Tricolore Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Belgian Endive and Radicchio

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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Few things are easier to throw together than salads & this salad is no exception.  Simple ingredients, clean & light & so pretty.

You could use other ingredients like – arugula or frisee (curly endive) or shaved fennel.  Whatever floats your boat.

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Tricolore Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Belgian Endive and Radicchio

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

3 heads Belgian Endive – thinly sliced

6 large Brussels sprouts – shaved with a mandolin or very thinly sliced

1/2 head radicchio – thinly sliced

(you should have approximately the same amount of each)

1/4 cup nice olive oil

2 TBS fresh lemon juice

S&P to taste

1/4 cup or more (to taste) of grated or shaved Pecorino or Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

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DIRECTIONS

Slice up the leafy guys.  In a small jar or in a bowl – mix the lemon & olive oil.  S&P to taste.  Tweak the lemon to oil ration to suit your taste.

Toss the salad with the dressing & 1/4 cup of cheese.  Plate it up & serve with more cheese & freshly cracked pepper.

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Zucchini & Mint Enchiladas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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I am a huge fan of the zucchini & mint combination.  I got the original recipe from my good friend, Naomi Priestley.  It was one of my earliest posts on this blog. Zucchini & Mint Pasta with Parmesan – seen above.

I later adapted it to a Fresh Mint and Zucchini Mac and Cheese version – which was rather lovely – seen below.

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Today, I found myself looking at 4 huge but wilting zucchinis & a bunch of wilting mint – so – I decided to try this experiment.  It is sauceless because the zucchini & mint are such delicate flavors that you don’t want to offer too much competition for them but, if you like wetter enchiladas & don’t mind cream sauces, I would recommend a light Alfredo or something.  They are very easy to make & cook up in about 45 minutes total – prep & baking included.  Light & fresh – they are breadier than most enchiladas seem because of the lack of sauce & because I filled them sparingly.    Still – I would call them a success!

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Zucchini & Mint Enchiladas

Makes 8 enchiladas

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

8 flour tortillas

4 large zucchini (or more for fatter enchiladas) – grated

6 garlic cloves – minced

1 cup Parmesan – grated – or vegan alternative

1 cup mozzarella – grated (or fresh mozzarella – sliced) – or vegan alternative

1 bunch fresh mint (about a cup) – chopped

S&P

Garnish – extra mint and/or cheese

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grate the zucchini & cheeses.

Heat about 1 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan over med-high heat.  Add the garlic & about 30 seconds later – add the zucchini.  Garlic burns easily & tastes bitter when it does so be quick here.

Saute about 15 minutes or until it becomes a bit of a mush.  Add the mint & 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.  Season with S&P.

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Assemble the enchiladas by rolling 1/8 of your zucchini into each of eight tortillas.  Treat a baking pan with coking spray (or olive oil) & line the enchiladas up, seam-side down.

Cover with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan & the mozzarella.

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Bake for 20 minutes or so or until the cheese is melted to your taste.

Serve with extra cheese and/or mint as garnish.  Easy peasy!

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Sriracha Ginger Soy Sugar Snap Peas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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These are extremely easy & quick to make.  The hardest part is cutting each of the sugar snap peas in half.  Apparently, you can break the stem end of them & pull down on the string, like a zipper, and string these guys but that didn’t work on mine.  Maybe they were not fresh enough.  I don’t know.  But – if you want to string your beans – knock yourself out.  Mine were great without that step.

I used vegetarian hoisin sauce in these but if you cannot find that (or regular hoisin) – do not be discouraged.  These are awesome without that one ingredient, too.

This really makes just one serving so increase as needed to suit your head count.

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Sriracha Ginger Soy Sugar Snap Peas

Serves ONE as a side dish

INGREDIENTS

8 oz fresh sugar snap peas – strung (see note above) and cut almost in half along the seam  (split them but not totally in half)

2 TBS soy sauce or tamari (I always use low sodium)

1 TBS sriracha

1 tsp sesame oil

1 TBS hoisin sauce (optional)

4 garlic cloves – cut in half or in thirds (you want big chunks so it doesn’t burn)

1 TBS minced fresh ginger (or 3-4 slices about the size of a quarter)

2 tsp olive oil

Sesame seeds – black and/or white as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk together the soy sauce, sriracha, sesame oil & hoisin sauce.  Set aside.

Prepare your sugar snap peas.

Have everything ready to go because these cook fast.

Heat a pan on HIGH HEAT for a minute & then add the olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the garlic & ginger (beware splatter).  Cook one minute & then add the sugar snap peas.  After about 2 minutes, add the sriracha mixture.  Cook on high – stirring continually so the garlic doesn’t burn –  until most of the dressing cooks off – maybe another minute.

Serve with sesame seeds.

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Spicy Indonesian Vegan Beef Rendang

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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The few of the ingredients in this might be a bit tricky but I will suggest easier to find alternatives.  This is supposed to be made with chuck roast or other cubed meat but I don’t eat meat – so – I used Beyond Meat’s beefy crumbles.  The kaffir lime leaves are probably the most singular flavor in this dish so I really recommend trying to find them.  I found them fresh at my Thai market (for about $2) but I see people saying they also are sold frozen.   You can also buy dry ones online HERE.

I also used a teaspoon if dried galanga seen below.  If you can’t find it – blow it off.  The fresh version looks a lot like ginger – see HERE.

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Spicy Indonesian Vegan Beef Rendang

Feeds 2 with steamed rice

INGREDIENTS

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 onion – chopped

4 garlic cloves

1 TBS fresh ginger

3 Thai chilis (or 1 serrano) – stemmed

1 tsp galanga powder or a tsp of fresh grated galanga (optional)

1 TBS olive oil

9 oz vegan beef

1/2 stalk fresh lemongrass – pounded to split the sides

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp Szechwan peppercorns (also called Anise Pepper)

1 (13.5 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup vegetable stock

4 Kaffir lime leaves (or 1 TBS lime zest and a bay leaf) – sliced in half

juice of 1/2 lime

Garnish: cilantro or lime wedges

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DIRECTIONS

Make some rice.

Blend the first seven ingredients (clove through the oil) in a blender until most large bits are broken up.  A little extra oil or water might make it easier.

Put this in a stock pot or frying pan & saute for 2-3 minutes.  Then just add everything else & bring to a boil.  I boiled it down until it had the texture you see – which took about 5 minutes.  Remove the whole spices – like the cinnamon stick, lemongrass & lime leaves (or eat around them) & bay leaf (if you used one)

Serve over rice & garnish as you like.

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Spicy Thai Basil Noodles with Sesame and Garlic

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This is yet another easy one that also just happens to be vegetarian (and could easily be made vegan).  It comes together in ten minutes & it is really flavorful.  I was inspired to make this because I found these fresh egg noodles in my local Asian market – Bangluck.   This is enough for 4 and it cost $1.49.  Pretty great!

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If you cannot find this kind of fresh noodle or if you are vegan, angle hair pasta works fine.  And thin noodle would work.

I used jarred ginger & this chili oil below is available at Asian markets but also at most large supermarkets in the Asian food aisle.   Fresh ginger is available in most stores, too, if you can’t find this very convenient jarred stuff.  The real key here is the Thai basil as it packs a real flavor punch & tastes distinctly different from regular basil – but regular basil will do if it is all you have access to.

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Spicy Thai Basil Noodles with Sesame and Garlic

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound noodles

1 TBS sesame oil

2 TBS ginger

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS soy sauce or tamari

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 TBS agave nectar (or sugar)

1 TBS chili oil (or another TBS of sesame oil & 2 tsp crushed red pepper)

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup Thai basil – chopped

2 scallions – sliced

a handful of crushed nuts ( I used almonds) – optional

Vegetables are optional but I added 1 carrot cut into matchsticks & a dozen or so sugar snap peas

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat & saute the ginger & garlic for one minute.  If you are using sesame oil & crushed red pepper rather than chili oil – add them to the pan, too.  Stir & pour into a bowl & whisk in the soy sauce, balsamic, agave, chili oil & salt.

Boil water for the noodles.  If using fresh noodles, add the vegetables a minute before you add the pasta.  Fresh noodles cook very quickly.  Drain & toss with the sesame oil mixture.

If using regular pasta – add the vegetables you are using in the final minute of the noodle cooking time.  Drain & toss with the sesame oil mixture.

You can let these sit for an hour & really soak up the flavors & serve at room temperature – or eat them warm.  When you are ready to eat – toss in the basil & scallions & stir well.  Add nuts & you are good to go!

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Spicy Sriracha Vegetable Ramen with Homemade Noodles (Vegan or Vegetarian)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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I have been wanting to make ramen noodles from scratch for a long time but, apparently, the recipe requires something called “kansui” – an alkaline mineral water that gives the noodles their yellow color & chewy texture.  I don’t have a Japanese market nearby but I found a recipe to make a version of it myself with just water & baking soda – so that is what I used.  I was not completely satisfied with the texture of the noodles (they were a bit gluey) and I am not certain why they came out that way.  Maybe I really needed kansui or maybe they didn’t rest, drying on my counter for long enough.  Maybe I overcooked them.  Maybe I should have made a recipe for the noodles that used egg.  I do not know.   What I do know is that I will try again.

The recipe below is really just for the spicy broth.  The vegetables you chose & quantity is entirely up to you.  And, obviously, if you are vegan – skip the egg.  🙂   If you like poached egg in your soup, try poaching them THIS way.  I did & it worked great. And you can even cool them for use up to 8 hours later.

Also – making the noodles is so not necessary.  Use packaged noodles (throw away the flavor packet), or spaghetti or soba or any kind of noodle.

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Homemade Ramen Noodles

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups flour

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup water

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 275 degrees.  Put some baking soda (I used half a box so I would have more of this for future ramen efforts) into a pie dish & bake for one hour.

In a bowl (or in a bread machine), mix 2 tsp of the baked baking soda into the flour & salt.  Add the water & mix until a dough forms.  Once it is mostly together, use your hands to knead it a bit more.   Press flat & wrap in plastic wrap for an hour.

Using a pasta maker , roll the dough out flat & then into noodles.  This can be done by hand but, criminy, that would be a pain in the arse.  I used the awesome attachment you see below on my Kitchenaid mixer.

Lay out on a counter & toss lightly with rice or other flour & let dry an hour.

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Spicy Sriracha Vegetable Ramen 

INGREDIENTS

3 TBS sriracha (more if you like it very spicy)

2 TBS sesame oil

2 tomatoes – chopped

1 onion – diced

1 TBS ginger – minced

6 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp celery salt

1 TBS soy sauce (or tamari)

6 cups vegetable stock

Vegetable ideas: edemame, corn, sliced mushrooms, snow peas, bok choy, carrots, zucchini, spinach, bamboo shoots, sliced onion, scallions, bean sprouts, peas, water chestnuts etc etc…

Garnish: cilantro, basil, poached egg, hard-boiled egg, tofu cubes, lime wedges, shredded nori or this mix of nori & sesame seeds below.

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DIRECTIONS

Slice up your vegetables.  Boil water & blanch them by putting them in the boiling water for about a minute & then plunging them into cold water.  Drain & set aside.

Poach your eggs – if you are using them.   Plunge into cold water, drain & set aside.  Careful you don’t break them!

In a large stock pot, heat the sesame oil & the sriracha.  Do not get burned by splatter.

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Add the onion & tomatoes & saute until soft.  Add the ginger, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt and saute another minute.

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Add the soy sauce and one cup of the stock.   Stir it together.  Using an immersion or regular blender – puree this & return to the pan.  Add the rest of the stock & bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer until you are ready to assemble the ramen.

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Cook the ramen noodles you are using according to the package.  Homemade ones are ready when they float to the top of the pot.  Drain & rinse under hot water.

Put some noodles into a bowl & ladle the broth on top.   Arrange some blanched vegetables on top & a poached egg (if using) & whatever garnish you opted for.

Mix it all up to heat the ingredients through & slurp it up!

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Moroccan Giant Lima Beans, Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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I love making thing with dried beans.  They are so ridiculously cheap & can be made into so many different things – they provide endless opportunities.  Typically mildly flavored – they take on the flavors you add & provide lots of nutrition and a texture that can be crunchy or creamy.  When cooked, these giant lima beans are nearly as soft & creamy as gnocchi.

I found a bag of these giant lima beans at Ralph’s for $2.  I wasn’t really sure what to do with them.  I soaked them overnight & tasted one the next morning & it was still crunchy & kind of bitter.  Intimidated, I Googled recipes and for this one here – Moroccan Tagine of Lima Beans, Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives.  The photos were pretty & I already had all the ingredients – so I whipped it up – making a few minor tweaks here & there.  Easy & quite delicious – flavorful because of the olives & tomatoes & spices but creamy & comforting because of those beans which had lost all their crunch & bitterness.  She suggested serving this over couscous but I prefer the suggestion of crusty bread.  I haven’t tried it but I feel like this would smear onto crostini easily & make a yummy appetizer.

PS – this dish calls for saffron which can be very expensive.  I use Golchin liquid saffron seen in the photo below from my recipe for Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes (also seen below)  – and it only costs about $7 for that bottle – and a bottle goes a long way.  I recommend buying some not only because it is so cost efective but also because I believe it has a longer shelf life than fragile saffron threads.

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Moroccan Giant Lima Beans, Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives

INGREDIENTS

1 lb of giant lima beans soaked overnight or quick soaked

2 TBS olive oil

1 red onion – diced

1 tsp crushed red pepper

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 tsp ground coriander

2 TBS fresg ginger – minced

a pinch of saffron or 2 TBS liquid saffron (I used the liquid)

20 cherry tomatoes – left whole

1 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)

2 tsp dry thyme

2 TBS black olives (I used Kalamata) – chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 TBS)

Salt & pepper – important

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped (use parsley if you hate cilantro)

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DIRECTIONS

Soak the beans overnight or quick soak them in one hour.  Drain the beans & then put them in a pot with enough water to cover them by an inch or two.   Bring to a boil & let boil for about 5 minutes then reduce heat & simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.   Do not let the water simmer away.  Taste for tenderness.  If soft & creamy – rinse them under cold water.  Be careful not to overcook them of they will become too mushy to hold their shape when mixed with the other ingredients.

Heat the olive oil over med-high heat & saute the onions until soft.  Add the crushed red pepper & garlic & saute one minute.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.  Reduce the heat to med-low & add the coriander, ginger, saffron – stir to combine.  Add tomatoes, agave & thyme & cover.  Cook for 5-10 minutes – or until the tomatoes start to crinkle up & soften.  Add the beans, olives and lemon juice.  Stir to combine.  Season with salt & pepper.  Cover & cook another 5 minutes or until the beans are heated through.

Serve with fresh cilantro or parsley – maybe over couscous, or rice or smeared onto crusty bread.

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