Creamy Kale & Potato Gratin (Vegan or Vegetarian)

Leave a comment

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

images (1)download (1)

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.

2-20-16 (169)

2-20-16 (184)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

My intention was to make this entirely vegan – and I almost finished it vegan – but it came out of the oven looking very sad – because the vegan cheeses I used did not melt well & it was just a delicious-smelling but not pretty (really not pretty) thing that I could not post here & lure a single person to try it.  If you are not vegan – use whatever cheeses you prefer and, if you are vegan, either use your favorite (and – hopefully – melty) mozzarella.  I used real mozzarella in the last half hour of cooking time – which is why it has the golden, melted topping.  But – had I not been under pressure to make it LOOK pretty – I would have left it vegan & just shoveled it into my face – because it really is yummy!  And – when I am home & eating alone – WTF do I care what it looks like?  So – vegan or not – I think you can modify this to suit your diets & have a yummy kale & potato gratin.

2-20-16 (160)

2-20-16 (183)

2-20-16 (197)

2-20-16 (204)

Creamy Kale & Potato Gratin (Vegan or Vegetarian)

Serves 6 as a side

INGREDIENTS

1-2 TBS olive oil or coconut oil

1/2 large onion – diced

2-4 garlic cloves – chopped

1-3 jalapenos – diced (very, very optional – I just like spice so I used 3)

2 small heads of kale – ribs removed & chopped

10 small potatoes (or any combination – I used a mix) – sliced into 1/4″ slices

2 cups soy or almond or other milk

2/3 cup vegan sour cream

10 slices vegan cheese (I used 2 sharp cheddar slices & 8 Chao Original slices) or other grated cheeses (I used about 1 cup but more is always better and I would have used way more had I had it – but less is healthier so…your call)

1-2 cups grated vegan mozzarella (I used real mozzarella because I had it but my homemade vegan mozzarella would be great and it kinda melts!)

 2-20-16 (108)

2-20-16 (110)

2-20-16 (111)

2-20-16 (115)

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the sour cream into the milk & set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan.  Cook the onions until soft & then add the kale, jalapenos (if using) and the garlic.  I added a few TBS of water to aid in the wilting of the kale.  You can do this or not – but simply cook until the kale is wilted & soft.  Set aside.

2-20-16 (112)

2-20-16 (113)

Grease a casserole pan (I used olive oil Pam) and layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the bottom of the pan.  Add 1/2 the kale & 1/3 of the non-mozzarella cheese.  Add another 1/3 of the potato, the rest of the kale & another 1/3 of the non-mozzarella cheese.  Top with remaining potato & non-mozzarella cheese.  Pour the milk/sour cream blend over it all.  I was a lazy whisker & my sour cream stayed lumpy.  It looks bad but didn’t hurt the recipe.  Add some S&P.

2-20-16 (117)

2-20-16 (118)

2-20-16 (119)

2-20-16 (120)

2-20-16 (121)

2-20-16 (122)

2-20-16 (123)

2-20-16 (124)

2-20-16 (127)

2-20-16 (162)

2-20-16 (192)

Cover with foil & bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven & top with the grated mozzarella.  Bake – uncovered – another 20-30 minutes or until the gratin is sorta firm & your cheese (especially if using real cheese) looks done.  Non-melting vegan cheese might never look done – so – be careful not to overcook the gratin because it will dry out.

2-20-16 (135)

2-20-16 (138)

2-20-16 (143)

2-20-16 (166)

2-20-16 (174)

2-20-16 (196)

Vegan Creamy Red Kuri & Butternut Squash Risotto

Leave a comment

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

images (1)download (1)

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.

2-5-16 (42)

2-5-16 (46)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

2-5-16 (55)

Risotto is easy.  I do not know why people get intimidated.  Sure – you stand there stirring for 20-30 minutes but that really is not that long when you consider that you can feed a family with this comforting goodness – and making a large vat takes the same amount of time as a small quantity.  I made this vegan because I did not feel it really needed the cheese most risottos use.  That said – if you are not vegan – some nice Parmesan or goat cheese might be nice stirred in.  Also – I used 2-4 times as much squash as most recipes will suggest.  My thinking is that the squash is guiltless & filling so if the risotto is the smaller part of what you eat – it just makes for a lighter meal – and most folks appreciate lighter – especially when it still SEEMS creamy & decadent.

I used a red kuri squash & a butternut – because that is what I had.  You can use any orange squash you like or pumpkin or even sweet potatoes.

2-5-16 (31)

Vegan Creamy Red Kuri & Butternut Squash Risotto

Serve 6

INGREDIENTS

2 cups risotto or arborio rice

9 cups vegetable stock

2 TBS olive oil

2 shallots – chopped

1 small onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 medium red kuri squash – peeled, seeded & cut into bite-sized pieces

1 small butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cut into bite-sized pieces (or any combo you prefer)

1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

S&P

GARNISH OPTIONS – chopped parsley, fried sage, vegan or real Parmesan, vegan or real goat cheese, any soft & creamy cheese you like (vegan or otherwise)

2-5-16 (14)

2-5-16 (15)

2-5-16 (43)

DIRECTIONS

Bring the stock to a boil, reduce heat & leave simmering on the lowest flame.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot on MEDIUM heat & cook the shallots & onion for about 2 minutes.  Add the squashes & stir.  Cook the squash for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic & stir.  Cook for about 1-2 minutes.  Do not burn the garlic.

Add the wine (if using) and let the alcohol cook off (which happens very fast).  Add the rice & stir to incorporate the rice.

2-5-16 (16)

2-5-16 (18)

2-5-16 (20)

Add the stock, one cup at a time & stir it in.  I left mine with a lid on a pan for a minute here & there to aid in steaming the rice.  Once that stock is absorbed, add more & keep stirring.  In about 20-30 minutes – you should have stirred in most of the stock.  Reserve about a cup.  If the rice is not tended – turn the heat to low & cover the pan for a few minutes.  If you need to add the rest of the stock – you can.  I used a potato masher & mashed about half of the squash into the rice.  This is an optional step – but it makes the risotto even creamier.  Once the rice is tender – I like to either stir in more stock or some water so that the risotto is just a tad more like a thick soup.  I hate dry & clumping risotto – but others might prefer it that way.  If you like it drier – just cook it down (careful not to burn it) until it is thick enough.  If it gets too thick – add stock or water.

2-5-16 (21)

2-5-16 (22)

2-5-16 (24)

2-5-16 (26)

I served mine looking as soupy as that above.  The rice keeps absorbing so – it will thicken up fast.  Season with S&P.

Garnish as you desire & serve.

2-5-16 (48)

2-5-16 (54)

2-5-16 (62)

Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat McDonald’s Special Sauce

Leave a comment

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

images (1)download (1)

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.

2-4-16 (60)

2-4-16 (65)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

2-4-16 (41)

Ever since I was a child – I have been obsessed – addicted even – to McDonald’s.  McDonald’s – specifically.  No other fast food tempted me in the least.  Not Burger King or Taco Bell or any of the other burger chains.  Sure – I would sometimes eat a Fatburger – which inevitably – made me agonizingly ill and an occasional burger from the Tommy’s on Beverly at Rampart – mainly because that Tommy’s was so old school & cool.  But if there had been a McDonald’s next door – I probably would have gone there.  I have always been to insanely addicted to Big Macs that as a kid – I could eat 2.  And McDonald’s fries are the best on Earth.

Then I gave up meat, in the late eighties.  Fuck.  That meant Filet-O-Fish sandwiches for me – which I put up with for a while until I was struck my supreme inspiration.  I bought a Big Mac AND a Filet-O-Fish.  I took the patties out of the Big Mac & fed them to the dogs & put the fish patty in there, instead.  I dipped fries in the tartar sauce on the Filet-O-Fish bun & shoved that fishy Big Mac into my pie hole like I hadn’t eaten for days.  I began doing this regularly.  So many times – I would go spinning & then go the the McD’s drive-thru – still actively sweating from class & get this combo & pull over to a random curb & make my custom sandwich – like a junky cooking dope.  I even included this process in my novel – Bathing & the Single Girl.  Here is the excerpt:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I decided to make a trip to McDonald’s to take the edge off my panic and maybe finally end my waning hangover. There is nothing like McD’s. It is the only fast food chain I patronize. I’ve been a fish-eating vegetarian for over twenty years but McDonald’s remains my own personal crack. I have to pretend I do not know that there is beef tallow in the French fries and block out the fact that McD’s are a great supporter of the factory farming that spurred my vegetarianism to begin with, but when I am hung over, McDonald’s is my best friend.
I ordered a #1 Big Mac value meal with fries, a diet Coke (gotta save calories somewhere) and a Filet-O-Fish. Once out of the drive thru, I pulled over on a side street like a drug addict jonesing for a fix. I took several big gulps of the best fucking diet Coke I had ever tasted while throwing furtive glances around to make sure I was not being watched. I opened the fish sandwich and scooped all that tartar sauce up on the top bun. This would serve as a bowl and dip for the fries. I grabbed the golden goodness of the square fish stick looking back at me and threw the bottom bun of the fish sandwich in the bag. I took the top off of the Big Mac and threw it in the bag. I removed the burgers and put them aside for my dogs. I placed the fish patty on the middle bun piece and flipped it over onto the bottom bun and its remaining ingredients. Special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a filet of fish on what was once a sesame seed bun. I rammed it into my mouth and nearly fainted with pleasure. Every cell in my body reacted negatively to the toxicity and I felt zits popping out on my face as I chewed. I didn’t give a fuck. I dipped a handful of fries in the fatty tartar sauce and forced them into my mouth before I swallowed my first bite of sandwich. I was disgusting. I felt the shame of a tweeker turning her first trick for drugs. My eyes flashed a scan of the horizon searching for the PETA police. My pants felt a size tighter. I finished that food in less than two minutes, literally drinking the last bit of fries from the cardboard container. It was glorious.
Slouched in the car, high from whatever it is in McDonald’s food that made Morgan Spurlock’s liver begin to shut down in Supersize Me, the plan to dine with The Albino seemed like it might actually be a fun adventure.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2-4-16 (58)

So – maybe now you understand the extent of my problem.  That problem got even worse when I gave up eating fish, too, a couple of years ago.  Now – there is no excuse to go into a McDonald’s – because the fries really do have beef tallow in them – so there is literally nothing in there for me to eat – especially as I am inching my way to veganism.

Still – my Big Mac addiction festers without relief.   The smell of McDonald’s still makes my hands want to turn into those drive-thrus – but I can’t.  I won’t.  I shan’t!  And – yeah – I guess I could make a faux Big Mac with a veggie burger (Beyond Meat makes GREAT ones) – but the shitty bun is part of the charm & the special sauce isn’t just Thousand Island – no matter what detractors try to tell you.  It is more magical than that.  My fake Big Mac would be off just enough to leave me feeling cheated.

And then it came to me!  Big Mac PIZZA!  That way – the differences would be more forgivable – because it wasn’t a lame Big Mac – it was a glorious Big Mac pizza!!!!!  And so – I did it.  I did it last night.  After taking two heated spinning classes in 14 hours – I undid all that good – all that blood, sweat & those tears.  Undid it and gave zero fucks.  This fucking pizza is the best Goddamn thing on Earth.  It will be difficult not to eat these every night this week – after all – I have like an infinity of my copycat special sauce.  I can’t wash that gold down the drain – when my gullet is right here craving it – wanting to drink it – inhale it.  So – sure – I have a birthday coming up & it might be nice to NOT be at my absolute FATTEST on that day – but shit happens.  Sometimes things are out of your hands.  Sometimes life presents tough choices.  But – enough about that.  Let me present – my Big Mac pizza!

2-4-16 (36)

Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat McDonald’s Special Sauce

INGREDIENTS

for the special sauce

3/4 cup vegan mayo

2 TBS sweet relish

2 TBS yellow mustard

2 TBS French dressing

1 tsp (or more) each: onion powder, garlic powder, paprika

Water

for the Big Mac Pizza

Pizza dough (I used this HERE)

Vegan ground beef (I used Beyond Meat beefy crumbles)

Shredded lettuce

Vegan cheese (I used some Parmela Creamery sharp cheddar, Chao original & some of my own homemade mozzarella)

Sandwich pickle slices

Onion – diced

Sesame seeds

Jalapeno – sliced (not in a real Big Mac but fuck it)

Semolina flour (optional) for rolling out the dough

Parchment paper (optional)

2-4-16 (13)

2-4-16 (14)

2-4-16 (15)

2-4-16 (16)

2-4-16 (17)

2-4-16 (18)

DIRECTIONS

for the special sauce

Whisk the ingredients together & add a bit of water to thin it.  Taste it & adjust at will.  I added 2 more tsp of onion powder to mine.

2-4-16 (19)

2-4-16 (20)

2-4-16 (21)

2-4-16 (22)

2-4-16 (23)

for the Big Mac Pizza

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Roll out the dough (I do this in semolina flour because I find it adds to the crispiness of the crust – but regular flour is fine).  Put the dough on a greased cooking sheet (I just use parchment paper – and I recommend it highly).

2-4-16 (24)

2-4-16 (25)

2-4-16 (26)

2-4-16 (27)

2-4-16 (28)

2-4-16 (30)

Top with cheeses & ground beef.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until your crust is done.  I added grated mozzarella at this point & cooked it another minute but only because the pizza looked a bit barren.  You can just dump the meat & cheese on there – cheese under & over the beef.

Once the crust is done – top with the remaining toppings & get your fucking eat on!

2-4-16 (29)

2-4-16 (31)

2-4-16 (32)

2-4-16 (34)

2-4-16 (35)

2-4-16 (53)

2-4-16 (54)

2-4-16 (43)

2-4-16 (45)

Vegan Three “Cheese” & Alfredo Lasagna with Power Greens (Kale, Chard & Spinach)

Leave a comment

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

images (1)download (1)

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.

2-1-16 (12)

2-1a-16 (94)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

2-1-16 (15)

2-1-16 (8)

2-1a-16 (117)

2-1a-16 (78)

This lasagna is delicious & 100% vegan.  I made three kinds of vegan “cheese” for this.  You can make the cheeses yourself (they are all very easy) or buy vegan pre-made varieties.  I used three kinds of sauce, a cup of leftover homemade, the remnants of a jar of Rao’s marinara & a little more than a cup of Rao’s Arrabbiata – my favorite jarred sauce.  You can use all homemade or all from a jar – or mix it up – as I did.

I used red chard, kale & spinach.  You can use any combination of greens that you prefer.  I used cheddar cauliflower, because I had it, but regular cauliflower is just as good (it just has less vitamin A).  I used the sort of lasagna that needs to be cooked in advance – mainly because I noticed the no-cook kind had egg in them.  You can use your favorite vegan lasagna noodles.

I am going to post the three cheeses first.  You can choose to make any or all of them.

12-18-15-55

Best Fast & Easy Vegan Mozzarella (above) – for Melting & Grating – recipe is HERE.

2-1a-16 (41)

Vegan Herbed Tofu “Ricotta”

INGREDIENTS

1 lb extra firm tofu

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1-3 TBS mixed chopped fresh herbs (I used thyme & sage)

1 tsp each salt & pepper

1 TBS dry parsley

2-1a-16 (36)

2-1a-16 (37)

2-1a-16 (39)

2-1a-16 (40)

DIRECTIONS

Crumble the tofu & mix in the other ingredients.  Set aside.

2-1a-16 (46)

Vegan “Parmesan”

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepita) – I used roasted & salted because I could not find raw – but raw will work, too

2 TBS nutritional yeast

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dry thyme

2-1a-16 (43)

2-1a-16 (44)

2-1a-16 (45)

DIRECTIONS

I think it would be ideal to grind these ingredients together in a spice mill – but I don’t have one.  You might get a finer result.  I used my food processor & ran it a few minutes.  The pumpkin seeds were not totally ground – but I went with it anyway.

2-1a-16 (47)

2-1-16 (4)

2-1a-16 (92)

Vegan Three “Cheese” & Alfredo Lasagna with Power Greens (Kale, Chard & Spinach)

Makes a standard lasagna

INGREDIENTS

1 lb lasagna noodles – cooked as directed

3 cups pasta sauce of your choice

2+ cups vegan mozzarella – grated

for the power greens

1 head kale – ribs removed & chopped

1 head chard – ribs removed & chopped

2 cups spinach

1 cup fresh basil

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 onion – diced

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan

Olive oil

for the alfredo

1 head cauliflower – cut into florets

1 cup vegetable stock or water

2 TBS vegan butter

5 garlic cloves – minced

3/4 cup vegan Parmesan

GARNISH – chopped basil or arugula leaves or parsley

2-1a-16 (104)

2-1a-16 (48)

2-1a-16 (63)

2-1a-16 (66)

DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta & drain.

for the alfredo

Boil the cauliflower (maybe even boil it in vegetable stock) until very soft.  Drain (I reserved 1 cup of the water I boiled the cauliflower in).

Melt the butter & saute the garlic for one minute.

In a blender or food processor – blend the cauliflower, stock (or water) butter & garlic, vegan Parmesan & a bit of S&P until very smooth.  Set aside.

2-1a-16 (49)

2-1a-16 (50)

2-1a-16 (55)

for the power greens

Heat a TBS or 2 in a large saute pan & heat the onion until soft.  Add the garlic & kale, chard & spinach & heat just until the greens wilt.

In a food processor (not a necessary step – but it prevents large & hard to bite pieces of greens in your lasagna that can flop, hot, out of a bite you are taking & burn you – or just make a mess) – pulse the hot greens, the basil, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.  Set aside.

2-1a-16 (56)

2-1a-16 (57)

2-1a-16 (58)

2-1a-16 (59)

2-1a-16 (60)

2-1a-16 (61)

2-1a-16 (62)

2-1a-16 (64)

for the lasagna

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large lasagna pan, put about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom & then layer noodles.  The rest of the layering can be random & at your discretion – but here is the order I used.  I topped the noodles with half the “ricotta,” half the “alfredo,” then noodles, then all the greens, noodles, remaining “ricotta,” cup or more of sauce, noodles, remaining “alfredo,” noodles, remaining sauce & mozzarella.

2-1a-16 (65)

2-1a-16 (67)

2-1a-16 (68)

2-1a-16 (69)

2-1a-16 (70)

2-1a-16 (71)

2-1a-16 (72)

2-1a-16 (73)

2-1a-16 (74)

2-1a-16 (75)

2-1a-16 (76)

2-1a-16 (77)

2-1a-16 (79)

2-1a-16 (82)

2-1a-16 (83)

2-1a-16 (87)2-1a-16 (85)2-1a-16 (84)

Bake for about 45 minutes or until well heated.  I would say “or until cheese melts,” but many vegan cheeses do not truly melt.  So – just eyeball it until you think it seems done.

I stacked two pieces on top of each other for photos & you could do this, too, for an impressive presentation.  Or not.  Your call.  Garnish with basil or arugula or parsley.  Devour!

2-1a-16 (98)

2-1-16 (14)

2-1-16 (23)

2-1a-16 (114)

2-1a-16 (101)

2-1-16 (1)