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Citrus Chicken Lettuce Wraps
writes, "The dinner this week was inspired by Valentine's Day on Tuesday; and what better way to say I love you than homemade fortune cookies and a heart-healthy meal? You can serve these sweet and savory Citrus Chicken Lettuce Wraps with a new ingredient I found at Winco. It's been dubbed the new super food with more antioxidants than blueberries cup for cup. It's called forbidden black rice. The Chinese elite would hoard this rice and refuse to portion it to the common folks due to its health giving properties. It's subtly nutty like brown rice, cooks to a beautiful deep purple and has a great bite; it was a great addition to the lettuce wraps. Finally, tell your family how much you love them by writing it on a fortune inside a fortune cookie that you make in your very own kitchen! Have fun with this one and Happy Valentine's Day!"
Citrus Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Prep time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: 2 hours to overnight
Cook time: 30 minutes

2 lbs. chicken, chopped into small bites
1 cup pistachios, finely chopped
2 cups black forbidden rice (at Winco) or use regular rice, wild grain rice or quinoa
3 1/2 cup water
1 head of butter lettuce or iceburg lettuce, leaves rinsed and dried
Shredded carrots
Fresh scallions, diced
Fresh mint, chopped
Salt to taste

Marinade and dipping sauce:
Makes about 1 1/2 cup sauce, split in half for 3/4 cup marinade and 3/4 cup fresh dipping sauce

3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
Zest from 1 orange and 1 lime
1/4 cup scallions, diced
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ginger, chopped
2 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 Tablespoon soy sauce
3 Tablespoon sesame oil
4 fresh mint sprigs

In a food processor or blender mix together the marinade/dipping sauce ingredients. Finely chop the chicken and place in a zip top bag with 3/4 cup of the marinade, place in the fridge for anywhere between 2 hours to overnight. Thirty minutes before serving, bring rice, water and pinch of salt to a quick boil and then cover and lower heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. Let rice sit while you quickly cook the chicken. In a saute pan or wok, heat a little bit of oil over high heat and pour the chicken and what's left of the marinade into the pan and saute swiftly, stirring constantly until cooked through and nicely browned; about 3-5 minutes. Add the pistachios to the chicken the last minute of cooking to gently roast them and bring out a more intense flavor.

To serve, take a lettuce leaf, layer with black rice, citrus chicken, fresh scallions, fresh mint and shredded carrots with a little drizzle of the dipping sauce over the top. Wrap it all together and enjoy!

Homemade Fortune Cookies
Makes 12 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes

2 egg whites
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
Pinch of salt
Parchment paper and PAM Spray-a must

Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a bowl with a hand mixer beat the egg whites until frothy. Next, add the melted butter, sugar and extracts; mix together. Add the flour and salt; mix together until smooth. The consistency will be runny, but with some stability on the back of a spoon; meaning the batter won't just run off the spoon, but slowly, eventually drip off.

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper trace two circle shapes - 3 inches in diameter, then spray lightly with PAM. With an offset spatula spread around a teaspoon full of batter in each circle shape, making sure it is even. Place in a 375 degree oven for 6-8 minutes or until the edges are a light, golden brown.

Only do two at a time because you have to fold them into the fortune cookie shapes while they are still hot; basically you only have 10 seconds to fold piping hot cookies into Chinese perfection. It sounds intense, but it isn't if you work with two at a time and remember this tip: if they cool down before you can fold one of them, just pop it back into the oven for a few seconds to heat back up.

Place a fortune slip across the middle of the cookie, leaving a bit to hang out. Using an offset spatula remove the cookie from the parchment paper and fold into thirds, then TURN IT OVER and bring the edges together gently using the rim of a glass to help bend the cookie in half-ish. Place in a muffin tin to cool so it can hold its new shape. Repeat these steps until all the cookies are baked and you are loaded with fortunes! Lucky day!


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