3 cup uncooked couscous
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 1/4 cups chopped peeled cucumber
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup raisins
1 (6 oz) can  tuna in water, drained and flaked
1 (11 oz) can extra- sweet whole kernel corn, drained

 Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium pan: stir in couscous. Remove the mixture from the heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Spoon into a bowl; cover and chill. In a bowl combine the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, parsley, salt pepper, sugar and garlic powder and stir well with a whisk. Add the couscous, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, raisins tuna, and corn. Toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour to let the flavors blend. Serves 6 to 7.


An original twist on a classic oriental recipe

2 cans (3 ounces) Tuna, drained and finely flaked

2 cups finely chopped bok choy or cabbage

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/3 cup minced green onions

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup celery, minced

1 to 2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

50 to 60 wonton skins

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Plum sauce, sweet and sour and/or soy sauce for dipping

In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, tuna, carrot, onions, egg, soy sauce and ginger, celery and sesame seeds until mixed. Position the wonton skins on a dry surface with 1 point facing you. Spoon 1-1/2 teaspoons of the tuna mixture in center of skin (use a slotted spoon if filling is wet); moisten edges of skins with water. Fold bottom corner over filling; fold side corners over first fold. Roll remaining corner over to seal. Repeat with remaining wontons.

In a wok or deep skillet, heat about 3 inches of oil. Fry the wontons, a few at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes or until deep golden brown. Drain well on paper towels and keep warm in a 300 oven until ready to serve. Serve hot with plum sauce. Makes 50 to 50 pieces.


For a reduced calorie dish use a nonstick skillet to make the tuna cakes.

1 can (12 ounces) tuna, drained and finely flaked

3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs or matzo meal

1/4 cup minced green onions

2 tablespoons chopped red peppers

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Lemon-Dill Sauce

1/4 cup pareve vegetable or chicken broth

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon dried dill

Garnish: shredded carrots and zucchini (optional)

In a large bowl combine the tuna, bread crumbs, onions and pimiento and set it aside. In a small bowl beat together the egg and milk. Mix well and stir in the lemon peel. Add the tuna mixture and toss until moistened. With lightly floured hands, shape the mixture into eight 4-inch patties.

In a large nonstick skillet melt butter. Fry the croquettes, a few at a time, until they are golden brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Place the cooked croquettes on a cookie sheet in a 300 oven until they are all ready to serve. To make the sauce, in a small saucepan combine the broth, lemon juice and dill and heat until warm.  To serve, spoon shredded carrots and zucchini onto each plate; top with 2 tuna croquettes and spoon the sauce over the top. You can also garnish with an additional slice of lemon. Serves 4. This recipe can be double or tripled


Pureed red bell peppers are the base for a rich red wine sauce.

1 can (9 ounces) tuna, drained and broken into chunks

2 cups chopped red bell peppers (about 2 peppers)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup pareve chicken or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/4 teaspoon pepper

½ cup water chestnuts

1 red bell pepper, slivered and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 yellow or green bell pepper, slivered and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup julienne-strip carrots

2 cups cooked hot cooked pasta or rice

In a skillet, saute the chopped bell pepper, onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender. In a blender or food processor bowl, place vegetable mixture; cover and process until pureed. Return the sauce pan and stir in the wine, pareve vegetable or chicken broth, sugar and pepper. Mix well and keep warm over a low heat.  In a 2-quart saucepan, blanch the red pepper and carrots until they are crisp tender. Stir steamed vegetables and water chestnuts into sauce. Add the tuna and cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until heated through. Serve the tuna and sauce over pasta. Serves 5 to 6

Wrap Up Your Old Recipes. Try Lettuce Wraps


One of the toughest tasks during the entertaining  is to come up with recipes for appi- teasers  that aren’t the same old same old  fish, soup or salad. While tradition has its place sometimes you just need to think outside the preverbal recipe box and re imagine what you might like to serve to start out a special meal.

            This year, for a first course let’s try lettuce wraps. Delicious, simple, easy to make ahead of time, really beautiful to see and most importantly, they’re different. The following recipes have all been taste tested and have passed my personal “yes I’d serve these to my mother” 5 point check list. Some of the ingredients are a little more difficult to find  but I can suggest that you try the specialty sections or your grocery store or if you keep kosher, the internet and sites like and

NOTE: If you can’t find kosher certified fish sauce or the rice wine I suggest you use the SoyVey products (ie  Teriyaki sauce) instead. You can always use a kosher certified Thai peanut sauce in a pinch.


2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks

1/2 cucumber peeled, cut into matchsticks

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/4 cup thinly sliced red peppers, (you can use 1 jalapeno and the rest red bell)  

2 tablespoons lime juice or rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)

2 cups skinless smoked trout fillets, broken into bite-size pieces

1 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup whole mint leaves

1/2 cup small whole fresh basil leaves

16 small to medium inner leaves of romaine lettuce (from about 2 hearts of romaine)

1/3 cup (about) sweet chili sauce

1/4 cup finely chopped lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts

Place the carrot and cucumber pieces in large bowl. Add green onions, peppers, lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce; let marinate 30 minutes at room temperature.

Add trout pieces and tomatoes to the vegetables and mix to combine. Drain the mixture and then return the mixture to the bowl; add in the mint and basil and toss to combine. Arrange lettuce leaves on large platter. Divide trout salad among lettuce leaves. Drizzle sweet chili sauce over each salad and sprinkle with peanuts.

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) or white wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon wasabi paste (see note)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh parsley
4 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
1/2 cup 1/4-inch-cubes peeled jicama
2 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 cups shredded chicken
12 to 16 butter lettuce leaves
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
In a large bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, kosher salt and wasabi paste. Add the parsley, green onions and jicama;
toss to coat. Gently stir in avocados. Divide the avocado salsa and shredded chicken among the lettuce leaves. Top each with toasted sesame seeds and serve 3 to 4 wraps per person. Serves 4.
Note: Find Wasabi paste in most supermarkets in the Asian foods aisle or with other sushi ingredients, or at an Asian market.


This recipe is from Todd Wilbur and Top Secret Recipes

3 tablespoons oil

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup water chestnut

2/3 cup mushroom

3 tablespoons chopped onions

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce

Special Sauce

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon hot mustard

2 teaspoons water

1-2 teaspoon garlic and red chile paste

Stir Fry Sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.

Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil.

Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you’re ready to serve. Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well. Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.

Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Sauté chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done. Remove chicken from the pan and cool. Keep oil in the pan, keep hot. As chicken cools mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas. Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl. When chicken is cool, mince it as the mushrooms and water chestnuts are. With the pan still on high heat, add another Tbsp of vegetable oil. Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes then serve it in the lettuce” cups”. top with” Special Sauce”. Makes 4 appetizer servings. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.


2 limes, juiced (about 1⁄4 cup)

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons chili paste

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 cups roasted peanuts or cashews, roughly chopped.

2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)

12 Bibb lettuce leaves (about 1 head)

3 cups fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-size chunks

Kosher salt
Whisk the lime juice, sugar, chili paste, and fish sauce in a bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add the peanuts and cilantro and stir until combined. When ready to serve, arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter. Put about 1⁄4 cup of pineapple in each leaf and season with salt to taste. Top the pineapple with the nut mixture. Serves 4.

1 head Iceberg lettuce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 red chili – 1 de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped onion or 2 small shallots diced
1/2 cup extra firm tofu cut into thin slices
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
4 green onions sliced thin
2 cups bean sprouts
2 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts, optional
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Cut off stem of iceberg lettuce and separate the leaves and place in a bowl of ice cubes so that they become cold and crisp. Heat oil in a wok or a large frying pan.

Add garlic, ginger, red chilies and shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the tofu, carrot, cabbage and spring onion and stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the lime juice and soy sauce. Add the bean sprout and stir fry for a minute and remove from heat. Take a whole lettuce leaf and place 2 or 3 tablespoons of filling in the center. Top with fresh basil. Add roasted peanuts (optional) Make into a wrap and enjoy.


1/2 pound ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili paste
1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Iceberg lettuce leaves, crisped in ice water, drained
2  cups shredded cabbage (store bought is fine)

2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup green onions, sliced

In a skillet over medium high heat sauté ground beef and garlic; remove from heat, add Teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, chili paste, hot chili oil and sesame oil; taste for seasoning.  Can be made ahead, cooled, covered and refrigerated.  

When ready to serve reheat the mixture; put drained lettuce leaves on a serving platter; cabbage in a bowl with serving tongs; rice in a bowl and onions in another small bowl.  Allow each person to make their own wrap and adding more hot seasoning according to their taste. Serve with sliced fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Serves 2. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.


Partially freeze the beef to make slicing thinly easier (to make it really simple, get your butcher to slice for you!) make certain to squeeze out any moisture in the beef before starting this recipe. These are delicious and simple to make

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce (optional or to taste, add in for extra heat, or use dried chili peppers)

7 green onions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

6 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

2 lbs steaks (cut across the grain into very thin slices, no more than 1/8-inch thick)

2 tablespoons oil

chopped green onion, for sprinkling

1 large lettuce leaf (or use any soft lettuce leaves such as butter lettuce)

cooked white rice

In a bowl stir together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, green onions, garlic, ginger and 4 tablespoons sesame seeds; mix until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the steak and toss to coat; marinade 20 minutes at room temperature. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until JUST smoking, then add in the steak slices in one layer, saute the slices turning occasionally until browned and cooked through (this should take about 4 to 5 minutes, you will most likely have to cook the beef in batches, depending on how large your skillet is). Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with green onions and remaining 2 tablespoons sesame seeds. Serve the lettuce leaves on the side and roll the beef in the leaves. Serve with cooked rice. Makes 6 to 8 appetizer servings


8 ounces mock crab meat

1 ripe mango, peeled, pit removed, and diced into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup diced jicama (peel, then dice)

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

3 green onions, white and part of the green, finely chopped

10 leaves Boston lettuce, washed and dried well (other lettuce can be substituted, but Boston lettuce works particularly well)

Orange Sesame Sauce:

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/3 cup orange-flavored yogurt

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a large bowl combine the mock crab, mango, jicama, cilantro, and green onions and toss to blend well. Fill each lettuce leaf with about 1/3 cup (or slightly heaping 1/4 cup) of the mixture. In small bowl, whisk together lime juice, orange yogurt, soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper until smooth. Drizzle a tablespoon of the citrus sauce over the mixture inside each lettuce leaf and serve. 5 appetizer servings (about 2 wraps each)