Due to the fact that rice flour pairs perfectly with taco-worthy fillings such as avocado, beans, cheese etc. gave me inspiration for this meal. This flour is a staple of South east Asia, Japan & India. Rice flour or rice powder is very different from rice starch, which is produced by steeping rice in a strong alkaline solution.
The technique of frying with rice flour has become universal. Rice absorbs less oil than other flours while frying, resulting in fewer calories from fat and a less oily product. Even many fast food restaurants dust their french fries with rice flour to give them that characteristic, satisfying crunch. By blending traditional wheat or cornstarch batters with rice flour will lighten the batter up and reduces some of the ‘gumminess’.
Rice flour is well suited to crepes but it is important to make them in thin, crisp rounds. If they are too thick the most likely they will crack if you are wrapping filling inside.
The recipe I’m using for my crepe stacks is pretty much a basic crepe recipe with rice flour substituted for all purpose flour. For the classic Asian rice ‘crepe’, coconut milk and turmeric are generally used.
This combination of flavors was very interesting. The recipe seems kind of long but it comes together fairly quickly. It certainly will be a ‘keeper’ for us.
Rice Flour Crepes with Black Beans & Guacamole
Rice Flour Crepes
In a pitcher, whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes while preparing the rest of the recipe.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add turkey; stir-fry until no longer pink. Stir in water chestnuts, carrot, cilantro, garlic, apricot preserve, soy sauce, ginger & red pepper flakes. Remove from heat & set aside.
In a bowl, coarsely mash avocados, lime juice, salt, garlic, onion & cilantro with a fork. Cover & refrigerate until ready to use.
In a bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken broth (or water). In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of the mixture with broth until smooth. Add to mixture in bowl & stir to combine well.
Heat griddle to a medium-high temperature. Using a 1/4 measure, pour batter on griddle. With bottom of 1/4 cup measure, enlarge crepe by making circular motion in the batter. Cook each crepe for about 2 minutes until bottom is lightly browned. Lay on a plate until ready to use making sure not to let them dry out.
On each serving plate lay one crepe. Spread each with some of the guacamole, top each with some of the turkey filling, black beans, diced fresh tomato & a sprinkle of smoked Gouda cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers on each plate. End with a swirl of guacamole for some eye appeal. Serve extra beans on the side if you wish.
Years ago, shrimp was low on my personal priority list among seafood. Breaded oysters would never fail to get my attention but somehow tastes change. Brion, on the other hand, loves shrimp and it seems to have rubbed off on me. Strangely enough, deep fried food doesn’t appeal to me and never has. I put it down to the fact that I spent many years in the commercial food atmosphere so that deep frying smell just doesn’t work for me. Now when it comes to oven baked ‘frying’ that’s another story.
Cooking shrimp in the oven preserves the natural flavors. Frying and grilling will cause flavor and moisture loss, which can make the shrimp turn out rubbery after it cooks. In this recipe the shrimp is prepared with a parmesan/garlic coating which bakes up nice and crispy. As a side, I’m making some jicama fries. If you have never tasted this vegetable, it is very unique. A perfect description would be like a ‘savory apple’. A root vegetable, native to Mexico, sometimes referred to as a Mexican turnip or potato. Then to add a little pizzaz to the meal, I’ve made a garlic avocado ranch dip for both the shrimp and fries.
The classic Ranch dressing has been around since the 1950’s. While very popular in Canada and the United States, it is virtually unknown in other parts of the world. Typically made with buttermilk, onion, garlic, herbs and spices all combined into a mayo based sauce. This low-fat version of garlic avocado ranch is perfect for this oven fried meal.
Roasted Parmesan Shrimp with Jicama Fries
Garlic Avocado Ranch Dip
Peel, core & mash avocado. In a food processor, add avocado, yogurt, garlic, herbs, onion powder & lime juice. Pulse a few seconds until well blended. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Peel jicama & cut into french fry pieces. In a saucepot of boiling water, sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt; add jicama fries & boil for 10 minutes. Drain well. In a large bowl, combine fries with oil, 1/4 tsp salt, garlic powder, cumin & smoked paprika. Coat well, blending spices. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread fries onto a lightly oiled baking pan & bake for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through baking time, until fries are crisp.
Preheat oven to 400 F. In a bowl, combine oil, garlic, oregano, basil, parmesan, salt & pepper. Add shrimp & toss gently & thread on wooden skewers. Line a baking pan with foil & lightly oil. Place shrimp in oven & roast JUST until pink, firm & cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. jicama fries & dip.
The pairing of chocolate and strawberries is hands down one of the best combos in dessert history. Both have long and rich histories. Strawberries were found growing wild in Italy centuries ago. The name itself has some myth around it stemming from the idea people put ‘straw’ around the base of the plant for both nutrients and protection.
Chocolate was enjoyed by Aztec and Mayan civilizations as a beverage and even used cocoa beans as a currency. As cocoa spread around the world, different ideas for its use emerged. Candy makers added milk & sugar or nuts and caramel to their chocolate confections.
In the 1960’s, Lorraine Lorusso created a decadent chocolate covered strawberry. As the story goes, she worked at a small gourmet shop called the Stop N’ Shop in Chicago, USA. She took a tempered version of the gourmet chocolate that was sold in the store and dipped some fresh strawberries into the mixture. She allowed the chocolate to harden and served these strawberries to their paying customers. The treat was an instant success.
I’ve done my own pairing of strawberries and chocolate in this cake roll with a cream cheese filling. Hope you get a chance to enjoy one through the summer as well.
Strawberry Cream Chocolate Roll
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder & salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, whip egg whites until foamy, gradually adding HALF of the sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. In a third large bowl, beat egg yolks until thick. Add remaining sugar, vanilla & water; beat until very thick. Gradually fold in flour mixture then egg whites.
Spread batter evenly into jelly roll pan. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick. Loosen edges & immediately turn cake onto a tea towel dusted with powdered sugar & remove parchment paper. Starting with narrower end, roll up cake in towel; cool completely.
In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar & lime juice. Fold in diced, fresh strawberries.
Unroll cooled cake; remove towel. Spread cake with filling; roll up loosely to accommodate filling. Cover & refrigerate until ready to slice & serve.
If you are not accustomed to using chutneys it is well worth revisiting the idea. Chutney is similar to salsa or a sweet ‘relish’. The perfect balance of sweet, sour and spicy are critical elements for most chutneys. The sweetness coming from fresh or dried fruits, the sour element from vinegar, lemon or lime and the spiciness from a variety of whole spices.
There is no right or wrong recipe, just a preferred flavor or two. They can be cooked or fresh and are made from a wide variety of ingredient combinations of fruits and/ or vegetables and spices. Ground spices tend to make chutney cloudy so it is best to use whole ones.
In the majority of chutney recipes one ingredient tends to dominate the flavor. The sweet and sour ones work well with beef, pork and chicken, whereas sweeter versions are great on cheese and crackers, bagels and toast.
I have made numerous chutneys over the years. Some were served with warm Brie cheese but very often I’ve used mango chutney when cooking pork. This particular recipe can be made with either purchased chutney or just make a recipe of your own. It creates a unique flavor along with nice tender ribs.
Mango Chutney Country Style Ribs
In a saucepan, combine honey & vinegar, Bring to a boil & simmer until honey dissolves. Add remaining ingredients & simmer, uncovered until mixture becomes slightly thickened. Pour into a glass dish & set aside until needed. Refrigerate any remaining chutney that you don't use in making ribs.
Ribs / Sauce
In a saucepan, Brown ribs & set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Add all 'sauce' ingredients to saucepan except for the 1 fresh mango. Bring to a boil, cooking for about 15 minutes, gently mashing tomatoes with a fork, until sauce is reduced to about 1 1/4 cups.
Preheat oven to 300 F. Place ribs in a baking dish; pour sauce over ribs, cover & bake for about 1-1 1/2 hours until ribs are very tender. Serve with sauce & top with remaining diced fresh mango.
It seems Angel Food cake has been around forever. I remember my mother making it from ‘scratch’, having those wonderful farm fresh eggs at her fingertips. It seemed she had no problem at all to bake this very tall, feather light cake even if she was using a wood burning stove and had no control over an exact oven temperature.
Of course today, all we have to do is buy a ready made mix, add some water and there you have it, one big lovely angel food cake.
Brion has always loved this kind of cake, so when I noticed this little recipe on the ninjakitchen.com website, I decided to make a few mini cakes. Of course, these little morsels were gone in no time!
Mini Kiwi Lime Angel Food Cakes
Angel Food cake with fresh fruit what could be more 'guilt free'.
Preheat oven to 325 F. In a small bowl, combine flour with 2 Tbsp sugar. With an electric mixer on high, beat egg whites, vanilla, salt & cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add 1 tsp lime zest & 1 tsp lime juice. Gradually add remaining 4 Tbsp sugar. Beat on high until mixture is fully incorporated, glossy & stiff peaks are formed. Fold in by hand flour/sugar mixture in thirds until fully combined, keeping batter as voluminous as possible.
Fill a 12 cup silicone mini muffin pan( or non-stick mini muffin pan) with batter. In a shallow baking pan (larger than the mini muffin pan), place a wire rack. Pour water in & set muffin tin over water on rack. Bake for 15 minutes or until cakes rise & a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Remove from oven & let cool.
Stir together remaining lime zest, 3 tsp lime juice & powdered sugar to make glaze. Drizzle on cakes & top with kiwi wedges.
- I think these little minis would be great with any topping you favor. Next time I make them I might try a caramel topping on them.
I guess I’m way behind the times because until recently I had never heard of Sugar Kiss melons. I have had this recipe for cantaloupe filled with a fruity chicken salad in my ‘file’ for many years. Each summer when we are sizzling in the summer heat, it’s one of those cool, main dish salads that is so nice to serve. It checks all the boxes — easy to make, great tasting and a visual treat. I have seen it on many websites so others must enjoy it as well.
So, I’m at the grocery store searching for the ‘ultimate’ cantaloupe when I spot some melons called ‘Sugar Kiss’. I decided to buy one for my salad. Wow! What a bonus that turned out to be. Curious, I tried to find out a bit more about them. It seems the growers have developed a whole family of melons under the ‘Kiss’ name. Along with Sugar Kiss comes Summer Kiss, Golden Kiss and Honey Kiss.
The Sugar Kiss melon seems to have originated from Taiwan. It has the outside and inside appearance of a cantaloupe but that’s where the similarities end. The flesh is soft and unbelievably juicy, so much that when you eat it down to the rind you can still squeeze some juice onto your spoon. The flavor is rich and exceptionally sweet.
I hope you find time to give this recipe a try using the Sugar Kiss melon. If you like this kind of a combination it will certainly be for you.
'Sugar Kiss' Melon with Chicken & Pomegranate
Pairing well spiced chicken with the sweetness of the fresh fruit makes this a great combination.
Melon / Filling
Before cutting, wash melons well, (preferably with a natural fruit & veggie wash). Cut each melon in half making zigzag cuts. Scoop out; discarding seeds & membrane. Remove melon fruit & cut into bite-size pieces; draining melon pieces as well as the shells (of course, drinking the juice).
Mix melon pieces with chicken & spoon equal portions into the empty shells. Top with grapes & pomegranate seeds. Garnish with sliced kiwi.
Lime - Honey dressing
In a small dish, combine dressing ingredients & mix well. Pour over filled melons & serve.
- For the cooked chicken I used the 'Picnic Oven Fried Chicken' recipe from the blog I had posted on April 11/16. I used boneless/skinless chicken breasts.
- Bread sticks make a tasty add-on to this salad, if preferred.
- Make sure you spare yourself the mess when you seed your pomegranate by doing it in a bowl of water.
With summer heat upon us, the idea of ‘no baking required’ seems just right. Over the years I have never really made use of limes to any extent. Kiwi, on the other hand, seems to always add so much eye appeal it finds it’s way into many recipes. The thought that comes to mind when you pair them up is a refreshing, sweet-sour flavor.
This brings me to my little mini cheesecakes. I thought I would do my favorite thing, which is to give preparation options. The fact that they freeze so well makes them great for those times when you need a little dessert but have no time to make it. Enjoy!
No-Bake Kiwi Lime Cheesecake Minis
Cheesecake with options!
Cheesecake using Whipped Cream
Cheesecake using Dream Whip OR Half & Half Cream
Cheesecake using Cool Whip
In a small bowl, combine graham crumbs, sugar & margarine. Divide evenly into mini cheesecake pan & press down firmly. At this point you can either bake them for 5-7 minutes at 325 F. or leave as is. Either way works.
Cheesecake using Whipped Cream
In a medium bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. In large bowl, with electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla, lime juice & zest; mix to combine. Sprinkle jell-o powder onto cream cheese mixture & mix until thoroughly combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in whipped cream until well blended & no streaks remain. Evenly divide among the 12 mini cheesecake pan cups. Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before topping with glaze.
Cheesecake using Dream Whip OR Half & Half Cream
In a medium bowl, combine boiling water, lime jell-o powder & lime juice; mix & let partially set. In a large bowl, cream cheese & sugar together; set aside. Using package directions, make Dream Whip (place in fridge until ready to use). Once jell-o is partially set, pour into cream cheese/sugar mixture (if using 1/2 & 1/2 cream add at this point) & beat to combine. If using Dream Whip, with a rubber spatula, fold into jell-o, cream cheese/sugar mixture. Evenly divide among the 12 mini cheesecake pan cups. Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before topping with glaze.
Cheesecake using Cool Whip
In a small bowl, dissolve lime jell-o powder with boiling water; set aside to cool. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, lime juice & zest until smooth. Add cooled, partially set jell-o & mix well. With a rubber spatula, fold in Cool Whip. Evenly divide among the 12 mini cheesecake pan cups. Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before topping with glaze.
In a small saucepan, cook sugar & chopped kiwi for a couple of minutes. Using a blender, blend to a smooth consistency; allow to cool slightly. Add 1 1/2 tsp RESERVED lime jell-o powder & mixing until glaze thickens. Cool slightly then using a spoon, divide evenly among the mini cheesecakes. Chill until set.
- If you prefer, you can double your crumb & glaze ingredients & make one large cheesecake in a 9-inch spring form pan.
- If you don't have a mini cheesecake pan just use a mini muffin pan with paper liners. It will work just as well.
- After I made these, I froze them completely. When I wanted to serve them, I set however many I needed out about 30 minutes ahead. There was never any difference in the quality of these cheesecakes in doing that.