St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Irish Beef & Cabbage Stew & My New Youtube Channel!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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.

MOST exciting new thing in my life?  My brand, spanking new YOUTUBE channel!   I set it up two days ago & there are already two videos.  One to make Vegan Firecracker Chicken and one for St. Patrick’s Day to make a Last Word Cocktail – pictured above.

As my editing skills & equipment improve – so will the videos but I was just so excited to get started – I just jumped right in.  Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel!

Ok – so – if you watched the Last Word video – you saw that I was also cooking up this creation – just in time for you to cook tomorrow!  Easy & vegan – it is flexible.  Use the veggies I suggest – or not.  I used Gardein Beefless Tips but Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles or even the Beast Burger would work!   The photo I used shows the green beans & Brussels sprouts I considered adding but then did not.

*NOTE – I used a combination or bouillon, soy sauce, Marmite & Kitchen Bouquet.  This made for a sodium-intense stew.  I recommend starting with just veggie stock and then adding one or a few of these other things until you get the intensity you want in both flavor & color (Kitchen Bouquet being best for the deep brown color) – but add them in increments so you avoid a salt-fest.

St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Irish Beef & Cabbage Stew

Serves a lot – like – at least 6

INGREDIENTS

9+ oz vegan beef – you can pan-sear & brown it first, if you like.  I did not.

1/2 cup vegan butter (or olive oil)

1 onion – chopped

2 potatoes – cubed

5 carrots – chopped

8 mushrooms – sliced

4 celery stalks – chopped

2 cups cabbage – chopped

1-2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

9 oz peas

1 cup pearl barley or other grain (optional)

up to 1 cup flour or a few TBS cornstarch

10 cups veggie stock

1 TBS pepper

Optional – fresh chopped herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano or parsley.  I used none.

*OPTIONAL – a few TBS soy sauce OR 1/2 tsp Marmite OR 2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet OR a combination *see note above

DIRECTIONS

Warm the butter or oil & then add onions, celery, mushrooms, and jalapenos (if using).  Saute until the onions & celery are soft.

Add potatoes & carrots & beef.  Combine.  Add stock & cabbage & pepper & chopped herbs (if using) & pearl barley.  Bring to a boil.  Whisk either 1/2 cup of flour or a few TBS cornstarch into some water & add it to the stew.  As it boils – it should thicken.  Repeat incrementally to thicken the stew more if necessary.   Conversely – add water to thin it.

Now taste it & see if you want to add Marmite, Kitchen Bouquet or soy sauce.  Adjust flavors to suit yourself.  I added two halved potatoes to mine to draw some sat out.

It is done when the veggies are all tender & it is thick as you like & the seasonings seem right.  Stir in the peas.  Serve!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Slainte!

Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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.

So – flipping around the internet, I came across a recipe from a blog I love.  The blog is Pinch of Yum.  I love the blog because the photographs are mercilessly lush & gorgeous.  About a year ago, she posted her “life-changing 30 minute masala sauceand the photos are so great – I just could not get the recipe out of my mind – so – I made it!  She offers the recipe for a masala paste & then how to make a sauce from the paste.  She served the sauce over her “30-minute vegetarian meatballs.”  I did not have the ingredients for the meatballs so I decided to serve my sauce over Gardein beefless tips & chickpeas.

The paste is SUPER easy.  You just whip it up in a food processor.  The sauce is super easy, too, and she is right!  It is delicious!  You could serve the sauce over any meat or meatless meat or veggie or even rice or pasta you desire.  The paste makes a lot so maybe freeze some.

I did not have onions so I used shallots & scallions.  I used two tomatoes & some tomato paste in place of her suggested 1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth – just because that was all I had.  Worked out great!  I recommend you make this sauce & follow her blog.  It is really wonderful!

Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan beef (or other vegan meat)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas – drained
for the masala paste
2 onions
5 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, crushed
3 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
a small pile of of cilantro stems
a fistful of almonds
juice of one lemon
for the masala sauc
1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt (taste and adjust)
GARNISH – cooked rice & cilantro
DIRECTIONS
Pulse all the ingredients for the Masala Paste in a food processor until smooth.  Put it into a container for storage in the fridge or freezer – reserving only 1/4 cup of the paste for this recipe.  The rest is extra!
Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet. Add 1/4 cup masala paste to the skillet and with a little bit of oil and stir around in the pan until fragrant (3-5 minutes).  Add the tomato puree and water and simmer until t’s a rusty-deep-red color – about 5-10 minutes.  Add the beef & chickpeas.  Add the coconut milk; simmer for 10 minutes or so until thick and creamy.  Longer simmer = thicker and better flavor.
Serve over warm rice & garnish with chopped cilantro.

Leftover Lentils Red Coconut Curry Beef and Bean Meatloaf (Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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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The other day, I made a boatload of Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils – seen just above.  By boatload – I mean I started with 5 cups of dry lentils.  That makes nearly twice as much of the finished product – so – I decided to try to reinvent them.    I used two cups of them in this recipe and I still have a ton left.  You can either make this lentil recipe (cut in half) or your own favorite lentil recipe.  I recommend these because the flavor profiles match but I am pretty sure most lentil recipes will do.

I baked mine for an hour but this loaf was only about an inch deep.  I recommend going shallow rather than deep because the deeper the loaf is – the trickier it will be to get it cooked through without drying it out.

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I also used this crazy glaze I spotted at Ralph’s.  If you cannot find this – either let the loaf be naked or mix up a glaze of your choice – or just top it with your favorite BBQ sauce.  Glazes are nice because they add moisture & another flavor component.    Here is a CURRY KETCHUP recipe (use agave rather than honey – if you are vegan) and here is a SRIRACHA KETCHUP recipe (again – use agave rather than honey – if you are vegan).    I posted Korean & traditional BBQ sauce recipes HERE.

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Leftover Lentils Red Coconut Curry & Beef and Bean Meatloaf (Vegan)

Makes one meatloaf

INGREDIENTS

2 cups prepared lentils (your favorite recipe or less than half of this recipe Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils)

11 oz vegan beef crumbles (I always use Beyond Meat)

2 TBS red curry paste (or more – to taste)

5.6 oz coconut milk

1/4 cup oats (more if your mixture seems too wet – less if it seems too dry) – breadcrumbs work, too

1/4 cup flax meal (more if your mixture seems too wet – less if it seems too dry)

GARNISH – your favorite meatloaf glaze or BBQ sauce & cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all your ingredients together.  Get it to about the consistency of a wet burger.

I lined my pan with foil but parchment paper is better.  I sprayed it with cooking spray & poured the lentil mixture in & pressed it flat.

Top with the glaze of your choice.

Bake for 45-60 minutes or until it is cooked through.  A testing stick should come out clean.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before transferring or cutting into it.

Top with more glaze, if you desire, & serve with fresh cilantro.

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Beyond Meat Beyond Burger

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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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If you follow my blog at all – you know I adore Beyond Meat products – especially their chicken strips.  I have posted many recipes using their products – loads of which can be accessed HERE.  The chicken strips are especially effective in Asian-inspired dishes – and COLD chicken salad-style dishes.  Here are a few pretty pics or recipes using Beyond Meat products0bb4ca3e94842e3a4ba6738a7698f551

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They have long had two styles of burger – a slider & a regular patty – seen above.  They are GREAT!  They would make any person ready to experience a meatless burger very happy.  But – the revolutionary thing about their newest burger is that it can create the same level of satisfaction but in those expecting a REAL BEEF burger!  Seriously!  They are sold at these Whole Foods stores and at certain Veggie Grills.  They were meant to be sold in the cold cases next to real ground beef but I had to ask to find them in Sherman Oaks – because they were in the freezer.   But they are truly an exciting development.  The color & texture when raw is exactly right.  Take a look!

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There it is grilling on my stove.   Actually – these photos represent my lunch yesterday & today – hence the variations in my assembly.  I cooked the one yesterday a tad longer (the one with no tomato).  I cut it short today because I set off my smoke detector.  The ONLY complaint I might whisper – if pressed – is that they kinda smell too much like real beef when cooking.  I have not had a real hamburger since the eighties & the smell of cooking ground beef has never invaded my home.  To my desensitized senses – it really seemed like a real burger cooking.  But – it wasn’t!  Otherwise – I could never have eaten it so red!   I have not tried to cook one through (beyond heating it through) in an effort to showcase the real beef visuals.  And – the aroma sells the realness in such a next level way.  At any rate – these guys are INSANE!  You could make meatballs or meatloaf of other ground beef recipes that call for a ground beef that is more pliable than the beefy crumbles.  If you are a vegan/vegetarian with a meat-eater at your table – maybe try sneaking them one of these – with the appropriate toppings – and see if they even notice that they are not eating meat.  These Beyond Burgers are a complete & total game-changer in the world of meat alternatives.  I cannot sing their praises with more enthusiasm.  Treat yourself!!!

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INGREDIENTS

Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Water, Yeast Extract, Maltodextrin, Natural Flavors, Gum Arabic, Sunflower Oil, Salt, Succinic Acid, Acetic Acid, Non-GMO Modified Food Starch, Cellulose From Bamboo, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Beet Juice Extract (for color), Ascorbic Acid (to maintain color), Annatto Extract (for color), Citrus Fruit Extract (to maintain quality), Vegetable Glycerin.
Contains: Tree Nuts (Coconut Oil).

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving Size 1 Patty, 4 oz (113g)
Servings Per Container: 2

Amount Per Serving
Calories 290
Calories from fat 190
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g
34%
Saturated Fat 5g
25%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 450mg
19%
Total Carbohydrate 6g
2%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 0g
Protein 20g
32%
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
90%
Calcium
10%
Iron
25%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs

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FAQs

WHAT’S THE BEYOND BURGER™

The Beyond Burger™ is the world’s first plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and tastes like a fresh beef burger, and it’s coming to the refrigerated meat section of a store near you. It has all the juicy, meat deliciousness of a traditional burger, but comes with the upsides of a plant-based meal. The Beyond Burger™ packs 20 g of plant-based protein and has no GMOs, soy or gluten.

I WANT A BEYOND BURGER™! WHERE CAN I GET ONE?

For now, Whole Foods Boulder (Pearl Street Store). The Beyond Burger™ is in soft launch, with distribution planned for select Whole Foods stores. Our goal is expanded availability over the summer. Please sign up for our newsletter for updates on expansion plans.

HOW IS THE BEYOND BURGER DIFFERENT THAN THE BEAST?

The Beyond Burger™ is a ready-to-cook “raw” patty that looks, cooks, and tastes like a fresh beef burger, and it will be sold in the meat section of the store. The Beast is a precooked frozen patty shelved with other frozen items. Our goal in creating The Beyond Burger™ was to provide the full 360° mouth-watering, juicy, and delicious experience of beef but without so many of the health, environmental, and animal welfare downsides of traditional animal-based meat. On the other hand, we developed The Beast with nutrient density in mind, working with Brendan Brazier, a rockstar plant-based triathlete to develop it. The Beast has 23G of protein and a slew of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omegas to help support performance and recovery for especially active folks.

WHY IS IT IN THE MEAT SECTION?

Great question. Part of our Future of Protein vision is to reimagine the meat section as the Protein Section of the store. In this way, we can help people on their journey to eating more plant-based by allowing them to purchase plant-based foods in the section of the store where they are already purchasing other forms of protein. No pun intended, but we are meeting people where they are in their food journey and offering an easy switch!

WHY A BURGER FROM PLANTS THAT AIMS TO REPLICATE MEAT?

Our belief is that the best way to get people to eat less meat is by giving them what they love–in this case, a juicy delicious burger – without so many of the health, sustainability, and animal welfare downside of a traditional animal – based burger.

WHY DON’T YOU PUT THE BEYOND BURGER IN BOTH THE MEAT AND MEAT ALTERNATIVES SECTION OF THE STORE?

Dual-placement is a possibility but ultimately it’s up to the retailer. Our goal of placing The Beyond Burger™ in, at a minimum, the meat section of the store is our attempt to help attract carnivores to the category and help change that meat case to the protein case.”

WHAT KIND OF PROTEIN DO YOU USE?

The primary source of protein in The Beyond Burger™ comes from peas. It’s soy, gluten and GMO free.

HANG ON…IF THIS ISN’T BEEF, WHY ARE THE BURGERS RED?

Well, we used beets to do that! Amazing, right! We wanted to keep the whole experience of cooking burger as similar as possible for our flexitarian fans, so we’ve worked very hard to create a burger that changes color as you cook it just like animal protein.

WHY DOES THE BEYOND BURGER™ “BLEED”?

While we didn’t design The Beyond Burger™ to “bleed” per se, the beets we use to give the patty a red-meat appearance have led some in the media to remark that the burger “bleeds” beet blood.

HOW DO YOU REBUILD MEAT WITHOUT GENETICALLY MODIFYING ANYTHING?

This question gets back to the company’s basic thesis that meat’s core parts – amino acids, lipids, trace elements, carbs and minerals – don’t have exclusive residence in the animal kingdom. Our task is to eliminate the need for meat from animals and find the same or analogous materials in the plant kingdom. We are not inventing new materials but matching the plant equivalent and assembling it in the architecture of meat. And the way we do that assembly is similar to the simple process used to make pasta – we mix our plant-based ingredients, compress the mixture, and then shape it into final product (in our case, using a patty former).

HOW LONG HAD THE BEYOND BURGER BEEN IN DEVELOPMENT?

It’s really the culmination of 7+ years of work against our goal to understand meat, its composition, and associated sensory experience, better than anyone on the planet, and then rebuild that directly from plants.

Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef with Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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

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I had a head of purple cabbage in my fridge that was the size of a basketball.   I decided to add half of it to some leftover rice to accomplish two things: not waste all the cabbage & to extend the quantity of rice with some guiltless & vibrant cabbage.  I am very happy with the result both in color & the crunch the cabbage adds to the texture.  I recommend it very highly.

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Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS

(I used a tad more cabbage than rice but the ratio is up to you.)

2 cups cooked rice

2 cups chopped purple cabbage

1/2 onion – diced

1 cup grated or slivered carrots

1-5 cloves garlic – chopped

2 or more TBS fresh minced ginger

1 TBS sesame (or other) oil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large wok or saute pan.  Add the onions, & cabbage & saute until they begin to soften.  Add the carrots, rice & ginger & stir to combine & warm through.  Add the garlic and saute another minute or two.  Serve.

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Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef

Serves 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

3 stalks of lemongrass – cut into 3″ lengths & smashed with the handle of a knife (to bruise them & release the flavor.  The cooked lemongrass is inedible so pick around it in the finished dish.)

8+ ounces seitan (or other meat replacement like – Beyond Meat Chicken or Gardein beef or pork products)

3 dry red chilies (optional – they are quite spicy) – crumbled a bit

3 garlic cloves – chopped

2 or more cups of fresh green beans – trimmed

1 TBS sambal oelek or garlic chili paste (more for extra heat)

3 TBS vegan mushroom or oyster-favored sauce

2 TBS minced ginger

1 TBS ground anise or szechuan pepper

2 TBS dark soy sauce (it gives the seitan that dark & beefy color)

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 TBS shao xing rice wine

2 TBS brown sugar

Potential garnished: sliced red or green jalapeno peppers, basil or mint or cilantro leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a wok or large pan & add the dry red chilies – if using.  Add the lemongrass & saute a minute or two.  Add the green beans & saute on high heat until they begin to sear a bit.

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Add the remaining ingredients.  Add about 1/4 cup water to aid in steaming the beans a bit & create some sauce.  Heat through – until the sauce thickens.  Serve with rice.

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Vegan Spicy Szechuan Orange Beef & Wide Rice Noodles

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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.

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

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So – the other day I found this amazing new beef replacement at Silom Thai Market.  If you live in LA & you want something that will fool folks they are eating sliced steak – RUN to Silom & go to the center freezer aisle in the middle of the store.  Dig around the freezer-burned packages in the cardboard boxes & find this stuff below.

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It is SO convincing – once you load it with yummy flavors like this Szechuan dish.  I served this beef over wide rice noodles (above) that I buy fresh at Bangluck Thai Market.  The two stores are only a few blocks apart in Thai Town & both have their treasures & are worth adventuring into.  If you don’t want or can’t find noodles – rice or whatever will do just as nicely.  This cooks up in just a few minutes & the ingredients are not exotic.   It is a great entry-level Chinese dish.

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Vegan Spicy Szechuan Orange Beef & Wide Rice Noodles

Serves 2

Sesame oil

7 or more ounces vegan beef

12 ounces cooked wide rice noodles (or pasta or cooked rice)

1/2 red bell pepper – sliced into thin strips

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1/4 onion – diced

1 cup orange or tangerine juice (I freeze juices in 1 cup quantities for future use in recipes)

2 dry red chilies – split (these add a lot of heat & should not be eaten when the dish is finished)

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 tsp Szechuan pepper corns (anise) – crushed in a mortar & pestle or pre-ground

2 TBS hoisin sauce

2 TBS dark soy sauce

2 TBS sambal oelek

1 tsp agave nectar

3 garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS minced fresh ginger

GARNISH – sesame seeds & sliced scallions

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DIRECTIONS

Sear the beef in a TBS or two of sesame oil.  Set aside.

In the same pan, heat another 1 -2 tsp sesame oil & saute the red bell pepper, onion & jalapenos.

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Then add the juice, Szechuan pepper, hoisin, sambal oelek, dary soy, liquid aminos, ginger, garlic, and agave.  Heat on high until it thickens a bit.  Add the meat and noodles – if you are using them. When the ingredients are well combined & warmed through – serve with sesame seeds & scallion slices.

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Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles & Bok Choy

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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So – last week on Tuesday – I began a test to see how long I could go without spending ANY money on groceries.  The only cheats allowed would be the delivery of vegetables I get every two weeks from Farm Fresh To You & any restaurant meals.  I eat out VERY seldom so – that second one is not much of a cheat.  Still, I started the challenge out eating that Gardenburger from Carney’s.  That cost me $10 with fries & a drink.  Then, I spent the next week eating things like these:

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Vegans, beware!  The Morning Star veggie sausage is merely vegetarian – not vegan.  If I ever eat breakfast (and I seldom do) – it typically looks like that above.

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I eat tortilla pizzas a SHOCKINGLY frequent amount of dinners per month.  I adore them.  And that cheese there is vegan!    It is Parmela Creamery cheese.  I like it A LOT more than Daiya which – I think – tastes funny & doesn’t melt easily.

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More often than not – I eat a giant, zero-carb, 100-calorie bowl of vegan pho for lunch.  Made with shirataki noddles – it is a wonderfully filly & guiltless soup.

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That is a salad of red lettuce, tomatoes & (I admit) a bit of goat cheese.

I also ate my Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchilada Casserole with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce and my Vegan Potato, Leek, Fennel & Turnip Soup with Carrots & Pepitas – seen below, respectively, so I had a pretty well-fed week.  In the past when I attempt the pantry challenge – I do not allow the acquisition of ANYTHING if it can be avoided.  Almond milk for coffee & wine being notable exceptions.  In the past, once the fresh produce ran out, I became reduced to frozen leftovers & lots & lots of dry, white food – like pasta & rice.  Panicked friends began delivering fresh produce so – to avoid a full-scale panic – I am allowing (as I stated) a 2x monthly delivery of veggies.

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Well – everything was going great – until yesterday.  I had not spent one cent on food since that burger at Carney’s – 8 days before.  But, yesterday, I got bored.  I wanted to cook.  I wanted to post something on this blog.  So – I cheated & allowed myself a stop in the CRAZY inexpensive Thai market – Bangluck.   Shit is practically free in there but I still managed to spend $52.  Here is the bulk of what I got there:

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Those two jars of gluten look like lab specimens but I could not resist.  Each of those cans of varied mock meats are gluten & all cost under $2.  I bought that tofu above for under $2 each – far better than the price at Gelson’s – about a mile away – below.

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Drunk from my misbehavior & shopping orgy – I drove by Sacred Farts.  Yes.  Sacred Farts.

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I Googled it & I guess it is a dance & yoga studio.  Who knew?

Well, my will weakened, I decided to stop by Silom Market – also in Thai Town.  This place is super sketchy and always has a security guard at the front door.  Armed guard to protect bulk spices?  Sorta seems like Silom might be a front for something else – but I digress.   If you go there & decide to buy some of the fresh items they make & sell there – be sure to check ingredients.  By check – I mean GOOGLE.  Let me recount an experience I had there once.

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In the cooler section – they had what seemed to be a large selection of locally produced pre-made sauces & curries & pastes….sold in the lidded plastic containers delis use to sell you potato salad. I looked at a bunch of them, mouth watering as I thought of how authentic my dishes would taste if I used these expertly prepared flavorings.  I saw one that looked dark & spicy & read the ingredients

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Ingredients: Chili, onion, garlic, mangda, sugar, salt, fish, tamarind paste.  It was called Nam Prik Mang-da.  I love prik pao squid at my beloved Torung & this stuff looked like culinary gold.  I didn’t know what mangda was but wrote it off as an obscure name for a common thing – like my recent anise pepper experience.  $5.  Sold!

Upon closer inspection – I see these curries/pastes are made in-house at Silom!

When I got home – I Googled the name of the chili paste I just bought looking for culinary inspiration.  I was ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIED when the search engine spat out its results.  Here – take a peek and see what MANGDA means – HERE.  Don’t look at the horseshoe crabs.  In fact – here is a stock photo of your garden variety MANGDA:

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Yes, folks.  Mangda means giant water bug!!!!!!  OMG!  I’m gagging just looking at that thing!  And I should have known better.  This isn’t my first time crossing paths with these fuckers.  No!  I pointed them out to you guys in my Bangluck Market post.  You can buy 4 of these guys whole, in the refrigerated section, for $4.49 – and they have 35 calories in the 4 together – 15 of which come from fat.  Yeah – they are nearly 50% fat.  Gag.  Needless to say – I threw the $5 container in the trash and pronto.

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So – I have learned to be a careful label reader in Thai markets.

Anyway – here are some new things I found at Silom:

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It is vegan & it is $5.  It didn’t seem very appetizing so I passed on it.

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 Vegan crispy balls?!  I have no idea what they are but I fucking BOUGHT some!

Then I found fresh, frozen jackfruit but I already had 4 cans from Bangluck – so I passed.

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That is how the stuff is displayed in the freezers at Silom.  I dug into one & pulled out a package almost totally obscured by frost.  I scraped it off & discovered this!

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Vegan strip steak!   And then I found this!

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I was VERY excited by these two discoveries but stopped my impulse to buy the entire stock before I had put them to the taste test.

I also bought keffir lime leaves & some other stuff  (some of the stuff below came from Bangluck):

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So – I dropped another $35.  And – when I got home – I realized I wanted red bell peppers for this beef dish so – I went to Gelson’s.  I had a $5 off a $25 purchase so – of course – I had to spend $25.  I filled my basket with what I guessed would just be $25 but I miscalculated.  It never crossed my mind that two red bell peppers would cost over $6!   I also bought the chorizo below.  Gelson’s has a sorta fun (if very expensive) selection of vegan things.  I bought the chorizo – but here are a few of the other vegan delights they offer.  Anyway – I dropped another $40.  So – there’s that.

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OK!  On to this Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles!!!  I added fresh noodles that I bought at Bangluck but this would go just as nicely over rice – or in lettuce wraps.  The revelation is this AMAZING S.P.A. vegan beef!  Read that nutrition label above.  Non-GMO soy protein.  This shit is guiltless and looks EXACTLY like slices of steak!  It is pretty innocuous in the flavor department so – like chicken – it kinda just takes on the flavors you add to it. HERE they are on Facebook.  I will DEFINITELY be buying more & more & more of this stuff.   Once my pantry challenge is over.

This dish is very easy & doesn’t use anything especially exotic.  I recommend it very highly!

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Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles & Bok Choy

SERVES 2 well

INGREDIENTS

A few TBS sesame oil (or olive oil)

7 (or more) ounces vegan beef

12 ounces fresh rice noodles (or cooked pasta or cooked rice)

1/2 red bell pepper – sliced into strips

1/2 small onion – diced

2 jalapenos – diced

2 heads bok choy – cleaned (optional) & chopped a bit

5 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari) – plus extra

1 tsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp vegan oyster or mushroom sauce

1 TBS sambal oelek

1/2 tsp agave nectar (or brown sugar)

1 cup basil leaves (I used a mixture of Thai sweet basil & Thai holy basil but any basil will do – Thai ones being preferred)

GARNISH – lime wedges, cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

If using noodles – separate them under cold running water.  If using pasta or rice – cook it & set aside.

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I did not bother to defrost the beef.  It might be easier if you do.  Either way – heat the sesame oil (2 or 3 TBS) in a wok or large saute pan.  Cook the beef until it is seared on both sides.  Set aside.  (I only used 1/2 of the cooked beef in the noodle dish & reserved the rest for another recipe.)  I covered the beef while it cooked to hasted the defrosting.

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In the same pan – add a bit of olive (or sesame) oil & heat it.  Add the red bell pepper, onion & jalapenos.  Saute until soft.  Add all the other ingredients except the garlic & basil (and the garnish).  Heat the noodles & meat through & let the bok choy wilt.  I added a bit of extra liquid aminos here because I thought the dish needed a tad more salt & moisture.  This is your call.  Once the bok choy is wilted & the ingredients are well-combined – stir in the garlic & basil.

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Serve with cilantro & lime wedges!

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