Spicy Red Thai Curry Mac and Cheese – Baked or Stove-top – Vegan or Not

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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

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Apologies for the large gaps in my posts recently.  Alas – I was offered a “real job” and I took it.  I am working in post production as a story assistant on an Esquire TV show called Best Bars in America.

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In fact – I have to leave for work in 30 minutes so let me just get right down to this AWESOME & easy recipe.

The curry flavor is not overwhelming and neither is the spicy – though you could adjust these higher – if you wanted.

I used almond milk, real butter, real cheese & coconut milk.  You can sub out the coconut milk with more milk – if you hate the coconut essence in Thai food.  You could also use vegan butter & cheese substitutes – if you are so inclined.

I baked mine because I like the crunchy bits but this can be eaten right out of the pot – no baking required.  Whatever way you decide to go – I really hope you try this.   It is addictive!

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Spicy Red Thai Curry Mac and Cheese – Baked or Stove-top – Vegan or Not

Feeds a lot – 4-6 (or more if you serve other things with it)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta – cooked al dente & drained

8 oz pepper or Monterey Jack cheese – grated (or vegan alternative – I recommend Field Roast’s Chao slices)

8 oz cheddar cheese – grated (or vegan alternative – I recommend Field Roast’s Chao slices)

5 TBS butter  (or vegan alternative)

5 TBS flour

1 (14 oz) can lite coconut milk

3 cups almond (or other) milk (or 5 cups – if you are not using coconut milk)

4 oz Thai red curry paste

1/4 cup Sweet Thai chili sauce (very, very optional – so if you cannot find it – blow it off)

2+ TBS sriracha (more or less – according to your tolerance to heat) – optional

1-2 cups panko (or other bread crumbs) – only if baking – optional

Cilantro as garnish

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook, drain & set aside the pasta.

If baking – heat the over to 350.

Melt the butter over med-high heat & whisk in the flour.  It should absorb very quickly & become thick pretty quickly.  Whisk in the curry paste & then whisk in the milk in increments of about a cup & let it thicken each time before adding more milk.  In about 5 minutes – you should have a thick & creamy sauce.  If you are using sriracha and/or the chili sauce – whisk those in now.  Season with S&P.

Now – in a large bowl – mix the sauce, pasta & cheeses.   If you are going stove-top – you can do this all in the same pan – assuming you used a large enough pot.

Stir well to incorporate everything & then either heat it through on the stove and serve with cilantro or – if baking – treat a large casserole dish with cooking spray & put the mix in there.  Top a drizzle or sriracha (optional) and with panko & spray that with some cooking spray (it helps it brown).  I added some red peppers on top as decoration.

Heat for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly & the breadcrumbs are browning.

Serve with cilantro & enjoy!!!!

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Southwestern Taco or Nacho Style Mac and Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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 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 don’t know what is wrong with me but I have a definite pattern of opting to make comfort food on the hottest of days.  Yesterday was no exception.  One hundred degrees out?  Turn on the oven & get baking!

This dish is pretty simple & very customizable.  I used ricotta because I had some left over from my Zucchini Squash Blossom White Pizza with Goat Cheese and Ricotta and Mozzarella.

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Ricotta is better suited to lasagnas though & I might not use it if I didn’t already have it around.  I also opted to roast 5 jalapenos because 1) I have a convenient stove-top grill and 2) it was another opportunity to have another heating element cranking away in my already unbearably hot kitchen.

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Roasting peppers (or eggplant) can be done directly on the burners of your stove.  Just put them on a flame & turn until they are black everywhere.  Put them into a covered container for a few minutes so they “sweat,” and then rub the blackened skins off under cool running water.  Seed & mince the jalapenos & you are ready to go.

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I also made my own taco seasoning (more than I ended up using) but you could just use a packaged kind – if you prefer.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Blend:

1/2 tsp dry oregano

1 TBS chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

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This is a pretty spicy recipe so go easy on (or eliminate) the spicy parts if you prefer a milder dish.  Also – if there is an ingredient or two that you do not have or do not like – lose it.  Or – like corn in your tacos or nachos?  Add some!   Want some cooked meat in there?  Add it.  This is a very forgiving dish.

Southwestern Taco or Nacho Style Mac and Cheese

Feeds a lot – 6 easily

INGREDIENTS

8 oz dry macaroni

9 oz vegan beef crumbles (or real beef)

1/2 red onion – diced

1/2 red bell pepper – diced

1-5 roasted (or raw) jalapenos – (I roasted mine as explained above & I used all 5) – minced (optional)

1 (4 oz) can chiles (I used hot ones)

1 (15) oz can black beans – drained & rinsed

1 (10 oz) can Rotel (or diced tomatoes)

2 TBS taco seasoning (packaged or use the recipe above)

Olive oil

1-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – minced (optional)

3 cups cheese (I used 1 cup ricotta & 2 cups grated cheddar/mozzarella blend but 3 cups of grated cheese is fine (maybe better) and pepper jack would be great) – or VEGAN alternative

Extra grated cheese to top the casserole (1-2 cups or so)

1 (4 oz) can sliced black olives (as garnish)

Raw jalapeno – sliced – as garnish

Cilantro – as garnish

Tomato – diced – as garnish

Avocado – as garnish

Pico de gallo or salsa as garnish

Corn chips – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook & drain the macaroni.

Make the taco seasoning – if you are not using packaged.

Roast the jalapenos – if you are using them roasted.  Mince & set aside.

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the onion, bell pepper & canned chiles & fresh jalapeno (roasted or not) and chipotle peppers and heat until the onions & peppers are softened.  Add the beef & heat through.  If using real meat – be sure it is cooked through.

Add the seasoning & the macaroni & stir around.

In a large bowl, mix the black beaks & Rotel (or diced tomato) & then add the macaroni beef mixture.  Add the cheese you are using & mix it all up well.

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Grease a large casserole dish & put the mix in there.  Top with additional cheese & some sliced olives & jalapeno.  Cook for 30-45 minutes or until the cheese is all melted & bubbly & beginning to turn golden.

Garnish with your choice of olives, jalapeno, avocado, tomato and cilantro.  Corn chips might be a nice touch, too.

Crack a cold beer & get your eat on!

 

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Part 3 – Sixty or More Los Angeles Restaurants for Your Consideration

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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 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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There is a heat wave in Los Angeles this week & cooking is just oppressive. So – I am taking the opportunity to present 60+ restaurants I have visited in the last two years. This is not a complete list & some places here reflect images from multiple visits. I am not going to get into reviewing them but I will post a link if I have blogged about specific places here in the past – and that link will likely have lots of info & more pictures (except for my earliest posts which were pretty simple). They will be listed pretty much in alphabetical order & if there is a website for the place – I will try to supply it by making the name of the place a link to their site.

HERE is the link to Part 1.

HERE is the link to Part 2.

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GUISADO’S – East Los Angeles, CA

Best fucking tacos in LA & lots of vegetarian ones!

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HOME RESTAURANT – Silverlake, CA

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HUNGRY CAT – Hollywood, CA

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IN AND OUT BURGER

That is the secret menu “Grilled Cheese” below.  It is basically a cheeseburger with everything & the meat patty removed & not replaced with anything.

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JAMESON’S IRISH PUB – Hollywood

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KETTLE GLAZED – Hollywood

Clearly – I go here every day.  DEFINITELY try the Cruffin!!

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KITCHEN 24 – Hollywood

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 L.A. ROSE CAFE – Hollywood

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LA SIRENA AZUL – Inglewood, CA

My blog about La Sirena Azul is HERE.

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LARCHMONT BUNGALOW – Larchmont Village, CA

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And there you have it!  Ten spots you can investigate yourself.  ENJOY!!!!

And don’t forget about my book!  www.BathingBook.com.  The REVIEWS ON AMAZON are awesome!

 

The top video there is trailer for my novel.  The second is me reading from it a while back – at Vroman’s.

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Smoky Guinness Mac & Cheese with Crispy Fried Onions

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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 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 is a slight adaptation from a recipe posted by one of my favorite food bloggers – How Sweet It Is.  The main difference being simply that she topped hers with panko & fresh basil.  I opted for canned crispy onions!

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This is a really easy dish & the flavor of the Guinness really does come through.  Because of the dark beer – the dish has a browner color than traditional mac & cheese.  The crispy onions on top add a bit of sweetness.  A perfect dish for St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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Smoky Guinness Mac & Cheese with Crispy Fried Onions

serves 8-12

INGREDIENTS

5 cups uncooked macaroni

4 TBS butter

4 TBS flour

16 ounces milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

16 ounces Guinness or other stout (or other beer)

16 ounces cheddar (I used a mix of 7 oz Kerrygold Dubliner & 9 oz Tillamook sharp) – grated

plus 1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)

8 ounces Parmesan – grated

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp pepper

pinch of nutmeg

6 ounces crispy fried onion pieces from a can

Additional grated cheese to top the casserole – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cook & drain the pasta.  Feel free to under cook it a minute or two as it will cook more in the baking process.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over med-high heat.  Whisk in the flour & stir constantly for a few minutes – until it begins to brown.

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Slowly add the milk & beer – in increments – and stir constantly as it thickens.  It will not be as thick as most recipes because of the beer.  Once incorporated, add the 16 ounces of cheese & blend.  Add the spices & blend.   Lower the heat to medium & simmer about 5 minutes.  Add the pasta & blend.  Add an additional cup of grated cheese – if you feel it needs it.  I did.

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Transfer the mix to a greased casserole pan.  Top with more cheese (optional – I did not add more here) and top with the crispy onions.

Bake 25-30 minutes & then allow to set & cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Slop that baby out onto some plates & swill it down with more Guinness!  HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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Spicy Ground Beef Taco Pasta – Vegan, Vegetarian – or Not!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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 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 is Hamburger Helper level easy & surprisingly yummy.  It can be made with real ground beef or a vegan variety like this from Trader Joe’s:

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I found this brand to be a very convincing fake ground beef.

You can make this with real cheese or vegan cheese – or no cheese at all as it really doesn’t need it.

But before I get into THAT – I want to get into THIS!

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I wrote a novel!  Yes, yes – I did!  It is currently in production & should become available through online outlets (like Amazon) sometime after mid-January.  Just in time for Valentine’s Day!  So all you bitter kiddies out there can read the HILARIOUS love misfortunes of the heroine – Ruby Fitzgerald.  Buy the book & curl up with it & a box of wine & get ready to read the FUNNIEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN.  Yes.  I used those words.  I am very confident that anyone who reads of the alcohol-driven, bad decision making of Ruby Fitzgerald WILL laugh – literally out loud – several times.

OK – back to food.  This is tasty & easy & excellent comfort food when you want to throw something together fast.

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Spicy Ground Beef Taco Pasta – Vegan, Vegetarian – or Not!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb dry pasta (but not Barilla brand – as they are homophobic)

12 oz ground beef (vegan or otherwise)

1 onion – diced

1 bell pepper (mine was orange) – diced

1 jalapeno – seeded & diced

Olive oil

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

1 7 oz can chiles (or to taste) – chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chipotle chili powder (or cayenne)

1 TBS dry oregano

For garnish

scallions – sliced

fresh cilantro

Fresh tomato – diced

Avocado

Sliced jalapeno

Grated cheese – vegan or otherwise

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta according to directions.  Drain & set aside.

If using real meat – cook it up in a skillet & set aside.

Otherwise – heat a TBS or two of olive oil in a frying pan.  Saute the onion, jalapeno, bell pepper & green chiles until soft over medium heat.  Add the Rotel & the meat (vegan beef or cooked ground beef) and the dry spices.  Heat through.

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Add the pasta & stir to incorporate.  Serve with garnishes of your choice.  See?  EASY!

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Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry with Gluten-Free Cauliflower “Rice”

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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 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 – before I get into this very easy recipe for Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry with Gluten-Free Cauliflower “Rice” – let me begin my effort to prep the world for the upcoming release of my first novel – Bathing & the Single Girl.

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Is was inspired by my short film of the same name.  The trailer for that film can be seen HERE.  I will be releasing it as an E-book only (for now) and I hope to have it up for sale before Christmas.  It is a comic Hollywood mockumemoir about fading fame, excessive drinking, awkward sex and the horrors of dating (and bathing with) younger men.  I hope you will read it when it comes out!

Here is a quote from the book’s heroine:

“See?  I can be selfless.  As long as there is something in it for me.” – Ruby Fitzgerald

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OK, that said – let’s move onto this delightful recipe!  It is very easy & very customizable.  I used the vegetables I used here because I had them on hand.  You could sub out things you don’t like or do not have & use things like carrots or sweet potatoes or green beans or cauliflower.  Whatever.  You could also use real beef.  I made a special effort to only use really mainstream ingredients & skipped the typical Indian spices like garam masala and curry leaves – because I wanted everyone to be able to make this – even those without access to the more exotic ingredients.  Do not be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list.  If you have a spice rack, you probably already have at least half of the stuff listed.

I served this with the gluten-free (guilt free, too!) cauliflower faux rice but you could use any rice you like – especially the wonderfully aromatic & traditional basmati rice.   Because this is really just an Indian beef stew, it would also go nicely over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

The rice I made here used a bit of this stuff –

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which I buy at Super King for about $7.  You can buy it online.  You could use this or saffron threads threads or just a bit of turmeric to add color.

I also used coconut oil –

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and Trader Joe’s Beef-less strips.  If these are not available to you, use olive oil & and brand of faux beef you can find – or even a tofu or tempeh variety.  I used these little potatoes – but any potato will do.

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I used a butternut squash (half of one) and a red onion.  Sweet potato or brown onions all you have?  Use those!

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Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry with Gluten-Free Cauliflower “Rice”

serves 4-6 easily

INGREDIENTS

For the cauliflower “rice”

1/2 large head cauliflower

1/2 onion – diced

1 TBS saffron liquid (or a few saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot water for a few minutes) – or 1-2 tsp turmeric (for color)

2 TBS olive oil

Salt to taste

For the Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry

Coconut oil (or olive oil)

2 (8 oz) packages of Trader Joe’s Beef-less Strips (or similar quantity of other vegan meat – or real beef)

Cornstarch

1/2 lb potatoes – cubed

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1 onion – diced

1/2 butternut squash – peeled & cubed (or a few sweet potatoes or carrots)

1 cup peas

Coconut oil (or olive oil)

2 TBS Madras Curry

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 TBS crushed red pepper (or to taste)

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt (or more – to taste)

1 TBS ginger – minced

8 garlic cloves – chopped

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes

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

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

Paprika – as garnish

Fresh cilantro as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

For the Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry

Toss the meat with a TBS or two of cornstarch until it is coated.

Heat 2-3 TBS coconut oil (or olive oil) in a large saute pan on high heat.  Sear the meat on all sides.  Set aside.

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Add another few TBS of oil to the pan & add the onion & jalapenos.  Saute over med–high for a few minutes or until soft.  Add the curry, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, salt, sugar, crushed red pepper, ginger & garlic and stir for about a minute.

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Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar & water & stir to blend.  Add the meat, potato & squash.

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Bring this to a boil & reduce to a simmer & let cook while you make the rice.

For the cauliflower “rice”

Using the grater blade of a food processor or just a regular grater – shred the cauliflower into a rice-like texture.

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Heat a few TBS of oil in a large saute pan & saute the onion until soft.

Add the cauliflower.  Add the saffron liquid or saffron threads & their steeping water or the turmeric and the salt.  Saute over med-high heat until tender – maybe 5-10 minutes.

Add the peas to the simmering beef curry & heat through.

Once the potato & squash are tender – serve your curry with the cauliflower rice & garnish them with the paprika & cilantro.  Eat way more than is decent or civilized because – what the fuck?  Why not?  This shit is vegan & gluten-free!  It is like eating air.  Really tasty air!

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