Spicy New England Clam & Corn Chowder (with Vegetarian & Vegan alternatives)

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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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This post is a huge bummer for me because I fear it is the last time I will make anything using seafood.  Seafood specifically – meaning – from the sea.  For now, I am still allowing myself catfish & other fresh water fish but I don’t eat that sort of thing with any frequency so it hardly matters.  I am hereby giving up sushi & shrimp & tuna & salmon & mussels and, yes, clams.  Why?  Because of this map.

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And the article HERE.

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The map above comes from the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center.  It shows that radiation levels at radiation monitoring stations all over the country are elevated.  As you will notice, this is particularly true along the west coast of the United States.  Every single day, 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima enters the Pacific Ocean.  That means that the total amouont of radioactive material released from Fukushima is constantly increasing, and it is steadily building up in our food chain.  Ultimately, all of this nuclear radiation will outlive all of us by a very wide margin.  They are saying that it could take up to 40 years to clean up the Fukushima disaster, and meanwhile countless innocent people will develop cancer and other health problems as a result of exposure to high levels of nuclear radiation.  We are talking about a nuclear disaster that is absolutely unprecedented, and it is constantly getting worse.  The following are 28 signs that the west coast of North America is being absolutely fried with nuclear radiation from Fukushima…

1. Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering from fur loss and open sores

Wildlife experts are studying whether fur loss and open sores detected in nine polar bears in recent weeks is widespread and related to similar incidents among seals and walruses.

The bears were among 33 spotted near Barrow, Alaska, during routine survey work along the Arctic coastline. Tests showed they had “alopecia, or loss of fur, and other skin lesions,” the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement.

2. There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the California coastline…

At island rookeries off the Southern California coast, 45 percent of the pups born in June have died, said Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle. Normally, less than one-third of the pups would die.   It’s gotten so bad in the past two weeks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event.”

3. Along the Pacific coast of Canada and the Alaska coastline, the population of sockeye salmon is at a historic low.  Many are blaming Fukushima.

4. Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canadato bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

5. A vast field of radioactive debris from Fukushima that isapproximately the size of California has crossed the Pacific Ocean and is starting to collide with the west coast.

6. It is being projected that the radioactivity of coastal waters off the U.S. west coast could double over the next five to six years.

7. Experts have found very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast.

8. One test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.

9. Back in 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was being found in a very high percentage of the fish that Japan was selling to Canada…

• 73 percent of mackerel tested

• 91 percent of the halibut

• 92 percent of the sardines

• 93 percent of the tuna and eel

• 94 percent of the cod and anchovies

• 100 percent of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish

10. Canadian authorities are finding extremely high levels of nuclear radiation in certain fish samples…

Some fish samples tested to date have had very high levels of radiation: one sea bass sample collected in July, for example, had 1,000 becquerels per kilogram of cesium.

11. Some experts believe that we could see very high levels of cancer along the west coast just from people eating contaminated fish

“Look at what’s going on now: They’re dumping huge amounts of radioactivity into the ocean — no one expected that in 2011,” Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear policy lecturer at the University of California-Santa Cruz, told Global Security Newswire. “We could have large numbers of cancer from ingestion of fish.”

12. BBC News recently reported that radiation levels around Fukushima are “18 times higher” than previously believed.

13. An EU-funded study concluded that Fukushima released up to 210 quadrillion becquerels of cesium-137 into the atmosphere.

14. Atmospheric radiation from Fukushima reached the west coast of the United States within a few days back in 2011.

15. At this point, 300 tons of contaminated water is pouring into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day.

16. A senior researcher of marine chemistry at the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Meteorological Research Institute says that “30 billion becquerels of radioactive cesium and 30 billion becquerels of radioactive strontium” are being released into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day.

17. According to Tepco, a total of somewhere between 20 trillion and 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritiumhave gotten into the Pacific Ocean since the Fukushima disaster first began.

18. According to a professor at Tokyo University, 3 gigabecquerels of cesium-137 are flowing into the port at Fukushima Daiichi every single day.

19. It has been estimated that up to 100 times as much nuclear radiation has been released into the ocean from Fukushima than was released during the entire Chernobyl disaster.

20. One recent study concluded that a very large plume of cesium-137 from the Fukushima disaster will start flowing into U.S. coastal waters early next year

Ocean simulations showed that the plume of radioactive cesium-137 released by the Fukushima disaster in 2011 could begin flowing into U.S. coastal waters starting in early 2014 and peak in 2016.

21. It is being projected that significant levels of cesium-137 will reach every corner of the Pacific Ocean by the year 2020.

22. It is being projected that the entire Pacific Ocean will soon “have cesium levels 5 to 10 times higher” than what we witnessed during the era of heavy atomic bomb testing in the Pacific many decades ago.

23. The immense amounts of nuclear radiation getting into the water in the Pacific Ocean has caused environmental activist Joe Martino to issue the following warning

“Your days of eating Pacific Ocean fish are over.”

24. The Iodine-131, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 that are constantly coming from Fukushima are going to affect the health of those living the the northern hemisphere for a very, very long time.  Just consider what Harvey Wasserman had to say about this…

Iodine-131, for example, can be ingested into the thyroid, where it emits beta particles (electrons) that damage tissue. A plague of damaged thyroids has already been reported among as many as 40 percent of the children in the Fukushima area. That percentage can only go higher. In developing youngsters, it can stunt both physical and mental growth. Among adults it causes a very wide range of ancillary ailments, including cancer.

Cesium-137 from Fukushima has been found in fish caught as far away as California. It spreads throughout the body, but tends to accumulate in the muscles.

Strontium-90’s half-life is around 29 years. It mimics calcium and goes to our bones.

25. According to a recent Planet Infowars report, the California coastline is being transformed into “a dead zone”…

The California coastline is becoming like a dead zone.

If you haven’t been to a California beach lately, you probably don’t know that the rocks are unnaturally CLEAN – there’s hardly any kelp, barnacles, sea urchins, etc. anymore and the tide pools are similarly eerily devoid of crabs, snails and other scurrying signs of life… and especially as compared to 10 – 15 years ago when one was wise to wear tennis shoes on a trip to the beach in order to avoid cutting one’s feet on all the STUFF of life – broken shells, bones, glass, driftwood, etc.

There are also days when I am hard-pressed to find even a half dozen seagulls and/or terns on the county beach.

You can still find a few gulls trolling the picnic areas and some of the restaurants (with outdoor seating areas) for food, of course, but, when I think back to 10 – 15 years ago, the skies and ALL the beaches were literally filled with seagulls and the haunting sound of their cries both day and night…

NOW it’s unnaturally quiet.

26. A study conducted last year came to the conclusion that radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster could negatively affect human life along the west coast of North America from Mexico to Alaska “for decades”.

27. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is being projected that the cleanup of Fukushima could take up to 40 years to complete.

28. Yale Professor Charles Perrow is warning that if the cleanup of Fukushima is not handled with 100% precision that humanity could be threatened “for thousands of years“…

“Conditions in the unit 4 pool, 100 feet from the ground, are perilous, and if any two of the rods touch it could cause a nuclear reaction that would be uncontrollable. The radiation emitted from all these rods, if they are not continually cool and kept separate, would require the evacuation of surrounding areas including Tokyo. Because of the radiation at the site the 6,375 rods in the common storage pool could not be continuously cooled; they would fission and all of humanity will be threatened, for thousands of years.”

Are you starting to understand why so many people are so deeply concerned about what is going on at Fukushima?

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I like sushi.  I like it a lot.  You know what else I like?  NOT having cancer.  So – there you have it.  I had this huge can of clams in my cupboard and it has been there for a while.  I am pretending it was processed before the shit hit the fan.  I used it.  But it is the last ocean food recipe I will be posting.  It s pretty freaking delicious.  But – if you are wise – you will make this recipe as it is posted but replace the clams with corn cut fresh from the cob.  I used a fuckload of canned clams.  Look at the can.

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That quantity of clams makes for a very dense & satisfying chowder.  As you can see here, the chowder broth itself is on the thinner side.  I prefer that to the glutenous paste some serve.  I don’t want to be able to stand my spoon up in the bowl.  I don’t think soup should have the consistency of sour cream or cottage cheese.  This recipe is also pretty spicy but you can adjust that by limiting the jalapeno or sriracha recommended.

Again – if you are vegetarian or, like me, cutting seafood from your diet in the interest of avoiding the consumption of radiation, cut the clams and add corn cut off the cob (4 cups) or add a few cans of creamed corn – or a combination of both.  Canned creamed corn, FYI, has no dairy in it.  Check the label to verify.

If you are vegan – I offered a vegan Corn Chowder a while back.  That recipe is Spicy Vegan Corn Chowder with Coconut Cream, Cilantro & Lime.

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I also posted this Vegan Fennel, Leek & Corn Chowder.

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OK – so – this recipe makes a lot of soup and it is absolutely entry-level easy.  It would feed six easily, especially if you served it with crusty bread & a salad.  Also – like so many of my recipes, it is extremely forgiving & customizable.  I would have added carrots but I had none.  You can add other veggies you might have or lose some I used if you don’t have them or do not like them.  But whatever you do – SERIOUSLY consider taking all ocean foods OFF your family’s menu.

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Spicy New England Clam & Corn Chowder

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 onion – diced

8 red (or other) potatoes – diced

3 jalapenos – seeded & diced (optional)

3 stalks celery – chopped

1 (51 oz) can chopped clams OR 4 cups fresh corn cut from the cob

1 (15 oz) can corn – drained (or more fresh)

6 cups milk

1 TBS sriracha (optional)

5 sprigs fresh thyme

S&P to taste (at least a tsp each)

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DIRECTIONS

Melt the butter in a large stock pot over med-high heat.  Add the onions, celery & jalapeno.  Saute about 5 minutes, stirring & taking care not to brown the onions.

Whisk in the flour.  This should create a thick paste pretty quickly.  Increase heat to high.  SLOWLY – as in – a cup or less at a time – add the milk.  Let each portion heat through & thicken a bit.  This isn’t brain surgery & the soup will thicken as it heats anyway but this going slow stuff hastens that process.  Ironic – no?

When all the milk has been added, bring it to a boil & then reduce heat to medium.  Add all the other ingredients.

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Add the thyme sprigs whole.  Cook over medium or low heat until the potatoes & corn soften.  Twenty minutes or so – depending how large the bits of potato are.

Remove the thyme sprigs & serve with cracked pepper and/or its of fresh thyme.

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Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese Galette in Sour Cream Pastry with Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon (Vegetarian)

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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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Wow.  Last night I was just not myself.  I blame the overpowering stench of the decomposing rat in my walls somewhere – somewhere near my kitchen.  I am not sure how many of you have had this experience but it is wildly unpleasant & sometimes can linger for a week or more.  Once that smell is in your olfactory memory bank, you never forget it.  In fact, if you are in the early days of said decomposition – you feel like that smell is on your upper lip & you start smelling it everywhere.  I got in my car yesterday & swore I smelled it.  I took my car to to the car wash as a concession to my paranoia.  They found no dead rats.  I swore I smelled it as I strolled the aisles at my glorious Super King.  I wondered how super markets are NOT overrun with rats.  All that food & produce.  How are rats not all over it at night?  Why do I have to store my flour etc in my fridge & freezer to avoid those little bugs that get in them – but stores can have stuff on the shelves forever & nothing invades?  I’m not a dirty girl.  My house isn’t dirty.  Anyway – I digress.

I decided that, rather than concede defeat & eat out last night, I would cook a lot of aromatic foods & try to combat the vile stench that way.  And I am happy to say, I was largely successful.  Today, I baked some sweet potatoes & now I smell autumn & holidays more than – you know what.

So – I made this galette last night.  It is basically an open-faced pie without the benefit of a pie plate to shape it.  They can be made sweet or savory.  This one is, obviously, savory.  I used a mix of crimini, portobello & oyster.  You can use any mix you like or use all white mushrooms.  It doesn’t matter.  I used blue cheese.  You can use goat cheese or feta or gorgonzola – your call.  I made the crust from scratch.  You can use a pre-made crust – or even a filo pastry.  Don’t get intimidated.  Just do whatever works for you.

I also made a faux bacon from eggplant slices.  It doesn’t taste like bacon AT ALL but it is smoky and oddly satisfying.  And the eggplant I used looked like a gorgeous leopard.  Not sure why.  I ate a bunch just standing there at the stove – trying to fill my head with other sensory experiences than dead rat.  Then – perhaps all doped up on the toxic fumes that had filled my house all day –  I FORGOT to use it in the galette recipe!  So – I just took bites of it as I ate my slice of galette & it was very yummy.  So – I will include the faux bacon as a potential ingredient but it certainly is not necessary.  If you are a whore for real bacon – feel free to fry some up & crumble it into the mushrooms when they are done.

Finally – I want to note that photographing cooked mushrooms is a tricky business.  They tend to get very dark & photograph as inky muck – so – be kind.

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Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese Galette in Sour Cream Pastry with Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon (Vegetarian)

INGREDIENTS

For the Sour Cream Pastry Crust

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1/4 pound) of butter – cut into small cubes & then FROZEN

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 ice water

For the Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese filling

Between 1-1.5 lbs mixed mushrooms (I used crimini, portobello & oyster) – sliced thin or coarsely chopped

4 TBS butter

4 garlic cloves – minced

3 scallions – sliced (white and green parts)

1/2 cup sherry (or dry white wine)

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

4 ounces blue cheese (or goat cheese or feta or gorgonzola or other) – crumbled

S&P

For the Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon

1/2 large eggplant – sliced 1/8 thick

2 TBS soy sauce

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

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DIRECTIONS

For the Sour Cream Pastry Crust

Combine salt & flour in a bowl (I did all this in my food processor but it can be done in a bowl, too).  Add the butter & mix or pulse until just combined & it resembles a coarse meal.

Whisk the sour cream, ice water & lemon juice together.

With a wooden spoon (or pulsing in the food processor), slowly add the sour cream mixture until you get large lumps.  Collect into a large ball of dough & wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour.

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For the Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese filling

In a large saute pan, melt 2 TBS of the butter (half the butter) over high heat.  Add the mushrooms and a scant pinch of salt & fry them over high heat until they release their liquid & then most of it has evaporated off.  Add the garlic & scallions & saute until the mushrooms begin to brown & sear a bit.  Add the sherry & cook it off then lower the heat to medium.  Add the second 2 TBS butter & the herbs & saute until well combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat & allow to cool.

Crumble the cheese & set aside.

Parsley – chopped – as garnish

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For the Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon

Heat the oven to 425 & prepare a cooking sheet with cooking spray.  Place the eggplant in a single layer & bake 8 minutes on one side & flip & cook another 3-5 – until it begins to brown.  You might need to do this in several shifts to cook all your eggplant.  Remove from the oven & allow to cool a bit.  Lower the oven temperature to 350.

Mix the soy sauce & liquid smoke in a bowl.  Dunk each slice of cooked eggplant in the liquid & put back on the cooking sheet.  Cook another 3-5 minutes.

Eat it like it is – or layer it into your galette.

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To assemble the galette

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a floured surface – roll your sour cream pastry out to about a 12 inch circle.

Place the crust on a cooking sheet treated with cooking spray or topped with parchment paper or foil treated with cooking spray.

If you are using the faux bacon – layer it on the crust leaving 1.5 inch border (to be folded over later).

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Drop 2/3 of the cheese onto the crust leaving that 1.5 inch border (to be folded over later). Top with the mushroom mixture (leaving that border) & then fold the edges over the top – pleating if you can – leaving the center uncovered.

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Bake for 30 minutes or so & then top with the remaining cheese crumbles.  Bake another 5-10 minutes or until your crust is golden.

Remove from the oven & allow it to rest 5 minutes or so before cutting into it.

Garnish with chopped parsley & indulge!!!

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Smoked Salmon Spaghetti Carbonara & a Really Long Podcast (if you know what I’m saying)

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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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First of all – I did a comprehensive interview a few months ago that was recently posted.  I talk about just about everything important over the course of my entire life.  If the minutiae of my existence intrigue you – HERE is the i-tunes link.  I talk about the old 90210 & being on set with Chucky & this blog & film festivals & what scandalous whores TV characters are these days.  Plus more!  And more.  And more.  That said –

This might be my favorite friggin’ pasta dish I have ever made!  Insanely easy & outrageously delicious.  Looking back over my past recipes I couldn’t help but notice that I seem to rave about most anything I put salmon in.  Like these:

Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Capers, Cream Cheese & Dill

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Potato, Salmon & Asparagus Tall Tart (Pie) with Fresh Dill

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Spicy Hoisin BBQ Salmon Tacos with Asian Slaw & Micro Cilantro

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Roasted Salmon & Potato Hash with Hominy & Poached Egg (AWESOME!!)

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Easiest Spicy Thai Coconut Salmon Soup for the Slow Cooker (with a Vegan option!)

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But this smoked salmon carbonara is just something you must try if you like smoked salmon.  If you do not, make this with the traditional bacon (or the more authentic guanciale).  But try this.  Contrary to many folks’ idea of carbonara – true carbonara has no heavy cream.  It is simply whatever meat you use, eggs & Parmesan.  And pasta.  I made homemade spaghetti and that takes this dish to another level entirely but that is completely unnecessary.

This attachment for my Kitchenaid stand mixer is so awesome – I might marry it.  I make the pasta dough in my bread machine & then this thing turns that into spaghetti.  It is virtually effortless.   If you have a stand mixer – this attachment is worth its cost – assuming you eat lots of pasta.  And it makes several kinds of pasta – including tube pastas.  Think about it!  HERE is my original recipe for making homemade pasta.  And below is an image of the spaghetti I made.

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So – this carbonara requires these items:

Spaghetti

Eggs

Parmesan cheese

Pepper

Smoked salmon

Garlic

Olive oil

I am going to let you decide whether or not to use homemade (or store-bought fresh pasta) or dry pasta but spaghetti is the traditional noodle used.  Check out how easy this is.  I am going to list the ingredients in a “per serving” way & you can just figure out how much of each you need to feed your headcount.

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Smoked Salmon Spaghetti Carbonara

Ingredients

Spaghetti (1/4 lb dry per serving)

Eggs (one per serving)

Parmesan cheese – grated fine (1/4 cup per serving)

Pepper – to taste

Smoked salmon – roughly chopped – this is to taste, too.  You don’t need that much.  Think of it like bacon & allot an amount similar – per serving

Garlic – cut very thin (I used 2 cloves per serving)

Olive oil – a glug per serving

Parsley (Important!  Parsley is more than a garnish & really improves this dish.) – chopped – to taste

Extra cheese & pepper as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta.

While that is going on, saute the garlic & salmon in the olive oil over medium heat.  You do not want to brown the garlic & you are really only trying to heat the salmon through.

Whisk the egg & cheese & some pepper in a bowl & set aside.

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When the pasta is done – reserve about a cup of the hot pasta water & drain the rest.  Add the pasta to the pan with the garlic & salmon.  Toss & combine well.

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Transfer to a large bowl & then add the cheese & egg mixture.  The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs.  TRUST ME.  Add a bit of the hot pasta water (not all of it – GO SLOW) and mix it in.  Once you have a nice creamy texture (and you might not use much pasta water at all), serve it up on plates & be sure to top with lots of freshly chopped parsley.  Add more cheese & pepper if you like.  Shove it in your pie hole & wash it down with copious quantities of wine.  Fuck that whole “white wine goes with fish” thing, too.  If you want white – go for it but this dish holds its own against a big red, too.  Eat your carbonara!  Drink your Cabernet!  Think, “I am one badass son-of-a-bitch!”  Because you are!  AAAAAAARRRGGGGH!

I said badass – not pirate.  It’s a thin line.

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Dried Cranberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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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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10-18-13 (7)

I know I say that a great many of my recipes are born simply of what I have handy and it is true.  It is true even when I say that all I had around was a bag of Brussels sprouts and an aging pomegranate.  And pistachios.  And when I thought to make a salad of them, I wished I had some dried cranberries to add to it.  I don’t typically go for dried fruit in anything but dried cranberries just sounded so right for this.  I dug deep in my crisper drawers looking for some other inspiration & found an unopened but very old & gross bag of raisins & while I wondered why I ever even bought a bag of raisins because, you know, ew – raisins – I spotted a bag of something from a bulk bin in the corner of the drawer.   Closer inspection revealed it to be a small bag of dried cranberries!  WTF?  Why did I have dried cranberries?  Quickly, I wished for a series regular gig on what would turn out to be a long running & iconic HBO series and waited for a few seconds for my life to change.  Nothing.  A few minutes later I was still me, still unemployed & still holding the bag.  Of dried cranberries. Fuck.  I hate when I waste the wishes that will be granted on things like a small quantity of dried cranberries.  I felt like Peter Griffin on Family Guy when, confronted by a real, live genie, wishes for his own personal theme music & not to have bones.

So, yeah.  Career still on hold but that’s a go on the salad!

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Salads aren’t really recipes, are they?  I made this guy for myself & I used about 8-10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts & ate the entire salad – even though it was probably enough for two.  So – anyway – I will give you rough estimates of what I used but you can add or subtract ingredients & adjust quantities to suit your own taste.  If there is wiggle room in making anything – it is salad – so go for it.

I made a simple dressing of lemon & olive oil & then decided I wanted something a bit creamier – so I added a bit of Greek yogurt.  You can skip that or, if you are vegan, add a bit of vegan mayonnaise.   Or use another of your favorite dressings.  I ain’t judging.

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Dried Cranberries & Pomegranate Seeds

Serves two

INGREDIENTS

10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts

Handful of pistachios

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of pomegranate seeds

For the dressing

1/3 cup Greek yogurt (or vegan mayonnaise)  – optional

2 TBS lemon juice (or nice wine vinegar)

1 TBS olive oil

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the dressing ingredients together & season with S&P.  Taste & adjust the flavors.  Some like lemon more than others.  Some like more salt.  Suit yourself.

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Toast the pistachios in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes, until aromatic & beginning to change color.  Stir the whole time & take care not to burn them.  Set aside.

Trim the hard ends off the Brussels sprouts & shred with the blade of your food processor or cut thin by hand.  Be sure to break up any of the white cores that remain – even cutting them by hand if your food processor let them slip by.

Now, just toss all that shit together (go easy on the dressing) & eat both servings yourself.  FTW.

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Easy One-Pot Vegan Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles (Gluten-Free)

8 Comments

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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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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I’m kinda obsessed with the concept of the one-pot meal.  Martha Stewart, it seems, is responsible for bringing the idea to the masses.  I already posted my One-Pan Whole Wheat Pasta with Tomatoes & Cauliflower (Vegan) & several folks tried it & reported the same success & delight that I did.

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I made this Thai peanut version last night just using things I had around.  Two of the things I had around were tamarind paste & keffir lime leaves.

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I realize that very few of you will have these handy & that most of you couldn’t find them for sale near you.  NEVER FEAR!  I will offer substitution ideas for these ingredients.

I would like to have included sliced red bell pepper to this for color but I had none.  I will suggest them in the recipe.  I used purple cabbage because I had it & it added nice color.  Some raw cabbage as a garnish adds a nice texture to the very soft noodles.

One thing that was different with this recipe than my last effort was that nowhere near all the stock got incorporated into the dish.   I am not sure if that was because I used gluten-free brown rice pasta rather than traditional starchy pasta or what but it wasn’t a problem that a colander couldn’t remedy.

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If you make this with traditional pasta, you might not need to drain the final result – or maybe you will.  Let me know – ok?

Beyond that – this dish is as simple as chopping the ingredients, tossing them all in a pan & boiling it for the time suggested on your pasta.  Drain it – if necessary – and then devour the deliciousness!

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Easy One-Pot Vegan Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles (Gluten-Free)

Serves 4 easily as a main course

INGREDIENTS

1 pound dry pasta of your choice (gluten-free if you desire)

4 cups vegetable stock (I use water & bouillon cubes)

6 cloves garlic – sliced thin

1 cup peas

1 red bell pepper – sliced thin

2 jalapenos – seeded & diced

6 keffir lime leaves – sliced (or a tsp of grated lime zest)

1 cup carrots – grated (and extra for garnish)

1 cup purple cabbage – sliced or chopped (and extra for garnish)

1 TBS tamarind paste (or 1/4 cup orange juice mixed with 2 tablespoons lime juice & a few shakes of vegan (or other) Worcestershire sauce)

1 TBS sambal oelek (or sriracha or other chili paste or 1 TBS of crushed red pepper)

1 TBS toasted (or regular) sesame oil

1 TBS soy sauce

1 TBS fish sauce (or – if vegan – a 2nd TBS soy sauce)

1 TBS minced fresh ginger (I used jarred)

3 TBS peanut butter

Garnish: fresh chopped cilantro and/or sliced purple cabbage and/or grated carrots and/or chopped peanuts and/or chopped cashews and/or fresh lime juice

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything except the garnish in a pot big enough to hold the pasta flat.  Bring to a boil & cook uncovered for the time suggested on the pasta box.  Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.

If it is soupy when the pasta is done – simply drain quickly in a colander.  Beware, though!  The gravy-like sauce is thick & hot as molten lava.  Do not burn yourself!

Drain, serve & garnish at will.  Tell your friends on Facebook how awesome you are!

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Vegetarian Cannellini & Garbanzo Bean Faux Meatballs and Gluten Free Spaghetti

4 Comments

 

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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vromans front

vromans back

Sometimes you just want simple comfort food.  For vegans & vegetarians – this used to be very challenging because so many of those meals are meat and/or dairy-based.  If you add gluten intolerance – things got pretty hairy.  Back in the day, anyway.

But, nowadays, there are vegetarian meats and vegan cheeses & gluten-free pastas & just about any dietary need can be tailored to by just knowing where to shop & how to substitute.  Look at this.

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Ronzoni, people!  Making gluten-free pasta.  I got it Ralph’s.  Pretty mainstream.

Recently, a reader (or non-reader, as it seems) felt the need to inform me that vegans do not eat fish – because I used the word vegan in the heading of my Easiest Spicy Thai Coconut Salmon Soup for the Slow Cooker.

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If they had bothered to read the post, they would have found that I suggested to my vegan readers that they sub out the salmon (and fish sauce) with extra vegetables.  Sometimes I think it is a waste of breath (or typed words) to suggest to a vegan how to modify a recipe to suit their needs as, I assume, most vegans are already pretty savvy about that.   Any mac & cheese recipe can be made vegan by just using vegan cheese.  Do I have to actually say “or vegan alternative” next to every non-vegan ingredient?  I look up traditional chicken dishes all the time – even though I do not eat chicken – and sub out the chicken with a seafood option or, in many cases, cauliflower (the most adaptable & wonderful veggie!).  I don’t get all hinky if I see chicken in the recipe.  I don’t EAT chicken but I am still allowed to acknowledge the word exists.   Still, I find that putting the words vegetarian or vegan or no carb or gluten-free in the heading of a post can often drive lots of traffic to it.  Why?  Because people are actively hunting for these things.  I’d hate for a vegan to miss my meatball recipe here just because it includes an egg.  I would assume that most vegans have met this hurdle before & have found a way around it – like these products HERE, for example.  Still – it seems lots of folks expressly use keywords like “vegan” in their searches and I’d like to show them some of my ideas – so I often add a parenthetical (vegan) to a heading.  And just so nobody thinks I am picking on vegans – conversely, do I really need to explain that my Chicago-style Veggie Hot Dog on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla 

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could be made with BEEF hot dogs & traditional buns?  Well – criminy!  I hope not – but I bet the words “carnivore’s dream” would bring new eyes to that recipe.

“Hey, Christine.  Vegans don’t eat fish.”

411.  Let me make a note.

Moving on.

I wanted spaghetti & meatballs.  I made it.  With fake spaghetti & fake meatballs.  But – never fear meat eaters.  REAL meatballs could be used, too.

“Hey, Christine.  Cranky much?”

🙂

I would like to mention that the gluten-free pasta tasted pretty much like white pasta, especially with the sauce on it but the texture was just a bit more brittle.  I’d compare it to day old pasta that you re-heated.  It doesn’t twirl around your fork very easily (who cares?) and I’m not sure a true al dente can be achieved but if you are a gluten-intolerant carb whore – I don’t think these are major drawbacks.  I recommend this as a very reasonable alternative to wheat pasta.

The meatballs will never fool a carnivore that they are eating Bessie but, for a 25 year-long vegetarian – they do the trick pretty nicely.  But, I don’t think I need to tell anybody who has been vegetarian for very long that there are very few truly convincing meat substitutes.  Still – nobody mistakes diet soda for real soda but that hasn’t hurt Diet Coke much.  You just adapt.  Adapt your expectations.  And broaden your palate.  Use your imagination.

Vegan & the recipe calls for an egg?  Google it.  Here are the suggestions that PETA makes:

There are plenty of egg substitutes available for baking or preparing a dish that calls for eggs. Ener-G Egg Replacer is a reliable egg substitute for use in baking. It is available at health food stores and most grocery stores.

Tofu: Tofu is great for egg substitutions in recipes that call for a lot of eggs, like quiches or custards. To replace one egg in a recipe, purée 1/4 cup soft tofu. It is important to keep in mind that although tofu doesn’t fluff up like eggs, it does create a texture that is perfect for “eggy” dishes.

Tofu is also a great substitute for eggs in eggless egg salad and breakfast scrambles.

In Desserts and Sweet, Baked Goods: Try substituting one banana or 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg called for in a recipe for sweet, baked desserts. These will add some flavor to the recipe, so make sure bananas or apples are compatible with the other flavors in the dessert.

Other Egg Replacement Options

• 1 egg = 2 Tbsp. potato starch
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup canned pumpkin or squash
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup puréed prunes
• 1 egg = 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 egg = 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed simmered in 3 Tbsp. water
• 1 egg white = 1 Tbsp. plain agar powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water, whipped, chilled, and whipped again

Egg Replacement Tips

• If a recipe calls for three or more eggs, it is important to choose a replacer that will perform the same function (i.e., binding or leavening).

• Trying to replicate airy baked goods that call for a lot of eggs, such as angel food cake, can be very difficult. Instead, look for a recipe with a similar taste but fewer eggs, which will be easier to replicate.

• When adding tofu to a recipe as an egg replacer, be sure to purée it first to avoid chunks in the finished product.

• Be sure to use plain tofu, not seasoned or baked, as a replacer.

• Powdered egg replacers cannot be used to create egg recipes such as scrambles or omelets. Tofu is the perfect substitute for eggs in these applications.

• If you want a lighter texture and you’re using fruit purées as an egg substitute, add an extra 1/2 tsp. baking powder. Fruit purées tend to make the final product denser than the original recipe.

• If you’re looking for an egg replacer that binds, try adding 2 to 3 Tbsp. of any of the following for each egg: tomato paste, potato starch, arrowroot powder, whole wheat flour, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, instant potato flakes, or 1/4 cup tofu puréed with 1 Tbsp. flour.

And PETA is just one resource.

Anyway – I digress.  The spaghetti used here can – wait for it…

be replaced with REGULAR pasta or whole wheat pasta or penne or farfalle.  But you knew that.  And the meatball recipe can be adapted to include whatever spices your grandma used to use or ones you see in any traditional meat ball recipe.  Being rigid & literal only works for bakers.  Most other cooking benefits from a looser interpretation & your own imagination.  Try it.  It is part of what makes cooking fun.

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Vegetarian Cannellini & Garbanzo Bean Faux Meatballs and Gluten-Free Spaghetti 

(makes about 30 small meatballs)

INGREDIENTS

Pasta of your choice

Pasta sauce of your choice (my marinara is HERE & my 5-minute arrabiatta is HERE)

1 (15 ounce) can of cannellini beans

1 (15 ounce) can of garbanzo beans

1 onion – quartered

3 jalapenos – seeded (optional)

8 ounces mushrooms

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup parsley – chopped

1 TBS dry oregano

1 egg (or vegan substitute <wink>)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (more or less)

S&P to taste (at least 1/2 tsp each)

Garnish – grated cheese (or vegan alternative), chopped parsley and/or chopped basil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350.  Grease a cooking sheet (cooking spray or olive oil).

Drain & rinse the two cans of beans.  Pulse in a food processor until mostly broken up.  Do not puree them.  Put them in a large mixing bowl & set aside.

Pulse the onion, jalapenos & garlic until chopped pretty fine.  Add to beans.

Pulse the mushrooms until chopped pretty fine.  Add to beans.

Add parsley, oregano, egg and breadcrumbs & mix it all up.  If it is too wet, add more breadcrumbs.  Add S&P.

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Create little meatballs (a bit smaller than a golf ball) in your palms & place on the cooking sheet.  I think I got about 32 meatballs this size.

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Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes & then carefully turn them & cook another 15-20 minutes.

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Heat your sauce.  Maybe heat some faux meatballs in there but be careful they do not fall apart.  Make your pasta.  Assemble.  Garnish.  Pour wine.  Devour food.  Scream out “VEGANS DO NOT EAT FISH!”  Feel self-righteous.

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Cauliflower Soup with Spicy Peanut Butter Cream

1 Comment

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’ve got some stuff to share today!  First of all, press play & treat yourself to my latest musical obsession, Pokey LaFarge!  I adore me some fashionable boys doing old-timey, Southern-sounding stuff.  Click play above & get a gander at Pokey!

If you know me in real life, you know I am long obsessed with Mr. Justin Townes Earle.  Just look at this guy!

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Better yet – watch him live at the Newport Folk Festival playing a guitar like he has four hands and making cranky-twisted faces that just make my pants fall off.  I’m old enough to be his mother which really creeps me out but my love for him is undying.

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At any rate, I’ve listened to the available JTE stuff to death so this Pokey LaFarge is like a fresh start.  Very exciting.

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Also, I think I should confess to following something else – this food blog – How Sweet It Is.  Despite the fact that she fetishizes bacon (I am vegetarian) & seems obsessed with sweets & especially sprinkles (sugar seldom tempts me), her other recipes look ridiculously delicious & her photography is always so gorgeous – it breaks my heart.  She does a regular post called “Currently Crushing On” where she lists a few things she has found out there that she would like to share.  This week – that list included another blogger’s recipe for Cauliflower Soup with Spicy Peanut Butter Cream.  I happened to have the ingredients for said soup – so I made it yesterday.  EASY EASY EASY and crazy yummy!  It seems really decadent but the ratio of peanut butter cream to cauliflower & stock is fairly small so each serving only has a tiny bit of those naughty ingredients.  The addition of the sambal oelek or sriracha is optional & might sound odd but it is an amazing combination.  The spicy sauce cuts the decadence of the peanut butter nicely so I very strongly suggest you try at least a little.  I used a lot – far more than pictured!

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Cauliflower Soup with Spicy Peanut Butter Cream (adapted from An Edible Mosaic)

Serves 4 easily

1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 medium onions, peeled, both ends trimmed, and quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup peanut butter (I used Skippy Super Chunk)
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons water

A few parsley leaves, for garnish (optional) & Chopped peanuts, for garnish (optional)

Chili-garlic sauce (or sambal oelek or sriracha), for garnish (optional but STRONGLY suggested!)

Procedure

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Toss the cauliflower, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, and black pepper together on a large baking sheet and spread in an even layer.

3. Bake until tender and starting to brown in spots, about 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through.

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4. Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor and process until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl down as necessary and giving the motor a break periodically. (You may need to process the vegetables in 2 batches, depending on the size of your food processor.)

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5. Add the pureed vegetables and stock to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

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6. Whisk together the heavy cream, peanut butter, and sea salt in a small bowl until smooth, then gradually whisk in 2 tablespoons water.

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7. Stir half of the peanut butter crème into the soup, reserving the other half for garnish.

8. Ladle the soup into 4 bowls and top each with a drizzle of peanut butter crème and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts. Add the parsley leaves and/or chili-garlic sauce on top if desired. Serve warm.

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