DDD #111 – The Ivy Copycat Grilled Vegetable Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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


Click the image above to watch the video.

The Ivy Copycat Grilled Vegetable Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

serves 2 as an entree


for the dressing

Juice of 1-2 limes

match the lime juice with an equal part of olive oil so it is 50/50.

Add about 1 TBS each of balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar) and agave

Season to taste with S&P.

Combine & taste.  Tweak to suite your palate.

for the salad

Your choice of greens – or a mixture (arugula, romaine, butter lettuce, watercress, field greens – your call)

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

2 ears fresh corn – in the husks

1 bunch asparagus – tough bottoms trimmed

1 red bell pepper – seeded

1/2 cucumber – diced

1 handful cherry tomatoes – haved

3-4 radishes – chopped

1/4 small red onion – diced

1 avocado – chopped

OPTONAL  – chopped herbs (basil or cilantro), protein (chickpeas, black beans, vegan chicken or any other protein you desire)


Make the dressing while the veggies are grilling.

Slice the zucchini & squash in 1/4 inch thick slices & grill until softened & there are grill marks – turning a few times.  Do the same with the red pepper & asparagus.  Set aside.  Grill the corn in the husks until blackened on the outside.  Cool & throw the husks away then cut the corn from the cobs.

Now – just assemble the salad the way you would any other.  If there are going to be leftover veggies – do not dress them.  They will stay fresher in the fridge undressed.

Serve & enjoy!!!


Vegan Cold Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad with Asparagus & Spinach

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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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Chicken Piccata is one of the things I missed most when I gave up eating meat in the 80’s.  Then – companies began making very convincing meatless chicken & that hole in my heart was cured.  Behold my warm, vegan Chicken Piccata – below.  REALLY convincing – trust me!


So – I had a few Memorial Day BBQ’s to attend & I was all about vegan pasta salads.  They were a great idea because they assured that I would have something to eat at these parties & because vegan pasta salads – like the ones I made – were safe to leave out for hours without risk of spoiling.   The other two I made were my Spicy Vegan Southwestern Pasta Salad & Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto & Feta Cheese (Vegan or Vegetarian) – seen below, respectively.



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I brought this Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad to a party at Naomi & Jason Priestley’s home.  That is Naomi on the far left.  I am the dimwit in the back who – it seems – was the only one there that didn’t know where to look when being photographed.

Anyway – Naomi took one bite & looked at me in shock.  “McCarthy!  Did you put real chicken in this?”

Needless to say – I hadn’t. But Beyond Meat chicken is so convincing – warm or cold – that it can fool even unapologetic, degenerate meat-eaters.  This pasta salad disappeared quickly – and – besides Naomi – nobody ever questioned whether or not the chicken was real.  I think they all assumed it was.

It is light & clean & healthy & vegan.  If you are a Chicken Piccata lover – this salad is for you!

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Vegan Cold Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad with Asparagus & Spinach


1 lb pasta

9+ oz vegan chicken – cubed

1 bunch asparagus

1 cup fresh spinach

1/8 cup olive oil (more or less)

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (more or less)

3-6 TBS capers (Quantity determined by your taste for capers.  I love them!) – chopped or not – or just chop some – your call

1/2 cup parsley – chopped


GARNISH – extra parsley & lemon wedges

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Trim the asparagus by holding each spear by each end & bend until it breaks.  This breaks the asparagus just above the woody & impossible to chew part.  Set aside.

Boil the pasta.  My asparagus was the very thick kind.  If you have the thick asparagus – add it to the boiling pasta 3 minutes before the pasta is done.  Do it for 2 minutes for average asparagus & 1 minute for the very thin asparagus.

Drain & run under cold water.

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Slice the asparagus into bite-sized pieces.  Chop the spinach.

Toss everything together.  Adjust the lemon & olive oil to your taste & season with S&P.  Garnish with extra parsley & lemon wedges.

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Sweet Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella & Watercress

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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See that mozzarella above?  It is vegan and I posted my attempt at The Artisan Vegan Life’s recipe for it HERE.  My only problem with the result was that the cheese had a bit of a sour tang to it because it was made with vegan yogurt.  While I found that unpleasant when eating the cheese naked (because it seemed like real cheese that had gone bad) – I still had high hopes for what it would be like on pizza. I felt that – if this cheese had other flavors competing with it – the mild sour flavor might disappear.  I was also curious about its melting abilities.

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My first attempt with a pizza is above.  I used Rao’s Arrabbiata sauce because I love it & because I felt it would have enough flavor to make the sour yogurt element of the cheese go away.  I also made the pizza with half REAL mozzarella – so I could properly compare the melting.

On the top right of that image above, you can see how the real cheese melted – completely melted & released some fat & looks ooey-gooey delicious – and it was.  The rest of the image shows the vegan mozzarella.  While it never lost its shape – it did soften – a lot.  And more importantly – the sour flavor was undetectable!   Big victory!  Still – this cheese would never fool a real cheese whore – but I bet it would make a lot of vegans VERY happy – and really is a solid replacement for real cheese – whatever your reasons for wanting to avoid real cheese might be – beyond being vegan.  Also – melted – it has a texture very much like ricotta so – I imagine – this would be amazing in a vegan lasagna.

Encouraged by the success of the first pizza – I decided to make another – but one with more subtle flavors so I could see if the sour flavor was still mitigated.

I decided to make this Sweet Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella & Watercress – primarily because I had been baking sweet potatoes for my dogs & they smelled so fucking good – I had to use some.  I also, predictably, had some random produce that was on the verge of spoiling (asparagus & watercress, to be specific) – so this pizza was born.  If you can’t find watercress – arugula would be great, too.  It is a VERY mild pizza – so – in lieu of watercress and arugula – you could top this with some fried sage or fresh, chopped rosemary before baking it for an even more autumnal combination of flavors.

And – good news!  Despite the mild flavors – the cheese blended in beautifully & the sour flavor was imperceptible.  And – as you can see in the photos – it did actually melt & brown.  So – I recommend The Artisan Vegan Life’s vegan mozzarella very highly.

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Sweet Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella & Watercress

As with most of my pizzas – I suggest ingredients but not the quantity to be used because that is up to each person’s personal preference.


Pizza dough (I used this no-rise Easy Thin Crust Pizza dough)

Vegan sour cream

Slices of boiled or baked sweet potato (cut thinner than 1/4 inch)

Asparagus (tough ends removed like THIS)

Watercress or arugula

Vegan mozzarella


Cooking spray (I used an olive oil type)

Semolina flour (optional) or regular flour – for rolling your dough

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Heat the oven to 500 – or as close as your oven gets to that.

Prepare your veggies.

Put a little semolina (or regular) flour on a flat surface & roll your dough out.  Place it on a greased cooking sheet (or – better yet – use parchment paper).  Put a thin layer of sour cream on top & then arrange the sweet potato slices & asparagus.  Top with slices of mozzarella & a good dose of S&P.

Cook for 10-12 minutes (more or less – depending on your oven & the density of your pizza).   About half way through – I sprayed olive oil on the mozzarella & I think that helped it brown, a bit.  When your crust is done to your liking & the cheese has softened (maybe even melted & browned a bit) – take it out & top with watercress or arugula.  Yummy!

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Vegetarian Pasta “Carbonara” with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms and Tomatoes

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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 am a HUGE fan of homemade pasta.  I love the process of making it.  I like looking at it on my counter drying and, more than anything, I love eating it.   Homemade pasta is more different from boxed pasta than you expect & easier to make than you might think.  It is especially easy if you have a Kitchenaid stand mixer & the pasta cutting attachment.  This blog today will not get into making pasta because I have covered that a great deal already over the years.  Click HERE to see a partial list of recipes I have blogged about that used homemade pasta.  They will all contain info or links to info on the wonder that is homemade pasta.

One of my most successful pasta dishes was so awesome – it didn’t even need the homemade spaghetti to push it over the top.  It was my smoked salmon carbonara.  Is it gorgeous or what?


I really love salmon & smoked salmon in pasta is hard to fuck up but – alas – I gave up seafood this year.  Still – I found myself craving this simple & smokey dish so I dug through my fridge & came up with today’s version of carbonara.  Traditional carbonara uses eggs & some form of pork – ham or bacon.  It should not involve cream & it has nothing to do with the Americanized alfredo-like dish so many places serve up.  It should be clean & light & flavorful.  This vegetarian version lives up to those standards.

I used tomatoes because I had a few that were on their last legs & I did not want them to go to waste.  They add a nice color to the photos but I think they might be too sharp in taste to really serve the others flavors in this dish so – in the future – I will omit them.    Use PASTURED eggs.  Only pastured eggs are genuinely cruelty-free   They cost about a buck apiece but they are so worth it.  This dish is very easy to pull together once you have roasted the veggies so do not be intimidated.

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Vegetarian Pasta “Carbonara” with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Serves 2


1/2 pound dry pasta (or homemade) – spaghetti is traditional

1 bunch asparagus – tough ends trimmed (see and easy way HERE) and sliced into 1-2 inch pieces

4 Roma tomatoes – diced (optional & I actually suggest skipping them)

6-10 mushrooms – sliced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

Olive oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Smoked mozzarella for grating


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Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the mushrooms, asparagus & tomatoes (if you are using tomatoes) and garlic in about 1-2 TBS olive oil.  Toss in some S&P.  Roast for 30-45 minutes – stirring every 15 minutes until the vegetables look about like this & have released most of their moisture.

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You could do this in a saute pan, too, but the oven is effortless & dries the veggies out well so – yeah.

Whisk the eggs & Parmesan & most of the parsley & some salt & pepper in a bowl.

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When you think the vegetables are almost ready, cook the pasta.  Drain it & toss it immediately with the hot vegetables & the raw egg mixture.  The heat from the pasta & veggies will cook the eggs – I promise.

Serve the pasta with the extra parsley & grate some smoked mozzarella over the top.  The smokey cheese will replicate the missing ham just a bit.

Add more Parmesan, if you like, and lots of freshly ground pepper.  Mmmmm!

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Saffron Risotto with Asparagus & Fava Beans, Ziplock Omelettes, Pasta with Watercress & Lemon Cream and Disturbing Pedicures


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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


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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YUP!  I wrote a very funny novel!  I hope you will read it!  www.BathingBook.com


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OK.  First of all, let me say that I like risotto.  A lot.  But I am finding that, when I make it, it tastes pretty much the same no matter what I use as the highlight ingredients.  That can be disappointing.  Also – there is an art to cooking it just right & to not presenting some waterlogged, mushy rice mess.  The risotto I made last night disappointed me primarily because the saffron color & flavor both somehow got lost.  That was certainly not the case with my Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower.


That pasta dish was exactly as delicious as it is stunning to see.  But my risotto – not so much.  I’m not saying it didn’t taste good.  It did.  But it has no big wow factor.  So – I am going to use this blog to post a few different items I’ve made that, while I recommend them, I didn’t feel they merited their own post.

But first – let me tell you about a recent experience I had at the nail salon.  This week, my friend Laura is in town from Boston.  She suggested that she & I (and her 12 year old daughter) all go for pedicures & maybe some lunch.  Sounded good to me so I picked them up & brought them to my local, strip mall nail salon.  When I go on my own, I just sit in the regular chairs & eschew the massage chairs because 1) they add $4 to the tab & 2) I think massage chairs are pretty lame.  But, Laura & her daughter were already planted in them & Laura insisted that I join them for the experience.  As I crawled into my chair, Laura said, “Hey!  This chair is pinching my butt!”  I made some lame joke about being desperate & lonely enough to welcome a little grab ass from an electronic chair & plopped myself down.  Now, I don’t know if there is a default setting on the chairs or if the staff sets them a certain way or if you just get it the way the last resident left it but my chair was on full assault mode.  The remote control for it was more complicated than trying to set a VCR to record a TV show & so, as I fumbled, I was victim to the existing settings.  The settings included words like “flap” & “knock” & “knead.”  Flap?  What the fuck is flapping?  I knew what knocking was because it was actively happening to me.  I felt like I was at Super King in the sorry position of standing in front of an especially impatient (and rude) woman with a mustache, black socks & Jesus boots prodding me from behind, angling to cut me in line at the cheese case.  I was in the middle of trying to express something or other to Laura when the chair commenced its “lower body” massage.  I froze mid-word, clamped my mouth shut & my eyes widened in surprise & horror.  Laura looked back at me & knew exactly what had just begun with my chair.  “Right?” she asked rhetorically, her eyes as wide as mine.  And she laughed.  The butt pinching she had mentioned was no butt pinching at all.  It was more like there was a little person under the chair wearing a boxing glove – who was using that boxing glove to massage our taints.  The glove rolled around, providing pressure from front to back & back to front again.  It was very disconcerting and, quite frankly, a shocking violation.  Who thinks they are going to get a vulva massage at a low end nail salon?  Not me.  Was this some sort of “happy ending” house of prostitution?  Did this require a bigger tip?  Ugh!  And if you think sleeping in a cheap motel on a bed with sheets of questionable sanitation is gross – just think of the places that boxing glove has been!

“OMG!  How do I turn it off?!”  I was panicking.

Laura was laughing and, sotto voce, asked, “What do you think…” and she subtly gestured over her shoulder where her 12-year-old daughter sat placidly in her chair.  Oh jeez!  Was that chair molesting her daughter, too?  These chairs had succeeded in freaking out a jaded 48-year-old & a mother of two.  What damage was that third one doing to the psyche of Laura’s innocent middle-schooler?  Methinks – in retrospect – that her chair must have been set differently because, if she was getting the full “lower body” treatment (vagina massage!  Let’s call a spade a spade here) – she gave no indication & I have a really hard time believing anybody could field the initial goosing & not have THIS reaction:

So – after much fumbling, I managed to get the pelvic exam part of the massage to stop.  But in my panic, I apparently upped the “knocking” part & couldn’t turn that off.  I tried to ask Laura but I was getting punched so hard, my speaking voice got all choppy – like I was Katherine Hepburn in the final grip of Parkinson’s.  “La-a-aur-a?  H-how do-o-oo you-ou t-t-u-uh-urn th-is-is o-o-offf?”  While I was speaking, I looked down at myself & noticed that my boobs & every other loose bit on my frame (and there are lots of bits looser than I would like) were being jostled around like a bowl of Jello.  I looked at Laura, a woman gifted in the breast department, and saw her body also looked like it was being wrestled by one of those old-fashioned fat loss jiggle machines.

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By the way – I am old enough to have belonged to a gym in Boston (Gloria Stevens) that actually HAD those things AND the stupid roller machines.


Jesus.  Had I known what this chair would get up to – I might have worn a corset or some other support device.   A full body Spanx.  Something.  A wet suit.

As Laura and I jiggled & giggled & poked randomly at the remotes to no avail – ah, yes!  Cue the creepy male proprietor.  Here he comes to position himself before the display of waggling female appendages.  He not only stood there taking it all in – he also engaged us in conversation & passed his phone between us – sharing his remarkable weight loss photos.  This effectively kept us from being able to focus on our remotes & end the shaking that would eventually take a harder toll on our boobs than gravity.  “Oh, yes!  I see!” we said, politely enthusiastic.

“Exercise & eating!  I eat a lot of cheese!” he declared.

Good for you, buddy.  Now take your “before & after” photos & your prominent moles with three-inch whiskers dangling from them & get outta here!  I need to adjust my bra straps!

Eventually, we were able to get the chairs to settle down & we got down to the business of the pedicures.  Here is a photo of Laura & me – exhibiting the post-rough-sex glow we had – courtesy of those perverted chairs with anger issues.

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Notice the Bat phone in the background?  Look at this thing.

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Maybe Fu Manchu there was more than just a thinned down, lusty boob man.  Maybe he was a superhero & this was his special superhero phone?  They also had this throwback-looking thing.

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Maybe that was his teleporter.  I have no way of knowing.  What I do know is that I got glittery, red toenails meant to draw your eye from my increasingly problematic bunions.

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Are feet copacetic in a food blog?  Likely not – and for that – I apologize.

I also know that when we went to lunch – I opted not to take any chances on this place –

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– because I still felt violated by the massage chair & was in no shape to roll the dice on the “anal beer” these guys seem so proud of.  Even if it is served ice cold.

That really is an unfortunate breakdown of a perfectly decent word, no?

Alright – now that I’ve gotten that off my chest – I can share a few underwhelming recipes!  YAY!

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I grilled shrimp for this but you can lose them if you want to.

Saffron Risotto with Grilled Shrimp, Asparagus & Fava Beans


Shrimp (optional)

2 cups Arborio (risotto) rice

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

4 cups stock (I make 5 just in case the risotto needs overcooking)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1 large shallot (or small onion)


Saffron (3 TBS of the liquid or a generous pinch of saffron threads steeped in 3 TBS hot water)

1 (16 oz) can fava beans (or white beans of any kind)

4 cloves garlic – minced (or to taste)

olive oil


1/2 lemon

Basil or parsley as garnish (I happened to have red basil)


Put the shrimp (if using) in a Ziplock bag or a bowl & squeeze the 1/2 lemon over them.  Add a glug or two of olive oil & some S&P and maybe a minced garlic clove or two.  Blend well.  Set aside.

Drain the fava beans & puree in a food processor.  Set aside.

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Hold each asparagus spear by the far ends & bend until they snap.  They will naturally break at the point that the spear is too tough to eat.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a stock pot.  Add the asparagus & some garlic & saute about 3 minutes over medium heat or until the asparagus is vibrant & softens a bit.  Set aside but keep the pan for re-use.

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Grill or pan-fry the shrimp until just pink.  Set aside.

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In a clean pan – heat the stock to just simmering & keep it there.  Add the saffron to this stock.

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in the asparagus pan.  Add the shallot (or onion) and saute until soft – about 3 minutes.  Add garlic & the rice & saute for about 2 minutes over medium-high heat – stirring constantly – until the rice is translucent at the edges.

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Add the wine (if using) & cook for a minute or so.  Then, add the stock in 1/2 to 1 cup increments, stirring almost constantly and allowing the liquid to be mostly absorbed before adding more.  You might need more or less stock – depending on the softness you like – but do not add so much that the rice is mushy.   Be sure to add enough broth, though, so that the risotto is creamy.

Add the asparagus & the cheese & the pureed beans.  Serve with grilled shrimp on top & with some chopped herbs.

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OK!   Onto another recipe that I could not post because I hate all the photos I took of it.  That is really the only reason – as it is quite tasty.

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That is my Watercress & Lemon Cream Stacenate (stracnar) Pasta.  It is the same pasta I made for this dish:


That is Stracnar (Stracenate) Pasta with a Pan-Fried Cauliflower, Tomato & Clam Ragu using the labor-intensive but really pretty cavarola-boarded pasta.


I don’t expect anyone to hunt down a cavarola board & make this stuff – so – just use bowtie pasta or something.

Watercress & Lemon Cream Pasta


1/2 lb bow-tie pasta (or pappardelle or something)

4 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup ricotta

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (plus extra for garnish)

1 bunch watercress

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves – minced

juice & zest of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBS pepper

1 tomato – diced (optional – but it would add nice color)

Parsley or basil or reserved watercress as garnish


Wash the watercress & remove any large stems.  Chop it up.

Heat the olive oil in a pan & add the minced garlic.  Saute 1 minute & then add the cream cheese, ricotta, Parmesan, juice & zest of the lemon and the S&P.  Blend & heat through.

Cook the pasta.  Drain & toss with the lemon cream sauce, add the watercress & serve topped with chopped herbs & tomatoes (if using) and lots of ground pepper.

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And lastly – this dish – Ziplock Baggy Boiled Omelettes.

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I saw this posted on my friend Cheryl Patrick Van Allen’s Facebook page & tried it out immediately.   Basically – you take eggs & whatever else you want in your omelette & put it all in a resealable baggy.  Squeeze out the air, seal the bag & smoosh everything around until well-blended.

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Whether camping or just serving several folks that require different ingredients in their omelettes – this is an easy way to make a bunch of varied omelettes all at one go & in one pan of boiling water.  Just be sure to write everyone’s name on their bag.

Then – boil them for 13 minutes.  Be careful the plastic doesn’t melt on your pan – a problem that actually bothers me & is a main reason I didn’t post this as a stand-alone recipe.   Folks say the omelette slips out of the bag onto your plate – and it does – but mine slipped out & looked more like an eggy heart than an omelette.

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That isn’t very appetizing.  But – it is nothing a fork & herbs & some peppers cannot fix.

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The other reason I didn’t post this before is because of the controversy about boiling in the bags that are not meant for that task.  It seems that the plastic can leak chemicals etc into your food.  Eh – but that is true of every dish you ever zapped in the microwave in or on something plastic.  I hate microwaving anything because I believe it alters the food in such a way that your body cannot even identify it as food – but I have been known to succumb to the convenience occasionally.  Still – I try to put things (even things meant to be zapped in their packaging) onto paper or glass before the nuking.

So – there you have it – boiled baggy eggy weggies!  Try at your own risk!

You know what isn’t risky?  A bottle of smiley face wine!

Bon appetit!

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Asparagus & Basil Pesto and Parsley Cashew Pesto on either Pizza or Pasta



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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


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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As you can see HERE – I have posted about a zillion different pesto recipes.  Cilantrocollard greens, Swiss chardbroccoli & goat cheesebroccoli rabe & pistachiodill & almondspinach & pecanspinachspinach & kalepea pesto and simple kale to name some.  Here is what those recipes looked like – not necessarily in the same order.

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The reasons for this are that pesto is wicked easy to make, full of flavor & an excellent way to put wilted or less than picturesque produce to use.  Pesto can be frozen by putting it into ice cube trays & then, once solid, transferring the cubes to freezer bags with the pesto flavor written on the outside.   You could freeze larger portions in mini or regular muffin pans, too.

OK – so – I had a bunch of asparagus that sat in my fridge a tad longer than I had intended.  Sometimes my fridge has odd drops in temperature & asparagus is very sensitive to extreme cold.  Hence – my spears got a bit soggy looking & several were unsalvageable.

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See?  It wasn’t happy at all.  I had to throw a lot away.  But, though it was well past its sell-by date – about half of it was usable for a pesto.  So that is what I did.

Also – at my favorite place on Earth – Super King – I got 7 huge bunches of parsley for .99 cents.  So – I made a parsley pesto, too.  The two recipes will follow.  They both go very well on pastas or on pizzas and even work as a condiment on sandwiches so – go nuts.  Speaking of nuts, you might notice than none of my pesto recipes use the traditional pine nuts.  That is because they go rancid easily & also because they are often from China – a country about 300 years behind us in their food safety regulations.  Rancid pine nuts might taste OK but they can give you pine mouth.  Here is a bit from the FDA.

“Pine Mouth” and Consumption of Pine Nuts

March 14, 2011 

In the past year FDA has received a number of consumer complaints regarding a bitter metallic taste associated with pine nuts. This taste, known as “pine mouth,” typically begins 12 to 48 hours after consuming pine nuts, and lasts on average between a few days and two weeks. It is exacerbated by consumption of any other food during this period and significantly decreases appetite and enjoyment of food. The symptoms decrease over time with no apparent adverse clinical side effects.

In response to increased consumer complaints, FDA developed a detailed questionnaire, and collected and analyzed samples from some consumers submitting complaints. The Agency found that the majority of pine nuts associated with “pine mouth” were eaten in the raw state (either as snacks or as a component of salad or pesto sauce). It also found that consumers did not detect a rancid or off-taste when eating the pine nuts. Finally, FDA was able to confirm that “pine mouth” is an adverse food reaction to pine nuts that is clearly distinct from a typical food allergy.

FDA continues to analyze consumer complaints to identify the potential causes of “pine mouth” and to determine whether the severity of symptoms and likelihood of developing them is related to the amount of pine nuts consumed. FDA will continue to monitor this problem and keep the public posted regarding any new findings.

Consumers experiencing “pine mouth” may contact the FDA District Office in their area. For a list, go to the Consumer Complaint Coordinators page athttp://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm.


So – that said – I just avoid them altogether.  I find them oily & too rich, anyway.

So – without further adieu – I present the two latest pesto recipes.

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Asparagus & Basil Pesto


1 bunch of asparagus (or as much as you can salvage from a bunch on its last legs)

1 cup basil

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup Parmesan

4 garlic coves (or to taste)



Hold each asparagus spear by the far ends & bend until they snap.  They will naturally break at the point that the spear is too tough to eat.  You can then blanch them by dunking them in boiling water for about three minutes & then immersing them in ice water or wrap them in a wet paper towel & microwave them for a minute or two.  Chop into 1 inch chunks & set aside.

Toast the walnuts in a dry pan for two or three minutes or until they are fragrant & begin to brown.  Stir the entire time & be careful not to burn them. You can see from this photo below – I burned mine.

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Then – simply blend everything up in a food processor.  You can use more or less olive oil – depending on how thick or thin you prefer your pesto.  Then serve it mixed in with some cooked pasta or smear it on a sandwich or pizza!

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Parsley Cashew Pesto


I bunch of Italian parsley (flat leaf)

2/3 cup chopped cashews (or almonds or walnuts or pecans – or other nuts)

2/3 cup Parmesan

2/3 cup olive oil

S&P to taste

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Toast the cashews (or other nuts) in a dry pan for two or three minutes or until they are fragrant & begin to brown.  Stir the entire time & be careful not to burn them.  Then simply puree everything in a food processor.  Again – serve it mixed in with some cooked pasta or smear it on a sandwich or pizza!

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Decadent No Carb Shirataki Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus & Lemon

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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.


These friggin’ shirataki noodles are the greatest.  These ones here have 80 calories – and that is for a huge bowl of pasta (two packages being one serving) – then the calories of whatever you add to them.


As I stated before in other posts about these noodles, there actually is a measurable amount of carbohydrates in these but it is so negligible as to not be worth mentioning.  With noodles this light & guilt-free, you can add anything on top of them & still have a much lighter meal than you would with real pasta.  These noodles do not mimic the texture of pasta as well as they do the visual but the texture isn’t off-putting & you get used to it quickly.  In case this is your first time trying them, do not get freaked out by the fishy smell they have when you open the package.  Just boil them or zap them in some fresh water in the microwave & the smell goes away completely.  There is nothing funky about their taste.  They are a very neutral base for whatever you use to top them.

My boyfriend likes fettuccine alfredo a lot.  I have always found it too rich and, until yesterday, never made it myself.   Yesterday, I decided to spoil him & make him a decadent, cheesy sauce.  This recipe makes enough sauce to feed six easily.  I made one serving with the shirataki & 6 servings with a homemade pepper penne.   I did not photograph the penne version but I added some fresh, diced tomato to it & it broke up the monochrome of the dish nicely.  I recommend you try that, too.



Decadent No Carb Shirataki Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus & Lemon


Pasta of your choice (shirataki or homemade or boxed)

1 bunch asparagus

2 tomatoes – diced

8 TBS butter

4 cloves garlic – sliced thin

3 cups heavy cream

2 cups grated Parmesan

1 cup Pecorino Romano

3 oz cream cheese

zest of one lemon

Parsley – chopped for garnish

S&P to taste

Extra Parmesan or Pecorino Romano or grating


Trim the ends of the asparagus as outlined HERE.  Basically, you grasp the spear on each end & bend it until it breaks.  The bottom part will be the tough, inedible part.  Then, cut into 1 inch pieces.  Wrap in a wet paper town & zap in a microwave for a minute or two.  (Alternatively – you could add the raw asparagus to your boiling pasta for the final four minutes.)

Melt the butter in a large pan.  Saute the garlic being careful not to brown it.  Add the heavy cream, 3 cheeses & the lemon zest & heat through until all the cheeses melt & the sauce is creamy.  Add salt & pepper.

Cook your pasta & drain it.  Add the asparagus to the sauce & warm it through.  Add the pasta to the sauce or mix them in a large serving bowl.  Garnish with diced tomatoes, parsley & lemon wedges & extra cheese for grating.



Potato, Salmon & Asparagus Tall Tart (Pie) with Fresh Dill



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

This recipe is a 100% original Delicious-Delightful-Delovely invention.  It was not inspired by any other recipe – whether that be something I ate somewhere or something I saw on the Internet.  Again – it was born of ingredients I had on hand – like a second homemade tart dough waiting to be baked – and everything else used here – except the dill.  I had to go buy fresh dill.  This is the result of good ole-fashioned winging it & I recommend you try it.  The winging it part.  You could use sweet potatoes rather than white, leave out the salmon, use cooked chicken, use broccoli or peas or steamed kale instead of asparagus.  There is really no limit to the ways you could vary this.  My only recommendation is that you use some things with different colors – to prettify it.  This & a nice salad – you are good to go!


Potato, Salmon & Asparagus Tall Tart (Pie) with Fresh Dill


1 homemade (or frozen) tart dough – as made HERE

4 medium new potatoes (or red or sweet or russet – whatever) – sliced 1/4 inch thick

8 oz goat cheese

6 oz whole milk

2 eggs

12 dill fronds – stems removed.

zest of 1 lime

6 oz smoked salmon – diced

30 spears asparagus – FRESH

1/2 lb grated cheese (I used leftovers from the tomato tart – a combo of gruyere, smoked gouda & cheddar)

S&P to taste



Boil water with a tsp salt & add the sliced potatoes & cook until tender – between 5-10 minutes.  Drain & run cool water over them.  Set aside.

Wrap the asparagus spears in a wet paper towel & microwave them for a minute or two – until tender but not overcooked.  Or steam them traditionally.  Set aside.

Roll out your pastry dough & press it into a spring form pan (or a deep dish pie pan).  Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.

In a blender or food processor – blend SIX OUNCES (reserving 2 ounces) of the goat cheese with the milk and the two eggs, lime zest and SIX of the dill fronds (reserving 6).  Add s&p to taste.  Set aside.

When the dough is chilled – take it from the fridge & layer the bottom with 1/3 the potatoes.  Add 1/2 of the asparagus and 1/2 the salmon & pour 1/2 of the milk mixture over this.  Layer another 1/3 of the potatoes & the rest of the salmon & asparagus & then add the final 1/3 of the potatoes.  Crumble the last 2 oz goat cheese on top of this & then the grated cheese blend.  Pour the second 1/2 of the milk mixture over this.

Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes – or until the cheese begins to turn golden.  Remove from over & let rest for 10-15 minutes.  Remove the spring form ring (if using) and sprinkle with more fresh dill.  Can be eaten warm or at room temperature.


DECADENT Vegan NO CARB Summer Pasta with Zucchini Noodles, Avocado, Asparagus & Peas



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

Hey!  Have you heard?  I wrote a really funny & dirty novel!  www.BathingBook.com.   Check out the reviews on Amazon!  Why not buy a copy?

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Do not be fooled by how closely this pasta resembles my recent spinach & pea pesto linguini.  It is a completely different animal.  This is a vegan dish but only by chance – rather than design.  It can be made carb-free or carb-heavy.  That is your call.  I went carb-heavy – because, quite frankly, I am a carb whore.  Thick & doughy midsections take dedication to preserve & I am committed to mine.  You might be devoted to your hard won abs – in which case – go carb-free.

But how can I make a carb-free pasta – you might ask.  Well – it is easier than you think.  Just use fresh zucchini instead of spaghetti!  I discovered this concept recently & I can foresee it becoming a regular thing in this house.  I thought I’d need a kitchen tool called a spiralizer and so I did a lot of research on which to buy before I headed out to get one.  Spiralizers can turn potatoes into curly fries or zucchini into pasta – among other things.  I was too impatient to buy one online so I headed to Bed Bath & Beyond yesterday just to get it.  Alas – they had none.  The guy there said a mandolin might do the trick and I have one of those – so I returned home to experiment.  I saw online that some folks said a food processor could create fettuccini-like noodles & others said a vegetable peeler could work, too.   I decided to experiment.

The mandolin was sort of effective but mine is so sharp & unstable – I was kinda freaked out.  Then I remembered!  Didn’t I have some odd sorta toothy, clawlike vegetable peeler deep in the chaotic disasters that are my kitchen tool drawers??  I dug around a bit & voila!!!  There it was!  With a sturdy, rubber Tonka handle & a plastic blade guard.



I tried this on a sample zuke & it worked like a charm!  I held the peeled zucchini on one end with a fork & shaved away at the zucchini & got a wonderful spaghetti-like result.


Look at this link & see how cool spiralized zucchini is – HERE.

This dish can be made pretty close to entirely raw – if that’s your thing.  Simply blanching the zucchini noodles for 2 minutes or sauteing the zucchini noodles in olive oil for 2-3 minutes will make them deliciously edible & the sauce is raw, too.  I’m not concerned with raw so much.   If you hate peas or asparagus – just leave them out.  This recipe can be made with or without actual pasta.  This version has pasta.  I am going to give you a recipe here that uses an entire box of spaghetti – and the zucchini noodles – so it would likely feed 4-6 as a main course.  You can adjust this easy recipe to use pasta or not – and change the quantities if you only want to make a serving or two.  If you make a lot – as I did – but do not want to eat it all up immediately – just keep the ingredients (zucchini noodles, pasta with peas & asparagus and the sauce) separate from each other & only blend them in the serving size you need when you are ready to eat it.  I would boil water & just reheat the actual pasta & veggies (a minute or two) before draining & then mixing with the zucchini & sauce.  Don’t heat the zucchini.  It will get soggy.


DECADENT Vegan NO CARB Summer Pasta with Zucchini Noodles, Avocado, Asparagus & Peas


1 lb spaghetti (if using)

6 large (peeled or not – your call) zucchini – spiralized or shaved into noodles (do not use the seeded center of the zukes)

1 cup frozen peas (optional)

10 spears asparagus – sliced into bite size pieces (optional)


2 large avocados

1/3 cup water

6 TBS fresh oregano

juice of 1/2 lemon

zest of entire lemon

chopped basil as garnish

s&p to taste


Peel (or not) then shave, spiralize or grate your zucchini into noodles.  Do not use the seeded center part.  I saved my centers & peels & made a zucchini hummus out of them afterward.  You can use them any way you want or toss them.  Whatever.


Once you have your noodles – put them in a colander in the sink & sprinkle a tsp salt over them.  Toss them to distribute the salt & let them drain while you make your sauce.


In a food processor, blend your avocados, lemon juice & zest, oregano, water (use more or less – to get the right consistency) and S&P to taste.  This is – essentially – a guacamole.  Make it very creamy.



Boil the water & cook your pasta according to directions.  In the last two minutes of the pasta cooking – add the peas & asparagus.  If not using pasta – just boil water & blanch the peas & asparagus for two minutes.  Drain.


Now simply assemble the ingredients.  I made a single serving by using equal parts pasta & zucchini noodles & then tossed them with the sauce.  A little chopped basil and S&P and I was ready to eat.  The remaining part – I am bringing to a party tonight & will assemble THAT there!




Spinach Hummus – Harissa-Spiced Hummus – Roasted Broccoli Mousse – Brussels Sprouts & Asparagus Mousse



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012



OK – ever get a little carried away at the farmer’s market or even just a random produce aisle – because everything looked so vibrant & delicious or maybe because you were planning on living a healthier & more plant-based-diet lifestyle? Ever find yourself throwing away one item after another as they go bad at their own rates because either 1) you were fucking kidding yourself & you ate Lean Cuisines & frozen pizza all week or 2) you ended up going out to eat more than you anticipated or 3) you just bought so Goddamn much – even a family of yaks couldn’t have gotten through it all?

Me, too. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m not jump-starting my stove pilots with burning hundred dollar bills. Throwing away a $3 avocado or one of those $40 (not really) vine-ripe bullshit tomatoes from one of our “finer” grocers – like Whole “Paycheck” Foods or Gelson’s or your own local way-too-expensive market – really blows! Watching the broccoli lose its color or the spinach get greener (meaning – getting all dark & soggy & funky gross) and your romaine turn to soup – really sucks. I’ve eaten things, folks, and this is fucking TRUE, that I convinced myself were OK to eat because I’d read (in The Diary of Anne Frank) about the molded & otherwise sub par produce etc that Anne Frank had been forced to eat and it wasn’t the food in that Annex that killed her, was it? No, it wasn’t. In case you want to challenge me. And, by the way, that diary of hers will humble you. What an incredible kid. You should read it if you haven’t – and read it again, if you have.



Look at the energy in that kid’s face. Ugh. 😦

Anyway – the fact is – most of us are pretty spoiled & far too fussy about what we consider edible…..yet we eat the infected death McDonald’s serves without batting an eyelash. Ever found a two year old McD’s French Fry in the back seat of your car? It is still a totally pristine French Fry. Hard? Sure. But not a hint of the hideous mold my week-old, raw green beans – in the fridge – displayed this morning.

Anyway – eventually – even WWII fetishists have to admit some stuff is beyond edible. I found myself just today – faced making some very hard decisions. Sadly sage-green-colored broccoli, wilting asparagus, spinach threatening to join the liquid romaine & the aforementioned green beans that I was forced to toss. Brussels sprouts were staring out at me, guilting me, every time I opened the fridge and pretended I wasn’t seeing a bunch of vegetables on the cusp of dying for nothing. Lives squandered because I felt the need to make my last two meals out of a can of petroleum-based nacho cheese sauce, canned jalapenos & homemade corn chips (or home fried – so there was THAT concession to avoiding toxic waste). Do not try that at home, kids. A day spent eating nothing but that gelatinous, movie theater nacho cheese sauce from a can – and a can & a half of pickled jalapenos does things to one’s innards that it takes TRAINING to survive.

I was determined to save these poor vegetative beings from a fate of total waste. “Hmmmmm….hmmmmm,” I thought, scratching my beard.  “I’ll make BLENDED food out of them,” I decided. No pressure now to look pretty on a plate, to maintain an “al dente” texture, to look crisp & healthy & expensive. No! I will make HUMMUS! And hummus I made. Four ways. Actually – two ways. The third & fourth are more of a mousse or pate  – suited to pita – but BETTER SUITED to a bruschetta (crostini), a pizza base or a pasta!

Know that my veggies were not spoiled – but they were headed that way. Look at the pathetic, under-saturated color of this broccoli and then those poor spouts & some asparagus – losing their religion:



But a little roasting – a little steaming – and/or a little sauteing – watch that shit come back to life!




Yes – olive oil, garlic & a little heat puts the pink back in their cheeks, lemme tell you.

So – without further ado – let me spell out what I made & how I made it. A food processor or other motorized blending tool is critical here.

HUMMUS – four ways.  Kinda.





Spinach Hummus

(3 cups or so)


15 oz can chick peas

4 garlic cloves (less if you don’t LOVE garlic)

4 cups fresh spinach – packed

1/4 cup tahini sauce

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup water (less or more – depending how thick you like your hummus)

1-3 TBS olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste


Blend. Yup. Blend. Add the water in increments until you get our desired consistency. That’s it. You gotta love hummus!  Serve with HOMEMADE PITA.




Harissa-Spiced Hummus


15 oz can chick peas

4 garlic cloves (less – or more – to taste)

juice of 1/2 lemon

4 TBS olive oil

1/4 cup tahini sauce

2 TBS (or more) Harissa paste

1 TBS tomato paste (or puree)

Cayenne pepper – a pinch

S&P to taste


Blend the chick peas with 2 TBS of the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and S&P to taste.

In a separate bowl – whisk the harissa, tomato puree & the last TBS olive oil.

Transfer your hummus to a serving bowl & drizzle with the harissa sauce. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Serve!




This Broccoli Pesto – and the Brussels Sprouts one – are better served as a bruschetta or crostini than with pita.  They would also toss very well with cooked pasta or serve as a nice base for a pizza.  Go EASY on the salt with these two.


Roasted Broccoli Mousse


15 oz can WHITE BEANS (or chick peas – I suppose. But this is a cannellini or other white bean recipe)

1/2 lb roasted broccoli (recipe – ingredients & directions – below)

6 garlic cloves (roasted with the broccoli)

1 tsp lemon juice

zest of half a lemon

1/4 cup tahini sauce

S&P to taste


Blend it all (including the ROASTED broccoli from below) in a food processor. Voila!

Roasted Broccoli

1/2 pound broccoli (the same as above – not additionally)

1 TBS crushed red pepper

6 (or less) garlic cloves (the same as above – not additionally)

2 TBS olive oil

scant pinch of salt


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl – toss the broccoli florets, red pepper, olive oil, whole garlic & salt.  Stir to coat the florets.  Arrange the broccoli on a parchment paper-lined cooking sheet being sure to keep each floret from touching the others….otherwise you will get more of a steamed broccoli than the roasted variety you want here.  Roast for 20 minutes or so (they should look a bit charred) & remove from the oven to blend with the remaining ingredients above.

This is best served on toasted bread (crostini) or mixed sparingly with pasta & served with extra Parmesan.  It also works instead of tomato sauce as a pizza layer.





Brussels Sprouts & Asparagus Mousse


2-3 inch cube of feta cheese

1/2 cup TOASTED nuts – pine or pecan or walnut or almond – your call.  I used pecans.  I’m terrified of PINE MOUTH and avoid pine nuts at all costs.

1/2 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves

10-15 Brussels Sprouts – depending on their size

6 Asparagus spears – tough ends broken away (video tutorial HERE)

1 bunch Italian parsley

1/2 cup white wine (or water)

zest of 1/2 large lemon

olive oil


Halve the Brussels Sprouts & boil them for three minutes.  Add the asparagus & boil another minute.  Drain.  Heat some oil in a frying pan & saute the sprouts & asparagus until the sprouts begin to brown.  Remove from heat.

In your food processor – blend all the ingredients – including your warmed veggies.

Again – this is best served on toasted bread (crostini) or mixed sparingly with pasta & served with extra Parmesan.  It also works instead of tomato sauce as a pizza layer.


Sushi – Many Ways – Kale, Asparagus, Shitake, Tuna, Shrimp, Avocado and more!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

As I said yesterday – I love sushi!  I could eat it every day.  Here – I am going to try to take some of the intimidation factor out of preparing it at home.

Firstly – if your local supermarket has a fresh fish department & they also sell pre-made sushi – you can likely buy the spicy tuna already prepared – by the pound – plus any other fish you might like, already cut into sushi pieces.  The cutting of the fish is key & I am not even going to pretend I have even tried to master it.  I did TRY to do it, once or twice, but all I ended up doing was massacring some really beautiful & expensive fish.


I buy my spicy tuna already pre-made at the most expensive store this side of Whole Paycheck (Whole Foods) and Bristol Farms – my local Gelson’s.  I think they charge $20 pound for the spicy tuna but a pound is a LOT – and my store is expensive – so be sure to suss out what your local stores offer & at what price before you give up.

Also – imitation crab – that pink-dyed whitefish in the fresh fish department – usually pretty cheap – like $5 pound.  This is what I use to make California rolls.


I pretty much stick to rolls, though I do make a crispy rice with spicy tuna that doesn’t require any seaweed or rolling.  Nori (seaweed) is WAY cheaper in ethnic stores than in mainstream supermarkets so try to find one near you – if money is an issue.


Also critical for sushi – the wasabi & ginger.  I like to buy those at Gelson’s, too, in these little containers that cost $1.29 each.


Ginger also comes jarred & wasabi can be had in tubes or powdered.  The powdered variety is surprisingly good (when mixed with water).


Also important to sushi – your rice.  There is a short grain rice that is specific to sushi.  Try to use that – if you can.  And here is an EASY SUSHI RICE RECIPE:


Sushi Rice

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

4 cups


  • 2 cups sushi or short grain rice
  • 2 cups water, plus extra for rinsing rice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt


Place the rice into a mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Swirl the rice in the water, pour off and repeat 2 to 3 times or until the water is clear.

Place the rice and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature before using to make sushi.


OR – you can get crazy & make your rice out of cauliflower!!!

Recipe here.

Actual sushi rice is easier to work with than the less sticky cauliflower rice so, if you are new to this, I recommend going with the rice.



Your imagination is the limit when it comes to what you put in your rolls.  I used

Kale – Sauteed like this.

Avocado – sliced

Asparagus – steamed (wrapped in wet paper towel in the microwave for a minute or two)

Carrots – sliced thin

Cucumber – sliced thin

Spicy tuna

Shrimp – cooked (or tempura shrimp)

Imitation crab – recipe below

Jalapenos – sliced and/or diced

and both kinds of rice – regular & cauliflower.



I sauteed the kale first (recipe here) and cooled it.  I also sauteed the sliced shitake in a little sesame oil & garlic – and cooled them.

I made a spicy mayo to add to the crab.  I had 1/2 pound of crab & this was the perfect amount of mayo.  if you hate spice – just use straight mayo.


Spicy Mayo

1/2 cup mayo (use authentic Japanese KEWPIE mayo, if possible.  I did not.)

2 TBS Sriracha

1 tsp Sesame oil

Whisk it together & voila!


Spicy Imitation Crab

Chop your crab or pulse it in the food processor to get that superfine dice.  Add the spicy mayo & mix well.



Once you have prepared & cooled ALL your ingredients, the next step is assembling the rolls.  Some people think those bamboo sushi rollers are helpful.  If you like them – wrap it in plastic wrap before you use it.  That prevents rice & other goo from getting smashed into it.  I like to go freestyle.

Lay out the nori & press your rice into in all the way to the sides but leaving a lot of room on the nori for rolling.


Top it with your selection of ingredients.  This one will be asparagus, kale & shitake with the cauliflower rice.



Then start rolling this thing from the side with the ingredients on it.  Roll it as tightly as you can.  Dampen the last 1/2 inch with wet fingers & roll the thing over onto the wet edge.  I then rub it left & right on the counter in an attempt to seal it.  Cut it with the seam side down with a VERY sharp knife.  Wetting the knife can help prevent rice from sticking to it.

Do not get disgusted if you ruin a few of these before you get the hang of it.  Maybe practice on a few with just carrots & cucumbers & rice so you can get the hang of it without wasting the more precious ingredients.


Here I go with a spicy tuna one (there are asparagus spears hidden under there:



I add chopped AND sliced jalapenos to almost all my sushi.  You needn’t – if the heat bugs you.

And here is my chunky California roll.   If you chop the crab in a food processor – you will get the more recognizable looking crab dice.


Or a shrimp sushi roll:


And finally – if you are feeling adventurous – heat up a little vegetable oil in a pan.  Make some rectangular, flattish cubes with your sticky rice.  Pan fry them til they are golden on both sides.  Top with spicy tuna & some jalapenos! YUM!  Sesame seeds – either white, black or toasted – work very nicely as garnish


So – there you have it.  I hope you try it & I hope you have great success!

Pizza with Smoked Salmon, Asparagus, Capers & Cream Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012



Preheat over to 450.  Always do this first.  I put my oven on midday – if I know I will be making pizza.  You want your oven at full temp before putting the pizza in.

1/3 Pizza Dough recipe (https://delightfuldeliciousdelovelyblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/pizza-dough-5/) or other dough of your choice.

3-4 TBS Tomato Sauce

1 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Several ounces (to your own taste) of Smoked Salmon.  It has a strong flavor – so you do not need to be heavy handed.

2 TBS Capers

6-8 Spears steamed asparagus (I steam them – wrapped in a wet paper towel – by zapping them in the microwave for a minute & a half.

6 Spears Asparagus chopped into 1/2 inch bits

3 TBS Chopped Chives

2 TBS Chopped Dill

1/4 Red Onion sliced thinly

1 Heirloom or other tomato diced

Lemon (just a squeeze over the finished product)

2 TBS Cream Cheese


Preheat over to 450.  Always do this first.  I put my oven on midday – if I know I will be making pizza.  You want your oven at full temp before putting the pizza in.

Roll out your dough on a floured surface until it is just larger than the pan you are using.  Roll the extra edges over.


Spread the tomato sauce over the dough in a thin layer.  Add ONE CUP of the shredded cheese – reserving 1/2 cup.

Distribute the salmon & capers & red onion & tomatoes.  Create a little fan in the center of the pizza with the asparagus spears & then sprinkle the chopped asparagus evenly.  Put tiny dollops of cream cheese sparingly in a pattern you choose atop the pizza.

Bake the pizza for about ten minutes – more or less depending on how thickly you topped the pizza & also on your oven’s calibration.  Eyeball it every five minutes until it looks ALMOST done to you.  The crust should be just browned & the toppings should not look burned at all.  Take it out & add the last 1/2 cup shredded cheese.  Return it to the over until it is done.

Take it from the oven & add a TBS or more of cream cheese in a large dollop in the center of the pizza.  Squeeze a small amount of lemon juice over the pizza, maybe targeting your smoked salmon bits especially.  Sprinkle the chopped chives & dill evenly over the entire pizza and – if you are feeling fancy – garnish the center cream cheese with some dill sprigs.  Voila!  Enjoy!


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

Smoked Salmon Wrapped Baked Asparagus with Lemon & Shaved Parmesan

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Photo © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012


Smoked Salmon Wrapped Baked Asparagus with Lemon & Shaved Parmesan


1 Bunch Asparagus

6 oz (or more – if you like) Smoked Salmon sliced very thin


Zest of one lemon

4 TBS Fresh Rosemary chopped

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400

Hold each asparagus spear by each end and bend them until they break.  They will naturally break at the point where the inedible tough part begins.  Grease a baking sheet with a thin coat of olive oil.  Place the asparagus on the sheet, sprinkle with the rosemary & bake about ten minutes.  Cool the asparagus.  When cooled, wrap each spear in a slice of smoked salmon and align on a serving plate.  Shave Parmesan over them & sprinkle with the lemon zest and salt & pepper.  Serve.

Penne with smoked salmon and asparagus in a lemon cream sauce.

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Penne with smoked salmon and asparagus in a lemon cream sauce.

Google the phrase “pappardelle in lemon cream sauce with asparagus and smoked salmon.”. Asparagus should be the first ingredient in the recipe I used- and 2 large shallots should be second. Lemon, smoked salmon, pasta, butter and cream round it out. I added parsley. I love parsley.