Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto (No Carb – No Pasta)

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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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BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

Did you happen to miss my appearance on Nicole Richie’s show –#CandidlyNicole @VH1? No worries! Here it is! I show up HERE after the break – about 16 minutes in!
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AND – if you missed my hour-long Oh, Mary! Show appearance this week – well – you are in LUCK! Here are all four segments! LOTSA dirty talk! Many laughs!

Here you go!

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-01/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-02/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-03/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-04/

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OK – in all fairness – this recipe has a lot of steps.  Without a food processor – it might be too much of a pain in the ass to attempt.  If you have a food processor & an afternoon to kill – this might be a fun project.  It is pretty delicious – though not particularly healthy – despite the no-carb noodles made from cauliflower.  This could be made vegan by subbing out the animal products with vegan alternatives but I will leave that to the motivated vegans out there.  I don’t think I have to say “or vegan alternative” after every egg, butter or cheese ingredient for the vegans to work it out.

I used leftover arugula & pistachio pesto that I still had from my Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata.

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You can make this or any other pesto – or use a store-bought one.

Arugula Pistachio Pesto

This makes enough for at least a pound or two of pasta but it keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS

6 oz fresh arugula

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/4 cup pistachios (or other nuts)

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

I used 1/4 cup olive oil & 1/4 cup of water to thin the pesto.  1/2 cup of oil just seems crazy to me – but you can go all oil if you want to.

Blend into a pesto in a food processor – starting with just the 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Drizzle more (or water) in as it purees until you get the consistency you like.  Set aside.

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I made a homemade bechamel but you could use a store-bought alfredo & get much the same results.

I used chopped mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts – but any mix of sauteed vegetable would work.

I used this pink Himalayan salt that I have become obsessed with but any salt will do.  And I used the Dash Onion & Herb seasoning but any Italian seasoning (or mix of onion & garlic powders) would be fine.

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I used cauliflower “noodles” in this but real lasagna noodles work, too.

No-Carb Lasagna Noodles

INGREDIENTS

1 large head cauliflower – riced (about 10 cups)

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 TBS seasoning (see above)

1 TBS oregano

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

I used a silicone cooking mat treated with cooking spray but greased parchment paper should work, too.  Know that this stuff STICKS  – even to the greased silicone mat – so – slather your cooking shit up.

Take the cauliflower & grate it up with the grater blade of a food processor – or with a manual grater – or get to chopping by hand until it has a rice-like look.

You can zap this in the microwave in 2 minute increments – stirring in between – until it softens but I loathe nuking things.  I submerged the cauliflower in boiling water for about 5 minutes & then drained it in a colander under cold running water.

Once it is cool, in small batches, twist the cauliflower up in a kitchen town & wring as much moisture out of it as you can.

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Then simply mix it up in a large bowl with the other ingredients & press it onto your well-greased cooking sheet (see images above).  Bake it for about 45 minutes or until it begins to brown & is cooked pretty dry.  Set aside & allow it to cool.

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Garlicky Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms & Leeks

I made the mushrooms & leeks first & then decided to add Brussels sprouts so my photos might show a different cooking sequence but it can be done as I will outline now.

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

2 leeks – white sections only – chopped small

1/2 lb mushrooms – diced

1 lb Brussels sprouts – chopped or sliced fine

1 tsp each S&P

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped

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DIRECTIONS

It is important to cut the leeks & mushrooms & Brussels sprouts small so they do not stay too chunky & impede clean slicing of the lasagna.

I chopped the mushrooms & leeks & ran the Brussels sprouts through the slicer of my food processor.

Heat 2 (or so) TBS olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat & saute the Brussels sprouts until they begin to brown a bit.  Add /4 water & steam them soft.  Once the water is absorbed or evaporated – add the leeks & mushrooms & saute until tender – maybe 5 minutes.  Stir in the S&P & the minced garlic and the parsley.  Saute another minute & remove from heat.  Set aside.

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Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel

INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond (or other) milk

3 TBS butter

3 TBS flour

2 garlic cloves – minced

8-10 oz goat cheese – room temp

2 TBS chives (or other herb) – minced (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a soup pan over med-high heat.  Add the flour & garlic & whisk constantly until it thickens, begins to brown & becomes aromatic – maybe 2 minutes.

Add the milk in 1/4 cup increments & whisk it in until it incorporates & thickens before adding more milk.  This should take maybe 5 minutes.

Add the goat cheese & chives & whisk until the goat cheese melts.  Set aside.

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Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower “noodles” (recipe above) or real (cooked) lasagna noodles

1 cup pesto (recipe above) – or any pesto you prefer

Garlicky mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts (recipe above) – or any cooked veggie mix you prefer

2-3 cups grated cheese (I used mozzarella)

Several hunks of fresh (packed in water) mozzarella (optional)

Parsley – chopped (as garnish)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

My photos show this lasagna cooked once & photographed & then reheated for a new photo session – hence the paler & more golden cheesy tops.

Prep your ingredients.  Cut the cauliflower “noodles” into three equal portions – or however you can to get some layer-able “noodles.”  Never fear if they break apart & stick a lot.  Patch the pieces in & nobody will ever know the difference.

Assemble the lasagna.  I started with a layer of bechamel (whisk it smooth if a skin has formed while it waited).  Then I added the layers in this order:

1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

1/2 of the pesto

1/2 of the veggies

1/3 of the bechamel

another 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the other 1/2 of the pesto

the other 1/2 of the veggies

another 1/3 of the bechamel

Grated cheese – in an amount that looks good to you – I used about 1/2 – 3/4 cup

the final 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the rest of the bechamel

More grated cheese & some fresh mozzarella – if you are using it

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 Bake that son-of-a-bitch fr 25-45 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bubbly & looks the color you want it to look – whether JUST starting to brown at the edges – or a bit golden all over.
Let it rest for 10 minutes or so.  Garnish with chopped parsley & eat it up!!!!

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Pasta with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Creamy Gorgonzola and Pear

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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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Untitled

vromans back

I saw these odd looking apple pears at the awesome Super King (the one in Van Nuys is FAR roomier than the San Fernando location & much more civilized) – and thought they would make a nice pizza topping.

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Ultimately – I burned out on pizza before using them so – using what I already had around – I came up with this pasta.  I made homemade spaghetti noodles – like the kind I used in this Salmon Carbonara.

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Homemade pasta really is a completely different experience than boxed but it isn’t always realistic.  I just happen to have invested in nearly every pasta making device there is & I really enjoy the process…so I make it a lot.

Anyway – this comes together in the same time it would take you to cook some dry pasta & it is full of surprising flavors.  The garlicky Brussels Sprouts & the sweet pear & the rich Gorgonzola – it is really yummy.

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You can control how much cheese to use.  Blue cheeses are really powerful & I recommend going light-handed with them – and then you get the added benefit of a fairly healthy dish that still tastes decadent.

Pasta with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Creamy Gorgonzola and Pears

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta – cooked & drained

1 pear – any variety – seeded & cubed

10 Brussels Sprouts – sliced thin

2 garlic cloves – minced

Gorgonzola or other blue cheese – crumbled in the quantity that suits your taste

Olive oil

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook your pasta.  Drain & set aside.

Meanwhile – heat a little olive in a pan that is large enough to hold all the ingredients – including your pasta.  Saute the Brussels Sprouts over medium heat until they begin to brown – maybe 5 minutes.  Add the garlic & pear & saute another minute or so.  Stir to warm through & then add the pasta.  Cook long enough to incorporate & warm everything & then stir in the cheese.  Stir to get the cheese creamy & incorporated & then season with S&P.

Serve!  See?  EASY!

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Roasted Purple Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pasta

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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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Hey!  Pardon my shamelessness, but I wrote a fucking funny book!  It was a lot of work.  I am excited.  It is huge!  In that – it is literally huge.  It weighs 1.5 pounds.  C’mon!  That is a pound and a half of pure & shamelessly raunchy COMEDY!  Why not buy a copy?  The paperback is under ten dollars & the iBook, Kindle & Nook versions are only $3.99.  Seriously.  Read it!  I promise that both men & women will declare it is the funniest book ever written!  Yes.  Funniest. Prove me wrong.  Read the reviews on Amazon.  Read the first couple of pages!  But know that the dirty stuff kicks in after page 100.  Buy it HERE!

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OK – now food!  This recipe is simple but it requires that you be bold with the few ingredients.  Salt & parsley often get written off as insignificant but they are not.  Remember when salt was the villain of the day & we were all warned to swear off of it?  In the eighties?  Well – I swore off of it.  In that period, I shared a staple mushroom pasta recipe with an old friend.  A year or so later, my then boyfriend tried her version & was SO EXCITED by it – he made me promise to get her recipe.  Well, in fact, it was MY recipe – she was just a bit more liberal with the salt – in that she used some.

Salt has since been let off the hook as an evil culinary pleasure as we face far more significant dangers like GMOs and, really, anything processed.  But that was a great lesson for me & I took it to heart.  I am still not one to heavily salt things but I have discovered that a bit of salt can truly bring other flavors out in a dish that, before the addition of salt, had been hiding from my taste buds.

This dish will require that you use salt – maybe more than you are accustomed to.  It will require the use of Parmesan & olive oil & lemon zest.  The precise amount of each of these ingredients will be hard for me to outline for you because I will not, for example, know if you are using a bland processed Parmesan or a delightfully salty, higher quality, freshly grated cheese.  Olive oils vary enormously.  Some are just yucky oil.  Others are fruity & sweet.  Even lemons vary in their power.  So – while this is a relatively simple recipe, it will require your confidence to experiment with the quantity of each ingredient – until you achieve a flavor that excites you.

Most recipes with only a few ingredients benefit enormously when the ingredients are as high quality & as fresh as possible.  In my case, the Parmesan was grated fresh from this huge block that has the most amazing crystal-like texture when eaten in chunks.

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My lemon was from a tree in my yard.

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But the parsley & olive oil were bullshit, standard supermarket varieties.  As was my pasta.  This dish would be perfect for a handmade pasta – as the flavors are so clean & simple.

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My purple cauliflower & Brussels sprouts were also supermarket finds and both had the misfortune of sitting in my fridge for weeks before I finally used them but they seemed to rally nicely – both in color & flavor.

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I used purple cauliflower because, fuck, I have a food blog.  I am trying to mix it up.  But 1) I paid about $7.50 for a tiny head of it and 2) purple is a very difficult color to pull off in food.  Google purple cauliflower recipes.  HERE, look!  Sorry, but those purple soups are mostly revolting.  So – use regular cauliflower if you want to.

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Roasted Purple Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pasta

Feeds 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta

Purple (or other) cauliflower – about 2 cups of cut florets

10+ Brussels sprouts – ends trimmed & halved

4 garlic cloves – roughly chopped

Olive oil

Lemon zest – 1-2 TBS or to taste

Grated Parmesan – 1/4 cup (or to taste)

Chopped parsley

S&P to taste

Garnish: more Parmesan, lemon zest, S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the cauliflower florets & Brussels sprouts.  Toss them with 2-3 TBS olive oil & the chopped garlic.

Put on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil (for easier clean up) and roast for 25-30 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to directions.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat & add the roasted vegetables.  The vegetables should have enough residual olive oil on them without greasing the pan but add more olive oil if you think it needs it.  Add more chopped garlic, if you desire.  Add the lemon zest & keep warm while the pasta cooks.  When the pasta is ready, set aside about 1/2 cup of the pasta water & drain the pasta & add the pasta to the pan with the vegetables.

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Toss the pasta & vegetables.  Add the cheese – perhaps even more than I suggested.  Use some of the reserved pasta water to aid in combination of the ingredients & to create a very light creaminess.  Add SALT & PEPPER.  Seriously.  Add salt.  Add pepper.  Taste.  Add more salt or pepper or lemon zest or cheese.  Don’t stop experimenting with flavors until you get it right.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil & some chopped parsley.  Maybe even add more cheese and S&P.  Fuck it!  Who’s watching?  Mmmmmm!

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Dried Cranberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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

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I know I say that a great many of my recipes are born simply of what I have handy and it is true.  It is true even when I say that all I had around was a bag of Brussels sprouts and an aging pomegranate.  And pistachios.  And when I thought to make a salad of them, I wished I had some dried cranberries to add to it.  I don’t typically go for dried fruit in anything but dried cranberries just sounded so right for this.  I dug deep in my crisper drawers looking for some other inspiration & found an unopened but very old & gross bag of raisins & while I wondered why I ever even bought a bag of raisins because, you know, ew – raisins – I spotted a bag of something from a bulk bin in the corner of the drawer.   Closer inspection revealed it to be a small bag of dried cranberries!  WTF?  Why did I have dried cranberries?  Quickly, I wished for a series regular gig on what would turn out to be a long running & iconic HBO series and waited for a few seconds for my life to change.  Nothing.  A few minutes later I was still me, still unemployed & still holding the bag.  Of dried cranberries. Fuck.  I hate when I waste the wishes that will be granted on things like a small quantity of dried cranberries.  I felt like Peter Griffin on Family Guy when, confronted by a real, live genie, wishes for his own personal theme music & not to have bones.

So, yeah.  Career still on hold but that’s a go on the salad!

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Salads aren’t really recipes, are they?  I made this guy for myself & I used about 8-10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts & ate the entire salad – even though it was probably enough for two.  So – anyway – I will give you rough estimates of what I used but you can add or subtract ingredients & adjust quantities to suit your own taste.  If there is wiggle room in making anything – it is salad – so go for it.

I made a simple dressing of lemon & olive oil & then decided I wanted something a bit creamier – so I added a bit of Greek yogurt.  You can skip that or, if you are vegan, add a bit of vegan mayonnaise.   Or use another of your favorite dressings.  I ain’t judging.

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Dried Cranberries & Pomegranate Seeds

Serves two

INGREDIENTS

10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts

Handful of pistachios

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of pomegranate seeds

For the dressing

1/3 cup Greek yogurt (or vegan mayonnaise)  – optional

2 TBS lemon juice (or nice wine vinegar)

1 TBS olive oil

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the dressing ingredients together & season with S&P.  Taste & adjust the flavors.  Some like lemon more than others.  Some like more salt.  Suit yourself.

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Toast the pistachios in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes, until aromatic & beginning to change color.  Stir the whole time & take care not to burn them.  Set aside.

Trim the hard ends off the Brussels sprouts & shred with the blade of your food processor or cut thin by hand.  Be sure to break up any of the white cores that remain – even cutting them by hand if your food processor let them slip by.

Now, just toss all that shit together (go easy on the dressing) & eat both servings yourself.  FTW.

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Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with Brussels Sprouts, Carrots & Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes

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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.

~

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

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This is another creation inspired by existing ingredients, my own laziness & the reality of produce & its shelf life.  That doesn’t mean it is not DELICIOUS.  Delightful.  And even – dare I say it?  Delovely!

I have expressed some frustration recently with my photography but I bought a new $17 toy (a light) & the world has opened up just a bit.  I was beginning to feel a tad sorry for myself as I cannot really compete with folks that are getting paid to blog.  I know they had to work their way there from where I am – but – it is still a bit like me trying to compete for roles with Diane Lane or Julia Roberts.  These folks have their shit together & skills, experience, equipment, financing, maybe even a team – etc.  Here I am – trying to keep my monthly grocery bill down & think of new, affordable things to make and then photograph them using my i-phone & a $4 clamp light.  And I have to photograph them alone – as in – with nobody to hold the fork just “that way” or assist me at all.  Framing a photo & trying to hit the screen (on my i-phone, remember) to focus the image where I want the focus & then adjust to hit the shutter without effecting the focus, all with my NON-dominant left hand while I try to hold the subject matter in place with my right hand – can get really frustrating, lemme tell you!   Then I have to eat the food.  All of it.  I cannot afford to waste it – as it COSTS.  And I live alone & eat 99% of my meals alone.  Then I end up eating some Goddamn lasagna for 6 days & letting the blog lag behind – while my Super King produce wilts & guilts me from the confines of the fridge.  It has begun to feel oppressive & I have been comparing myself very unkindly to the vastly superior food bloggers out there (you know who you are – THUG KITCHEN).

Then – I met Piglet.  I didn’t actually meet her.  I saw her on my friend, Nikki Dogfather’s, Facebook page.  Nikki is a full-time rescuer & she posted Piglet – immediately after she’d been pulled from the shelter – looking like this (photos stolen from Nikki):

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She had terribly advanced mange – which is not contagious & HIGHLY curable – and the cure is not expensive.   But these victims of mange look so scary – it is a rare person that dares even investigate.  Nikki is practically a mange fetishist!  I jest, of course, but she is the go-to gal in LA if someone spots a mangy baby in a local shelter.  No case of mange will scare Nikki away!  So – after a single mange dip & twice-daily garlic water baths (and some antibiotics)  – Piglet began to recover.  I am currently fostering her while she completes her recovery.  Here she is two days ago in my house.

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Just for some reference – here are two pugs I adopted from Nikki a few years ago.

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That is Ella & Grisbi.  Here is how they looked a few months later.

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See?  CRAZY transformation.  Tragically, Ella died of a bee sting at 11 months old & Grisbi died last August 16th 2012 – in his sleep – at four years, old for no known reason.  Great, big, gaping scars on my heart.  😦

So, anyway, I fell in love with Piglet ON SIGHT.  I look at lots of rescues – every day.  Facebook is rife with them.  They all give me heart twinges but Piglet was special to me.  I don’t know why.  It was like a recognized her from somewhere.  And now – I am care-taking gorgeous Piglet.  And she is a gift & an amazing example of gratitude & resilience & of living in the moment.  One can never have too many examples of THAT around.

So – a new $17 light for my photography & a new little sprite jumping around the house & a much needed PROFESSIONAL hair salon appointment on Friday (a gal can only self-Feria her color so many times in a row) – and I am feeling rather hopeful.  Plus – the greatest loss I endured last week – RIGHTED itself!  Yay!  No longer broken & sad & no longer riding the scary pot-truffle train I got on last week (read about that HERE) and nice hair right around the corner?  That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

And the $17 light?  It is so great – I want to buy 5 more.  That is irrational – because I only NEED the one.  But it has improved my life SO much and for so little.  It reminds me of the time my plumber told me I needed a whole new kitchen tap set thing (and nice ones cost a lot) because the drip was not fixable.  I used a fucking ShamWow for two years behind the sink, under the tap, to catch the dripping & water STILL leaked out – warping my cabinets & damaging the finish.  Then a new plumber suggested I go buy a cheap washer (that the first plumber had declared no longer available) at a local hardware store.  “You might need to buy a whole box – but they shouldn’t cost much,” he said.  I went to my local mom & pop True Value & inquired.  Yes.  They had them.  They were a dollar seventy each.  A FUCKING DOLLAR SEVENTY!  I bought ten – even though I only needed one.  I was so fucking excited that this $1.70 thing was gonna change my life.  I had to have enough to roll around on the bed with – as if they were thousand dollar bills.  And THAT is how I feel about by $17 lamp.

Whew!

Now – onto food.   I have long made the Sunday’s at Moosewood version of veggie shepherd’s pie – and it is very good.  In fact, I am going to suggest their tofu version of “meat” in this recipe as I cannot begin to tell you (other than Super King!) where you might find the faux meat I used.   Here it is.

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It is like weightless Grapenuts.  I am not sure if they are just re-purposing some failed attempt at a new packing material – but I took the bait.  While it says who distributes this shit, it does not say what is in it.  No ingredients list at all.  No calorie count.  Nada.  Could be the scabs from accident-prone paper dolls or the stuffing from padded toilet seats.  I don’t know.  I bought it.  I cooked it.  And I ate it.  And I am here to tell you about it so – well – there.

If you can find it, I recommend using it.  I used half that container in this decent-sized recipe so it is worth its weight in Hamburger Helper.  If you cannot – or would rather not eat mystery food – substitute any faux meat thing of your choice – whether seitan or some pre-made soy version of meat or soyrizo or the stuffing from an old padded toilet seat.  Or – EGADS!  Use ground beef!   Just know that I added over a cup of water to the 4 oz of cardboard scabs to reconstitute them into something more substantial.  So – use closer to 10-12 ounces of your fake meat selection – or more.

OR – use the Sundays at Moosewood version – which is pretty great.  It requires that you freeze tofu (I use two blocks), thaw it, squeeze it completely dry & then shred it into a crumble.

Copied & pasted from elsewhere – I present –

Sundays at Moosewood Shepherd’s Pie Filling

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu that has been frozen, then thawed, and shredded to the appearance of ground meat
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup of walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

DIRECTIONS

Sauté the chopped onion in oil with thyme, coriander, and black pepper until onions are translucent.  Add chopped walnuts and shredded tofu.  When heated through, stir in lemon juice and soy sauce.  Remove from heat.

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I used Brussels sprouts & carrots and, unexpectedly, a fennel bulb because – yes, you guessed it – I had them.  You could use corn or peas or any other vegetables you like.  I know this one screams out for corn because I made the mashed potatoes with roasted jalapenos – but – am I the only one that gets tired of the traditional pairings?  Like anything pumpkin has to have butter & sage on it?  Or – redheads must wear green?  Or anything with jalapeno needs corn and/or black beans?  This wasn’t a Mexican-themed shepherd’s pie.  It was a “what’s-in-my-fridge-inspired” shepherd’s pie.  You can do it, too!  Do not be intimidated.

Hey!  Did you notice all my photos of this look WAY alike?  Me, too.  Shepherd’s pie can be hard to photograph because it tends to fall apart.  I got a good angle & exploited it.  Apologies for the lack of imagination.  I told you I was a hack.   🙂

One last note – this is genuinely spicy – so keep that in mind when you decide how much jalapeno to add!  And yes – there are several steps to assemble this but all are EASY & this is worth the effort.  DO NOT BE SCARED!

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Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with Brussels Sprouts, Carrots & Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

For the jalapeno mashed potatoes

2 large Russet potatoes

3 jalapeno peppers (or to taste)

4 TBS butter

4 oz cream cheese

S&P to taste

More butter for browning

Parsley – chopped as grnish

For the “meat” filling

4 oz of freeze dried soy protein plus 1 1/3 cup water (or 8-10 oz or more of another meat substitute)

1 small onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 cup walnuts – chopped

olive oil

S&P to taste

OR use the Sundays at Moosewood tofu version noted above for the “meat” filling.

For the vegetable layer

3 carrots – diced

10 Brussels sprouts – chopped

1 fennel bulb – chopped (very optional)

1 jalapeno – seeded & diced (very optional)

olive oil

S&P to taste

For the gravy

3 TBS butter

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cup vegetable stock

2 TBS soy sauce

1/2 tsp peper

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the roasted jalapeno mashed potatoes

Char the outside of the jalapenos until they blacken.  You can do this directly on the burners or by broiling in the oven.  Once blackened, seal them in Tupperware or wrap them in foil for about 15 minutes.  This will sweat the skin off.  Then, under cool running water, roll the blackened skin away & squeeze off the tops & remove the seeds.  Then – chop the jalapenos finely.

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Chop & boil the potatoes.  When tender, drain & puree (I used an immersion blender but any mashing or pureeing device would work) with the roasted jalapeno, butter, cream cheese & some salt & pepper.

I added water to thin mine a bit.  I didn’t want them to dry out in the oven.  Set aside.

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For the “meat” filling

See the Sundays at Moosewood tofu recipe in the body of text above.  OR-

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large frying pan.  Saute the onions until softened.  If using REAL meat – add it here & cook it through.  Add the garlic, walnuts & soy sauce & stir to bend.  Add your faux meat.  If using the kooky stuff I used (freeze dried mystery flakes) – add about one to one & a half cups water.  Heat through.  Add S& P to taste.  Set aside.

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For the vegetable layer

Use the faux meat pan & add 1 TBS olive oil.  Saute the fennel (if using), Brussels sprouts & carrots & saute 5 minutes or so – or until tender.  No science here as they will cook more in the oven.

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Melt the butter over med-high heat & add the flour.  Whisk for about 30 seconds.  The butter should absorb that flour very quickly & become a paste.  Add the soy sauce & then whisk in the stock in increments until you have a gravy.  Thin with water if it gets too thick.  Add pepper.  Set aside.

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ASSEMBLY!

Spray a casserole pan with cooking spray – or grease it with butter or olive oil.  Layer your “meat” then gravy then veggies & then potatoes.   Apologies – but I actually forgot to get a shot of the veggie layer.  I think you will manage.

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Then bake that sucker for a while.  I baked this at 350 for 30 minutes – COVERED.  It came out like this.

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As you can see – the back of my oven is far hotter than the front.  At any rate – I did not like the look of this.  So – I swirled the potato all up & added some butter and chopped parsley & baked it at 400 for another 10-15 minutes.  It came out like this.

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That is a vast improvement – no?  Despite my unevenly heated oven.

Then just bust out the wine, get a pot holder, use it as a placemat & sit right in front of this casserole dish – hotter than fuck – and eat as much as you possibly can.  Drink too much, too.  Life is short.  And so are hangovers.  Relative to life, that is.

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Raw Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pecans & Feta Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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This is a light & pretty tasty little salad.  The ratio of Brussels Sprouts to feta is kind of up to you but I recommend going very easy with the feta (because it easily overpowers) and heavy with the toasted pecans.

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Raw Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pecans & Feta Cheese

INGREDIENTS

1 lb Brussels Sprouts

1 cup (or more) pecans – chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup olive oil

feta cheese – crumbled small

Parmesan cheese – shaved very thin (a microplane is nice here)

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Blend the olive oil & lemon juice & add some S&P.  Taste it & adjust the ratio of lemon to oil to suit your taste.

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Toast the pecans in a dry pan until fragrant.  Be careful not to burn them.

Shave the Brussels Sprouts with the slicer blade of your food processor or cut them very thin with a knife.

Toss the Brussels Sprouts with toasted pecans, a little feta & some of the dressing.  Shave Parmesan on top.  Voila!

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