Spicy Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash & Celery Root Soup

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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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Lots of my recent recipes have been born from the need to use the vegetables that Farm Fresh to You sends me every two week.   I had a butternut squash and, you guessed it, celery root.  Two.  HUGE.  Celery roots.  I love celery root but there are not really that many ways to use it (it ain’t no cauliflower – that’s all I’m saying) – but this soup is a perfect way.  Creamy & light & guiltless.  I ate it for lunch at work for ten days straight.  I am certain it will freeze well – so if variety is the pice of your life – get ready to freeze some of this stuff.

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Spicy Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash & Celery Root Soup

Serves 10+ depending on portions

INGREDIENTS

1 large butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 large celery roots – peeled & cubed

1 onion

3 celery stalks – sliced

5 carrots – sliced

1 jalapeno – seeded & chopped (I did not seed mine & the soup was delightfully spicy!)

1-2 TBS dry sage (add it in increments)

10 cups vegetable stock

1 cup almond (or other vegan) milk (option – skip the milk & add more stock)

olive oil

S&P

GARNISH OPTIONS – fresh chopped sage, fried sage, a dollop of vegan sour cream or lots of freshly cracked pepper

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DIRECTIONS

Heat a glug or two (2-3 TBS) of olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add the onions, carrots, celery & jalapeno until the onions just start to turn color – just a bit.  Add everything else except the almond milk.  Bring to a boil & cook until the squash & other veggies are VERY soft.

Puree in a blender in batches – putting the puree into a clean pan.   When it is all smoothly pureed, season with S&P & stir in the almond milk – or more stock – if you think it needs it.  Heat through.

Serve with whatever garnish you choose.

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3 Meat, 3 Bean & 3 Pepper Vegan Chili for the Slow Cooker

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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’m not gonna lie – I haven’t posted in a while because I have been living – almost exclusively – on my Easy Crispy Oven Baked French Fries – seen above.  They are crispy & yummy & nearly guiltless.  Still – I had to bring some vegan food to a BBQ this weekend so I made a fuckton of vegan chili – THIS chili – 3 Meat, 3 Bean & 3 Pepper Vegan Chili for the Slow Cooker.  It makes enough to fill a 7-quart Crockpot – which can feed a LOT of people (ten or more).  I brought some to the BBQ & used some for work lunches & froze some.  The ingredients are actually pretty random & very forgiving so – feel free to reduce the overall recipe or to tweak the ingredients.

I used Beyond Meat Feisty crumbles,

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Tofurky Chick’n & Apple sausages (which my meat-eating friend kept plucking out of the recipe & eating – shocked at how good it was),

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and whatever brand of soyrizo (meatless chorizo) they had at my supermarket.  Trader Joe’s usually carries soyrizo.  You can use whatever combo sounds good to you.

My bean to bean to bean ratio is simply the result of what I had around.  Dividing the quantities more evenly might be nice but once it is chili – a bean is a bean is a bean.  No?

My peppers were both red & green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers & chipotle peppers.  You can mix this up or change it to suit your tolerance for heat.

I also topped mine with this new brand of vegan cheese I found.  It melts into the chili nicely & tastes great.

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3 Meat, 3 Bean & 3 Pepper Vegan Chili for the Slow Cooker

Feeds a small community

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry white beans (soaked overnight or quick-soaked)

1 (15 oz) can of black beans – drained or not – doesn’t really matter

2 (15 oz) cans of pinto beans – drained or not – doesn’t really matter

2 (9 oz) bags of Beyond Meat beefless crumbles

2 Tofurky (or other brand) sausages – flavor of your choice – cut into bite-sized pieces

2 soyrizo sausages – squeezed out of their casings

1 (4 oz) can of green chilies

1 (10 oz) can Rotel (or other diced tomato)

1 red bell pepper (seeded & chopped)

1 green bell pepper (seeded & chopped)

1-4 chipotle peppers (I used 4) in adobo – chopped

1 small onion – chopped

3 Roma (or other small) tomatoes – chopped

1-3 jalapeno peppers (I used 3) – seeded (or not – if you like heat) and diced

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/2 cup cilantro – chopped

1/3 cup your favorite BBQ sauce

2 TBS vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)

3 cups (or more) vegetable stock

2 TBS fresh oregano (chopped) or 2 TBS dry oregano

1 TBS cumin

S&P

GARNISH OPTIONS – scallions, vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, cilantro, onions, hot sauce, sliced avocado, cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

I seared the sausage just to give it grill marks.  Totally unnecessary.

Basically – put everything into the slow cooker & leave it on high for 4 or more hours.  If – it is looking too watery, take the lid off & cook on high until it gets to where you want it.  If it gets too thin – add some vegetable stock or water.  I like to let mine sit on low all day (after 4 hours of being on high), warm overnight & then high the next day to heat it for eating but this is totally not necessary.  Four hours on high & this shit should be good to go.  Season to taste & serve with the garnish of your choice!

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Easy Crispy Oven Baked French Fries

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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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OK. So I started a new job last week – in post – on Tamar & Vince (click that to see the trailer).  Lemme just say – it is a world I would not typically stumble into – even over-served.  But – it is entertaining & it is NOT breaking rocks in the hot sun so – I go – I do post things –  I giggle.  I get paid.

Then I come home & feel like I deserve shit – after watching rich people HAVE shit for 9 hours.  Of course – I can’t have a McMansion in Calabasas but you know what?  I CAN have French fries in Hollywood & so having French fries in Hollywood is what I did.  TWO DAYS IN A ROW!  Except for a little olive oil – these are really just baked potatoes in miniature form.  Virtually guiltless.  SO yummy!  And so many options for dipping.  I used ketchup & two (non-vegan) aiolis from Stonewall kitchen – mainly because I am drawn to their packaging and I like to pay too much for things that are still affordable even at exorbitant prices.  The Sriracha one is better than the truffle one – in my opinion – and these two things could easily be made at home using vegan mayo.

I read somewhere that adding a tablespoon or two of sugar to the fries aids in crispiness without adding sweetness.  I will try that next time & add an update here.  Meanwhile – this is just potatoes, olive oil and S&P.  Eat two whole potatoes worth?  Maybe 400 calories.  400 calories?  I stress my way through that by lunch time – but – the stress does release cortisol into my system & leaves me just as fat as fries with no stress would – so – I’m not sure I am getting the best deal – BUT – these fries remain in a low calorie category, they are easy & cheap & do a lot to fill gaping holes in your soul that are supposed to be filled with various senses of personal accomplishment and with love (love from OTHERS – not this fickle & unreliable self-love shit).  I say – if you are gonna live a hollow & lonely life filled with missed opportunity, lost affection, inevitable aging, self-loathing & regret – these fries might be all that is left to live for.  Oh – and dogs.  Dogs & fries.  And champagne. And this paddle ball & that chair.

OK – I digress.

I read that soaking the sliced potatoes in ICED WATER helps them release starches & aids in the crisping process.  So – do it for as long as you can – or at least for as long as it takes your oven to heat up.

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Easy Crispy Oven Baked French Fries

INGREDIENTS

Russet potatoes – peeled (or not) & cut into fries of the thickness you prefer (I went about the size of my pinkies)

Olive oil

S&P

POTENTIAL GARNISH – crushed garlic warmed for about a minute in a frying pan with some olive oil – or chopped herbs or Parmesan or a drizzle of truffle oil.

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DIRECTIONS

Prepare the potatoes & soak them in icy cold water.

Heat the oven to 450-475.

After the potatoes have soaked for at least 15 minutes – dry them off.  I did this by rolling them in paper towels wrapped in a kitchen towel.

Toss with as little olive oil as you can use & still get a thin coat on all the potatoes.  Other oils – like canola or vegetable oil – would work, too.

Toss with S&P and maybe a TBS of sugar?  I tossed them by putting the potato, olive oil and S&P in a Ziplock bag or Tupperware container & shaking the shit outta them.

Spread the fries out on a cooking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper because it is magical & nothing sticks to it but foil & cooking spray would work, too).  Do not let the fries touch each other or they won’t get crispy.

Bake the fries for between 30 minutes to an hour – depending on the thickness of the fries & the effectiveness of the oven.  Turn them in about 15-20 minute intervals – so at least two sides get browned.  Don’t overcook them & pull out the thinnest ones as the fatter ones still require cooking.  Eat those as a treat to yourself for doing the fucking cooking.

Here are mine at about half way through the process & before I flipped them.  When they are done – eat’m up!  See how easy?

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Vegan Asian Chicken & Potatoes in Spicy Gravy for the Slow Cooker for a Group

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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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So – an old & dear friend of mine recently married the love of his life.  When I asked if they were registered – he requested that I bring a dish for the reception instead.  He & his husband are vegan – so I agreed to bring a slow cooker full of vegan yumminess for their 40 guests.  I would not be the only one bringing food – so my dish was just to be one of many.  I was excited to participate in the cooking because I felt it was a great way to introduce his non-vegan guests (which grew to 70) to a smorgasbord of vegan delights.  Initially, I was going to make my 10-Minute Firecracker Chicken – seen below.

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And – I did make it – but then I decided that the sharp flavor of the buffalo sauce might not have the broadest appeal – and that five pounds of vegan chicken might be unpleasantly heavy.  So – I endeavored to mellow the flavors and I added potatoes & carrots to lighted it up a tad.  The result is this dish I present today.  It is still genuinely spicy but has more of a stew-like vibe going on – though it still has a bit of the sweet from the brown sugar in the Firecracker recipe – and the flavors are distinctly Asian.  I made it in a 7-quart slow cooker so this recipe makes a LOT!   If you are not feeding a group – either be prepared to freeze a bunch of this stuff – or cut the recipe down.  I served it with my Coconut & Ginger Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds – seen below.  They worked very well together!

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Vegan Asian Chicken & Potatoes in Spicy Gravy for the Slow Cooker for a Group

Serves many – especially with rice

INGREDIENTS

3 lbs vegan chicken (I used Beyond Meat)

3 large Russet potatoes – peeled & cubed

8 large carrots – sliced

2 cups buffalo sauce (I used Frank’s)

2-3 cups brown sugar (I used 3 but I think I would use less in the future)

6 TBS apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup Hoisin sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari)

1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used Hak’s – seen above)

1 cup vegan oyster flavored sauce

1/4 sesame oil

Crushed red pepper (to taste) – I used about 2-3 TBS

2 cups water

GARNISH – sliced scallions (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

You could probably just throw everything into the cooker & leave it on high for three hours – with the top off – and it should thicken up nicely but because this was for a reception – I wanted to be sure the sauce was thick – so – I cooked it down stove top first.

To do that – put the buffalo sauce, sugar, cider vinegar, crushed red pepper, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, BBQ sauce and oyster sauce into a sauce pan & bring to a rolling boil.  In a little bit – less than ten minutes – it should look like molten lava – like in the video above.  It looks like it would burn the fuck out of you – so be very careful with it.  Once it is thick – put it & everything else into the slow cooker (including the water), mix it all up & cook, on high, 2 hrs or more – or until it is thick again & the veggies are tender.  If it does not thicken – keep cooking on high with the top off.

Serve with rice and maybe some sliced scallions.

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Vegan Beef & Vegetable Bibimbap Bowls

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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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Bibimbap!  A signature Korean dish.  Bibimbap translates literally to “mixed rice.”  Typically made with sauteed vegetables, beef, gochujang sauce & topped with a fried egg – diners mix it all up before eating it – so that the yolk & the gochujang sauce get completely incorporated.  It photographs very well – especially when using that egg.   Look HERE at how gorgeous it can be!   I think some people even serve it with a raw egg & let the heat of the other ingredients cook the egg.  I did not do this.  I used no egg at all and Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles rather than real beef.  Depending on your diet & tastes, you could add egg or eliminate the vegan meat – or use different vegetables.

The most critical ingredient is the gochujang sauce.  Gochujang is a spicy, red paste – thicker than ketchup – that adds the distinct flavor to this dish.  If you cannot find it locally – HERE are a ton of options available on Amazon.  It is not expensive & should last in your fridge as long as any other condiment – which, let’s face it, for most of us means – years.  Korean markets sell it in gigantic tubs – so that should tell you how critical it is to Korean dishes.

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I used this Chinese BBQ sauce – which I later discovered has honey in it.  Oops!  Well – I am not strictly vegan but, if you are, be sure to buy a vegan Asian BBQ sauce (maybe a Korean BBQ sauce) – or any smokey/mesquite BBQ sauce that you like.

You need to cook everything separately to get the gorgeous presentation – but everything comes together in under twenty minutes – as long as you start with cooked, warm rice.  If not – I guess it would come together while the rice cooked.  I used leftover Coconut & Ginger Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds – but plain steamed rice is actually probably better.  Whatever you decide – I hope you try this recipe because it is really healthy & satisfying!

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Vegan Beef & Vegetable Bibimbap Bowls

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1-2 cups cooked rice (depending on how much rice you want to eat)

1/2 lb shitake (or other) mushrooms

2-3 carrots – grated or cut into matchsticks

5 oz fresh spinach

1 large zucchini – grated, cut into matchsticks or, as I did it, spiralized

A handful of bean sprouts

9 oz vegan ground beef

4 TBS soy sauce (or tamari) – divided

1 TBS brown sugar

1 TBS Mirin

1-2 tsp sesame oil

Salt

2 TBS BBQ sauce (Korean or Chinese or other mesquite BBQ sauce)

Sesame seeds – back and/or white (toasted or not)

I added Asian micro greens as garnish but they are $$ and silly – but they just LOOK so nice!

for the gochujang sauce

2 TBS gochujang

1 TBS brown sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp soy sauce (or tamari)

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DIRECTIONS

Make some steamed rice.

Mix the gochujang sauce with a whisk & set aside.

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Heat about 1/2 tsp sesame oil in a saute pan.  Cook the carrots with a pinch of salt until just softening.  If your matchsticks are thick like mine are – add a TBS or so of water & steam them a bit.  Set aside.

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In the same pan – add 1/4 tsp sesame oil & cook the zucchini until just tender.  The water trick works here, too, if you need it.  Set aside.

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In the same pan – add 1/4 tsp sesame oil & cook the spinach until just wilted.  The water trick works here, too, if you need it.  Set aside.

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In the same pan, heat about 1/2 tsp sesame oil  & cook the mushrooms.  When they start to wilt, add 2 TBS soys sauce, 1 TBS brown sugar & 1 TBS mirin.  Cook until the liquid is absorbed.  Set aside.

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In the same pan, heat the beef with sesame oil, soy sauce & BBQ sauce until warmed through.

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Now – you assemble your bibimbap bowls – pretty much any way you like – but keeping everything separate.  Remember a spot for the gochujang sauce.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds & serve!  When ready to dig in – REALLY mix all that shit up!  Completely incorporate everything & chow the fuck down!

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Spicy Vegan Beef Panang Curry for the Slow Cooker

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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 made this in a little slow cooker.  It doesn’t have any settings so I am just gonna call its default setting “high.”  I made it out of with whatever I had around & you can do the same thing.   Mix & match veggies or use chicken or no meat (vegan or otherwise).  Your call.  This came out genuinely spicy because I left the seeds in the jalapeno.  If heat bugs you, you can seed the jalapeno or skip it altogether.  The only exotic ingredient was my inclusion of these dried kaffir lime leaves.  Fresh ones would be immensely better but they are not carried consistantly by the Asian markets in which I shop.  I got these guys a Lassen’s.   They were very mild – almost to the point of being useless – so – I would not invest in them again.  If you cannot find fresh kaffir lime leaves – lime zest will suffice.

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I served this delicious curry over that beautiful Coconut & Ginger Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds.  The coconut & ginger flavors of the rice we overwhelmed by the heavier curry flavors but the pomegranate seeds added a nice texture & flavor.   They make a beautiful pairing visually & taste very good together.

This could be made stove top by just simmering it all until the veggies are soft.

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Spicy Vegan Beef Panang Curry for the Slow Cooker

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz (or 2-3 cups) vegan beef (I used Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble)

4 oz mushrooms – sliced

1/2 red bell pepper – chopped

1 jalapeno – seeded (or not – if you love spice) and diced

1/2 onion – diced

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

4 oz Panang curry paste (or red curry paste)

5 fresh (or dried) kaffir lime leaves – sliced (or the zest of 1 lime)

Handful of Thai (or regular) basil or cilantro – chopped

1/2 cup peas

GARNISH: Thai (or regular) basil or cilantro, lime wedges, chopped peanuts, cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything except the peas & the garnish into a slow cooker & cook on high for 2-3 hours or until the veggies are tender.  Stir in the peas & let them heat through.

Serve with rice & garnish of choice.

OR – this could be made stove top by just simmering it all until the veggies are soft.

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Vegan Sausage, Broccoli & Cheese Quiche with Tofu & Fried Sage

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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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This quiche is very dense with the vegan sausage – and it was quite tasty!  I bet if you told someone it was egg whites rather than tofu – you could fool a bunch of folks.  You might not want so much sausage in yours and – if that is true – just use more broccoli to make up the gap.

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Vegan Sausage, Broccoli & Cheese Quiche with Tofu & Fried Sage

INGREDIENTS

1 lb extra firm tofu

14 oz vegan sausage (I used Lightlife Gimme Lean)

1/2 large onion – diced

1 small head broccoli – chopped

1 jalapeno – seeded & diced (optional)

3 (or more) slices cheese of your choice (I used Field Roast Chao Tomato Cayenne)

10-15 sage leaves

1 vegan pie crust

5-10 cherry tomatoes – quartered

Olive oil

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 1 TBS olive oil to a pan & flash fry (just a minute or so) – the sage – being sure not to burn it (see above photo).  Drain on paper towels.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large frying pan & brown the sausage.  Add the onion & saute a few minutes & then add the broccoli & saute until the broccoli is softened.

In a blender or food processor – pulse the tofu, jalapeno, cheese, fried sage & some S&P until well blended.  Add this to the sausage & broccoli & mix well.

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Press the crust into a pan & fill with the sausage etc.  Crinkle the edges – if you care to – and top with tomato pieces.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the crust is nice & golden.  My oven heats unevenly – hence the unevenly cooked crust.

Let it sit 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Devour!

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