Vegan Moroccan Chicken, Chickpeas & Butternut Squash with Preserved Lemons for the Slow Cooker (or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just 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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OK – in order to make this recipe – you really will need two important ingredients – seen above – preserved lemons & ras el hanout.  The preserved lemons will give the dish its distinctive Moroccan flair and the ras el hanout will keep this stew from tasting like a curry.   You can make the ras el hanout – as it is just a blend of other spices – but buying it will be so much cheaper & easier.  See the package below – list the spices involved in that particular brand.

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I used saffron – because I had it – but saffron can be very expensive so – if you don’t have any & don’t want to shell out the funds – blow the saffron off.  Same with the harissa (a hot sauce).  The two things I really suggest you not blow off are the preserved lemons & the ras el hanout – both of which can be purchased on Amazon.

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Preserved lemons come in a jar (see above) & are simply lemons pickled in brine.  They maintain all their sharp lemon flavor but are quite salty & very soft.   The flavor they give this dish is critical – so – be patient – and get some before making this.

Other than that – this is a straight-forward slow cooker dish (which could be made by simmering on the stove, too) with ingredients that are easy to come by.  I served mine with this Trader Joe’s blend of grains but couscous is more traditional.  I like this stuff from Trader Joe’s because it is pretty & offers lots of textures.  You can serve yours with whatever grain you prefer.

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I used Beyond Meat chicken because I think it is the best on the market.  I thawed & shredded it because it breaks down in stews better that way & because – visually – it really looks like shredded chicken.   I am convinced you could slip this by meat-eaters with no complaints.

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Vegan Moroccan Chicken, Chickpeas & Butternut Squash with Preserved Lemons for the Slow Cooker (or Not)

Serves 4-6 with couscous or rice

INGREDIENTS

9-12 oz vegan chicken

1 onion – diced

2-4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas – drained

4 cups vegetable stock

1 TBS ras el hanout

1/4 – 1 preserved lemon (depending on hpw large it is) – diced small (start with less & add more as you go – just so that this flavor doesn’t get to overpowering for you) – I used the entire 1/2 lemon using all parts

Saffron (a large pinch or more) – optional

Green and/or black olives – I used half Kalamata & half large martini olives – in a quantity to suit your taste for olives – optional

1 TBS harissa (or other hot sauce) – optional

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 carrots – chopped

1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

1/2 – 1 red bell pepper – diced

1 lemon – peeled & sliced

1 handful cilantro

GARNISH – chopped cilantro or parsley, lemon wedges/slices

Cooked couscous or other grain

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8.  If you started light with the preserved lemon – taste occasionally & add more – if you like the flavor.  Overall – it should have a strong lemon flavor.  It should not need salt – because the preserved lemons, olives & stock should have that covered.

Stove top – just bring to a boil & simmer everything until the vegetables are soft – likely less than an hour.  If you started light with the preserved lemon – taste occasionally & add more – if you like the flavor.  Overall – it should have a strong lemon flavor.  It should not need salt – because the preserved lemons, olives & stock should have that covered.

In both cases – add water if it gets too thick.

Serve with whatever grain you chose & garnish with cilantro or parsley & lemon wedges.

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And Now For Something Completely Different…Sex, Sexy Selfies & Sexism

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just 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 rant of mine from a year ago today came up in my Facebook Memories feed today – so I re-read it.  It still had the same resonance for me – so I am sharing it again – here.

Maybe I am old or cranky or even wrong (there will be many opinions) – but I am provoked to vent a tad here. The fury about Michelle Obama not covering her head in an extremely misogynist region and a reaction I read to the song I posted here & another slut-shaming women for posting sexy selfies – all piss me off. Outside of the danger of under-age girls sending inappropriate images out to linger in the ether forever (which is dangerous & a real problem – I understand THAT) – I say – grown-up ladies – knock your fucking selves out! Michelle Obama has no obligation to respect a religious/cultural law/custom that demeans her/women – especially as folks from those cultures do not assume Western traditions when on western soil (read about the ultra-Orthodox men holding up flights by refusing to sit next to women). And if women want to post images of themselves that highlight their sexuality – so what? The argument that men get aroused or that the women are objectifying themselves – again – so what? I don’t agree but even if it were true – I still say – so what? If they want to post sexy selfies – they can. This song – is a light & superficial lady power song (this version here is SO CUTE) & I saw it criticized because someone felt it still preaches that a woman’s value is in her appeal to men. What about just wanting to feel sexy or pretty in your own skin?? When I get dressed up or wear tight clothes or whateverthefuck – I do it because I WANT TO – not because I give a fuck about some guy on the street & his opinion. It is my own opinion of myself that I struggle with – not YOUR opinion of me. Same thing when I do not wear make-up or when I wear baggy clothes. Guess what? FOR ME – not the pleasure or displeasure of men. Suggesting that women should never post sexy images of themselves because it cheapens them is just wading into the same waters that led to burkas. Sexuality is huge part of being human and sex is GOOD CLEAN FUN – not a dirty secret – & just about everybody likes to look at naked or sexy images of people. And guess what? WOMEN like to look at sexy & nude pictures of other women – whether or not they get aroused or want to fuck them. The female body is beautiful. So – if women finding power – any power – whatever way they can – even if it is in their sexuality – or even if it is in their appeal to others – even if you don’t understand how it is they feel empowered -then oh, well – that is none of your business. If you are uncomfortable with it – don’t DO it & don’t look at it – but your discomfort is your fucking problem. I am so sick of slut-shaming & fucking expecting women everywhere to conform to standards that make others comfortable. Pubic hair banned on Instagram? WTF? If you want to get worked up about something – why not focus on already-very-thin models being photoshopped to look even thinner so that your ‘tween daughters see unrealistic beauty standards everywhere & start dieting before they get their first period? Harumph! So – yeah. Let the shit storm begin.
Oh yeah – and here are four self portraits from 2008. Blow me, haters.

Here is the video I mentioned above:

All About That [Upright] Bass – Meghan Trainor Cover – Postmodern Jukebox ft. Kate Davis

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10-Ingredient Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just 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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Honest to God – this might be the most fucking delicious vegan meal I have ever made!  Seriously!  And to think it only came together because I had a fridge full of random leftovers & ingredients that I needed to be done with.  I had a package of Tofutti American cheese, several slices of their mozzarella cheese (both of which I totally shit-talked in my vegan cheese review) & some leftover pasta.  Oh – and two Chinese eggplants.

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I actually had this selection of vegan cheeses – seen above.  I opted to use the individual slices first because 1) they were getting old and 2) I thought this dish would make better use of (read: mask) their less than fabulous flavor.  Ultimately – I did use some of the other two cheeses, as well.  The result is AMAZING!  You can use whatever vegan cheeses you prefer but you are going to need about a pound of various cheeses – before all is said & done.

I used Chinese eggplant & I recommend them because they are less bitter & carry less moisture than regular eggplant.

I used nutritional yeast but a vegan Parmesan would also work.  Or use neither.

This takes a few steps but all are simple & the result is a decadent feast that nobody would ever guess was vegan – at least with this particular combination of cheeses.  I find some vegan cheeses taste more fake than others – so – the brands you use will matter – but I am certain lots of other brands would be just as yummy – especially the Field Roast Chao cheeses – my favorite of the vegan cheeses I have tried.

Whatever you do – get it together to make this – at least once.  It really is killer!

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10-Ingredient Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Mac & Cheese

Feeds 4-6 depending on appetites

INGREDIENTS

4+ cups or so of cooked pasta

2 Chinese eggplant (or other variety) – sliced 1/2″ thick

1 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan)

1 TBS dry parsley

8 oz (or 12 individual slices) vegan American or cheddar cheese (or a mix) – PLUS SOME  EXTRA – just in case

4 oz (or 6 individual slices) vegan mozzarella – PLUS SOME  EXTRA – just in case

(Extra grated vegan cheese to top the casserole – one that melts would be prettiest)

2 – 3 cups unsweetened vegan milk

1 1/2 – 2 cups pasta sauce (I used Rao’s Arrabbiata)

Basil or parsley (or both) – chopped for garnish

Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast & dry parsley in a bowl.  Put about 1/2 cup milk in another bowl.  Heat some olive oil in a frying pan.  Dunk the eggplant rounds in the milk & then through the breadcrumbs and drop into the hot oil.  They should brown pretty quickly.  Flip & brown the other side.  Put on a cooking sheet & into the oven while you repeat the process until all the eggplant is cooked.  You will likely need to wipe out the burnt breadcrumbs & add more oil with each batch.

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In a stock pot, melt the American and/or cheddar cheese.   Add vegan milk in small increments until it becomes creamy.   Stir in the pasta.  At this point – I decided it needed more cheese so I added two slices of this cheese (below) and a bit more milk & cooked it until it looked wet & yummy & creamy.   I am not giving exact directions as to the cheese-milk-pasta ratio because different cheeses might have more or less moisture – and everyone has a different idea of how wet mac & cheese should be.    I would suggest going a little wet – as the pasta & eggplant will absorb it & you won’t have a dry dish.

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Look at that up there!!!!  Doesn’t that look just ridiculous?!  It was all I could do not to just start shoving it in my face.  But I used considerable will power & continued with the recipe.

So – when you get your pasta-cheese-milk ratio to where it looks creamy but still a bit wet (so it won’t dry out in cooking) – take it off the flame.

Grease a casserole pan & layer half the eggplant on the bottom.

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Add another layer of eggplant with the rest of the slices & top with pasta sauce.

In the same pan you melted the cheese in – melt the mozzarella & pour it over your casserole & pop the pan into the oven.

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At this point – I took my dogs for a walk – COMPLETELY forgetting I had this in the oven.  I think it needed 30-45 minutes in the 375 oven – but it got way more than that.  Don’t burn yours.  I kinda did.   Look – not so pretty.

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So – in an effort to make it pretty again – I grated some of that cheese above onto it & popped it back into the oven for about ten minutes.  As you can see – it did little to make it prettier (that cheese did not want to melt) – but when I scooped it onto plates – it looked & SMELLED amazing!

So – maybe do not burn yours & it will be prettier but nobody needs to see it before it hits the plate, anyway.

So – scoop some onto plates & garnish with parsley and/or basil.  I swear – this will fool people out of suspecting it is vegan.  So yummy & comforting!

Waste no time & devour it!

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Vegan Avocado Tacos

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just 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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Tacos are like pizza – in that – there is one for everyone.  Everybody can find one type of taco or pizza that fits their tastes – even if they are wildly finicky.  And – like pizza – they are fun to eat.  My tacos today are all veggie – with no protein outside the black beans.  Light & clean & all raw – outside of the tortillas.  No muss – no fuss.  Lots of textures & flavors.  A perfect lunch for someone looking for a quick & light meal.

Like with my pizzas & other taco posts – I am really just sharing with you what I used in MY tacos.  You can add other stuff  or lose some things – because tacos are a very forgiving meal.  Some folks just want meat & maybe cabbage on there – others want their tacos fully loaded & bursting.  So – make these to suit yourself.

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Vegan Avocado Tacos

My tacos included:

Street-taco-sized tortillas (very small)

Avocado slices

Black beans (drained & rinsed)

Red bell pepper – diced

Purple cabbage – sliced

Cilantro

Chipotle Vegenaise

Lime wedges

OTHER OPTIONS:  Lettuce, cabbage, corn, pico de gallo, sliced radishes, vegan chicken or beef crumbles, vegan sour cream or a vegan cheese, shredded carrots, guacamole, salsa, scallions, jalapenos, diced onion.

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DIRECTIONS

Grill the tortillas on the stove burners a bit on each side to warm & add grill marks. Assemble at will!

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Vegan Mixed Vegetable Burrito Bowl with Cauliflower “Rice”

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just 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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Burrito bowls – easy & endlessly customizable.  I used leftover Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice” – seen just above – and that made this bowl virtually guiltless – because cauliflower rice is just grated cauliflower.  The only ingredients left in the bowl that were not vegetable were the vegan cheese & the black beans.

So – there is no real recipe here – but rather a list of ingredients I used & a few suggested alternate or additional ingredients.

I used a teensy bit of bottled vinaigrette on my bowl.  You can toss yours with dressing or a squeeze of lime & some olive oil – or just lime – or whip up a:

Lime & Cumin Vinaigrette

1/3 cup olive oil

3 TBS lime juice

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

S&P to taste

Whisked together.

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Vegan Mixed Vegetable Burrito Bowl with Cauliflower “Rice”

MY ingredients were:

Cauliflower rice (you can use regular cooked rice or try one of my cauliflower rices)

Sliced avocado

Black beans – drained & rinsed

Cherry tomatoes – halved

Arugula (you can use any lettuce or leafy greens you prefer)

Purple cabbage – sliced

Red onion – diced

Jalapeno slices

Vegan cheesed – chopped

Cilantro

Lime juice & wedges

Dressing of choice

OTHER POTENTIAL INGREDIENTS – corn, pico de gallo, sliced radishes, vegan chicken or beef crumbles, vegan sour cream or a vegan Mexican-style cheese, bell pepper, shredded carrots, guacamole, salsa, scallions, corn tortilla strips, quinoa or lentils or other grain – rather than rice.

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DIRECTIONS

Assemble the bowls as you like or let individuals assemble their own.  Add whatever dressing you like & mix it all up.  Easy peasy!

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Easy Roasted Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes) with Herbs

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I had never seen or heard of sunchokes until my Farm Fresh to You veggie delivery offered them.   Intrigued – I ordered some.  They look like ginger but – when you cut them – the texture inside is more like a water chestnut or a radish.  Online – a bit of research revealed that people spoke of how wonderful these things are roasted because they get crispy on the outside but really soft & creamy on the inside.  So – I commenced to roasting them.

While they cooked, I did some more research and happened upon a blog post where the blogger claimed that – after eating roasted sunchokes – she was struck with a 24-hour bout of explosive diarrhea.  Her husband was ill for 12 hours.  So – I added a few key words to my sunchoke searches & it because clear that LOTS of people get horrible digestive & tummy issues after eating these things.  Apparently – they are unaffectionately nicknamed “fartichokes.”  Someone went so far as to say it was “irresponsible” for restaurants to serve them.  Jeez.  I looked at my oven warily as I toyed with the idea of just throwing the sunchokes I had directly into the trash.  But – 45 or so minutes later – they came out of the oven looking all golden & delicious – I could not resist trying one.  It was definitely softer & creamier inside than a potato would have been – and the subtle flavor it had definitely resembled the taste of an artichoke heart – but with a hint of sweetness.  I read somewhere someone saying these taste a lot like Terra chips – but I just got artichoke with sugar.   Of course, I immediately imagined my stomach rumbling in objection – but that was just paranoia.  I ate two or three more bites before I decided the sweetness was unpleasant & determined I had ample reason to throw the rest away – which I did.

So – between the flavor being off & the risk of an explosive shit storm – I don’t think I am endorsing these guys.  Attempt at your own risk!

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Easy Roasted Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes) with Herbs

INGREDIENTS

Sunchokes – washed & cut into bite-sized pieces

Olive oil

Fresh thyme

Dry rosemary

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the sunchokes in a bit of olive oil & stir in a few tablespoons of fresh herbs.  Season with S&P.

Roast for 40-60 minutes or until they are soft & golden.

Eat at your own risk!  🙂

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Roasted Fennel & Mushroom Pizza

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just 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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Ah, pizza!  This is not really a recipe – in that the quantities you use of each ingredient is up to you – as is the sauce you use & the dough you use.  I roasted the mushrooms – seen above (that recipe is HERE) and the fennel – but you could slice them very thin & use them raw.  I used real mozzarella here but your favorite vegan cheese will do.  It is pizza and pizza loves you no matter what.

Roasted Fennel & Mushroom Pizza

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough ( I use this No-Rise thin crust recipe, lately)

Sauce (I always use Rao’s Arrabbiata)

Cheese

Roasted (or raw) sliced mushrooms

1 large fennel bulb – sliced very thin

Olive oil

Salt

Chopped basil as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Roast the mushrooms as outlined HERE – of just use them raw.

To roast the fennel – heat the oven to 400.  Toss the fennel slices with a little olive oil & a bit of salt.  Roast for 10-20 minutes – or until the fennel is soft & just turning color.

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Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

I love parchment paper as nothing sticks to it so I recommend it highly.  If you don’t have any – lightly grease your cooking sheet.

Roll out the dough & put it on the sheet.  Top with sauce, fennel, mushrooms & cheese.  Cook for about 12 minutes or until the crust is golden & the cheese is melted.  Add the basil & get busy getting your eat on!

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DDD #88 – Garlic Roasted “Simon & Garfunkel” Mushrooms with Mixed Herbs – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just 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 love mushrooms.  This dish is very simple and could be tossed with pasta or dropped onto a pizza or even served on top of a piece of meat.  I used all button mushrooms but any variety or combination of various mushrooms would be lovely.  Mushrooms shrink a lot when they are cooked so you should probably make more than you think you need.

Garlic Roasted “Simon & Garfunkel” Mushrooms with Mixed Herbs – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs mushrooms – sliced

Olive oil

2+ garlic cloves – sliced

1-2 TBS each: thyme, sage, rosemary

Fresh chopped parsley as garnish

(If you are feeling fancy, drizzle some nice balsamic on them – or a bit of truffle oil)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil, the garlic, sage, rosemary & thyme.

Cook for about 45 minutes – stirring once.  Season with S&P & garnish with parsley.  If using balsamic or truffle oil – get on that & then eat this yummy guys!

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Vegan Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches with Cucumber, Fennel & Arugula

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just 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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These are not technically a purists version of a tea sandwich – as most tea sandwiches use white bread & have the crusts cut off.  And – you can opt to do that with these but I thought some healthier bread would be nice & I like the crust of the bread.

I used Ezekial 4:9 Low Sodium bread but you can use whatever you like.  I also used Tofutti brand vegan cream cheese.  You can use your own favorite brand.  And – I used thinly sliced cucumber & fennel & a few arugula leaves – and this was quite a yummy lunch.

This isn’t really a recipe – as you can pile as little or as much of each ingredient onto your bread as you desire.  I’m just making suggestion about the flavor combo.   This sort of light sandwich is traditionally served with tea in the afternoon – to stave off appetites until dinner.

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Vegan Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches with Cucumber, Fennel & Arugula

INGREDIENTS

Bread of your choice – crusts cut off or left on

Vegan cream cheese

Fresh fennel – sliced very thin

Cucumber – sliced thin

Arugula

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Spread some cream cheese on both pieces of bread and add S&P.  Top with the veggies & assemble the sandwich.  Cut crusts away if you prefer.  Slice up the sandwich.  Eat – especially with some nice hot tea.

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Vegan Fish Tacos

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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 just 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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So – I have been experimenting with some vegan seafoods.  So far – I have tried the crab cakes & the shrimp seen just above.  They LOOK promising but they are truly vile. Absolutely disgusting & inedible.  The shrimp are TEENY & look and taste like breaded paste.  The crab cakes are only slightly better but certainly NOT worth the calories they represent.  I have not yet tried those freezer-burned scallops (above) but I think they might be best served in a scallop salad – like a tuna salad – and I am not ready to get into that yet.

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The Gardein fishless filets, however, are a REVELATION!  The breading is good, there is only 180 calories in two filets & they look and taste like any frozen fish stick – but with none of the kinda gross fishy-ness some of those products have.  These are truly genius & made wonderful fish tacos!  I give these a very enthusiastic endorsement!

As to tacos – people like them the way they like them.  I think – like pizza – nobody really needs a recipe but, rather, maybe a few suggestions.  For my fish tacos, I used street-taco-sized corn tortillas, grilled them on my stove burners a bit & topped them.  I cheated a teensy bit & used real feta on these – because I had it & I thought it would photography well – but feta is certainly not the star of this dish.  The stars are the fishless filets & avocado – because avocado can hold its own in most flavor battles.

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Vegan Fish Tacos

INGREDIENTS

Corn or flour tortillas – grilled on the stove burners

Fishless filets – cooked according to the package (takes 12 minutes once your oven is to temperature) and sliced up (I used two filets for 3 tacos)

Cilantro

Avocado – sliced

Purple cabbage – sliced

Red bell pepper – diced

Chipotle vegenaise (or vegan sour cream)

Lime wedges

Crumbled vegan cheese of your choice (optional)

OTHER TOPPINGS – diced tomato, sliced lettuce, jalapenos, pico de gallo, sliced scallions, sliced radishes, diced red onion, hot sauce

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DIRECTIONS

Grill the tortillas on the stove burners a bit on each side to warm & add grill marks. Assemble at will!

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Vegan South Indian Coconut Curry with Mushrooms & Peas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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Pictured above with Creamy Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry & Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”

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This one has quite a few ingredients only two of which might be hard to find – the fenugreek seeds & the curry leaves.  Honestly – I think there is so much flavor in this dish that you can omit those if you cannot find them.   This dish used unsweetened grated coconut blended with cashews & I did not blend my coconut fine enough & it added a bit of texture to the dish that was not unpleasant – but I will definitely pulse it more finely next time.

Indian foods are often served with one of my favorite condiments in the world – Spicy Cilantro and Mint Chutney (seen below) and I recommend making some because it really adds something special – though it is definitely not necessary.

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Vegan South Indian Coconut Curry with Mushrooms & Peas

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb mixed mushrooms – sliced

2 cups peas

2 tomatoes – diced

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

4 TBS fresh ginger or ginger paste

1 cup unsweetened grated coconut

20 cashews

15 curry leaves (optional)

2 tsp black mustard seeds (mustard powder – if you do not have seeds)

1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

2 TBS coconut or olive oil

5 cups vegetable stock

Garnish – cilantro

Cooked rice

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 DIRECTIONS

Pulse the cashews & coconut in a food processor or spice mill until the coconut is very fine – more fine than in my photo below.  Set aside

Heat 2 TBS oil & saute the mushrooms over high heat until they are soft & beginning to brown.  Put in a bowl & set aside.

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In the same pan  – add another TBS oil & add the mustard seeds heat until they begin to pop then add the fennel seeds & fenugreek seeds.

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Stir & add the onion & tomato & saute until the onions are soft.  Add the garlic & the ginger & the chili powder, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and cumin & stir to incorporate.

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Add the coconut/cashew blend & the curry leaves.  Blend & then add the stock & bring to a boil.

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Boil it down until it thickens a bit & then add the mushrooms & peas.  You might want to reserve a few mushroom slices & peas to garnish the servings but this is not necessary.

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If the texture is to your liking – serve it on top of rice.  I chose to puree about half of it with an immersion blender.  You can do this – or use a regular blender to puree some of it – or not.  Your call.

Serve over rice & garnish with reserved veggies or cilantro.

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Creamy, Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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Pictured with Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”

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The photo of the greens above (which I stole from the internet) is of fresh fenugreek leaves (or methi).  I bought some at my local Indian market (India Sweets & Spices).  From the internet:

Fenugreek is an annual herb with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor often described as a cross between celery and maple. The seeds can be used whole or ground and are commonly found in curry powder.

I had them, so I used them.  If you cannot find them, use spinach or chard or even kale – it doesn’t much matter.

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This is an easy but very creamy dish so it would go over a cauliflower “rice” nicely – and you avoid doubling up on heavy starches.  The flavors here are subtle & mild – a rare dish I added little spice to.   If you cannot find fenugreek SEEDS (any Indian market will have them & they won’t be expensive) – they can be purchased online – Amazon, for example.

I used a random mix of potatoes – and any potatoes would do – even sweet potatoes.

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Creamy, Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry

Easily feeds 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of methi (fenugreek) leaves or other greens (like spinach or chard or kale)

4 cups of cubed potatoes

1-2 TBS olive oil or coconut oil

1 onion – diced

1-3 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – seeded & diced (go less or omit – if you hate heat)

1 tsp black mustard seeds (I was out so I used mustard powder)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)

1/4 cup vegan sour cream

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1/2 – 1 cup unsweetened almond (or other vegan) milk

S&P

Cooked rice or cauliflower rice

OPTIONAL – garnish with Spicy Cilantro and Mint Chutney – seen just below.

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DIRECTIONS

Boil the potatoes until they are just done.  Drain & set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan & add the mustard (seeds or powder), fennel seeds & fenugreek seeds.  Once the seeds start popping – add the onion & chilies.  Cook until the onion begins to brown  bit.   Add the potatoes, fenugreek leaves (or other chopped greens), turmeric, chili powder & cumin & stir to combine.  Cook until your greens wilt.

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Add the sour cream, cream cheese and milk (add milk in increments until you get the consistency you like) & stir to incorporate them.

Season to taste with S&P.

Serve over rice.

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Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice”

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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I think everyone likes rice one way or the other but sometimes you just don’t want that starch & carb thing.  But, sometimes, you find you are 50 years old & are 25 pounds off your game weight.  Sometimes, you can’t fit into even your “fat” pants – unless they have a stretchy waist…and it is always a slippery slope – getting too cozy in those stretchy pants.  Sometimes – you gotta take a stand, make sacrifices, cut yourself off.  Sometimes, you need to cut calories & God knows you are not cutting back on the wine & champagne.  You don’t want to become alchorexic – saving all your calories up to drink at night.  So – what do you do?  You make things like this cauliflower rice!  Seems like rice – but it is just grated cauliflower!  Guiltless & a good way to sneak extra veggies into veggie-suspicious diners.  It really is convincing – especially when incorporated into other dishes – like Thai or Indian foods.

In the past, I have posted Garlic and Ginger Cauliflower RiceEasy Cilantro Scallion Lime Cauliflower Rice, Cauliflower Fried Rice, and Spicy Thai Fried Cauliflower “Rice” – seen below, respectively.  Today – I am posting a Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”  If you have never tried it before – trust me – it works!  Really seems like rice but you can shove it in your face like you are at an eating tournament & your ass won’t grow a bit.  It might even tighten up!  So – why not give it a go?

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Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice”

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

I head cauliflower – leaves & core cut away

2 jalapeno peppers – seeded & diced

2 TBS grated fresh ginger or ginger paste

1 cup unsweetened, grated coconut

2 TBS coconut oil

1 tsp ground cumin

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Grate the cauliflower with a box grater or with the grating blade in a food processor.

Heat the coconut oil in a wok or large frying pan & cook the jalapenos until they begin to soften.  Add te ginger & cook one minute.  Add the cauliflower, coconut & cumin & cook about 5 minutes – or until the cauliflower is soften but not mushy.  Season with S&P.

Stores very well in the fridge without clumping.

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8-Ingredient Vegan Thai Keffir Lime & Red Curry Chicken – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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By odd coincidence – I posted another red curry recipe a year ago tomorrow.  It was my Vegan Red Coconut Curry with Chicken and Vegetables and Hominy (for the Slow Cooker) – seen in the white pot above.  That recipe had a zillion ingredients & made enough to cater a party.  My recipe today feeds two (with rice) and has only a few easy-to-find ingredients.  The only exotic ingredients are the keffir lime leaves – and – while they are not absolutely critical – they do add a flare of authenticity to the dish.  Lime juice & zest can be substituted but if you can find the keffir lime leaves in a local Asian market – grab some.   Apparently, they can be purchased frozen but I have never seen them like that.  You can buy them HERE on Amazon, too.

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I made this in my fancy new casserole slow cooker (above) – just because I wanted to use it but this dish can be made on the stove top in minutes.  I have a full-fledged slow cooker fetish & that one above is the 6th one under my roof.  I have two 7-quart cookers, one with a timer & one without, one 1-quart cooker & two little dipper ones.  I love using them & they are especially effective when throwing a large party.  Cook & serve from the same place & they work as chafing dishes.  No muss – no fuss.

So – as I said – this is a far simpler red curry than the one I posted last year & you can make it in the time it takes to cook rice.  I used Beyond Meat chicken because – I feel – it is the best vegan chicken on the market.  Go to their site to find a store near you that carries it.

8 ingredients & quick to prepare?  Why not give it a try?

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8-Ingredient Vegan Thai Keffir Lime & Red Curry Chicken – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

Serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS
9-12 oz vegan chicken – thawed & cut into cubes

1-2 serrano or jalapeno peppers (according to your tolerance for heat) – seeded & diced

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 small red bell pepper – chopped small

2 TBS red curry paste

1 (13 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

10 keffir lime leaves – sliced into strips OR the juice & zest of 1/2 lime

1 TBS kecap manis (SWEET soy sauce) OR 1 TBS brown sugar

Serve with cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything in either a slow cooker & cook, on high, for 3 hours or until the veggies are soft & it is heated through – or do the same in a stock pot on the stove.  It should be ready in under 30 minutes on the stove.  Taste to see if it might need salt.

Serve over rice.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Basil Beef with Eggplant

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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Here is another spicy Thai dish that is really simple to make.  My equally easy-to-make Vegan Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao Gai) is also in some of these photos.  Both are delicious and bursting with flavor.  Neither dish uses ingredients that you should have any trouble finding as they are all pretty basic & available at most Asian markets.  But – Amazon is a great resource for hard-to-find ingredients – if you live in an area without much diversity. Like with the basil chicken – this comes together faster than the rice – so do not be intimidated.  I used one of these long Chinese eggplants but any eggplant will work.  I also used Beyond Meat because – I feel – it is the best brand of vegan meats on the market.  I used Thai bird’s eye chili peppers but serrano or jalapeno would work, too.  If you use the Thai ones – know they are really spicy & you might want to pick around them when eating this dish.  Finally – I used Thai sweet basil here but any basil will work.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Basil Beef with Eggplant

Serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan ground beef – thawed

1 Chinese (or other) eggplant -cubed

3 TBS olive oil

1 TBS fresh ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1-4 Thai chili (or other) peppers – chopped

1 packed cup basil

1 tsp cornstarch

Additional 1/4 cup water

for the eggplant

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup light soy sauce

1 tsp kecap manis (dark, sweet soy sauce) – or sugar

2 tsp chili black bean sauce

for the beef

2 TBS light soy sauce

2 TBS shaoxing (Chinese rice WINE – not vinegar)

1 tsp sesame oil (toasted or not)

1/4 tsp white (or black) pepper

2 TBS hoisin sauce

2 TBS oyster or mushroom-flavored sauce

2 TBS cornstarch

Cooked rice for 2

GARNISH – chopped basil, lime wedges

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DIRECTIONS

Muddle the garlic & chili peppers to release their flavors.  In to different bowls – whisk together the ingredients for the eggplant sauce & for the beef.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan.  Cook the garlic & chili peppers and the ginger for about a minute & then add the eggplant & the eggplant sauce.  Bring to a boil & cook until the eggplant is soft.

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Meanwhile toss the beef in the beef sauce.

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When the eggplant is very soft – add the beef & sauce & heat through.  Cook it until it thickens.  If it is too thick – add water.  If it stays thin – whisk 1/4 cup water & 1 tsp of cornstarch together & add to the pan.  It should thicken very quickly.

Just before serving – stir in the basil.  Serve with rice & garnish with chopped basil & lime wedges.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao Gai)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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Here is another quick & easy one.  None of the ingredients are particularly exotic.  Though holy basil is the authentic basil to use in this dish – I could not find it – so I used Thai sweet basil.  You can use regular basil if Thai basil is unavailable to you.  I used the bird’s eye chilies seen below but serrano or jalapeno peppers would also work.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Kra Pao Gai)

serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9-12 oz vegan chicken (I used Beyond Meat) – thawed

1-5 garlic cloves (I used 5) – crushed

1-3 Thai (or other) chili peppers (Thai chilies are very hot – and you might want to pick around them when eating this dish) – chopped

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS vegan oyster or mushroom favored sauce

1/2 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp kecap manis (dark, sweet soy sauce) or 1/2 tsp sugar

1 TBS vegan hoisin sauce

1 packed cup fresh basil

1 cup water with 1 TBS cornstarch whisked into it

Cooked rice for 2

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DIRECTIONS

Muddle the garlic & chili to release their flavors and chop the chicken.

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Heat the oil in a saute pan & add the chili garlic mixture.  Sizzle for about one minute & add the chicken, light & sweet soy sauces, oyster/mushroom sauce & hoisin.  Mix it together & add the water/cornstarch mixture.  Cook until it boils down to a nice, thick sauce.  Add water if it gets too thick.  Just before serving – add the basil.  Serve with rice.

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