DDD #55 – Vegan Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Candied Walnuts

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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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Click the image above to watch the video.

These are so easy & so delicious – I bet even folks that hate Brussels sprouts will like them.  Sweet & salty & crunchy & warm & soft.  They are ready in 15 minutes.  YUM!

Vegan Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Candied Walnuts

Serves 4 as a side

INGREDIENTS

for the spicy candied walnuts

1 cup walnut pieces

1/4 cup white sugar

1 TBS vegan butter

1 tsp (or more) cayenne

for the caramelized Brussels sprouts

2 dozen small Brussels sprouts (6 cups or so)

2 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS olive oil

1/4 cup brown sugar

salt to taste

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DIRECTIONS

for the spicy candied walnuts

Heat everything in a pan for 3-5 minutes – stirring constantly being really careful not to burn the sugar.  When it is thick & gooey & fragrant – put the nuts on a piece of parchment paper & – using a fork so you do not burn yourself – separate the nuts so they do not clump together.

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for the caramelized Brussels sprouts

Either slice the sprouts in a food processor or slice them very thin so you are left with mainly ribbons.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the sugar & stir.  Add the sprouts & saute until soft – maybe 5 minutes.  Taste to see if maybe you need another generous pinch of sugar.  When a minute from being ready – add the garlic & saute another minute.  Season with salt & pepper.

Serve with the candied walnuts on top.

See?  Crazy easy!

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Caramelized Fennel & Spinach Pizza with Goat Cheese

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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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Last night – in an effort to use random produce and – yes – cheese that I had in my fridge – I Googled a few ingredients and found this gorgeous pizza:

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It is Dang That’s Delicious’ Pizza with Caramelized Fennel, Spinach and Goat Cheese.  Their photos are prettier than mine – in part because I shot mine at night on my stove top with a clamp light & nothing else – never the prettiest way to go – and (I think) because they used a lotta cheese on theirs – more than I did on mine & their fennel strips remained pale green-white while mine browned – so my pizza is darker – also not always the prettiest thing.  I also used this super low end mozzarella that came in roll-up strips & browned more the way marshmallows do – rather than how cheese typically does.  No matter what the pictures say – or your preference for a lot or a little cheese – this pizza was DELICIOUS!   So – if you find yourself with this combo of things in your fridge – you cannot lose with this pizza!

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Caramelized Fennel & Spinach Pizza with Goat Cheese

(quantity of each is up to your personal preference)

1 pizza dough (your favorite – I used THIS)
Marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought – I used Rao’s Arrabbiata)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
1 fennel bulb, removed stalks and thinly sliced lengthwise (reserve the dill-like tips for garnish)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach – chopped
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
Crumbled goat cheese

(I added 1 TBS crushed red pepper)

A handful of semolina (my favorite) or other flour for rolling the dough out.

Delicate tops of the fennel – chopped – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 500F degrees.
2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Saute the fennel for 2 minutes on one side. Then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup (and crushed red pepper – if using) and continue cooking until the fennel is caramelized (about 7-10 minutes).

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3. Add the fresh spinach to the pan and cook until the spinach is just wilted.  Remove from heat.
4. Grease a cooking sheet (or – even better – use parchment paper) & place your rolled-dough on it. I like to roll my dough out on semolina flour – as it adds crunch to the crust. Top with sauce, greens & cheeses.

5.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until done to your liking.  Garnish with fennel fronds & devour!

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Caramelized Cauliflower & Creamy Pasta Caprese Casserole (Vegan or Not)

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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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Photo – The Iron You

So THIS recipe for the CREAMY CAPRESE CAULIFLOWER CASSEROLE (seen above) showed up in my email box & I could not resist.  Apparently, they were inspired by another of my favorite food blogs – How Sweet It Is – but I was unable to find her recipe.

I would have been happy to make this with cauliflower only but once I roasted my medium head of cauliflower florets – they shrunk to a portion too small – so I added leftover pasta from my Vegan Pasta with Sausage, Arugula & Tomatoes – seen below.

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I will confess to using half real cheese & half vegan cheese in this.  I used the leftover mozzarella from my Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella & Avocado Caprese Salad with Olive Oil Caviar – seen above – as the topping cheese (and a few shreds of real Parmesan) – but I used a lot of this cheese below – that I gave a bad review to yesterday.  I did not want to waste the tastier vegan cheeses I have & I felt this stuff seemed most likely to melt into a binding element in this casserole – and I think I was correct.

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This is not a complicated recipe & is likely to be a crowd pleaser – whether you make it vegan or not.

Caramelized Cauliflower & Creamy Pasta Caprese Casserole (Vegan or Not)

Feeds 6

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower – cut into florets

2 1/2 cups tomato sauce

4 TBS tomato paste

1 cup almond (or soy) milk

1 cup grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

2 cups shredded or fresh mozzarella (or vegan alternative)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes – halved

2 large handfuls basil – shredded or chopped

Olive oil

1-3 tsp crushed red pepper

3 garlic cloves

3 cups cooked pasta (about 1/2 lb dry)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toss the cauliflower with olive oil & some S&P.  Bake for 30 minutes – tossing once at the 15 minute mark.  Set aside.  Lower oven temperature to 350.

Meanwhile – heat a TBS olive oil in a stock pan on low heat.  Add the crushed red pepper & the garlic & cook one minute.  Add the tomato sauce (being careful not to get splattered) & the tomato paste.  Heat through.  Add the milk, 1/2 the mozzarella, all of the Parmesan, 1/2 the halved tomatoes and a good handful of shredded basil & combine.  Season with S&P.

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Add the cauliflower & pasta & toss well.

Put into a greased casserole pan & top with the remaining mozzarella & tomatoes.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Turn the oven to 500 degrees & cook another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese begins to turn golden.

Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes & then garnish with shredded basil.

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Vegan Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Candied Walnuts

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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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These are so easy & so delicious – I bet even folks that hate Brussels sprouts will like them.  Sweet & salty & crunchy & warm & soft.  They are ready in 15 minutes.  YUM!

Vegan Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Candied Walnuts

Serves 4 as a side

INGREDIENTS

for the spicy candied walnuts

1 cup walnut pieces

1/4 cup white sugar

1 TBS vegan butter

1 tsp (or more) cayenne

for the caramelized Brussels sprouts

2 dozen Brussels sprouts

2 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS olive oil

1/4 cup brown sugar

salt to taste

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DIRECTIONS

for the spicy candied walnuts

Heat everything in a pan for 3-5 minutes – stirring constantly being really careful not to burn the sugar.  When it is thick & gooey & fragrant – put the nuts on a piece of parchment paper & – using a fork so you do not burn yourself – separate the nuts so they do not clump together.

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for the caramelized Brussels sprouts

Either slice the sprouts in a food processor or slice them very thin so you are left with mainly ribbons.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the sugar & stir.  Add the sprouts & saute until soft – maybe 5 minutes.  Add the garlic & saute another minute.  Season with salt.

Serve with the candied walnuts on top.

See?  Crazy easy!

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Grilled Caramelized Peaches with Burrata and Mint Pistachio Pesto

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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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These are pretty easy & really special.  I added brown sugar to caramelize the peaches but, in the future, I will not as I think they are plenty sweet on their own.  I caramelized them in butter but olive oil is just as good.

Burrata is basically a ball of fresh mozzarella filed with a creamier & softer version of the same cheese.  If you haven’t tried it you must!  If you cannot find it (TRader Joe’s & Costco both typically carry it) – just use the best grade fresh mozzarella you can find.

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Grilled Caramelized Peaches with Burrata and Mint Pistachio Pesto

This serves two as an appetizer

INGREDIENTS

2 peaches cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 burrata balls

butter or olive oil

Brown sugar (optional)

Mint Pistachio Pesto

Basil micro greens as garnish – if you want to be SUPER fancy & spend $5 on garnish

Extra pistachios as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Make the Mint Pistachio pesto (and thin it with water a bit).

You can grill the peaches on a grill or in a grill pan – or even in a saute pan.  If you want the peaches caramelized – press them into some brown sugar & caramelize them over med-high heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side in some melted butter – or just rub olive oil on them & grill them until they get grill marks & soften a bit.  Your call.  They will be great either way.

Then just plate them up with the burrata (or sliced fresh mozzarella) & drizzle with the mint & pistachio pesto.  Lots of cracked pepper & a far amount of sea salt really bring the flavors together.  I promise!

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

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Vegan Vietnamese Spicy Caramel Beef Bowl

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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

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

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This is a dish traditionally prepared with pork.  You might think that a faux chicken would be a closer thing to pork that faux beef and you would probably be correct.  But – I have been using faux chicken a lot lately & decided to mix it up a bit.  If you make this dish – any faux meat would be fine & a faux chicken would certainly be prettier to photograph.

I was going to use this Trader Joe’s stuff –

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but then I remembered I had this stuff in the fridge & opted instead to try it.

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I thought the cube-style rather than a strip-style beef would be better for this dish.  But, Gardein proved underwhelming, yet again.  My complaint with the Gardein products is that the bulk of them are “breaded” or have some kind of bready texture on the outside & that even these beef cubes, while not bready, proved to have a fragile consistency that would never hold up in a stew or something.  And the texture is NOTHING like meat when you chew it.  It just sort of crumbles.  So – my suggestion is, if you are going to make any of the faux beef things I post, use the Trader Joe’s stuff instead.  Beyond Meat makes a faux beef, apparently, but my local grocery store doesn’t carry it so the jury is still out on that version.

I am posting a beef bowl serving suggesting here but you needn’t get all the stuff for that if it sounds like a pain in the ass.  Just serve this shit over rice & scarf it down.

Oh – and I apologize for the photos.  Dark beef items are really hard to make look pretty.  Do not be thrown, however – because this is far yummier than it looks!

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Vegan Vietnamese Spicy Caramel Beef Bowl

Serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

8 oz or so of faux meat

Cornstarch

S&P

1-2 TBS toasted sesame oil

1/2 onion or 1 large shallot – minced

1 TBS ginger – minced (I use jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup vegetable stock

1 TBS soy sauce

2 tsp cornstarch (additional)

2 tsp rice vinegar

1-3 tsp crushed red pepper (to taste)

1/2 red bell pepper – seeded & cut into strips

1-2 red or green jalapenos (or other hot peppers – to taste)

1/4 cup toasted peanuts (I planned to use cashews but forgot to)

Cilantro – chopped – as garnish

Cooked rice

Sesame seeds – as garnish (optional)

For a bowl

Napa cabbage

Red Cabbage

Scallions

Lime wedges

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DIRECTIONS

Make some rice.

If doing the bowl version – chop up some Napa cabbage & some red cabbage & some scallions & cilantro & set aside.

Toss the meat in enough cornstarch (and some S&P) to lightly coat it.  Set aside.

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Whisk the stock, soy sauce, 2 tsp cornstarch, rice vinegar & crushed red pepper together.  Set aside.

Prep the onion or shallot, the garlic, ginger & jalapeno (or other pepper) and set aside.

Slice the other veggies & have them on hand.

Spread the brown sugar on the bottom of a dry pan over medium heat – and leave it undisturbed until it melts.  Then stir it with a wooden spoon until it caramelizes.  Be VERY careful not to burn it.

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Take the spoon out of the pan & VERY CAREFULLY add the stock mixture to the pan.  Be very careful not to burn yourself.  That molten sugar isn’t fucking around.  The caramel will instantly harden so stir again with a wooden spoon over moderate heat until it melts again & the sauce begins to thicken.  Set aside on lowest possible heat.

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Heat the sesame oil over med-high heat & fry the meat up.  I used a lid to press it against the heat.  When it is browned on all sides, put in in a bowl & set aside.

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If you need a little more oil in the pan add it & saute the red or green jalapeno & the onion (or shallot) for a few minutes or until tender.

Add the ginger to the pan with the onion & jalapeno.  My ginger was jarred & wet & spattered everywhere so be careful.  Saute this about a minute & then add the garlic for about 30 seconds.

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Now – a tricky part.  Add the stock to the saute pan.  It will likely splatter a bit so do this carefully and at arm’s reach.  Bring to a boil & then reduce to a simmer.  Add the slices of red pepper & the faux beef & heat through.

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Now – either serve this over rice with some scallions & cilantro or create a beef bowl by layering rice & then meat & then the chopped raw veggie – and maybe some toasted nuts & sesame seeds on top – squeeze a bit of lime & go to town!

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Decadent Goat Cheese & Creamy Burrata Pizza with Arugula

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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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Sometimes I feel guilty when I post a string of similar recipes, like two or three pizzas or a bunch of cauliflower or rice dishes but, the fact is, I am posting my actual meals.  And, when I make pizza dough, I usually make enough for three or four pizzas.   Because I am not a professional blogger, in that, this blog doesn’t generate income, I am not in the position some bloggers are to make things specifically for the blog, whether they intend to eat it or not.  Furthermore though unrelated, all my photos are taken with my i-phone which has developed a penchant for powering off randomly.  Like – at 54% – it thinks it is out of juice & shuts down until I find a charger – at which point – it is instantly back at 54%.  It is infuriating!  Especially when I am trying to photograph a piping hot pizza so that I can eat it while it is still warm.

Anyway – I talk myself out of feeling lazy when I post these similar recipes by telling myself that my readers are likely to have the same leftover ingredients that I do and that they might actually appreciate a new idea about how to reinvent them.  That said, yesterday I found myself with fresh pizza dough, a few leftover caramelized onions, arugula & some leftover spicy red sauce.  From these humble ingredients was born my Decadent Goat Cheese & Creamy Burrata Pizza with Arugula!

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I never really think that pizza is a recipe, per se, in that the amount of toppings is a personal preference.  I do not typically go for a lot of cheese but I was really in the mod for gooey goat cheese & I had the burrata – so – I went for it & I am happy I did.  If you do not have burrata – just use any fresh mozzarella and put it on the pizza with the goat cheese rather than closer to the end as you do with the creamy burrata.

Again – here is the pizza dough recipe I use & I make it in my bread machine.

PIZZA DOUGH

MAKES FOUR 12-OZ. BALLS

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. sugar (⅞ oz.)
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more (½ oz.)
½ tsp. active dry yeast
5½ cups “00″ flour, preferably Caputo Pizzeria Flour (1 lb. 12 oz.) (or just use regular, organic flour – like me.)
2 tbsp. kosher salt (¾ oz.)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine sugar, oil, yeast, and 2 cups cold water in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; let sit until foamy, 8-10 minutes. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. With motor running, slowly add flour mixture; mix until a smooth dough forms, 8-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Divide dough into 4 balls; transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ dish; brush tops with oil. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 48 hours (or get impatient like me & use it immediately).

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I also used leftover caramelized onions from my Caramelized Red Onion & Gruyere Pizza with Egg & Arugula.

Caramelized Red Onion

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough at room temperature

1/2 large red onion – sliced

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS butter (or vegan alternative)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Caramelize the onion by heating the olive oil & butter over med-low (NOT HIGH) heat.  Add the onion and salt & sugar and saute – stirring frequently – for about 20-30 minutes or until they are soft & brown & before they burn.  Mine crisped a bit on the edges & I liked that!  Set aside.

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I also used leftover spicy basil marinara.

For the spicy basil marinara

1 6 oz can tomato paste

2 28 oz crushed tomatoes

30 grape or cherry tomatoes – quartered

1 TBS olive oil

6 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 cup chopped basil

1-3 tsp crushed red pepper – optional

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil over medium heat & saute the garlic for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomato paste & fry another minute or so.  Add the crushed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes & basil & about 1 cup of water.  Add the crushed red pepper – if using.

Simmer covered on low for 30 minutes or more.

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Decadent Goat Cheese & Creamy Burrata Pizza with Arugula

INGREDIENTS

Pizza Dough – recipe above or your favorite dough

Pizza sauce – recipe above or your favorite version

Tomatoes – sliced thin (optional)

Caramelized onions (optional) – recipe above

Goat cheese

Burrata (or fresh mozzarella)

Arugula

S&P to taste

Crushed red pepper (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to a full 450-500 degrees.

Prep the ingredients.

Assemble the pizza!  Roll out the dough & put it on a greased cooking sheet.  Top with sauce, tomato, caramelized onion & goat cheese.  Add fresh mozzarella now – if you aren’t using burrata.  If using burrata – bake about 7-10 minutes & then add the burrata.  Bake another 3-5 minutes or until the crust is done to your liking & the goat cheese is just starting to color.  If you used burrata – you are really just trying to warm it through but do not cook it until it dries out.  The whole point of burrata is its excessive creaminess!

Top with S&P & some fresh arugula & crushed red pepper (if you like extra kick).

Slice this fucker up & eat it alone.  I won’t tell.

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