DDD #107 – Herbivorous Butcher No Box Unboxing & a Vegan Cheese & Deli Meat Review

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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Cinnamon-Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Irish Raisin Bread with Orange & Fig Jam

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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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So, yeah – it was St. Patrick’s Day – for what felt like a week.  By the actual day – it seemed obscene to mention it.  But it is seldom, if ever, obscene to mention melted, cheesy goodness!!

Here is what I had around – post festivities:

Leftover Irish Raisin bread

Leftover Cinnamon-Apple cheddar cheese

Orange-fig jammy spread

Awesome GMO-free, $7 a pound butter

And a powerful amount of indulgent self-pity.

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No photos of the leftover cheese exist except as it sits on the bread in the pan – here:

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My self-pity is very hard to photograph, though I assure you it exists.  I won’t get into what prompted it but I will say that this incredible sandwich went a long way in eliminating it.

The cheese sounds odd but you only taste cheddar at first.  Then – you think, “Hey!  Am I tasting cinnamon?”  And, as you swallow to consider that question – a delicate essence of apple haunts you.  Really quite nice.  But any cheddar will do.

I used this yummy orange-fig spread (usually found near the expensive cheeses) but any regular jam would do.

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So – here’s whatcha do –

You slice up some bread & cut the cheese thin.  Melt some butter in a frying or grill pan over medium heat & maybe spread some on the bread.  Put a slice of bread & cheese in that bad boy.

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Then slap some jammy goodness on the other piece of bread & put it, jam-side down, on the cheesy slice.  Maybe add some butter to the top.  Cover the pan to assure your cheese melts.  In a minute or two – press it together with a spatula & flip it.  Cook each side as long as it takes to get it to the golden-melty place you desire.

If your cheese is stubborn – a minute in a hot oven might fix that.

Slice it up, shove it your face & remember how much tastier it is than that wacky boiled meat people get into this time every year!

Slainte!

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Vegan Beet, Lentil & Rice Burger Sliders with Arugula, Sriracha Mayo & Smoked Black Pepper Cheddar

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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.

vromans front

vromans back

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These patties are genuinely spicy & pretty tasty but they definitely benefited from the various toppings – especially the sriracha mayo.  Plain – they seem a bit lacking but that would really be true of any veggie patty, I think.  As pictured here, the patties themselves are vegan but I used real cheese & real mayo to top them.  If you are vegan – simply make the sriracha mayo with a vegan mayonnaise & either omit the cheese or use a vegan one.

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The other thing about these is that they are pretty close to the color of real ground beef – especially when the patties are raw.  Take a look.

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I made these into little sliders but you can make them full-sized, if you prefer.  There are a few steps involved, like cooking the rice & lentils but the steps are not complicated.  I used this red cargo rice but any brown rice would do.

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I used arugula & tomato but you can top these the way you would top any burger.  Still – the spicy arugula, sriracha mayo & the spicy patties made for a pretty powerful taste treat sensation!  Also, once cooked, these guys should store in the fridge pretty well for a few days.

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Vegan Beet, Lentil & Rice Burger Sliders with Arugula, Sriracha Mayo & Smoked Black Pepper Cheddar

Makes 10 slider-sized patties

INGREDIENTS

For the Vegan Beet, Lentil & Rice Burgers

1 large shallot small onion – chopped

4 garlic cloves – chopped

Olive oil

1 cup of raw beets – peeled & grated

1 plus 1/2 cups cooked lentils

2 cups cooked brown (or other) rice

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground thyme

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

Slider or burger buns

Garnish: arugula, sliced tomato, smoked pepper cheddar or other cheese or vegan alternative

For the sriracha mayo

1/4 cup mayo (vegan or otherwise)

1-2 TBS sriracha (or to taste)

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DIRECTIONS

For the Vegan Beet, Lentil & Rice Burgers

Peel & grate the raw beets.  I grated them in a food processor.  Cook the rice & let it cool. Cook the lentils, drain & cool.  Measure out the amounts of each needed & set aside.  Divide the lentils into 1 cup & 1/2 cup portions.

Heat about 1 TBS olive oil & saute the shallot/onion until translucent.  Add the garlic & saute another minute.

In the food processor, pulse the cooked shallot/onion & garlic, beets, cooked rice, 1 cup cooked lentils & the spices until a meaty texture is achieved.

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Mix in the 1/2 cup of reserved, cooked lentils & adjust the seasoning.  For patties.  I used a cookie cutter that was the size of the slider buns.

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Treat a pan or griddle with cooking spray & cook these guys over medium heat for about 2 minutes per side or until they just begin to char.  If using cheese add it once you flip them them.  Cook until the cheese is melted.  Covering the pan might help speed that melting process along.

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For the sriracha mayo

Simply mix the mayo & sriracha & adjust it to suit your taste.

Now simply assemble your sliders as you like.  I cannot recommend arugula highly enough.

Enjoy!

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Grilled Zucchini & Chipotle Cheddar Quesadilla with Coca Cola Caramelized Onions

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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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BathingandthesinglegirlCover vromans back

You will soon realize that I am on a quesadilla spree that isn’t even close to over.  I made this bad boy last night & I was very pleased with myself!

The onions were a tad charred but I actually enjoyed the flavor it gave them.  They were, however, very hard to photograph!

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They kinda look like fat, dark worms but they were both savory & sweet & they complimented the cheese very nicely.  If you do not care for – or cannot find – Chipotle cheddar, any other cheese you might prefer in a quesadilla is certainly an option.

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Grilled Zucchini & Chipotle Cheddar Quesadilla with Coca Cola Caramelized Onions

INGREDIENTS

Zucchini – sliced thin & grilled (I dipped mine in Italian dressing first)

Tortillas

Chipotle cheddar (or other cheese) – sliced thinly

1 large red onion – sliced thinly

1/2 can Coca Cola

1 TBS brown sugar

2 tsp olive oil

1 TBS butter

Guacamole or parsley or cilantro or jalapeno as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Grill the zucchini.

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Heat the oil & HALF of the butter & the brown sugar.  Add the onions & saute over medium heat for a good ten minutes – not stirring often so that they can brown.  Add the remaining butter & stir occasionally for ten additional minutes.  Once all the oil & butter are absorbed or evaporated – pour a little Coke in to deglaze the pan.  As it gets absorbed, add the rest of the Coke.  When the onions are completely soft & browned, set aside.

Then – simply assemble the quesadilla the normal way.  Heat a dry pan.  Place a tortilla in it.  Layer the cheese, zucchini & some of the onions & fold the tortilla.  I use a put lid to apply pressure & trap the heat.  After a minute or two – flip the quesadilla.  Garnish as you will & devour!

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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Dill & Cheddar

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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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Another in what must seem like an endless chain of cauliflower recipes.  This is so delicious – I ate the entire thing myself last night.  The amount of cheese is up to you.  I went light to save calories but more would have been a lot better.  This takes a total of 10-15 minutes once you have boiling water.  Try it at least once!

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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Dill & Cheddar

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower

1/8-1/4 cup fresh dill plus more for garnish

1/4 cup grated cheddar plus more for garnish

1 TBS butter

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Cut the cauliflower in half or quarters & add to boiling water.  Boil about ten minutes.  Leave it in the hot water until you are ready to serve it because it comes together fast but gets cold fast, too.   When ready to serve it – simply puree everything in the bowl of your food processor.  Garnish with a little extra cheese, dill sprigs & some freshly ground pepper.  Hover over it like a fucking prison inmate & shovel it in your face with zero dignity.  Grunting sounds optional.

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Spicy Three Cheese Pinto Bean Dip with Grilled Jalapeno

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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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I made this with dry pinto beans mostly because I am somehow more proud of myself when I do – but that is a completely unnecessary hassle.  In fact – I am going to pretend I did not – and post this recipe suggesting canned beans.  It is a surprisingly yummy dip – especially when served with the totally unnecessarily home-fried corn chips.  Store bought chips are perfectly fine.

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Spicy Three Cheese Pinto Bean Dip with Grilled Jalapeno

INGREDIENTS

5 cups canned pinto beans – drained & rinsed

2 jalapenos – roasted, seeded & peeled

1 small onion – diced

1 cup cilantro

1 heaping tsp ground cumin

4 oz goat cheese

12 oz grated mozzarella

2 cups grated cheddar

S&P to taste

GARNISH OPTIONS – roasted tomatillo & jalapeno salsa, more chopped cilantro, diced pickled jalapenos or green chiles, pico de gallo, sour cream, hot sauces, grilled corn.

CHIPS!

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DIRECTIONS

Roast the jalapenos on a grill or in a grill pan or under a broiler (watching & rotating them very carefully) until they are blackened.  Place in an airtight container until they cool & then roll the skins off under running water.  Seed them & dice.

Puree about 3/4 of the beans in a blender or food processor with enough water that they blend completely smoothly.  Add the onion, cilantro, grilled jalapeno & the cumin & puree completely.  Transfer the blended beans to a soup pot & add the remaining beans & all the other ingredients.  Heat until all the cheeses melt & everything is heated through.  This might require a bit more water to get the dip to a good consistency.  Taste it and add S&P to taste and maybe add a hot sauce if it isn’t spicy enough.

This is best served in a heated container – like a small, serving crock pot or chafing dish because it tends to set very thickly when it cools.  Or – serve a small quantity of it in a bowl while the remainder sits on very low heat on the stove.  Simply replenish the serving bowl as needed with warmed dip from the stove.  Garnish with something of your choice to make it look pretty.

The grilling of the jalapeno is nice – but not 100% necessary.  You could also do this with dried beans either soaked over night or quick soaked (allowed to sit off heat in boiled water, covered for an hour).  They will still require a few hours of cooking beyond this though before they are soft enough to blend.

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Cheesy Three Cheese, Potato & Broccoli Deep Dish Torte

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

This is another recipe born of ingredients I had at hand & a desire not to waste them.  I recently looked into what I spend on groceries each month.  I was horrified.  I live alone.  I eat twice a day & usually have a tofu dog every day for lunch.  I don’t eat meat & I seldom spring for the GORGEOUS fresh seafood at my local Gelson’s (and by seldom – I mean less than once a month – at most).  Sure – I made Thanksgiving dinner for 11 this year & have hosted several dinner parties in honor of my boyfriend’s visits but jeez!  As of this week – I have spent an average of $717 a month on groceries!!!!   That does include wine & random investments in costly ingredients like hazelnut oil & a bottle of Chartreuse but still.  I live on pizza, pasta & tofu dogs and I VERY rarely spend even $10 on a bottle of wine.  My boyfriend drinks canned Bud Lite.  I shop at Costco and Smart & Final – not Whole Foods, Bristol Farms – or even Gelson’s.  How could I possibly be spending that much?  Yet, confounding as it may be – it appears to be the truth.  So – you will be seeing a lot more economically-minded recipes coming up & lots of things with repeat ingredients as I try to use up stores I have of various things.  And my wine might have to transition to the boxed variety.  That’s sad.  It’s sad when you are so determined to drink wine that you need to chug the first glass just to make the second glass taste remotely palatable.  The third is usually pretty smooth after that.  Will I need to drink the first box quickly to make the second box taste good?  That seems downright excessive.  But – you will know the answer to that if my blog drops off and you spot me huddled under a freeway overpass with my three dogs, in a threadbare crew jacket from old acting job like Father Dowling Mysteries – and red wine glass stains curling up from over my top lip – giving me a distinctly Joker-like expression.  Something like this:

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Speaking of homelessness – I have to share my new favorite dog on Earth with you here.

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LOOK AT THAT PICASSO FACE!!!!  Here is her story:

CT, NY, NJ MA or PA
~REMEMBER WHEN LUCY WHO WAS DEFORMED FROM AN INJURY CAME TO AMERICA, EVERYONE WANTED TO HELP HER? WELL, IT’S BEEN OVER A YEAR NOW & LUCY IS STILL WAITING FOR A FUREVER HOME. WHERE IS EVERYONE? PLS SHARE/ADOPT THIS ANGEL 

SO SHE CAN GET THE LOVE SHE DESERVES.~
Lucy has survived the unimaginable. Used repeatedly as a breeding dog and then discarded to the streets of Colombia, she was found starving by a good Samaritan, her jaw and nose badly broken. A SFTH adopter and volunteer heard about her plight and arranged for her to fly to NY, where she has been receiving rehabilitation ever since. We had a specialist examine her, and although her facial bones never healed properly, she can eat, drink and has no pain whatsoever, so we decided not to put her through extensive and unnecessary surgery. Anyway, we think she’s beautiful the way she is! Lucy is great with people and she adores small dogs, probably because they remind her of the many puppies she’s had over the years. Her foster mom tells us that Lucy is very easy going and low maintenance. The only thing our little couch potato loves more than having a backyard to explore, is having a couch to come back to and nap on! Lucy is spayed 100% healthy, up to date on her shots. Please call Beth at 347 242 0459 you would like to adopt our Special Girl.
Lucy is currently in a wonderful foster home with her trainer in CT, not boarding (that was last year). We’re only going to adopt her out to a home in CT, NY, NJ MA or PA. We’d prefer to keep her close so the person or family will be able to visit her a couple of times so they can get to know her and Lucy can get to know them. We’d like to adopt her out as the only dog or to someone pit savvy with a well balanced small dog. And we would love for Lucy to have an enclosed backyard which she has now and LOVES!
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Isn’t she amazing???  Are you in the northeast?  Can you adopt her?
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Anyway – like my smoked salmon, potato & asparagus torte – this dish is VERY easy to prepare & could feed 6 as a main course pretty easily, more as a side dish.  I used the cheeses I used here because I had them already.  Any cheese could be substituted but you would need at least one creamy cheese (like the goat cheese) to keep the consistency right.  Maybe use cream cheese or ricotta or Boursin or something.  Even feta.  I also used smoked cheddar – because I had it.   I used it in all – including the top layer of this torte.  It was a mistake.  It doesn’t melt well & the other cheesy mix burned.
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Undeterred – I simply peeled the thin burned layer off (including any burned cubes of the cheddar) and topped the torte again with a pizza blend mix I had of grated cheese – like I had with a cauliflower gratin torte I made for Thanksgiving – seen here:
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So – I recommend this method.
Also – as an aside – I used broccoli in this recipe that I had frozen myself a month or so ago.  I found I had a lot of broccoli & spinach & I was leaving town &didn’t want it to spoil.  So – I divvied it all up into little baggies & froze it.  Thawed – they came out pretty much like any frozen vegetable (of which I am no fan) and did not taste as good as they might have if used in recipes in their fresh state.  No more freezing asparagus or broccoli & definitely not spinach – for me.
If you own a food processor – I cannot impress upon you strongly enough how much I encourage you to make this torte crust yourself.  It is ridiculously easy & takes 5 minutes.

Homemade Herbed Tart Crust Pastry

enough for TWO tarts

INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour

12 TBS butter (salted, if possible) – CHILLED and cubed

2 eggs

1+ TBS fresh thyme (or diced fresh sage or fresh parsley or fresh oregano) – OPTIONAL

water

1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Mix the salt & flour together in your food processor (or in a bowl – as this dough could be made by hand – just not by me).

Pulse in the butter until it is incorporated into the dough.  Pulse in the fresh herbs.  Pulse in the two eggs.  Add water 1 TBS at a time until small lumps of dough form.

Divide the dough into two balls & on a lightly floured surface, roll the two balls into disks large enough to line your tart pan.  I rolled one out – and lined my tart pan.  The other, I kept in a ball, rolled it in some flour & then wrapped it in plastic wrap to keep in the fridge for another tart another day.

When you line your tart pan – press the dough in gently, starting from the center & work to the edges.  You can wrap the  pastry over the rim & then cut away extra, for a cleaner look.  I go more rustic & press it in more willy nilly.

Refrigerate your pastry-lined tart pan for at least 30 minutes.

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Cheesy Three Cheese, Potato & Broccoli Deep Dish Torte
INGREDIENTS
1 crust – either frozen or from the recipe above.
4 TBS butter
8 oz heavy cream (or milk or half & half)
2 garlic cloves – chopped
2 potatoes – peeled, boiled until soft & sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 celery stalks – diced
1 large onion – diced
1 lb broccoli florets – steamed al dente (or frozen)
1 TBS fresh thyme (optional)
3 eggs
3 oz smoked cheddar (or other strongly flavored cheese) – cubed
4 oz goat cheese (or other soft cheese)
6 oz grated cheese – either provolone, jack, cheddar, mozzarella or a blend
3 oz ADDITIONAL grated cheese as a topping
S&P to taste
DIRECTIONS
PRE-HEAT oven to 350 degrees.
Press your crust into a spring form (or other) deep pan.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.
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Meanwhile – peel, boil & slice your potatoes.  Try not to overcook them.  A potato is cooked if you pierce it with a knife or fork – lift it from the water – and it falls off on its own.
Steam or blanch your broccoli also trying hard not to overcook it.
In a bowl or food processor – blend the heavy cream, eggs, goat cheese, 6 oz grated cheese, fresh thyme and S&P.
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In a saute pan, melt the butter & saute the onion & celery.  When they soften, add the garlic & saute another minute.  Mix in with the broccoli.
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To assemble the torte – put in a layer of sliced potatoes – using half, then half of the broccoli/onion mix, then dot with half your cubed smoked cheddar (press the layers down here to get maximum density) and cover with half the heavy cream mixture.  Repeat the potato then broccoli, cubed cheese (and pressure)  & heavy cream layers.  Top with the 3 oz or more of grated cheese.
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Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so – or until your top layer of cheese is melted & begins to turn golden.
Let the torte rest, unmolested, for at least 15 minutes.  Slide the blade of a knife between the crust & pan before releasing the spring form (if using).
Slice it up & serve!
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