DDD #49 – Spicy Vegan Red Beans & Rice

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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

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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

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Click the image below for a video of this recipe.  In it there is an easy & inexpensive recipe, a peek at all my dogs & look at my trip to Chicago to see 90210 The Musical! Complete with a clip from the show! #EmilyValentine


OK – I decided I had to make these for two reasons.  1) Sir Mix-a-lot & his Baby Got Back song.  Is there EVER a time when this song doesn’t sound great?  For a novelty-sounding song – it really holds up over time.  Anyway – one line is “Red beans & rice didn’t miss her.”   While that makes it sound like red beans & rice give you a huge ass – this recipe is clean & healthy.  I hear this song at the gym rather frequently & it always makes me crave red beans & rice.

2) It has been hot as FUCK this week and these can be made stove-top (or in a crock pot) – minimizing the heat added to my already sweltering kitchen.

I am sitting at my desk in my un-air-conditioned office (the hottest room in my house) – I will simply show what it was like outside before 10AM today:

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Yes.  That says 100 degrees at 9:58 am.  UGH!!!!!!!!

So – I will keep this brief & slink down to my kitchen – the coolest room in my house – for the remainder of the day.

One note – I used two kinds of veggie sausage here but I am not 100% certain either is vegan (though I think they are).  Just check the brand you use to be sure – assuming you are vegan.

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Also – I browned the two Field Roast links you see there before adding the other ingredients & that was sort of a waste of time because they just got sort of soggy after the stock was added.  So – I browned additional sausage:

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and set it aside & just added it at the end – sort of like a garnish.  That way, it retained it seared qualities.  You can do this – or not – your call.  Combined – the two varieties of sausage made this a “meatier” dish than it need be but those fake sausages are yummy – so fuck it.  I did add a couple of zucchinis to lighten the beans up a bit.

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QUICK SOAK METHOD

Presoaking beans overnight not only cuts down on cooking time by up to 25 percent, it also helps the beans cook evenly without splitting. It’s easy, too (if you remember to do it). Still, we prefer the “power soak” method. Not only is it faster than soaking beans overnight, it also breaks down more of the complex sugars that can make beans hard to digest. The process is simple: Place beans in a pot and cover with water by three inches. Bring to a boil and simmer briskly for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour. Drain. Your beans will be ready to use in your favorite recipes.–Kay Chun

Healthy Spicy Vegan Red Beans and Rice

Feeds a lot – 6 or more

INGREDIENTS

Cooked rice ( I used brown basmati)

1 lb dry small red beans (soaked overnight or quick-soaked as outlined above) – try to use small red but kidney will do in a pinch

Olive oil

4 celery stalks – chopped

1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo (I used 3 & these beans were SPICY!) – minced

1/2 large onion – diced

2 zucchinis – cubed (optional)

1-2 jalapeno peppers – seeded & diced (I used two)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 bell pepper – diced (traditional in the dish – but I didn’t have one & I didn’t miss it)

2 tsp dry thyme

3 bay leaves

1 TBS dry rub (I used that Road Kill stuff above but any rub you like will do)

1-3 tsp Creole seasoning (I used Zatarain’s)

Vegan sausage (I ended up using 6!) – in a quantity you feel suits your taste – sliced

5+ cups vegetable stock

Scallions for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Quick-soak the beans if you did not soak them overnight (instructions are above).  The soaking helps to stop the gas beans are famous for giving us.

As I explained above, you might want to brown your sausage & set it aside – and add it at the very end – so it retains its texture better.  If texture doesn’t matter to you – just add it with the onions.  Or – divvy it up & do a little of both – as I ended up doing.

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Cook your rice.

Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil in a LARGE stock pot & saute the sausage until browned & either set it aside or just continue.   Some vegan sausage is pretty dry & you might need more olive oil.  Add onions, celery, bell pepper (if using), jalapeno & saute til softened a bit.  Again – add more olive oil if you think it is getting too dry.  Add chipotle, zucchini, dry rub, thyme, Creole seasoning, bay leaves & garlic & stir to incorporate & then add the red beans & 5 cups of stock.

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Then bring this all to a boil.  Lower the heat & cover & simmer for 2 hours or so – or until the beans are tender.  Stir every once in a while & add water if it gets too thick.  I added 1-2 cups of water by the time it was all said & done.  At some point – when the beans are soft – smash a cup or two with a wooden spoon against the pot – or (as I did) – drop an immersion blender in there & mash a cup or two – so there is a thick broth.

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When you are ready to serve, put some rice on each plate, add the red beans & garnish with sausage (if you set some aside) & chopped scallions.  A cold beer or two – and you are good to go!

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Spicy Vegan Southern Chickpea Stew with Rice

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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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vromans back

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I know I say a lot of my dishes are easy – but – if I say that is true.  And not just true for experienced cooks but easy for beginners & those in a hurry.  EASY.  This one is impossible to mess up – short of burning it or over-salting it.  Beyond that – really fucking easy.

Simple & easy-to-find ingredients.  You control the spice.  If I were to make this again – I would use maybe only half the can of tomatoes – but that is because I prefer the chickpeas to the tomatoes. Or – maybe I’d add a second can of chickpeas.  Whatever.  The point is – you can play with this & customize it to your tastes.   Better yet – the stew will be done before you rice is – that is how fast & easy this is.

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Spicy Vegan Southern Chickpea Stew with Rice

Serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

Cooked rice for 2

Olive oil

1 (14.5 oz) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes

1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas – drained

1 jalapeno – seeded & diced (optional)

1 red (or other color) bell pepper – seeded & chopped

1-3 cloves garlic – minced

2 tsp Cajun (or Creole) seasoning

1/2-1 tsp chipotle pepper (less if you don’t tolerate heat well)

Liquid Smoke (very optional)

S&P

Parsley – chopped as garish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the rice.

Meanwhile, heat a TBS or two of olive oil over high heat & cook the bell pepper & jalapeno until soft.

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Add the garlic & stir for one minute.  Add the chickpeas & tomatoes (maybe not all the can of tomatoes – if you like a less tomato-heavy stew.  These photos show an entire can) & spices.  If you are using liquid smoke – start with one or two drops & increase according to your taste for this stuff.  I find it goes from “barely noticeable” to “OmyGod – this whole dish is ruined” very quickly.  Too much liquid smoke is fucking nasty.  Trust.  So – go easy.

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Heat through & serve over rice garnished with parsley.

Told you it was fucking easy, didn’t I?

Enjoy!

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Vegan Spicy Creole Black-Eyed Peas (Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

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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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Just another entry in the “easy & awesome” category.  I made this in a slow cooker (on low), left unattended from 10-7.  You could likely get this done in 4 hours on high – less if you used canned beans.  Stove top – with canned beans – under an hour & only that long to let the flavors meld.  There is no oil or fat of any kind added here

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Vegan Spicy Creole Black-Eyed Peas (Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

Feeds 6 or more with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry black-eyed peas

1 onion – diced

6 celery stalks – chopped

2 tomatoes – diced

1 (4 oz) can diced jalapenos

4 garlic cloves – minced

6 cups vegetable stock (one cup if you are using canned beans on the  stove top)

1-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (canned) – chopped

1 TBS lemon juice (fresh!)

2 TBS Creole seasoning

Garnish – COOKED RICE,  cilantro, chopped jalapenos (I used red ones), avocado, diced tomato, hot sauces, diced onion – kinda anything you might put on chili.

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DIRECTIONS

Put it all into a slow cooker on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.  These numbers are not exact because slow cookers vary in efficiency & temperature etc.   Mine sat for 9 hours & the beans were a bit overcooked but it left them soft & creamy & they held their shape.

Stove top with canned beans – use about a cup of stock & bring it all to a boil & then lower heat & let simmer for about an hour so the flavors can come together.  If you are doing stove top with dry beans – be sure to soak them overnight first or to quick soak them and be prepared to let them simmer for two hours or more – or until the beans are tender to your taste.

Serve with rice & the garnish of your choice!  EASY!

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Southern-Style Arancini or Fried Oklahoma Grits Balls with Creole Shrimp

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

 

Click that play button & enjoy yourself a little Big Maybelle. I have been all week.
And a BRUTAL week it has been.  Kicked off Monday morning with a root canal.  Swung into Wednesday having a broken crown drilled into, refitted for a permanent crown & I left with a numb face and a temporary crown.  I ate the inside of my face (cheek still numb from Novacaine) that night – ATE it – into a bloody mess – during dinner as I watched Obama let Romney lie his way to a debate victory.  Friday night, my temporary crown came out in two pieces as I ate an arugula & shaved Parmesan salad.  Not a corn nuts, gravel & salt water taffy salad.  Arugula.  Paper thin cheese.  Crown in my hand in two pieces on a tooth that has NOT had a root canal.  Friday night at 5:30pm.  Called my dentist, called his emergency line, emailed him.  Crickets.  Paged my root canal doctor & asked for a referral.  In an infuriating act of dentist solidarity – the only dentist’s name he would say was the dentist whose work I was holding in my hand.  I stood in the kitchen & cried.  Nobody wanted to help me & I had a tooth on my lower right that had been drilled into two outer walls & little else.  LOOK!

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Look at that shit!  And that white you see is a bit of dental cement – or some other dental substance – and it was the only thing between my nerve & the world.  NOT A GOOD THING!  No way to eat because 1) pressure on the tooth was painful & 2) I didn’t want to risk fracturing those two panels of vulnerable tooth I had in there.  Friday night.  Was I really supposed to wait until Monday?  Or was I supposed to pick a dentist off a city bus advertisement?  Dentists don’t generally work on Saturdays – and I have had SUCH a prolonged & brutally unlucky dental run this year – I am completely traumatized and unwilling just to roll the dice on some random doctor out of the Yellow Pages.  That is if I even had a Yellow Pages.

Saturday morning I woke up & decided I needed a plan B – in case I really did have to live with my tooth dismembered until Monday.  I decided to make a large pot of grits because they do not really require chewing to be consumed.  Then my friends Dave & Rose announced that their dentist was working that day & agreed to see me.  His name is Dr. Vincent Katow & I think it is safe to say he will now be my regular dentist.  He was kind & gentle & got a new temporary crown in there in no time.  Six days.  Three major dental procedures.  Three different dentists.  And I am a patient who shakes all over & tends to cry (silently) in the chair.  Just brutal.  My righteous indignation & self pity ratcheted up exponentially.

Then the UGLIEST image ever screen-grabbed of me ever in history appeared on the internet (like this one – but EPICALLY worse) – from my recent appearance on Castle:

& set me off on a day filled with intermittent crying & a solid day of unprecedented self-pity.  This photo above isn’t THAT bad  – but – OK – fuck it.  LOOK!

Here are two shots from the same show – below.  Not the best look a show ever did to me but JESUS.  That Honey BooBoo pick of me above – out there on the internet – FOREVER – makes me very sad.

Here are some comparisons my ball-busting friends made of my look in that bad pic.   Funny?  Sure.  True?   Unfortunately.  😦

The fact is – the prototype for the role was one of these two – LITERALLY.   It was in the character description:

which is why my hair looks like I had recently been electrocuted and, well – I can’t explain that make-up – or why I had to wear dresses two sizes too small but – ouch.  Just ouch.

It was a bad week.  All I can say is – thank GOD for Bevmo’s 5 cent sales & credit cards.  And for the TORRENT of support I got on Facebook – some public – some private.  Bruised ego aside & waiting to be turned into a funny story – I move on.

So – anyway – now I found myself with teeth that could eat real food again – and a gigantic quantity of cheesy baked grits.

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What to do with all those grits??  Then I thought of Arancini – or fried risotto balls!  Why couldn’t I make them with grits?  And – rather than a marinara for dipping – why not serve them on a bed of Creole shrimp?  Unable to think of a reason NOT to do this – I did this!  I admit – there are a lot of steps to get this done so it might be a special occasion sort of meal but it was SO FREAKING GOOD – I hope you get inspired to try it some time.  Also – the Grits balls can be served naked or with a much easier sauce – like an aioli or  jarred spicy Italian pasta sauce – like these risotto balls were served to me & my boyfriend in Louisville.

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If you didn’t read the story about the carnival ride horror show experience we had in Louisville – you can HERE.  Anyway – the grits balls are pretty fantastic on their own so don’t put them off if the whole Creole shrimp thing seems overwhelming or unappetizing.   Also – the Creole shrimp recipe alone would go great over steamed rice – so – no need to get into the whole grits thing if that part seems overwhelming.  Whatever you decide to try – read each of the recipes through completely before beginning.  And if you are going for the whole shebang – peel your shrimp & start the stock before you get into any of the other parts of this amazing dish.

Also – the Creole Shrimp calls for canned tomatoes but if you can find tomatoes for sale in glass or in cartons like this:

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buy those.  READ HERE about why to avoid canned tomatoes.  In the interest of simplicity – I will refer to packaged tomatoes as CANNED ones – even though I mean glass or cartoned ones.

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I got the grits recipe HERE but I will spell it out here, too.

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Oklahoma Cheese Grits

INGREDIENTS

6 cups water

1 1/2 cups grits (fast cooking)

3/4 cup butter

1 pound grated cheese (I used a nice cheddar)

2 tsp Creole seasoning

1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

1 TBS hot pepper sauce (I used more than they called for)

2 tsp salt

3 eggs, beaten

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.  I used a vintage casserole dish.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Stir in grits, and reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the butter, cheese, seasoning salt, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, and salt. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and fold in the eggs. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the top is lightly browned.  Remove from oven & eat – or cool if you are gonna make the grits balls.

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Southern-Style Arancini or Fried Oklahoma Grits Balls

INGREDIENTS

Oklahoma Cheese Grits – see above

1/2 pound pepper jack (or other spicy cheese) cubed

2 cups bread crumbs.   I used a combo or regular & panko

2 cups flour

4 eggs beaten

Creole seasoning

6 cups vegetable oil for frying

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DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the flour in a bowl, the beaten eggs in another & the bread crumbs in yet another.  Add about 1 TBS Creole seasoning to each & blend.  Scoop out a handful of cooled grits & create a ball.  Mine were about the size of a pool ball.  Press a piece of cubed cheese into the center & seal the ball back up.  Dredge this through the flour then the eggs then the bread crumbs.  Set aside on a baking sheet as you do this for the rest of the grits.  I ended up with about 20 grits balls.  I froze 16 of them – two each to a freezer baggy – for the future.

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Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  When hot, add your grits balls & fry until golden – turning them so they color evenly.  It takes about 3-4 minutes to get them nice & brown.  Remove from the oil & drain on paper towels & set aside as you make your Creole shrimp.   If you want to eat them plain or with another dipping sauce (arrabiata anyone?) – bake them in the oven for 20-30 minutes or so – to be sure they are hot & the center cheese cube is melted.   If you are going through with the whole Creole Shrimp thing – put off the baking until you are 20-30 minutes from being ready to serve the Creole Shrimp.

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Homemade Shrimp Stock

INGREDIENTS

The shells & tails from 2 pounds of shrimp

1 medium onion – coarsely chopped

2 celery stalks cut into thirds

4 garlic cloves

4 bay leaves

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 TBS black peppercorns

1 lemon – sliced

DIRECTIONS

Put 10-12 cups water in a large stock pot.  Add the other ingredients.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.  Cover & simmer for about an hour.  Strain the stock through a colander of cheesecloth or a mesh strainer.  Measure out 2 cups & set aside.  Put the rest in freezer-safe containers & freeze them up for another day.   I used recycled dairy containers.

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Creole Shrimp

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs raw SHELL ON shrimp – use the LARGEST shrimp you can find.  Use the shells for the shrimp stock.

1 onion – finely diced

4 celery stalks – thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper – finely diced

2 TBS butter

1 TBS vegetable oil

2 TBS Creole seasoning

2 cups homemade shrimp stock – or vegetable stock (use bouillon cubes for a short cut)

1/2 cup dry white wine

5 large tomatoes – diced

2 TBS tomato pasta

Approx. 26 oz (or more) chopped tomatoes (canned or, preferably, from a carton.  READ HERE about why to avoid canned tomatoes)

6 garlic cloves – sliced

4 bay leaves

6-10 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp white pepper

Salt to taste

Hot sauce (Tabasco or Crystal or your brand) – to taste

1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

Fresh parsley – chopped

Scallions (optional) – sliced

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DIRECTIONS

Peel & devein the shrimp – reserving the shells to make shrimp stock.

Heat the butter & vegetable oil in a large pan.  Add half the diced onion & saute until light golden.  Add the rest of the onion and the bell pepper & the celery.  Saute over medium heat.  Add 1 tsp of the Creole seasoning & saute until the vegetables are tender.

Add tomato paste, the canned tomatoes, 4 of the diced fresh tomatoes (reserving one diced tomato for garnish later) and 1/2 tsp salt – and stir in well.  Saute until the tomatoes begin to incorporate.  Turn the heat to high & add the white wine.  Cook for a minute or two & then add the shrimp stock (NOT THE SHRIMP), garlic, bay leaves, cayenne, black & white peppers, fresh thyme, hot sauce & Worcestershire sauce & stir in well to blend the flavors.  Let simmer on low for 30-45 minutes.

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If your Creole sauce is too thick – add water or more canned diced tomatoes.  If it is too thin – increase the heat & add 1 TBS of cornstarch mixed with 2 TBS water to your Creole sauce.  This should thicken it nicely.

Taste it & add some of the remaining Creole seasoning and or salt.  Add more hot sauce if you like a lot of heat.

When you are about 30 minutes from serving – pop those fried grits balls in the oven.  5 minutes before serving – get the Creole sauce boiling.  Then – lower the heat back to a simmer & add your shrimp.  These cook pretty quickly & you want to be careful not to overcook them.  They will keep cooking even as you are assembling the dishes – so err of the side of just under-cooking them.

When the shrimp are ready – spoon out some Creole shrimp onto each plate, add a fried grits ball or two from the oven & then top with chopped tomato, fresh parsley & sliced scallions (if you are using them).

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