Easy Vegetarian (Vegan) Irish Stew for a Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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UPDATE March 28, 2016 – the Hearty Vegan Beef & Vegetable Stew for the Slow Cooker (just above) is – I think – a superior recipe to this one so please consider it.

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Lots of ingredients yet not lots of effort.  This stew – like any stew – is very forgiving & many ingredients could be omitted or substituted with no negative impact on the result.  I read that Guinness beer is not vegan, so note that.  Also, I used some flame-broiled garden burgers for a faux ground beef effect and, in the future, will not as they have a stronger presence in the stew than I expected & their flavor is one that benefits more from the standard accoutrements one typically associates with a traditional hamburger – namely ketchup & mustard & pickles etc – than stew ingredients.  I also used soyrizo for the same reason but might try something else in the future simply due to the amount of a fiery red oil it released to float on the surface of my stew.  Still, despite fearing I might toss the whole effort, after scooping some of the oil off the top & reducing the overwhelming quantity of veggie burger I’d dumped in – I set up a huge bowl to photograph.  Then I tasted it so I could begin trying to salvage it and, to my great surprise, I loved it!  Not perfect, of course but damned edible!!   If you try this dish – feel free to experiment.  I think it can withstand tweaking of all sorts.  For example – I wanted to add Worcestershire sauce but had none.   You might want to lose the Guinness or the faux meats or add different vegetables or use a different grain than pearl barley.  Your call.  Make the recipe your own.

My crock pot is huge!  It makes tons of food so this recipe is for a very large quantity – St. Patrick’s Day party quantity – of stew.  I am certain it will freeze well, so don’t be intimidated.

I made this in a slow cooker but this could easily be made stove top.  I had this in my crock pot for 24 hours – but you could get this done in 2 hours in a large stock pot over medium heat.

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Easy Vegetarian (Vegan) Irish Stew for a Slow Cooker

1 lb mushrooms – sliced

2 TBS olive oil

6 garlic cloves – quartered

1 large onion – diced

8 celery stalks – sliced

1 14.9 can Guinness beer (or vegan alternative)

3 turnips – cubed

6 red potatoes – cubed

1 15.25 oz can corn

8 carrots – sliced

2 cups peas

8 cups stock

5 TBS your favorite BBQ sauce

2 TBS A-1 Steak Sauce

2 veggie patties (optional)

12 oz soyrizo (optional)

10 sprigs fresh thyme – left on stems

1 TBS fresh rosemary – chopped

1 TBS dry sage

3 bay leaves

1 cup heavy cream (or soy-based cream)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup pearl barley (or other grain)

1 TBS corn starch dissolved into 1 cup water

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the 2 TBS of olive oil in a frying pan.  Saute the garlic & mushrooms & onions until the mushrooms just begin to brown.  Add the celery & saute a few more minutes.

Then simply combine the rest of the ingredients.  In a slow cooker on high – this should be done in 4-5 hours but can sit on warm overnight.  Add more water if it begins to get too thick.  Generously season with salt & pepper.

Stove top in a large stock pot – bring everything to a boil & then simmer on medium heat & it should be done in two hours.  Generously season with salt & pepper.

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Brie Pizza Two Ways ~ With Mushrooms, Thyme & Pistachios or with Honey, Apple & Red Onion

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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These were inventions born of items on hand.  I was uncertain about the use of brie & how rich the resulting pizza might be.  Not a huge fan of honey, I was also concerned that the flavor of the honey pizza would grow old quickly and may be better suited to an appetizer than a dinner recipe.  So – I made a single pizza two ways.  The result was pretty delightful.  The brie was not overpowering – even though I used a cheap brie.  The real secret, I think, to success with the apple-brie pizza is ultra thin slices of both apple & the red onion – as in – papery thin.  With the mushroom pizza – searing the mushrooms & garlic into a nearly caramelized submission before using them on the pizza.  I am not going to give any real measurements in these recipes as the ratio of ingredients is really a matter of taste.  Both of these pizzas were delicious & both would work wonderfully as appetizers.

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Pizza with Brie, Mushrooms, Thyme & Pistachios

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough

Brie – chilled & sliced into thin squares

Mushrooms & garlic – sauteed in olive oil & salt until browned

Fresh thyme – chopped

pistachio nuts

Arugula

Pizza with Brie, Honey, Apple & Red Onion

INGREDIENTS

Pizza Dough

Brie – chilled & sliced into thin squares

crushed red pepper

honey

green apple (or other tart apple) – sliced very thin

red onion – sliced very thin

ASSEMBLY

Roll out the dough.

For the mushroom pizza – simply layer brie then thyme then mushrooms & pistachios.  Bake in an oven pre-heated to 450 for about 10 minutes or until done.  When done – top with fresh arugula leaves.

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For the honey-apple pizza – spread a thin layer of honey, sprinkle crushed red pepper & then layer apple & red onions.  Bake in an oven pre-heated to 450 for about 10 minutes or until done.

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No Carb & 120 Calorie – Shirataki Pasta Alla Checca

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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These frigging noodles are amazing!!!  I do want to say, though, that these noodles are to pasta what veggie dogs are to hotdogs – a really effective & healthy substitute for something not that healthy – but no blindfolded person would ever mistake the substitute for the real thing.  We learn to make these adjustments in our expectations, suspend our disbelief, we make these culinary compromises, all the time – with diet sodas & veggie burgers & low fat mayo & vegan cheeses.

There are two kinds of these Shirataki – the ones made from yam flour with a clear, glass noodle result and zero calories & these tofu ones that cook up with a Cup-O-Noodle appearance with 40 calories a package. There are some carbs – a total of 6 grams in the package of these tofu ones.  I used two packages – so I had 12 grams of carbohydrates & 80 calories.  That is nothing for what seems like a large bowl of angel hair pasta.  These noodles are not as doughy as real pasta.  These, too, (as with the yam version I used in my Zero Calorie Faux Pho) have a sort of rice noodle snap to them but it isn’t off-putting.  And – these also have the icky fish smell when you open them but boiling the noodles eliminates that completely.  And, at $2.19 per package – these are an economical as well as a very waist-friendly option for those of us hoping to lose a few extra pounds we’ve picked up along the way.

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No Carb & 120 Calorie – Shirataki Pasta Alla Checca

INGREDIENTS

2 packages of Tofu Shirataki Angel Hair Noodles

2 cloves garlic – sliced very thin

1 tsp olive oil

1 small tomato – diced

Fresh basil – shredded

S&P to taste

Parmesan – optional (if you feel like a calorie splurge!)

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DIRECTIONS

Open the noodles, drain & rinse them and boil them.

In a small pan, heat the olive oil.  Add the garlic & saute until fragrant – maybe a minute or two – being careful not to burn it.  Add the diced tomatoes & saute until heated through.

Drain the noodles & toss in with the tomatoes & garlic & stir.  Add salt & lots of fresh cracked pepper.  Serve with fresh basil & Parmesan.

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Dill & Lemon & Almond Pesto

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I made this up because I couldn’t pass up this huge bunch of fresh dill for $1.49.  It is easy to make & not nearly as overpoweringly dilly as you might guess.  It has a fresh, summery flavor that I think would go very well with seafood.

I used raw almonds because pine nuts can result in pine mouth & because they are almost always from China.  I think pine nuts are sorta icky too rich, anyway – and they have reached the same over-saturation rate as the 80’s trend king – sundried tomatoes & the more recent victim of foody overkill – balsamic vinegar.

These measurements are ball park, at best.  Never worry – pesto is very forgiving & you can adjust the flavors as you make it.

Dill & Lemon & Almond Pesto

1-2 cups fresh dill

1/2 cup raw almonds (I used almonds but walnuts or pecans or regular peanuts would work – or even macadamia.  Your call.)

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

juice of half a lemon

4 garlic cloves

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

S&P to taste

Water to thin it – if you desire

DIRECTIONS

Blend all ingredients in a food processor.  Adjust flavors.

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Buffalo Cauliflower

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Hey!  Have you heard?  I wrote a really funny & dirty novel!  www.BathingBook.com.   Check out the reviews on Amazon!  Why not buy a copy?

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This baby is pretty easy.  I love buffalo sauce but I do not eat chicken so I am always scouting for other ways to eat it – whether on pizza or with shrimp or to dip French fries in – anything.  This recipe uses cauliflower & is virtually calorie-free.   I used Egg Beaters egg whites in it but you could use buttermilk or soy milk or whatever to moisten the florets before dredging them in flour.   I used regular flour but gluten free flour or a chick pea (besan) flour – even panko or breadcrumbs could also work.  Most recipes I’ve seen add butter to the buffalo sauce but I see no reason to add those calories.

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Buffalo Cauliflower

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower

Egg beaters

1 cup flour

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 tsp each S&P

Buffalo sauce (I used Frank’s)

Celery stalks

Blue cheese (or Ranch) dressing for dipping

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DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 425.

Pour egg beaters in one bowl.  Mix flour with the spices in another.

Cut the cauliflower into florets.  Dip each into the egg & then the flour mix.  Spray a cooking sheet with cooking oil.  Place the cauliflower on the sheet & bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.  Take them out & coat them with buffalo sauce & bake another 15 minutes.  Put them on a plate & drizzle more buffalo sauce on them.

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Serve with celery & blue cheese (or Ranch) dressing.

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Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Homemade Pepper Penne

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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The penne here require THIS amazing Kitchenaid pasta press and the stand mixer.  If you do not have these things, dry pasta is fine or make a homemade pasta of a different shape.

I sliced the garlic for this recipe with this handy dandy garlic slicer.  They are inexpensive & great for paper thin garlic slices.

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Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Homemade Pepper Penne

INGREDIENTS

For the pasta

400 grams (or 1 3/4 cups) flour

4 eggs

1 TBS pepper

1 tsp salt

OR – 1 lb dry pasta of your choice

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For the Shrimp Diavolo

3 TBS olive oil

20 shrimp – peeled & cleaned

8 cloves garlic – sliced thin

1 TBS (or less – to taste) crushed red pepper

1 29 oz can of either crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

2 tomatoes – diced

1/2 cup dry vermouth (or dry white wine) – optional

1 TBS oregano

20 basil leaves – some chopped – some for garnish

Parsley – chopped

S&P to taste

Additional olive oil to drizzle as garnish – (optional)

Additional crushed red pepper – as garnish (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

For the pasta

Homemade pasta directions HERE

Or use dry pasta & the package directions.

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For the shrimp diavolo

Salt & pepper the shrimp & let sit for 15 minutes or so.

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Heat 1 TBS olive oil in a large frying pan & saute the shrimp until just pink – until almost done.  Try not to overcook.  Put them on a plate & set aside.

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Add 2 more TBS olive oil to the pan & add the garlic & crushed red pepper.  Saute about a minute then add the canned tomatoes – being careful not to get burned when it splatters (and it will).   Add the diced tomatoes, oregano, vermouth, 1 tsp salt & a handful each of the chopped basil & parsley (reserving some of both for garnish).  Simmer on medium heat about 15 minutes or until it thickens to your taste.

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Just before serving, add the cooked shrimp just long enough to heat through.  You might want to save a few to top each serving as garnish.

Mix your pasta with the sauce & then garnish with additional shrimp, parsley & basil.  Drizzle each serving with olive oil (if desired) and additional crushed red pepper to taste.

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Homemade Fusilli Pasta with Faux Chicken (Albacore Tuna) and Cauliflower in a Mustard Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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The fusilli require THIS amazing Kitchenaid pasta press and the stand mixer.  If you do not have these things, dry pasta is fine or make a homemade pasta of a different shape.

The sauce is a lighter take on one of my favorite sauces that really consists of little more than a nice Dijon & lots of heavy cream heated in a pan.  This one is made without the cream but with yogurt, instead.  It is naturally tangier than it would be with cream and, honestly, I prefer the heavy cream but I also prefer fitting into my pants, so – we do what we have to.

The faux chicken is really just frozen albacore that I buy at Trader Joe’s.  It looks like this raw

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These two pieces weighed .85 pounds and cost $5.35.  I am not a huge fan of this inexpensive fish cooked the way albacore should be cooked (nor am I a fan of most of Trader Joe’s frozen seafood as I find it tends to cook up fishy) but when this fish is overcooked it replicates chicken breast pretty incredibly with no fishy element whatsoever.  This dish could be made with actual chicken or shrimp or with only the cauliflower – if you do not eat meat or seafood.

I added a ton of cauliflower, too, because 1) I like cauliflower and 2) it is a guiltless filler in a pasta dish that might get sorta rich (especially if you use heavy cream).

Finally, I used a store brand Dijon & was woefully aware it wasn’t Grey Poupon (or other higher end mustard).  In a mustard based sauce – it is kind of important to start with a quality mustard.

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Homemade Fusilli Pasta with Faux Chicken (Albacore) and Cauliflower in a Mustard Sauce

INGREDIENTS

For the pasta

400 grams (or 1 3/4 cups) flour

4 eggs

pinch nutmeg

1 tsp salt

OR – 1 lb dry pasta of your choice

For the mustard sauce

2 albacore steaks (or chicken breast or 1 lb shrimp)

1 small head cauliflower – leaves removed & cut in half

1 medium onion – diced

2 cloves of garlic – diced

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS fresh thyme – chopped

1 cup stock (or water)

10 TBS high quality Dijon mustard

1 1/3 cups plain yogurt

S&P to taste

Fresh parsley – chopped for garnish

Tomatoes – diced for garnish

Parmesan for garnish

DIRECTIONS

For the pasta

Homemade pasta directions HERE

Or use dry pasta.

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For the faux chicken & cauliflower in mustard sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large pan.  Cook the albacore several minutes on each side until cooked through.  Or – do the same for your real chicken or shrimp.

When cooked, remove from pan & cube it up.  You cannot really overcook this albacore & if you undercook it – it will cook through when you heat it in the sauce.  Chicken & shrimp CAN be overcooked – so be more careful with those – if you are using them.

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Add onions & garlic to the pan (add more oil if you need to) & saute until the onions begin to brown.  Add the stock, mustard, yogurt & thyme and stir until smooth.  Add the cooked “meat” and S&P to taste.   Heat through.  Simmer it to thicken or add more water to thin it out.

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Boil the water to cook the pasta.  Add the halved cauliflower & boil until tender.   Remove with a slotted spoon & cut into bite-sized pieces.

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Cook your dry pasta according to directions adding the cooked cauliflower in the last minute to reheat.  Or – add the cooked cauliflower to the pot with homemade pasta & drain when done.

Top the pasta & cauliflower with the mustard sauce & garnish with diced tomato, parsley & Parmesan ((f using).  Add lots of fresh cracked pepper.

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