DDD Ep. #153 – Vegan Strawberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

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IMG_4718All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2020

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.

Vegan Strawberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS

3 cups fresh strawberries (stems removed & chopped) – or frozen strawberries (thawed)

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cornstarch

1 TBS lemon juice

2 cans coconut CREAM (not coconut milk)

2 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

1 cup vegan chocolate chips

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DIRECTIONS

Put the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer – at least overnight – or longer.  If you have room – it should just live there when it is empty so you can be more spontaneous about making ice cream.

Heat the strawberries with the sugar, cornstarch & lemon juice until dry ingredients dissolve.  Bring to a boil to thicken a bit then set aside to cool completely.

Mix in the coconut cream, vanilla & salt & make ice cream according to your machine’s directions.

Add the chocolate chips in the last 5-10 minutes.

Eat immediately or put in a loaf pan, cover with wax paper & then foil & keep in the freezer.

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DDD #123 – Halloween Special & Spicy Vegan Corn Chowder

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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.

I offered another vegan Corn Chowder a while back.  That recipe is Spicy Vegan Corn Chowder with Coconut Cream, Cilantro & Lime.

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I also posted this Vegan Fennel, Leek & Corn Chowder.

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OK – so – this recipe makes a lot of soup and it is absolutely entry-level easy.  It would feed six easily, especially if you served it with crusty bread & a salad.  Also – like so many of my recipes, it is extremely forgiving & customizable.  I would have added carrots but I had none.  You can add other veggies you might have or lose some I used if you don’t have them or do not like them.

The photos below are explained in the video.

Spicy Vegan Corn Chowder

INGREDIENTS

6 TBS cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 small onion – diced

2 Russett (or other) potatoes – peeled & diced

1-3 jalapenos – seeded & diced (optional)

3 stalks celery – chopped

3 cobs of fresh corn – corn cut from the cob

2 (15 oz) cans of cream-style corn

6 cups non-dairy milk

1 TBS sriracha (optional)

5 sprigs fresh thyme

S&P to taste (at least a tsp each)

 

DIRECTIONS

Melt the butter in a large stock pot over med-high heat.  Add the onions, celery & jalapeno.  Saute about 5 minutes, stirring & taking care not to brown the onions.

Stir in the flour.  This should create a thick paste pretty quickly.  Increase heat to high.  SLOWLY – as in – a cup or less at a time – add the milk.  Let each portion heat through & thicken a bit.  This isn’t brain surgery & the soup will thicken as it heats anyway but this going slow stuff hastens that process.

When all the milk has been added, bring it to a boil & then reduce heat to medium.  Add all the other ingredients.

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Add the thyme sprigs whole.  Cook over medium or low heat until the potatoes & corn soften.  Twenty minutes or so – depending how large the bits of potato are.

Remove the thyme sprigs & serve with cracked pepper and/or its of fresh thyme.

 

DDD #113 – Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart (Pie) with Homemade Buttery Crust

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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.

I keep throwing softballs like this out there to you kids.  Softballs in that the recipe is easy & the result delicious.  When, oh when, will you trust me & try one?

This one is almost like a quiche but uses no eggs or heavy cream – and it is vegan!  I used three colors of heirloom tomatoes but any tomatoes would work, even cherry tomatoes, I suspect.

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For the pastry crust

makes two tarts

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

16 TBS ice cold (even frozen) vegan butter

1/4 cup or more of ice water

Heirloom Tomato Pie with Arugula, Tofu, Cream Cheese & Parmesan

makes two tarts

INGREDIENTS

Pie crust – uncooked

5-6 heirloom (or other) tomatoes – sliced thin

2 cups fresh arugula

2 cloves garlic

1 (14 oz) block firm tofu

4 oz vegan cream cheese

2 slices of your favorite flavor vegan cheese

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan – grated  (plus a bit extra for topping – optional)

S&P

Basil – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

For the pastry crust

Put the flour, salt & sugar in a food processor.  Pulse to blend.  Then, 1 TBS at a time, pulse in the cold butter until it is all incorporated.  Add a few TBS water & pulse until little balls of dough begin to form & it falls away from the bowl of the processor.

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Remove from the bowl & press into two balls – one a tad larger than the other.  Press flat, wrap in plastic wrap & chill for about an hour.  Let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you roll it out.

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DIRECTIONS

for the Heirloom Tomato Pie with Arugula, Tofu, Cream Cheese & Parmesan

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Press the dough into a greased pie or tart pan.  A traditional pie dish is absolutely OK to use – as is a spring form pan.  Slit the crust at the bottom and par-bake it for 7 minutes.

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Put the sliced tomatoes on paper towels, salt them & press more paper towels on top.  If your tomatoes are very wet & seedy, squeeze some of the seeds out to avoid excess moisture in the pie.  You can see that I did this with my red tomatoes.

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Meanwhile, blend the tofu, cream cheese, cheese slices, vegan Parmesan, arugula & garlic in a blender or food processor.  Season with S&P.

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When the crust has baked 7 minutes, top with the cup of grated Parmesan, the tofu mix & the drained tomatoes.  Add some S&P.  Maybe sprinkle some grated vegan Parmesan on top.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.

Bake for 45-60 minutes – or until the ricotta is set.  You might need to wrap the edges of your pie with foil (or one of these cool silicone things – the red thing below – that I got at Bed Bath & Beyond) to prevent the crust from over-browning.

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When the center seems set, allow this to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it.  It can be eaten warm or room temperature.

Garnish with basil & eat it up!

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Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes

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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 am reposting this recipe from August 2013 because I have a new Video Vegan episode to go with it.  Here it is:

That photo is un-retouched & shot in natural light.  So – yes!  That pasta really IS that color!  Pretty to look at but with the delicate flavors of saffron and cauliflower – this is a delightful pasta dish.

I found this great saffron liquid at Super King for $7.

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That is a way cheaper option than saffron threads but saffron threads will be easier to find, I suspect.  I actually made this twice because the first time I made it – I made it with whole wheat fusilli & I didn’t like the photos.  This dish above was made with regular linguini.   The first time I made it, I used white wine & ghee (clarified butter).  The second time, I used regular butter & skipped the wine.  I think they tasted pretty much the same so I am going to post the one I made this morning.  There is only a tiny bit of the heavy cream per serving so do not be alarmed.  It isn’t as rich as you might fear.

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Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes

INGREDIENTS (for two very healthy servings)

1/2 lb dry pasta or your choice

1 small head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets

2 large shallots – minced

2 tomatoes – diced

2 TBS ghee or butter (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup heavy cream (or vegan alternative – almond milk should work fine)

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

1-2 TBS olive oil

1 generous pinch (1/2 a tsp or more) saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot (not boiling) water OR 1 TBS (or more) saffron liquid from a bottle

Crushed red pepper to taste

Salt to taste

White pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

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Heat the olive oil over medium heat & saute the shallots until just soft but not browned.  If using wine – add it now & cook it off for about a minute.  Or just skip ahead.

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Add the ghee or butter and the heavy cream & the saffron.  Simmer over medium heat until it reduces by about half.  Add the tomatoes & the steamed cauliflower.

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Add salt & white pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta according to instructions, drain & add directly to the pan with the saffron sauce.  Combine thoroughly.  Serve with lots of crushed red pepper.

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut-Ginger Cream, Pistachios & Pomegranate Seeds

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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

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This might – honestly – be the most delicious soup I have ever made and it is as easy as can be.  If you have a blender, food processor or immersion blender – you can wow the fuck out of your friends with this glorious, autumnal, light & healthy, rich & creamy soup!  I used all the random veggies that I had wilting in my vegetable bins.  You can add or subtract ingredients but I gotta say – this baby is kinda perfect!  Very little added oil & chock full of veggie nutrients.  The Coconut- ginger cream is certainly optional but it adds a nice level.  The pistachios & pomegranate were for texture & color – but they can go with little impact on this soup.  If you are not vegan – stirring in a little goat cheese might be a nice touch.

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut-Ginger Cream, Pistachios & Pomegranate Seeds

Serves 4 very well

INGREDIENTS

3 medium sweet potatoes – sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

3 bell peppers – halved & seeded

1/2 onion (or a leek or some shallots) – peeled & cut in half

10 small carrots – ends trimmed

1 jalapeno (optional)

1 TBS fresh lemon juice (optional)

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp red (or other) curry powder (or curry paste)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne

Several fresh thyme sprigs (or 1/2 tsp dry thyme)

4 cups vegetable stock

olive oil (or coconut or other oil)

S&P

Garnish – pistachios and pomegranate seeds (optional)

for the coconut-ginger cream

5.5 ounces coconut milk

1-3 TBS minced ginger (I used a squeezable kind) – or to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the vegetables in a bit of olive oil & spread in a single layer on cooking sheets (covered with either foil sprayed with cooking spray or parchment paper).  Salt & pepper liberally.  Cook for about 30+ minutes or until the veggies are soft.  Some might need to come out earlier than others.  I cooked an extra sweet potato to put in my dogs’ food tonight.  They LOVE sweet potatoes.  The bell peppers should blacken a little bit.  When the peppers are done – either put them in a tightly-closed container or wrap them in foil to cool a bit.  This will make them sweat & the skins should peel off nicely under running water.  Do not worry if all the skin does not come off.

Meanwhile – combine the coconut milk & ginger – adding ginger in increments – until it tastes good to you.  Set aside.

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Once you can handle the veggies (not the sweet potatoes) – chop them a little bit.  Seed the jalapeno to make it less spicy.  I used the seeds.

Heat a little olive oil in a large stock pot & add the chopped veggies & sweet potato and garlic.  Stir to combine & then add stock & spices.  Squeeze in about a TBS lemon juice.  Bring to a boil & turn off heat.

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Puree the soup in batches or with an immersion blender.  I added about 1-2 cups of water to thin it enough to puree in the blender.  Season with S&P.

Serve garnished with coconut-ginger cream, pistachios & pomegranate seeds.

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Vegan Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches with Cucumber, Fennel & Arugula

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just 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 are not technically a purists version of a tea sandwich – as most tea sandwiches use white bread & have the crusts cut off.  And – you can opt to do that with these but I thought some healthier bread would be nice & I like the crust of the bread.

I used Ezekial 4:9 Low Sodium bread but you can use whatever you like.  I also used Tofutti brand vegan cream cheese.  You can use your own favorite brand.  And – I used thinly sliced cucumber & fennel & a few arugula leaves – and this was quite a yummy lunch.

This isn’t really a recipe – as you can pile as little or as much of each ingredient onto your bread as you desire.  I’m just making suggestion about the flavor combo.   This sort of light sandwich is traditionally served with tea in the afternoon – to stave off appetites until dinner.

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Vegan Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches with Cucumber, Fennel & Arugula

INGREDIENTS

Bread of your choice – crusts cut off or left on

Vegan cream cheese

Fresh fennel – sliced very thin

Cucumber – sliced thin

Arugula

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Spread some cream cheese on both pieces of bread and add S&P.  Top with the veggies & assemble the sandwich.  Cut crusts away if you prefer.  Slice up the sandwich.  Eat – especially with some nice hot tea.

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CHEF’D – White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms

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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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There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.  And – while the meals were tasty, they were pretty labor-intensive – some taking an hour to prepare.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Additionally, so far, I have found their recipes fresh & interesting but fast & easy to prepare.  Great for date night!  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & posted about the burger HERE – and the tacos in another post HERE.  I also posted about the Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese HERE and the Tofu Parmigiana HERE.  They can be seen below, respectively.
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OK – so this is my third post about my box of three meals that I ordered from Chef’d in my second delivery from them.  It is their White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms and Arugula Salad with Lemon Mint Vinaigrette.  Arugula salad is my favorite thing ever & I am also a huge fan of lemon & mint – but – I had this box delivered Saturday & did not get to this recipe until Thursday.  As a result – through no fault of Chef’d – my arugula had passed its edible period.
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I considered using the wilted arugula on the pizza but it was too far gone.   Sad.  I love arugula!  But – I just didn’t get to it on time.  MY fault!
But everything else was still fresh.  The recipe called for (and provided) real milk.  While I am still not totally off cheese or butter (vegan butter is so far ahead of vegan cheese – so far) – I am trying really hard to be entirely off eggs & milk – so I just substituted almond milk & vegan butter.  Made no difference – as in – was just as good.  I did use the real cheese, though.
My experiences with the Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza & the Tofu Parmigiana were that I found that they probably were not enough to realistically feed two American adults – for dinner.  That was not the case with this pizza.  I had accidentally used one of the pizza dough balls provided by Chef’d for my two pizzas on a separate pizza altogether – so I used my own (peppered) homemade crust when I made this.  Also – I only made  half pizza (using half the ingredients) and I was STUFFED!  So – I think this pizza actually might satisfy two adults.  Here is the nutritional info:
white pizza
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At 2480 calories (including, I assume, the salad that I did not even make) – this is a hearty meal!  And it was DELICIOUS!  Again – I found the Chef’d recipe to be less labor intensive than other companies that I have tried – less labor intensive BY A LOT – and the result more satisfying.  I only ate half of the half recipe I made.  Rich & filling & yummy! And easy.  The white sauce came together quickly.
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Mushrooms & broccoli cooked up fast & easy & the pizza assembled without incident.  I did add crushed red pepper but I add that to almost all things not served in a glass.  That peppery crust you see is my own homemade crust.  But – the result was a pizza with lots of flavors & textures.  While I have found all of the dishes I have tried from Chef’d to be easy to make & really tasty to eat – this one is the current champion of full-blown decadence.  So – if one night – you eat this entire decadent meal – maybe the next night – you compensate with the far lighter tofu parmigiana?
Whether eating light is your concern or getting a rich & wintery meal into your pie hole is your goal – I think Chef’d has you covered.  And I don’t eat meat – so I can’t even get into sampling what those dishes offer.  But I recommend these Chef’d meals with complete enthusiasm.  Even for the most novice chef – and especially for novice vegetarians.  Lots of folks who want to cut more meat out of their diet fear only salads in their futures & Chef’d can quickly dispel those fears – and leave almost everybody feeling more empowered in the most important room in their homes – the kitchen!
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Vegan Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Fried Sage

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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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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 super easy & healthy one!  I used sweet potatoes but any orange squash would also work.  No dairy in this at all & it still tastes so decadent!  If you own a blender – you can make this in 30 minutes.   The sauce can be used as it is here – over pasta – but if you added a bit more stock or some milk or heavy cream – you would have a delightful soup!  Or – leave it thick & make ravioli.  Or slather some in a white lasagna.  Mmmmm!

I used these fresh (non-vegan) egg noodles I got from an Asian market but any pasta at all works in this.

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Vegan Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Fried Sage

Serves 4 well

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta (if you use less pasta – see notes above about how to re-purpose the extra sauce)

2 TBS olive oil

1 package or bunch of fresh sage

1 large sweet potato (2 lbs or so – or 3 cups) – peeled & cubed

1 medium onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS (or less – if heat bothers you) crushed red pepper

2 cups vegetable stock

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain your pasta – but reserve about a cup of the hot pasta water.  Toss the pasta with a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking.  Set aside.

Over medium heat – warm the oil in a large saute pan & fry the sage.   Be careful not to burn it (it should not brown in the pan).  After 2 minutes or so – drain it on papers towels & set aside.

In the same pan, add the onions.  Once softened, add the sweet potato, garlic & crushed red pepper.  Stir for one minute & then add the stock.  Bring to a boil & boil until your sweet potato is soft.

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Being careful not to burn yourself, puree the sweet potato mixture.  Season liberally with S&P (to taste).   Put the noodles in the pan you cooked the sweet potatoes in.  Spoon only as much of the sweet potato puree onto it so you get a light cover.  You don’t want to drown the pasta.  I had a lot of puree left over from the 1/2 pound of pasta I cooked & I will make it into soup (see notes above the recipe).  If it gets too thick, stir in some of the reserved pasta water – a bit at a time.

Plate the pasta & crumble sage on it.  Garnish with fresh cracked pepper & maybe some grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative).

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Orecchiette Pasta with Creamy Blue Cheese, Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Arugula (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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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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A disclaimer at the top: sometimes my photographs are underwhelming – even to me.  And – in this case – the photos do not do justice to the wonderful flavors of this dish.  I shoot with my i-phone only & usually use only ambient or natural light.  When you add the additional hurdle of a full-time job – that means I am making these pasta dishes as soon as I get up & shooting them in the morning sun – before work.  In the winter, the sunlight changes pretty quickly & dramatically in the mornings & evenings.  So – one day, I might shoot a dish at 9am in great light (like yesterday) but the next day I get the dish done earlier & am shooting at 8am – as was the case today.  The 8am light isn’t pretty.  It is blue & blue is an ugly tone to add to food – especially foods in the white/cream color zone because the blue is so much more evident.  Then – trying to correct the blue – shit gets all yellow.

So – I carted this bowl of pasta all over my house trying to find nice light.  I never really succeeded – but I did get a shot of the ever-optimistic Memphis – who follows me faithfully, hoping against hope that I will drop the food (which has happened) or just decide to give it to him (which has not happened).  Look at him in the upper right of frame:

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He is so fucking cute!  And I love him too much.

Anyway – I digress.  My point was, these are not my best photos but the dish is EASY & delicious & lighter than you might guess from the photos.   Eh – fuck it.  TRUST ME – this dish is really tasty!

On another note, I get sorta frustrated always pointing out ways in which my recipes can be tweaked to be vegan or vegetarian or meat-filled.   I kinda expect a committed vegan to know how to sub out dairy & I expect meat-eaters to know they could use real meat (in my vegan meat recipes) or add it if they want it – even if I never mention it.  I am never deterred by a meat item in a recipe title because I know at least half a dozen things I can replace it with (from vegan meat to chickpeas to cauliflower etc etc).

So – that in mind, cooked chicken could be added to this.  Vegan alternatives exist for blue cheese as they do for milk & butter.   Or use real milk & butter.  But if you use real milk or butter – try to get the highest end organic stuff you can find.  I used these things in this recipe (including the gourmet salts my friend Alyse brought me back from Hawaii):

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But there is this vegan butter out there available at most large supermarkets.

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Whatever you decide – this comes together in the time it takes to cook your pasta.  You can up the dairy (or faux dairy) ingredients if you want a more Alfredo-style pasta.  I don’t like heavy sauces – so I went pretty light with this one.

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Orecchiette Pasta with Creamy Blue Cheese, Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Arugula (Vegan or Not)

Feeds 2 well

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta of your choice

1 TBS butter (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup milk (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup blue cheese (or vegan alternative)

1+ cup fresh arugula  (use more of the veggies to get an even lighter dish)

10-15+ small Brussels sprouts – trimmed & grated, shredded or chopped very fine (I grated mine in a food processor)

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain the pasta.

Shred the Brussels sprouts

In a large saute pan, melt the butter over med-high heat & saute the Brussels sprouts for maybe a minute – longer if you cut yours into larger pieces but these guys should soften very quickly.  After a minute or two, add the milk & blue cheese.   Let it come to a boil & then lower to simmer & stir to melt the cheese.  Season with S&P.  Add the pasta & the arugula & heat through – letting the arugula wilt.

Serve that shit up & garnish liberally with freshly ground pepper.

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Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette

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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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vromans back

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First of all – I want to point out some new eggs I found.  I am not vegan – though I wish I were & will likely be one day – but until then, I feel real guilt whenever I buy cheese and especially when I buy eggs.  Free-range is a bullshit fraud.   Watch THIS video (sad but not graphic) of a bunch of free-range hens being released to a sanctuary & tell me that you think they led happy lives.   They clearly did not.

So, I have been buying pastured eggs & paying about a dollar each for them.  That is OK – because I don’t eat a lot of eggs & I am happy to have my money support genuinely humane farming practices.  So – imagine my delight when I saw this brand of eggs selling for about $6 a dozen.

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Vital Farms even includes the above little flyer explaining the lives of their ladies.  I love that they call them ladies.  Anyway – assuming they are not pulling off some elaborate hoax – these guys seem to be a good source for eggs that come from happy chickens.  I got mine at a local Ralph’s but their site lists other venders.  Look for one near you!

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Ok – onto 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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Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette

Feeds 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

1/2 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 heavy cream (more if you want a heavier cream sauce) – or vegan alternative

1/4 cup grated Parmesan – (more if you want a heavier cream sauce) – or vegan alternative

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 cream & 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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Arugula and Ricotta Cream Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbs

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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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vromans back

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Yesterday, I posted my Arugula, Ricotta, Cream Cheese and Parmesan Pie with Heirloom Tomatoes – seen above.

I found myself with a bit of extra arugula-ricotta cream & some extra tomatoes – so I made this pizza.

Because I used extra ricotta from the pie recipe – I don’t really have details on the ingredients needed for such a small amount – but I will try to approximate.

It was a lovely & mild pizza but I added tons of crushed red pepper flakes once it was cooked – as you can see below.   I added fresh basil & thyme – primarily because I had them.  Rosemary & fresh oregano would be nice, too.

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Arugula and Ricotta Cream Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbs

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough – I always make THIS but your favorite dough will work

Heirloom (or other) tomatoes – sliced thin, salted a bit & pressed between paper towels to reduce moisture

Fresh herbs (I used thyme & basil but rosemary and/or oregano might be nice, too)

Grated cheese (I used mozzarella)

1/2 cup fresh arugula

1 clove garlic

4 oz fresh ricotta (or vegan alternative)

1 oz cream cheese – optional (or vegan alternative)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Sliced & drain the tomatoes (sprinkled with salt) between paper towels.

Puree the ricotta, arugula, garlic & cream cheese (if using) in a blender or food processor.  Season with salt & pepper.

Roll out the dough.  Place it on a cooking sheet either treated with olive oil or cooking spray of covered in parchment paper.

Top it with a thin layer of the ricotta cream, some grated cheese & then the tomatoes.  Season with S&P.

Bake for 8-12 minutes or until your crust is done & the tomatoes look a bit seared.

Garnish with fresh herbs.  Reflect on how nice it is to eat pizza made at home & NOT be at a fucking food court in a holiday-crazed mall.  Continue eating the entire pizza.

FTW!

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Arugula, Ricotta, Cream Cheese and Parmesan Pie with Heirloom Tomatoes

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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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vromans back

I keep throwing softballs like this out there to you kids.  Softballs in that the recipe is easy & the result delicious.  When, oh when, will you trust me & try one?

This one is almost like a quiche but uses no eggs or heavy cream.   I suppose it can be made vegan – if you can find vegan alternatives to the dairy ingredients.    I used three colors of heirloom tomatoes but any tomatoes would work, even cherry tomatoes, I suspect.  I used a packaged, raw pastry dough but you can make your own if your prefer.  HERE is a recipe for dough that I included in my Savory Three Mushroom & Kale Pie, seen just below.

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The ingredients & instructions lists are short so, if you like tomatoes & arugula & a light but creamy entree – why not give this one a try?
Arugula, Ricotta, Cream Cheese & Parmesan Heirloom Tomato Pie

INGREDIENTS

Pie crust – uncooked

3 heirloom (or other) tomatoes – sliced thin

2 cups fresh arugula

2 cloves garlic

15 oz fresh ricotta – or vegan alternative

4 oz cream cheese – or vegan alternative

S&P

1 cup Parmesan – grated  – or vegan alternative

Basil – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Press the dough into a greased pie or tart pan.  A traditional pie dish is absolutely OK to use – as is a spring form pan.  Slit the crust at the bottom and par-bake it for 7 minutes.

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Put the sliced tomatoes on paper towels, salt them & press more paper towels on top.  If your tomatoes are very wet & seedy, squeeze some of the seeds out to avoid excess moisture in the pie.  You can see that I did this with my red tomatoes.

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Meanwhile, blend the ricotta, cream cheese, arugula & garlic in a blender or food processor.  Season with S&P.

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When the crust has baked 7 minutes, top with the cup of grated Parmesan, the ricotta mix & the drained tomatoes.  Add some S&P.

Bake for 45-60 minutes – or until the ricotta is set.  You might need to wrap the edges of your pie with foil (or one of these cool silicone things – the red thing below – that I got at Bed Bath & Beyond) to prevent the crust from over-browning.

Depending on how deep your crust and/or pan might be – it is possible that you will have leftovers of the ricotta filling.  If you do – hang onto it.  Don’t overfill the crust or you run the risk of the tomatoes slipping off while cooking.   I will post a pizza recipe tomorrow that uses the ricotta filling.

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When the center seems set, allow this to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it.  It can be eaten warm or room temperature.

Garnish with basil & eat it up!

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Healthy Vegan Chicken Fricassee with Tarragon

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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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This is another easy one & It could probably even be made in a slow cooker.  I browned the vegan chicken – really just for texture – so it isn’t totally necessary.   Beyond that – you kinda just throw everything together.  This makes enough for two easily – maybe even four if you served it over rice or noodles of mashed potato – or even mashed cauliflower.

This dish is flavorful but a rare NON-spicy dish for me.  Apparently, Abraham Lincoln was a very finicky eater but this was one of his favorite dishes – so it is obviously an old classic.   Lots of recipes call for heavy cream but I lightened this up by using a mixture of my light (homemade) almond milk & cornstarch.   The result is a dish that tastes like the filling for a pot pie – just without a crust.  Mild & comforting!

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Vegan Chicken Fricassee with Tarragon

Serves 2 – more if you add rice or noodles or another starchy base

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan chicken

1/4 cup flour with maybe 1/2 tsp each of salt & pepper mixed in

3 shallots (or 1/2 onion) – minced

3 carrots – sliced

10-20 pearl onions – fresh or frozen

4 oz mushrooms – quartered

2 celery stalks – sliced

Olive oil

Several sprigs fresh tarragon

1/2 cup dry white wine

2-3 cups vegetable stock

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 cup almond (or other) milk

2 tsp cornstarch

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DIRECTIONS

If using fresh pearl onion – drop them into boiling water for 3 minutes.  Drain & cool & then cot the hard end off & squeeze the onions out the end.  Set aside.

Mix the flour with S&P & coat the vegan chicken.  I did this right in the bag the chicken came in.

Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil over medium heat & saute the chicken until it browns.  Set aside.

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If you need more olive oil – add a bit – and saute the shallots until soft.  Add the wine & scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.  After a minute – add vegetable stock, carrots, mushrooms, celery, pearl onions, Dijon mustard & maybe 2-3 large sprigs of fresh tarragon.  Simmer for about 20 minutes & let flavors meld.

Whisk the cornstarch into the almond milk & add it to the pan.  Simmer until it thickens – maybe 5 minutes.  If it gets too thick, just add water or more veggie stock.  Add the chicken & heat through.  Carefully remove the tarragon sprigs & serve with additional chopped fresh tarragon.   Reflect upon how cool it is that you just made something Mary Todd Lincoln likely made loads of times!

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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 White Chicken Chili (Chowder)

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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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vromans back

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OK – first of all – I have to admit I am home.  Alone.  A LOT.  And sometimes a gal has to amuse herself any way she can.  A few months ago – I found this HILARIOUS thong on Ebay:

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They come from China & cost about $5 including shipping.  I sent one to the badass, Miles Miller & one to my stepdad – anonymously.  I wonder if they can even figure out what it is.  I bet my stepdad is using it as a headband while he does cardio at the gym.  I will never know but still I laughed & laughed!

I crack myself up!

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Now – onto this chili.  I have never had real white chicken chili.  I gave up chicken 25 years ago or so – so I had no idea what to expect with this stuff.  Having made it the other day – I can tell you this is just a glorified & very thick chowder.  I love chowder – so that is cool – but come on.  It is not a very summery meal – that’s all I am saying.  But it sure tasted good & is REALLY EASY!   I made this vegetarian but it can easily be vegan – or – if you are a sissy – you can put dead birds in it.  I recommend the faux chicken.  It is cruelty-free & you can confidently engage in staring matches with chickens without flinching from the weight of your guilt.

I used real cream cheese but they make a vegan one – so don’t get your panties in a bunch.  If you are vegan – use the vegan version.  Wasn’t that easy?  🙂

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Vegan White Chicken Chili (Chowder)

Serves a lot – like – 6?

INGREDIENTS

1/2 – 1 lb faux chicken (depending on how dense you like it) – chopped into cubes

5 (15 oz) cans white beans

1 onion – diced

4 celery stalks – diced

2 ears corn – kernels cut from the cob

1-2 TBS olive oil

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 cup vegetable stock (or more – depending on how thick you want the chili)

4 oz can diced green chiles (hotness of your desire – double it for more flavor) – I used HOT

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp (or to taste) cayenne pepper

8 oz cream cheese (or vegan alternative)

S&P to taste

Potential garnishes: Lime wedges, chopped fresh jalapenos, chopped cilantro, avocado, grated jack cheese (or, you got it!  Vegan alternative)

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DIRECTIONS

If you want a creamier base for the chili – puree two of the five cans of beans.  Drain first for thicker chili – or not if you like it more chowdery.  Set the puree aside.  If you want thick chili, add the stock in small increments (when that time comes) or not at all.  Depending on the consistency you want – you can use lots of stock or none at all.  Drain the beans for thick chili, do not if you want a chowder.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over med-high heat.  Add the onions, celery & faux chicken.  If you use real chicken – cut it small & brown it.

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Once the vegetables are soft & the chicken begins to brown a bit add the garlic FOR THIRTY SECONDS.  Garlic burns fast & you do not want burnt garlic.

Add 1/2 of the cup of stock (or less – if you want a very thick chili), chiles & spices & bring to a boil then lower to a simmer.

Add the cream cheese, corn, whole beans (drained & rinsed for thick chili – or with the water for a chowder) & the pureed beans.  DO NOT FREAK OUT when the cream cheese starts to look curdled.

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That looks fucking nasty but, trust, the cheese WILL melt & become creamy.  In twenty minutes of so – it should all come together nicely.  If it is too thick, add more stock.  If it is too thin, raise the heat & cook it down.

Season with S&P & garnish as you please.  MMMMM!   Now get on Ebay & buy your man some hilarious panties!

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Avocado & Jalapeno Quesadilla with Vegan Sriracha Mayo Dipping Sauce

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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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Is a quesadilla REALLY a recipe?  Of course not.  But I made one yesterday & I photographed it & now I am going to share the details.

The only news here for me are these uncooked tortillas.

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They really DO heat (in a dry pan) in sixty seconds and, for some reason, I feel way classier using them.  If you want go get crazy & make homemade tortillas – like the spinach ones I made in the photo below – the recipe is HERE.  They are really easy but they do take longer than sixty seconds.

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Vegan Sriracha Mayo Dipping Sauce

Blend 1/3 cup vegan (or regular) mayo with 1-2 TBS sriracha.

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Avocado & Jalapeno Quesadilla

INGREDIENTS

Tortillas – I used the uncooked ones but any kind will do

Cheese (vegan or otherwise) – I used a pizza blend of cheddar & mozzarella

Avocado – sliced

Jalapeno – seeded & diced

Tomato – diced

Cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

If using the uncooked tortillas, cook them up until they JUST begin to brown – like you see above.  When those are ready – assemble the quesadilla in a grill or frying pan over med-high heat.  I stacked cheese & tomato & jalapeno & then avocado (I forgot to add the cilantro!), topped it with another tortilla & pressed it with the lid from another pan.  After a few minutes – maybe 2 – I flipped it.  When it was nicely browned on both sides – I sliced it up & drizzled it with the sriracha mayo & shoved it in my face like it was my first meal in weeks.  I then sat in a food coma for several hours.  It happens.  Don’t judge.

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Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Chowder

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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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I don’t know how many of you are hip to unsweetened almond milk but it is genius!  Between the vegan milk options available now & coconut milk – there are increasingly fewer excuses not to cut dairy out completely.  I’m still a bit hooked on cheese, though.   I was a pescatarian for 25 years but just this year gave up seafood.  I am still adjusting to that reality but, I have to admit, I aspire to a vegan diet & am making baby steps all the time.  Chowders like this one make that so much easier!  Creamy & thick & vegan!  MMMMMM!

Say – have you heard?  I am an actress & used to be known – primarily – for my role as Emily Valentine on the original 90210.  Remember her?

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But now I am a published AUTHOR & now I look like this & here is the book I wrote!

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The reviews om Amazon are VERY encouraging so I hope you all will give it a read!

That said – let’s get on with the chowdah!  There are lots of ingredients but they are all simple & easy to find.  You can add corn or other veggies if you like or – if you are still eating meat or fish – add a couple of cans of clams or some cooked (or vegan) chicken pieces.  But I promise – this is very satisfying as it is!

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Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Chowder

INGREDIENTS

1 small head cauliflower – cut into small pieces

1 large onion – diced

4 carrots – diced

5 celery stalks – diced

1 potato – cubed

Corn – either a can or the kernels cut from a few cobs (optional)

3 bay leaves

2 TBS olive oil

2 TBS vegan butter (or real butter – if you are not vegan)

1-2 vegetarian bouillon cubes

1/4 cup flour

1 13 oz can unsweetened coconut milk (I used lite)

4 cups almond milk (unsweetened)

1 tsp pepper

Salt to taste

2 TBS fresh thyme

1 generous pinch dry thyme

1 TBS dry parsley

1-3 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)

1 large handful chopped fresh parsley

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil & butter & bay leaves over medium heat in a large stock pot.  Add the onion & saute until soft – about 5 minutes.

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Add the bouillon cubes, carrots, celery, potato, cauliflower & corn (if using) and saute another 5 minutes or so – stirring often.  Then stir in the flour.

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Incorporate the flour & then add the coconut & almond milks.  Stir in the pepper, fresh & dry thyme, dry parsley & sriracha (if using).

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Simmer for about 20 minutes – stirring often – and cook until the vegetables are tender.  If the chowder gets too thick – add more almond milk.  This works when reheating leftovers, too.  If it is too thin, add a TBS of flour or just simmer it until it reaches the desired consistency.

Add salt to taste & add the fresh chopped parsley.  Garnish with more sriracha – if you like a little heat in your comfort food!   Eat it up, you crazy vegan sonofabitches!

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