2-Ingredient Vegan Persimmon Ice Cream – Made in the Blender

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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 bought persimmons because they are in season & they are beautiful & I wanted to create something amazing from them.  Then – they sat on my counter, judging me, for several days and then began to pass their peak of ripeness.  Not wanting to just let them rot – I Googled for recipes & saw this picture – below – from Snapguide.

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The recipe boasted only two ingredients and, better yet, required the persimmons be frozen.  Freezing them allowed me to store them indefinitely & stop their ripening process – so I could use them whenever I was ready.  I was ready today.

So – I busted them out of the freezer – peeled & cubed them – and blended them with a can of full-fat coconut milk.  I was certain I was going to need sugar – but I didn’t!  And this stuff IS INSANELY DELICIOUS!  It took ten minutes to make & only a blender!   Just incredible!  I cannot recommend it highly enough!  And look how gorgeous!

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2-Ingredient Vegan Persimmon Ice Cream – Made in the Blender

Makes a pint or so…

INGREDIENTS

5 persimmons – frozen solid (you can peel & cube them before or after they are frozen but it is easier before – then just put the cubes in a freezer bag & use when ready)

1 (15 oz) can of coconut milk

Garnish: pomegranate seeds (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Blend until smooth.  Serve immediately with pomegranate seeds or store in the freezer.

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Chef’d & Beyond Meat Smash-Up – Part 2 – Beyond Beef Vegan Feisty Tacos with Black Beans

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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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vromans back

There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home. I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed. One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person. Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals for two each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decide for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row. Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.

Chef’d has solved those problems. No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it. Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month. Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes. And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (impressive – no?). I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance. I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me. I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & will post about the tacos here – the burgers are in THIS post.
Here is what showed up (for the tacos – enough to feed 4):
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As with the Beast Burgers – I am very familiar with Beyond Meat‘s Feisty crumbles & I am already a fan.  And again – as with the Chef’d Beat Burger meal – this meal came together quickly & easily & everything tasted fresh & delicious.  In this case – there was a lot of extra vegan cheese (I am not complaining!) and more than enough chipotle Vegenaise (again – not complaining – especially as it came in the tiny condiment jars I am so fond of).
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The recipe called for guacamole with crushed red pepper in it.  I am a guacamole purist (just avocado, lime & salt, please) – so – I opted just to slice the avocado & use it naked and I added all the crushed red pepper supplied (enough for 4 tacos) into the beefy crumbles meant for two (I like spice).
The black beans come together in 5 minutes & the lime & cilantro make them taste light & fresh & clean – not lard-heavy or mushy.
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And the feisty beef crumbles also only took about 5 minutes.  Because I added lots of crushed red pepper – they were also very spicy.  I forgot to add the chipotle Vegenaise until after I had taken most of the pictures but it was a nice flavor layered in with the tortillas, crumbles, lettuce & avocado.
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And again – like with the Beast Burgers – this meal was flavorful, robust, filling and SO EASY to make!  What a great pair of options for any vegan or vegetarian – especially a newby not sure where to start – and for anyone looking to cut back on meat but not on flavor or protein.
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taco

Chef’d & Beyond Meat Smash-Up – Part 1 – Vegan Beast Burger & Cucumber Dill Salad

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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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vromans back

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There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & will post about the burger here – and the tacos in another post HERE.
Here is what showed up (for the burgers):
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The box included everything I needed to make 4 Beast Burgers & the Cucumber Dill Salad.  I take childlike delight in tiny condiment bottles – to the degree that I didn’t want to open these & used some existing condiments I had.  So goofy.
Anyway – everything is outlined very clearly & the ingredients are pre-measured so – no measuring & no extra ingredients to leave around, unused, forever.
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The Cucumber Dill Salad came together in five minutes & was tangy & crisp & light.
And – no surprise – the Beast Burger was huge & meaty & delicious!  I have had many Beyond Meat burgers in the past but – it was nice to have all the things I needed right there – including just 4 buns for the 4 burgers.  My freezer is jammed with freezer-burned buns that I stuck in there after buying a whole bag but only wanting one burger.
Assembled – the burger really is a beast & just as messy as any burger ad you see on TV – in the best possible way.   I feel like this is a great choice for a family of four on a night when there is minimal time to get dinner together – OR – to bring to a meat-eaters BBQ.  With this meal plan – you can walk into a BBQ with everything you need to provide 4 vegans/vegetarians with something as tempting as anything else likely to be served there – no fuss & no waste.
Be sure to check out their TACO dinner (seen below) HERE.
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VEGAN10.2 Label

Thanksgiving Vegan Torta Rustica with Creamed Spinach and Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes & Sweet Potato-Butternut Squash Puree

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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 – this one takes a few steps but all are easy & you end up with a GIGANTIC mound of all things savory & Thanksgivingy!  It is a bread course, sweet potato/squash dish, creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes & chicken courses – all rolled into one.  You can sub out the ingredients to suit your tastes.  This is basically an enclosed shepherd’s pie & is as versatile at shepherd’s pie is.

**PLEASE NOTE** – transferring this tart from the cooking sheet onto a serving platter might prove VERY tricky.  It will be very heavy – and the warmer it is when you try to transfer it – the more delicate that procedure will be.  It would SUCK to put all the work in – only to break it when you are ready to serve it.  If you don’t have two very large spatulas – and maybe an assistant – perhaps consider cooking this on something you can also serve it on.  Surrounding it with leafy kale (or other greens) at the base & a few cranberries & it will look festive & spare you the trauma of transferring it to a platter.  SERIOUSLY consider baking & serving from the same piece.  I am devastated just imagining what a failed transfer would do to my life – and I don’t want that for you.

Thanksgiving Vegan Torta Rustica with Creamed Spinach, Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes & Sweet Potato-Butternut Squash Puree

Feeds 8 easily

INGREDIENTS

for the soft tart dough

4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

8 ounces vegan butter

3/4 cup silken tofu – pureed (I just smashed it all up with a fork)

1/3 cup vegan milk

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for the creamed spinach 

1 small onion or large shallot – diced

1 lb fresh spinach

2 (9 oz) packages vegan chicken (I highly recommend Beyond Meat brand.  Best on the market!) – cubed

4 oz vegan cream cheese

1/2 cup vegan milk

4 slices vegan cheese (I used the Chao below)

S&P

Olive oil

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for the scalloped potatoes

2-3 medium potatoes – peeled & cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

2 cups vegan milk

7 oz vegan cheese (I used that Daiya below)

1 cup panko or other bread crumbs

S&P

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for the sweet potato-butternut squash puree

1 butternut squash – peeled & cubed

1 large sweet potato – peeled & cubed

4 TBS vegan butter

Pinch of nutmeg

S&P

PARCHMENT PAPER for cooking

Vegan egg wash – small but equal parts agave nectar – soy milk – olive oil

GARNISH – kale (or other leafy greens) and fresh cranberries – to arrange around the tart.

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DIRECTIONS

for the soft tart dough

By food processor: Combine flour, salt & butter in a food processor using a metal blade.  Process with short pulses until the mixture is crumbly.  Add tofu with short pulses.  Add milk, gradually, with short pulses until it begins to clump and – eventually – orbit as a ball inside the food processor.  You might need a little more flour.  When the dough is formed – it will be very soft.   Gather it into a ball & wrap it tightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 3 days.  When ready to roll it out bring it back to room temperature and flour a work surface to facilitate handling.

By hand: combine flour & salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center & add the butter and the smashed silken tofu.  Lightly blend the butter & tofu with fingertips.  With a knife or pastry blade, cut the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture.  Gradually, add the milk – tossing with a fork until the dough comes together.  The dough will be very soft.  Add more flour if it is too wet.  Gather it into a ball & wrap it tightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 3 days.  When ready to roll it out bring it back to room temperature and flour a work surface to facilitate handling.

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for the scalloped potatoes

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour & a little S&P.  Heat until it just begins to turn golden then slowly add the milk – letting it thicken before you add more.  When all the milk is incorporated & it is still sorta thick – melt in the cheese.  Season with salt & pepper.  Toss with the sliced potatoes & place in a greased casserole dish.  Top with panko or bread crumbs & cook for 45-60 minutes or until it is bubbling & the crumbs are browned.  Set aside.

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for the creamed spinach & chicken

Heat a TBS of olive oil in a saute pan & cook the onions until soft.  Add the spinach & let it wilt – then add the cream cheese & milk.  Heat until the cheese melts & you have a thick & creamy spinach.  Season with S&P & toss the chicken in & stir.  Set aside.

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for the sweet potato-butternut puree

Boil the sweet potato & butternut chunks until soft.  I then drained them & mashed them with the butter, nutmeg and S&P.  Set aside.

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to assemble the tart

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line a medium bowl with plastic wrap.  A moderately deep & wide one is best.  If the bowl is too deep – your tart will be too tall & be more likely to collapse.  Also – be sure your bowl opening (at the top) is no wider than the cooking sheet you will be using to bake the tart.

Roll out 2/3 of the dough big enough that it not only lines your bowl but has overhang.

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Place a thin layer of puree in the bottom & then a thick layer of scalloped potatoes & then the rest of the puree.  Put the four slices of cheese on top of that then all of the spinach & chicken.

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Roll out the remaining dough so that it fits the top of your bowl & then fold the edges of the bottom crust over it & use a knife or fork to pinch it sealed.  Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper & invert it on top of your tart – and VERY CAREFULLY – flip it over so your tart is sealed-side down.  Be sure to put the cooking sheet with the parchment ON TOP OF your bowl & flip.  Do not try to just flip the bowl onto the cooking sheet.   This sucker likely weighs more than a turkey & the soft dough will not withstand that much pressure.  Remove the bowl & the plastic wrap.

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I sprayed it with cooking oil but found that did not give me a golden glaze so – mix up a little vegan egg wash (small but equal parts agave nectar – soy milk – olive oil) and occasionally brush the tart as it bakes.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until it looks nice & browned.

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Look how HUGE that thing is!  See the pastry brush?  That has to be 12 inches long.

OK – here comes a tricky part.  Let it cool a while before fussing with it.  Once anything that seeped out of it has pretty much cooled – run a knife under it to loosen the tart from the escapes bits.  I used an ENORMOUS spatula & the parchment paper to very delicately shift the tart to a serving plate.  It is a heavy & unwieldy thing – so be very delicate when handling this tart – get assistance, if possible.  If the transfer is too risky for you – consider just putting some leafy greens & cranberries around the base on the pan itself & serve this bad boy directly from the cooking sheet.  Better to go low brow than having this guy fall apart.

This should be served warm but is delicious at room temperature, too.

Happy vegan Thanksgiving!

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Caramelized Fennel & Spinach Pizza with Goat Cheese

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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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Last night – in an effort to use random produce and – yes – cheese that I had in my fridge – I Googled a few ingredients and found this gorgeous pizza:

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It is Dang That’s Delicious’ Pizza with Caramelized Fennel, Spinach and Goat Cheese.  Their photos are prettier than mine – in part because I shot mine at night on my stove top with a clamp light & nothing else – never the prettiest way to go – and (I think) because they used a lotta cheese on theirs – more than I did on mine & their fennel strips remained pale green-white while mine browned – so my pizza is darker – also not always the prettiest thing.  I also used this super low end mozzarella that came in roll-up strips & browned more the way marshmallows do – rather than how cheese typically does.  No matter what the pictures say – or your preference for a lot or a little cheese – this pizza was DELICIOUS!   So – if you find yourself with this combo of things in your fridge – you cannot lose with this pizza!

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Caramelized Fennel & Spinach Pizza with Goat Cheese

(quantity of each is up to your personal preference)

1 pizza dough (your favorite – I used THIS)
Marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought – I used Rao’s Arrabbiata)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
1 fennel bulb, removed stalks and thinly sliced lengthwise (reserve the dill-like tips for garnish)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach – chopped
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
Crumbled goat cheese

(I added 1 TBS crushed red pepper)

A handful of semolina (my favorite) or other flour for rolling the dough out.

Delicate tops of the fennel – chopped – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 500F degrees.
2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Saute the fennel for 2 minutes on one side. Then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup (and crushed red pepper – if using) and continue cooking until the fennel is caramelized (about 7-10 minutes).

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3. Add the fresh spinach to the pan and cook until the spinach is just wilted.  Remove from heat.
4. Grease a cooking sheet (or – even better – use parchment paper) & place your rolled-dough on it. I like to roll my dough out on semolina flour – as it adds crunch to the crust. Top with sauce, greens & cheeses.

5.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until done to your liking.  Garnish with fennel fronds & devour!

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Cauliflower & Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Red Curry – or – Ginger & Garlic

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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 offering two ways to make this soup because the red curry one has, essentially the same flavor profile as my Vegan Spicy Thai Pumpkin & Chicken Curry – seen above.  I had a lot of extra of those ingredients so it made sense just to use them.  But – if you prefer less spice & a nice ginger flavor – I will post that recipe here, too.

This soup is easy & filling & can be completely pureed or partially pureed – leaving some chunks & texture.

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If you are using fresh pumpkin – don’t throw those seeds away!  Make my EASY Homemade Crunchy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – seen above.

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Cauliflower & Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Red Curry – or – Ginger & Garlic

Makes a lot – enough for 8-10

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower – cut into florets

1 pumpkin about the size of the cauliflower – peeled & cubed

2 leeks – sliced

2 TBS turmeric

Olive oil

1-2 (15 oz) cans of coconut milk (depending on how much produce you have & how thick you like your soup

4 cups water (or veggie stock)

S&P

GARNISH – sour cream (I used vegan Tofutti brand) or cilantro or basil on the red curry version.

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for the red curry

2 TBS red curry paste

6 kaffir lime leaves – leaves slit to release flavor (as above_ or 1 TBS lime zest

juice of 1/2 lime

OR –

for the ginger garlic

2 TBS minced fresh ginger

1-4 cloves of garlic – minced

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the cauliflower in a little olive oil & roast for 20 minutes.  No need to turn them.  Set aside.

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Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil & cook the leeks until soft – maybe 5 minutes.

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Now add EITHER:

2 TBS red curry paste

6 kaffir lime leaves – leaves slit to release flavor (as above_ or 1 TBS lime zest

juice of 1/2 lime

OR:

2 TBS minced fresh ginger

1-4 cloves of garlic – minced

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Cook for about a minute on high heat & then add pumpkin, coconut milk, water or stock & turmeric.  Bring to a boil & cook until the pumpkin is soft (this will depend on the size of your cubes).

Add about half (more or less) of the cauliflower & puree the soup.  I did this with an immersion blender but a regular blender is fine – just do it in batches & BE CAREFUL you don’t burn yourself.

Taste for seasoning.  Add salt or pepper or more curry paste or more lime or even stir in a bit more fresh ginger – depending on which version you went for.  If the soup is too thin, cook it with the top off until it thickens.  If it is too thick, add more water.

Heat the soup through & serve with a few whole roasted cauliflower florets in each bowl.  Drizzle with sour cream – if you are using it.  Serve!

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Vegan Spicy Thai Pumpkin & Chicken Curry

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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 – my friend David showed me a picture of a party he threw in his back yard & I saw hundreds (ok – dozens) of pumpkins and my imagination went crazy.  I knew most of those pumpkins – if not all – would end up sitting out & rotting until they got tossed.  So – I got bold and asked for one.  And he happily delivered one.  Here she is:

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That thing is about the size of a basketball – maybe a bit bigger.  I used 1/4 of it for this recipe.  This curry is so easy & so yummy – I REALLY hope you do not throw your holiday pumpkins away.  And know – even if cooking with pumpkin doesn’t interest you – you should AT LEAST get all those seeds out and make my EASY Homemade Crunchy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – seen above.

This recipe is very easy & comes together faster than your rice probably will – but curries like this tend to improve in the next day or two – as the flavors get really saturated & blend together.

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I used Thai basil & kaffir lime leaves (kaffir lime leaves seen above) from my local Thai market & I recommend using them if these ingredients are available to you.  If they are not available – regular basil & lime zest will suffice.

I used Beyond Meat chicken in this & I recommend it very highly as the best vegan chicken on the market.  I thawed mine & then cut the strips into irregular chunks.  You can chop them or not – your call.

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In order to not slip & cut my hand off – I put the pumpkin in my sink – stem side down the drain – to stabilize it.  To peel the pumpkin – cut it into smaller pieces.  It peels far more easily that way.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Pumpkin & Chicken Curry

SERVES 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1/4 of a basketball-sized pumpkin or equivalent – peeled & cubed

9 oz vegan chicken

1 small onion – diced

Olive oil

1-3 TBS red curry paste (according to your tolerance for heat – I used 3 TBS)

1-2 (15 oz) cans coconut milk (I used lite) – this amount is flexible based on how much pumpkin you have & how wet you like your curries (I like mine wet)

6 kaffir lime leaves – cut (like in my photo above) to release flavor (or 1+ TBS lime zest)

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS brown sugar

Juice of one lime (2+ TBS)

1 cup water (or veggie stock)

Handful of Thai (or other) basil – chopped

S&P

Bird’s eye chilies (I used 6 but quickly fished them out because the curry got VERY spicy VERY fast) – optional (or use a serrano or jalapeno pepper – if you love heat)

1 TBS Cornstarch (optional)

Cooked rice (I used brown jasmine)

GARNISH OPTIONS – lime wedges, more basil, cilantro, sliced jalapenos

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DIRECTIONS

Heat a little (1 TBS?) olive oil & saute the onion until soft.  Add 1/2 can coconut milk & the red curry paste.  Whisk to blend & bring to a boil.  Add everything else except the basil.  Bring to a boil then lower heat & simmer until the pumpkin is soft – maybe 20 minutes.  If the curry is too thin – keep cooking until it thickens OR – whisk 1 TBS cornstarch into 1/4 cup water & add to the simmering curry.  It should thicken more quickly this way.  Adjust seasonings.

When ready to serve – add the basil.  Serve with warm rice and garnish as you choose.

See?  EASY!  Ain’t you glad you didn’t throw that pumpkin away?

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