DDD Ep. #112 – Vegan Spinach-Stuffed Eggplant Rollatini with Homemade Arrabiata Sauce

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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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Click the image above to watch the video.

This is a really easy, 5-minute pasta sauce.  It is fairly spicy so cut back on the crushed red pepper if you are sensitive to heat.  Canned tomatoes are not desirable – even BAD – (read why you should avoid canned tomatoes & seven other foods HERE) – but they are sometimes the only affordable (and super convenient) option. .

Fresh herbs will also improve this sauce measurably but – in a pinch –  they are absolutely not REQUIRED to make this sauce tasty.

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Five (5) Minute Arrabiata Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 27 oz carton tomato sauce
Garlic to taste
1 tsp each of crushed red pepper, oregano, pepper & sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh thyme (optional)
Fresh basil – chopped (optional)
Fresh parsley – chopped (optional)
Fresh oregano – chopped (optional)
1 TBS olive oil
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DIRECTIONS
Heat the olive oil. I sautéed maybe 10 tiny garlic cloves whole. If giant chunks of garlic offend you or yours, you might want to crush them a bit with the side of a knife or press them through a garlic press or chop them fine. Just do not burn the garlic and burning is easier – the smaller you chop the cloves. With whole cloves – I sautéed a minute before adding the spices. If you chopped the garlic – add it and the spices at once.After about a minute of both the garlic and all other spices sautéing – add the tomato sauce. Be careful as it will sputter and splatter you when it hits the hot oil.
A few minutes in – I used a slotted spoon to fish out the garlic cloves & put them through a garlic press but this is not totally necessary.Heat over med-low heat until ready to use. Add chopped fresh basil/parsley at the very end – if you are using fresh herbs.

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Eggplant is an odd thing.  Some of my favorite dishes are made of eggplant – most markedly my nearly guiltless Indian Baingan Bharta & one of the most popular recipes of this blog’s history, my Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant – both seen just below.

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But if it is cut into slices or cubes that are too large & then under-cooked – it can have an icky texture & an icky flavor.  Lots of people categorically reject it because the first time they tried it – it was yucky.  But it is so versatile & can take on so many flavors so well.  I love it & I feel certain I could convert more than a few haters – if I served them the right dish.

THIS dish might just be that dish – assuming they do not also hate spinach.   The eggplant is very subtle & melts in your mouth.  This could be customized a zillion ways.  There are no rules.  Just make a little mash of some flavors you like & roll’em up & bake them – and voila!  Yes – there are a few steps but none are difficult & the result is delightful.  A tad hard to photograph but really delicious.

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Oh!  I got this new little garlic press at Bed Bath & Beyond for (I think) under ten dollars & I am kind of in love with it.  There are to ways to go with this – sliced or minced (there is a second blade tucked into the base) & all you do is press the garlic through & it creates a little drawer of crushed garlic for you.  Se easy & easy to clean & no garlic fingers!

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Easy Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach 

Should feed 4

INGREDIENTS

2 medium eggplant – tops removed & sliced 1/4 inch thick (thick makes assembly harder)

1 lb fresh spinach (or 8 oz frozen or other spinach – thawed)

3-4  cups (28 0z or so) – marinara (your favorite brand or homemade or the one I  post below) or my 5-minute spicy arrabiata 

Handful vegan Parmesan

1/2 cup vegan ricotta

1/4 cup parsley – chopped

4 oz vegan mozzarella

S&P

Olive oil

More vegan mozzarella to melt on top – to taste

Parchment paper (if possible but not imperative)

Foil

Garnish: more cheese and/or parsley and/or basil

 

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the tops off the eggplant & try to cut them evenly 1/4 inch thick.  I used a mandolin.  Lay the slices on paper towels & sprinkle with salt.  Flip & salt the other side (lightly – so they won’t be overpowered by salt).  Salting the eggplant helps release excess moisture & can temper any bitterness.  Let them sit for about ten minutes.

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Steam the fresh spinach by simply boiling a tiny bit of water to a very large stock pot & adding the spinach.  Cover the pan.  It should wilt in less than a minute (this works to thaw frozen spinach, too, though it might take longer).  Strain into a colander & run cold water on it.  Squeeze out as much water as you can & chop the spinach.

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Put the spinach, parsley, & your Parmesan & ricotta & mozzarella cheese in a large bowl & blend.  Add some S&P.

 

Pat the eggplant slices dry & sprinkle with ground pepper.  Place them on a cooking sheet covered in parchment paper (or foil treated with cooking spray – because you do not want these guys sticking).  Bake about ten minutes.

Layer some sauce on the bottom of a casserole pan.  Spread about 2 TBS of the filling on each of the eggplant slices.  If you have extra – spread it around.  Carefully roll those guys up & place them in the pan, seam side down.

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Layer some more sauce on top & then sprinkle with mozzarella.  Cover tightly with foil & bake for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven & uncover & let rest a good 5-10 minutes before cutting in.  Serve with more cheese and/or parsley and/or basil and copious red wine.  See?  You like eggplant!

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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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Click the image below to watch the video.


 

 

 

 

DDD #105 – Herbivorous Butcher Unboxing & 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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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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Click the image above to watch as I unpack a bunch of Herbivorous Butcher items & review them. Also – meet BRUCE – my newest foster – rescued from the South Korean dog meat trade.

 

DDD #101 – Vegan Big Mac with Beyond Burgers & Copycat McDonald’s Special sauce

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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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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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These came out UNBELIEVABLY well!  I was a lifetime Big Mac whore & no other fast food ever appealed to me.  My Big Mac pizza was pretty successful but this burger puts that to shame.

Above, beneath my Big Bam pizza, is a real Bic Mac – followed by my copycat & then a side by side.  Doesn’t the vegan one look BETTER?  This really is the closest I think you can come to the real thing.  Click the image below to watch the video.


DDD #101 – Vegan Big Mac with Beyond Burgers & Copycat Special sauce

Makes 2 Big Macs

INGREDIENTS

1 package Beyond Burgers (or 4 vegan burger patties)

3 sesame seed buns (or just two – if you are not interested in the center piece of bread)

4 slices vegan cheese

Iceberg lettuce – chopped

Onion – minced

Pickles – sliced

Copycat Special Sauce

1/4 cup vegan mayo

1 TBS vegan French dressing

1 TBS sweet relish

1 TBS minced onion

1 TBS yellow mustard

1/2 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powdet

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

DIRECTIONS

Whisk the sauce together.  et aside.

If using Beyond Burgers – make each patty into two thinner patties.

Cook the burgers & top with cheese & melt.

Assemble the Big Mac: smear two bottom buns with sauce & top with onions, pickles & lettuce.  Put a cheeseburger on each & stack them.  Top with the bun.

Devour!

DDD #97 – REVIEW! Miyoko, Punk Rawk, and Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheeses

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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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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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Click the image above to watch the review.

 

DDD #94 – McDonald’s Copycat – Vegan Filet-O-Fish Sandwich & Tartar Sauce

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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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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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Click the image above for the video.

McDonald’s Copycat – Vegan Filet-O-Fish Sandwich & Tartar Sauce

for the fishless filets

1 lb block extra firm tofu

1 sheet roasted nori – cut into squares the size of your tofu cakes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or your flour of choice)

Water

1 TBS flaked roasted seaweed

1 TBS kelp granules

pinch salt

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

Panko or other bread crumbs – about 1/2 cup or more

Cooking spray

2 slices vegan cheese

2 buns

for the tartar sauce

1/4-1/3 cup vegan mayo

1 tsp sweet relish

1 tsp chopped dill pickle

1 tsp minced onion

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

pinch of salt

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Split the tofu in half & then press them between paper towels with something heavy on top.  After 20 minutes or so – cut the two slices into squares.

Put panko in one bowl.  In another, whisk enough water in with the flour, flaked seaweed, kelp granules, lemon & salt so you get a thin batter.  Put a square of nori on each tofu cake & dredge through the batter & then the panko – getting all sides covered.  Place on a cooking sheet topped with parchment paper.  Spray with some cooking oil & bake for about 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden.  Top with cheese & cook until melted.

While they cook, whisk the tartar sauce ingredients together.

When the tofu is golden & the cheese melted, place each tofu cake on a bun & top with tartar sauce.  Enjoy!

 

DDD #90 – Vegan Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette

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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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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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Click the image above to watch the video.

Ok – this pasta.  A Facebook friend requested it & I could not believe I had not already posted the recipe.  This dish is an old regular of mine from 25 years ago & there is a funny story that goes with it.  I used to make it all the time at home & for company & many of my friends had asked for the recipe.  One day, my then boyfriend & I were served a mushroom cream pasta dish at my friend Angie’s.  My boyfriend took one taste & looked at me and said, “Babe!  This is amazing!  You have to ask for her recipe!”

Yeah.  Well – it WAS my recipe.  The only difference was that she added salt to hers & I was still brainwashed into thinking using salt was a capital sin.   I learned that lesson well that day & now I consider salt a genuine ingredient in most things – not just a forgettable & optional seasoning.  There are all kinds of fancy salts widely available now, too, and some even have healthy benefits.  Pink Himalayan salt, for example, boasts these benefits:

(from http://fitlife.tv/10-amazing-benefits-of-pink-himalayan-salt/)

  • Create an electrolyte balance
  • Increases hydration
  • Regulate water content both inside and outside of cells
  • Balance pH (alkaline/acidity) and help to reduce acid reflux
  • Prevent muscle cramping
  • Aid in proper metabolism functioning
  • Strengthen bones
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help the intestines absorb nutrients
  • Prevent goiters
  • Improve circulation
  • Dissolve and eliminate sediment to remove toxins

So, yeah – use salt.   Salt is not just a flavor unto itself.  It also brings out & enhances other flavors.  Trust me.  Too much is awful but just the right amount is magic.

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Vegan Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette

Feeds 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

1 pound pasta cooked according to package instructions

Olive oil

10 or more fresh sage leaves

1 lb mushrooms (of nearly any variety or mix) – sliced

2 shallots – chopped

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 cup (or more) vegan dairy (a combo of non-dairy milk & some vegan soft cheese of your choice)

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan

Salt & pepper to taste

Parsley – chopped as garnish (it adds a lot of flavor!)

Extra Parmesan for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta.  Reserve about a cup of the pasta water (in case you need it to thin your sauce later) & drain the pasta.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil over med-high heat & fry the sage a few minutes.  It need not brown.  Drain on paper towels.

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Add the mushrooms & about a tsp of salt & raise the heat to high.  The salt will help the mushrooms release their moisture.  Stir the mushrooms occasionally – letting them get seared.  When they are nice & brown – add about another TBS of olive oil & the shallots & garlic.  Fry for about 2 minutes & then add the vegan dairy & Parmesan.   Crumble the fried sage & add that to the sauce.  Bring to a boil & then lower to a simmer.  It should thicken very quickly.  Use more cream & cheese if you want a pasta with more sauce.  Add some pasta water if it gets too thick.   When it is the consistency of a heavy cream sauce – season to taste with salt & pepper.  Add the pasta, stir to combine & serve it up.  Garnish liberally with chopped parsley & maybe more Parmesan.

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