Creamy Goat Cheese Spaghetti with Lemon & Collard Greens

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Yesterday, I decided to blog about wraps.  A wrap rap.  So – I set about making a wrap.  A collard green wrap.  But what to wrap it around?  I had the ingredients for a decent slaw in my fridge, leftover from my Vegan Pozole & Taco Pizza efforts so I decided to make a sort of light, Asian slaw with a soy-vinaigrette rather than anything creamy.  I also had some plain tempeh in my fridge so I opened that and marinated it in the soy vinaigrette.

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Then, with the addition of some avocado & tomato – I commenced to wrap.

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As seems to be happening more often these days, I was uninspired in the photography department.  I have exhausted my lit locations & various plates & napkins – all of which have been used many times & I now feel like all my images look the same.  Cranky & hungry – I snapped a few of the damn collard wrap & then shoved it in my face like a wine cork.

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I discovered that 1) the vinaigrette was a bit overpowering and 2) the wrap was MESSY to eat and 3) I fucking hate tempeh!  Ick!  Even my dog Dexter turned it down when I offered it to him – though my fatboy Memphis ate the piece I gave him AND Dexter’s.

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So – I found myself with nearly a full bunch of collard greens that had been quick wilted by soaking them for 2 minutes in boiling water.  I didn’t want to muck around with wraps anymore when it came time for dinner.  So – like usual – a meal was born of the other ingredients I had handy: lemon, goat cheese, parsley & pasta.  Oh – and some dried up old Parmesan.

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This is the easiest kind of dish & comes together really fast.  The ratio of lemon or goat cheese I list here is just a suggestion.  You might like less lemon & more cheese or visa versa.  Feel free to tweak it to suit you.  Also – the collard green could be replaced with any other leafy green – Swiss chard or spinach or even asparagus or something.  This is a really healthy dish, too, as pastas go – so try it!

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Creamy Goat Cheese Spaghetti with Lemon & Collard Greens

INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings)

8 oz pasta or your choice

5 oz goat cheese

1 bunch collard (or other) greens

Juice of 1 lemon

Lots of chopped parsley

S&P

Parmesan as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Boil water in the pot you will cook the pasta in.  Remove the ribs from the collard greens as is depicted above.   Roll the leaves & slice them.

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My greens had already gotten a 2 minute soak but that isn’t necessary.  The collard greens will need about 5-7 minutes in the boiling pasta water.  My whole wheat spaghetti had a 7 minute cooking time so – had I not pre-soaked the greens for my failed wrap endeavor – I would have put them in the water with the spaghetti at the same time.   The greens are forgiving so do not sweat the timing.  Just drop them into the water with the pasta when your pasta is about 7 minutes from being done.

While the pasta cooks, scoop maybe 1/4 cup of the pasta water out & heat it in another pan.  Melt the goat cheese in that until it is nice & creamy.  I used an herbed goat cheese – hence all the flecks in it.  Add the parsley & lemon juice.

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When the pasta is al dente, drain it & toss with the goat cheese.  Add S&P to taste.  Serve with additional lemon and/or parsley and/or Parmesan & plenty of fresh cracked pepper.

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Not Just For Breakfast Pizza with Kale, Hominy & Egg

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I apologize up front for the sub par photography here.  I assume that the bulk of the better food bloggers make dishes specifically for their blogs and spend some time lighting the food beautifully & taking their time to get it right.  That isn’t what I do.  I do not have the luxury of making food solely for this blog.  The vast majority of what I post here are my actual meals.  I make myself dinner, I try to photograph it really quickly before it gets cold and then I eat it.  Sometimes this works beautifully.  Other times, like last night, the dish doesn’t lend itself to sitting out for long & retaining anything resembling a pleasing aesthetic  and some things – like runny yolks – are just plain gross to eat cold.  So – I post this dish because it was delicious but, again, I apologize for the less than perfect imagery.

Also frustrating are my ongoing efforts & repeated failures in trying to get a gorgeous photo of food with gooey yolk.  Some people out there really have this down.  I do not.   But I will keep trying!

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Not Just For Breakfast Pizza with Kale, Hominy & Egg

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough – mine is HERE

1 bunch kale

1 onion – diced

6 garlic cloves (or to taste) – chopped

Grated cheese of your choice

olive oil

Hominy – about 1/4 cup or so

1 TBS crushed red pepper

1 (or more) egg

DIRECTIONS

Heat your oven to 450-500 degrees.

Remove the ribs from the kale & throw them away & chop up the leaves.

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Heat about 1 TBS olive oil on a saute pan.  Saute the onion & crushed red pepper a minute or two.  Then add the garlic & kale.  Saute about 5 minutes or until the kale is wilted.

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Roll out the dough.  Place it on a greased pizza pan.  Top with the kale & the hominy & grated cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until it looks just about done.

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In the last two minutes – crack an egg in the center (or several – if you like) and bake a minute or two or until the egg whites look about cooked through.  You can err on the side of under-cooking the egg because it will continue to cook when the pizza is being cut up.  Fresh cracked pepper might be a nice finish!  Slice it up & chow down!

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Taco Pizza with Hominy & Greens & Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Hominy.  I cannot escape it.  I bought this 7 pound can for $2.29 (for my Vegan Pozole)and I cannot seem to use it all up.

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I also had leftover pinto beans from that same Pozole effort – and from those I made my “Not Your Mama’s” Spicy Vegan Refried Beans.  Now I am going to make a pizza using both the refried beans and the hominy – a Taco Pizza with Hominy & Greens & Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette.  This is really just a suggestion – not a recipe.  You can add things you might prefer in your taco (cooked meat, for example) or lose things you dislike – perhaps the hominy.  The real key is the spread of the spicy refried beans rather than a tomato sauce.  And I never tire of cold salads on top of hot pizzas – so I recommend very highly that you try it.  The sweet dressing is a nice contrast to the spicy beans.

Oh – and here is a video that I am posting for no reason other than it pleases me.  I am also pleased that you have to be 18 to watch goofy guys flip their junk around in Speedos (as per Youtube rules).  Ah, the simple pleasures in life!

I also love this cover from Christian Porter on The Voice.

Taco Pizza with Hominy & Greens & Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough – mine is HERE

Refried beans – mine are HERE

Grated cheese – any blend you like

Hominy – in the quantity of your preference

Red cabbage – shredded

Roasted or raw jalapeno – chopped

Tomato – diced

Cilantro – chopped

Mixed greens

Cilantro & Lime Vinaigrette

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DIRECTIONS

Heat your over to 450-500.

Roll out the dough.  Room temperature dough is easier to work with.

Top the dough with some spicy refried beans, then layer jalapeno, hominy, tomato, red cabbage & cheese.   Bake for 1-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted & the crust is crispy.

Meanwhile – toss lots of greens in a little vinaigrette.  When the pizza is done, top it with the salad & maybe some more diced tomato & chopped cilantro.  Then – shove it ALL in your pie-hole.  I did.

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Cilantro & Lime Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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EASY!  Just stick everything in a blender.  Result?  A light & fresh dressing with a little sweet & a little tart & a little kick.  Yum!

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Cilantro & Lime Vinaigrette 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1 TBS Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic

1 jalapeno – seeded

2 tsp Balsamic vinegar

1-2 TBS honey – depending on how sweet you like it

1 bunch cilantro

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Blend smooth in a blender or food processor.  Adjust flavors & lick your fingers.

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Not Your Mama’s Spicy Vegan Refried Beans

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I had extra pre-soaked pinto beans from my Vegan Pozole recipe.  I was considering throwing them away & then a wave of shame hit me.  Wasting food is such a sin so I looked about my kitchen for inspiration & came up with the idea to make a clean & healthy refried bean recipe.  Refried beans.  The name sounds loaded with calories.  But here is what they say on Wikipedia about the name:

The name is based on a mistranslation: in Mexican Spanish, the prefix re is an informal form of emphasis meaning “very” or “well”, which has been confused with the English re, which more often indicates repetition. Thus, frijoles refritos really means “well-fried beans”, not “refried beans”. In this dish, the beans are often fried, but may also be baked, thus making the term “refried” a misnomer on two counts.

So – do not be afraid of this dish.  It only uses a little olive oil & these beans are so fresh tasting & bursting with flavors – you will never look the same way at those lard-laden, baby food bland refried beans they serve in Mexican chain restaurants.

Look how pretty they are with the green flecks of cilantro & the red of the smoked paprika!  So give these bad boys a try next time you have a Mexican themed meal!

UPDATE – heat these up with a lot of grated cheese & serve it up as a dip!!!

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Not Your Mama’s Spicy Vegan Refried Beans

INGREDIENTS

4 cups cooked pinto beans (or 3 15 oz cans)

1-2 cups of stock

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 jalapeno – seeded & chopped

1/4 cup cilantro

1 small onion – diced

1-3 chipotle peppers in their adobo sauce (I used 3)

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp smoked paprika

olive oil

S&P to taste

Extra cilantro, chopped jalapeno & smoked paprika as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook your beans.  It is best they soak overnight or that you quick-soak them.

To soak beans overnight, rinse the dried beans and pick out any stones. Place the beans in a large bowl or saucepan and cover with water. Leave overnight.

The quick-soak method is terrific when you don’t have time to let the beans soak overnight. Put the beans in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover by three inches. Do not cover. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue simmering for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain.

If you are substituting canned beans for dried, 1 cup of dried beans produces 3 cups of cooked beans. 1 can contains 1/2 cups of drained beans.

When the beans are cooked (or when your caned beans are drained & rinsed) – take a 1/2 cup or so & set aside.  Put the rest of them in the bowl of a food processor or blender.  Adding as much stock as needed, puree the beans.

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Add the chipotle and the dry spices & blend.  Add the cilantro & blend.

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In a large frying pan – heat about 1 TBS of olive oil & cook the onions & jalapeno until the onions are translucent – or soft.  Add the garlic & saute two more minutes.  Add to the blender or food processor & puree the onions etc into the beans.  Leave the pan on the stove – as you will need it again in a minute.  Add stock as needed to puree the beans.  Do not be afraid you need more water to blend them than seems right.   Once they are completely smooth – put the bean puree in the frying pan and “fry” them in the residual oil until they thicken to the texture you like.  Add the reserved whole beans & stir them in.  Add S&P to taste.

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Once the beans have reached the texture you like – serve them up.  I grated a little cheese on mine.  You could go heavier & use a pepper jack or cheddar – or lose the cheese entirely.  Your call.  Garnish with cilantro and/or jalapeno & some more smoked paprika.  Crack open a cold one!  Ole!

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Jamaican Jerk Shrimp Pizza with Candied Jalapenos & Spicy Peach, Pineapple & Mango Salsa

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Oh no!  Guess what!  Another recipe born of leftovers & other remnants in my fridge.  This one commits the crime of combining seafood with cheese but, sometimes, you just gotta cook like an outlaw.

This recipe used my Spicy Peach, Pineapple & Mango Salsa

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and my Candied Jalapenos

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and my recent Marinara Sauce recipe

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I also used this Jamaican Spice Paste (which is VERY tasty & has quite a kick!)

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If you cannot find that kind, do not worry!  I guess Lowry’s makes a Jerk sauce & I am sure there are many other pre-made options out there.

I also used this BBQ sauce.  You can use your own favorite.

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I made this pizza with some pre-cooked frozen shrimp (of which I am not a fan – but someone else bought them & left them here).  Grilling shrimp that has already been cooked & then baking it, too?  I think you can guess that my shrimp were quite dried out by the end & I think that is evident in the photos.  In fact – I found myself picking them off the pizza as I ate it.  But that was only because they’d had the bejeesus cooked out of them & they were poor quality shrimp to start with.  If you start with better quality raw shrimp – you will not have this problem.

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Jamaican Jerk Shrimp Pizza

INGREDIENTS

Candied jalapenos

Spicy Peach, Pineapple & Mango Salsa

Pizza dough – mine is HERE or use you own favorite

1/4 cup marinara – mine is HERE or use your own favorite

1 tsp BBQ sauce

1/2 cup plus 1 TBS jerk sauce of your choice

12 or so good quality shrimp

Grated pizza cheese (quantity to suit your taste)

Cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Heat your oven to 450-500

Marinate your shrimp in 1/2 cup jerk sauce for at least an hour – or more.

Grill your shrimp – or pan fry them in a little olive oil.

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Blend the marinara, bbq sauce & 1 TBS jerk sauce in a bowl.

Roll out your dough & place it on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray or wiped with olive oil.

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Spread the marinara blend over the crust & then top with the cheese & the shrimp.

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Be SURE your oven has reached at least 450 before putting the pizza in.  A hot oven is critical for a crispy crust.  Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted & crust is browning.  Top with the jalapenos & salsa & chopped cilantro.  Listen to Bob Marley & eat the whole fucking thing yourself.  I did!

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Cheesy Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna Rolls with Feta & Homemade Ricotta Smothered in Marinara 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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I was inspired to make these because I had a shit-ton of fresh spinach that was about to go bad.   Once I was well into the process here – I got the spinach out to steam it & realized some of it had already wilted to the point that I didn’t want to use it but I was able to save enough that I could still pull this recipe off.  I added mushrooms to the filling to make up for the lost spinach.  I also used some leftover feta because the homemade ricotta quantity was smaller than I felt this dish needed.

This is not a difficult dish to pull off.  In fact, I’d call it easy – if you used a jarred sauce & a store-bought ricotta.  I have no life & my boyfriend lives in Arkansas – so I have nothing but time.  So – I made the ricotta from scratch (which takes about 10 minutes – I swear) and I made the marinara (also pretty easy).  I used fresh spinach – not frozen – but frozen would work, too.  I would like to have added some sliced, fresh Buffalo mozzarella to the top at the end of the baking process but, alas, all I had was this ghetto pizza cheese.

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It seemed a bit of a crime to bother to make the ricotta & then top these guys with processed cheese food.  Especially as I had sprung $14 (yes – FOURTEEN DOLLARS!!!) on these two cans of San Marzano tomatoes.  WTF?  But, shit happens so I just went with it.

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As an aside – I have recently discovered the joy of buying whole peeled tomatoes & squishing them by hand.  I cannot explain why I find it so satisfying – but I do.  Maybe I feel more Italian?  Maybe I get out some buried aggression?  I don’t know – but I suggest trying it – even though I felt I had to finish this sauce by punishing it with an immersion blender – to break up the bits I’d missed.

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But let me promise you – these lasagna rolls are delicious!  You could really roll anything up in lasagna noodles – a meat sauce or – you know – anything you would put in a traditional lasagna.  Try them.  You won’t regret it.

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Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna Rolls with Feta & Homemade Ricotta Smothered in Marinara Sauce

INGREDIENTS

For the ricotta

1/2 gallon milk

2 cups buttermilk

1 tsp salt

2.5 TBS white vinegar

(or just use about 1 1/2 cups or so of store-bought ricotta)

For the Marinara

2 28 oz cans or tomatoes (crushed – or you crush them by hand)

1 small onion – diced finely

6 cloves garlic – minced

Olive oil

1 packed cup fresh basil – chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley – chopped

1/4 cup fresh oregano – chopped

1 tsp dry oregano

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 TBS good quality balsamic vinegar

For the lasagna rolls

12 (or so) lasagna noodles (more if you fear tearing some)

1 egg

12-16 oz spinach

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese – grated

1 cup feta cheese – crumbled

1 small onion – diced

1/2 lb mushrooms – sliced

4 cloves garlic

1 TBS crushed red pepper

S&P to taste

Extra Parmesan & basil or parsley as garnish

DIRECTIONS

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For the ricotta

Heat the milk & the buttermilk in a pan.  When it just begins to bubble in the corners – turn off the heat.  Add the salt & the vinegar & stir.  With a slotted spoon – scoop out the curds that form until all that is left is the yellowish whey.  Alternatively – CAREFULLY pour the curdling milk through a cheesecloth-lined colander.  In either case – let it cool a bit & then wrap it up in cheesecloth and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.  Unwrap the ricotta from the cheesecloth & put in a bowl & set aside (or chill).  There is video of this process in my Lasagna Cupcakes post.

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For the marinara

Heat about 1 TBS olive oil in a large stock pot.  Saute the onion until it is soft.

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Add the chopped herbs, dry oregano & minced garlic & saute another minute or two – or until the spices become aromatic.  Add the two cans of tomatoes & the S&P.  Simmer a few minutes (or more).  Add the balsamic & stir to get it fully incorporated.  Allow to simmer on a very low flame until you are ready to assemble the rolls.

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For the lasagna rolls

Heat your oven to 350.

Cook at least 12 lasagna noodles (I cooked the whole box & threw away the extra) until just al dente.  Rinse in cool water & set out to dry.

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Bring some water to a boil.  Submerge the spinach until it just wilts.  Drain & run under cold water.  Squeeze out all the moisture & chop the spinach finely.

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Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add the chopped onion & the sliced mushrooms. I used  a red onion – which is why these images look kind of pink.

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When the mushrooms are just about done to your liking – add the garlic & saute another minute or two.  In a bowl – mix the mushrooms, egg, ricotta, feta, Parmesan, crushed red pepper, spinach and some S&P.

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Spread a bit of the mix on a lasagna noodle.  Roll it VERY loosely – applying no pressure – so that the filling doesn’t squeeze out.

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Put a thin layer of marinara on the bottom of a baking pan.  Then place your lasagna rolls on that – SEAM SIDE DOWN.  You might need two pans to fit all your rolls in.

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Top with some sauce & a bit of additional cheese.  If you are using buffalo mozzarella – add that about 10-15 minutes before the rolls are done cooking.

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Wrap tightly in foil & bake for about 40 minutes.  Serve with more sauce, additional grated Parmesan & some fresh herbs.  Yum!

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