Easy Vegan Thai Minced Pork with Holy (& Sweet) Basil – Pad Ga Prao Muu – in Lettuce Cups

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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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I live very close to the area in LA called Thai Town (Hollywood Blvd – essentially – east of Western).  It is an incredible resource for Thai & other Asian ingredients – like canned jackfruit, every manner of noodle & rice & some exotic spices.  The other day, at my favorite Thai market, Bangluck, I spotted these guys here:

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Vegetarian pork, duck & generic meat – in cans – for just over a dollar each.  The photos are not so appetizing but I could not resist trying them.  For whatever reason – I got two cans of the pork & decided to try them out today in this Thai dish.  Apparently, authentic Pad Ga Prao Muu uses only the Thai Holy (or hot) basil but I dd not have enough of that so I added some sweet Thai basil.  Here is how they look (holy/hot basil on top & Thai/sweet basil below with the purple flowers:

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The holy basil has serrated edges & the sweet basil does not.  They really do smell & taste very different but, I think, only a true aficionado of Thai food would know or care about the difference.  I used both & I was very pleased with the result.

Even more exciting – the canned pork!  Seitan, really.  Here are the details:

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Drained, it did not smell or taste funky.  AT ALL.  And even kinda looks like pork.  Any seitan would work for this recipe – stuff from your health food store or Whole Foods or homemade.  I posted some recipes with a recipe for seitan HERE.  The advantage o this canned stuff is shelf-life and COST!  It is so cheap & easy!  If you don’t have Asian grocers near you, the canned stuff is available online HERE.  I will report on the other two cans of stuff when I think of what to do with them.

As to this dish – crazy easy & outrageously delicious.  I like my food genuinely spicy so – if you do not – be sure to adjust the hot elements to suit your taste.

The seitan pork, though?  Totally convincing!  I think you could serve this dish to a meat eater & they would not question it.  You might want to call it chicken, if you have a real skeptic on your hands, because pork tends to be chewier than chicken but – whatever you decide – this will look like meat & taste like meat.  This recipe is killer!  And once your ingredients are prepped – it takes about 10 minutes.  EASY!

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Easy Vegan Thai Minced Pork with Holy (& Sweet) Basil – Pad Ga Prao Muu – in Lettuce Cups

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

20 oz (or so) seitan (or enough for 2 portions)

2 TBS coconut or olive oil

2 packed cups fresh Holy/hot and/or Thai/sweet basil

1-10 cloves garlic – chopped

2 shallots (or one small onion) – diced

4 red scallions (OPTIONAL!  I only used these because I had them) – sliced (bottoms only)

1 red bell pepper – seeded & sliced

1 cup carrots – matchsticks or sliced

1-10 red/green Thai chilies – split (I used 10 & this was very spicy)

1 serrano chili – diced (very optional)

2-3 TBS vegetarian oyster or mushroom sauce

3 TBS liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp dark soy sauce (optional)

1 tsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) OR 2 tsp brown sugar

Lettuce leaves for cups (I used romaine but butter lettuce is nice, too)

GARNISH – lime wedges, cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Prep everything because this comes together fast.  Whisk the liquid ingredients (oyster sauce, soy sauces) together.

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the shallots, chilies, scallions (if using), red bell, and carrots.  Saute until the peppers & carrots soften (maybe 5 minutes).

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Add the seitan & heat through.  Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add the liquids & combine.  Stir in the basil & once it wilts – you are ready to serve.

Serve in lettuce cups or with rice & garnish with lime wedges.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups (Larb Gai – Laab Gai)

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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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OK – now we are talking!  These are clean & light & perfectly suited to hot weather – both in the ease of preparation & the lack of anything too rich, dense or filling.  Another nice thing is that these guys come together in less than 20 minutes.  I think lemongrass is a traditional ingredient but I left it out – mainly because I know most people don’t have ready access to it.

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As always, I used Beyond Meat’s chicken because it is, in my opinion, the best vegan chicken on the market.  If you click that link – you can find a store locator & maybe even a coupon!  I also used jarred ginger & garlic but fresh would, clearly, be even better.

You can make this as spicy (or not) as you like.  I tend to go heavy on spice so keep that in mind if heat is not your bag.  For my money – the most critical detail in this recipe is the mint – but basil will do in a pinch.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups (Larb Gai – Laab Gai)

Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

Enough large lettuce leaves to make 6-8 individual cups/wraps

9 oz vegan chicken – thawed

1 TBS olive oil

1 jalapeno – seeded & minced

1/2 red bell pepper – slivered

1/2 red onion – diced

1 TBS ginger

1 TBS garlic

4+ TBS soy sauce or tamari

2 TBS brown sugar

1-3 TBS sriracha (according to your taste for heat)

1 TBS peanut butter (optional)

Cilantro

Fresh mint (or basil) – but really try it with mint – the mint is SO GOOD!

Lime wedges

GARNISHES (use as many or as few as you like)

Carrot – cut into matchsticks

Cucumber – cut into matchsticks

Red cabbage – slivered

Chopped peanuts

Scallions

Avocado (I show avocado in these photos but I did not add it to the wraps – though you might like to)

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DIRECTIONS

Set two plates with the lettuce cups on them.

In a food processor, pulse the chicken together with the jalapeno, half the onion & half the red bell pepper until it looks like pulled chicken or ground chicken (depending on the brand you are using) – or chop it all very fine, by hand)

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan & cook the remaining red onion & bell pepper for a few minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, peanut butter & sriracha & blend until the sugar dissolves.  Add the chicken & heat through.  Tweak the seasonings & divide the chicken between the lettuce cups.  Top with cilantro and MINT (!) & serve with lime wedges & any other garnishes you opted to use.

Serve!

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Vegan Horseradish Chicken Salad with Pecans and Jalapeno Potato Salad in Baked Wonton Cups

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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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It is another hot motherfucking week here in LA & I am in no mood to cook.  Still – I was tasked with bringing an appetizer to a little gathering & I was up early enough today to get the little cooking these recipes require done before the heat set in.

You can really stick any old thing in these baked wonton cups – like flavored mashed potatoes & cheese or taco fillings or pizza fillings but I did not want to have to use the oven at my destination to reheat or melt anything & cold salad fillings just sounded better today, anyway.   I will have to assemble these at the destination because I do not want the cups to get soggy but that is no big deal.   I only mention this to explain why I do not have photos of a bunch of these assembled.  I just made one of each & photographed them – and then ate them up!  This is the curse of a blog made of exclusively foods I am eating myself or feeding others.  I do not have the funds to waste on food that won’t be eaten nor the heart to throw good food away nor the family around to each a bunch of extras that I might create.   What you see here is typically my day to day menu – and these little party treats are no exception.

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Baked Wonton Cups

INGREDIENTS

1 package small wonton skins – round or square

cooking spray

mini cupcake pan

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to about 325 degrees.

Spray the mini muffin pan with cooking spray & press a wonton skin in each.

Bake for between 6-9 minutes or until they are nicely browned.  Check the first batch frequently – because I burned mine.

Set out to cool.

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Vegan Horseradish Chicken Salad with Pecans

 

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan chicken (I really recommend the awesome Beyond Meat version)

1/2 cup scallions – chopped (do not forget to regrow the ends – like HERE)

2 celery stalks – minced

1/4 pecans – chopped

1/2 cup lettuce (romaine is best) – chopped with extra for garnish

1 TBS prepared horseradish

1/2 cup vegan mayo (or real – if you are not vegan) – more if you like a wetter chicken salad

1 TBS of Dijon

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cube the chicken up small so it will fit in the wonton cups.  Then – just mix all the ingredients up & season with S&P.  Chill until you are ready to put it into the cups JUST before serving.  Maybe add some freshly cracked pepper & a shred of lettuce as garnish.

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Jalapeno Potato Salad

INGREDIENTS

3 medium potatoes – boiled until tender & cubed small

2 scallions – chopped (do not forget to regrow the ends – like HERE)

1 large jalapeno – seeded & diced

1/2 red bell pepper – diced

1/2 tsp (or more) chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 cup mayo (vegan or not)

1/4 cup yogurt (vegan or not – and you can change the ratio of mayo to yogurt to suit your taste)

3/4 cup cilantro – chopped

S&P to taste

OPTIONAL – add 1/2 cup corn kernels (I try avoid corn that is not from a local farmers’ market because of GMO)

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DIRECTIONS

Mix that shit all up & season with S&P.  Chill (as with the chicken salad) until just before serving.  Maybe garnish with extra cilantro & freshly cracked pepper.

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Baked Egg & Sausage & Cheese & Buttermilk Biscuit Breakfast Cupcakes

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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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OK – I have tried these several times in different ways with different levels of success.  These are still imperfect but I am going to post them because, if I don’t, I am gonna keep trying to perfect them & I just don’t want to be eating so many eggs & biscuits.

These could be made with any variety of these bready roll things.  You can scramble the eggs before putting them into the cupcake pan or just carefully break an egg in there in tact.  I used vegetarian sausage patties which look so tasty here all hard & freezer burned, don’t they?

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I also used this Tillamook cheese but any cheese you like will do.

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I also used these eggs here –

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and while it is hard to make out – they are not just free range – they are PASTURED – which means they really are free range and not just in a huge hanger with a million other desperate chickens.    Watch this video of some rescued free range chickens & see if you do not agree that – if you are gonna use eggs – it is worth finding & paying for pastured ones.

 

That said – these are really just omelettes in a cupcake pan with a little biscuit underneath.   I would suggest – however – that if you have a cupcake pan that makes 12 or 18 cupcakes – use one like that and space these bad boys out in the pan so they do not bleed together like this:

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Baked Egg & Sausage & Cheese & Buttermilk Biscuit Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

Buttermilk biscuit dough (or other variety)

Pastured eggs

Cheese

Sausage (I used veggie ones) – cooked

S&P

Parsley – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350.

Cook the sausage & chop it up.

Grease a cupcake pan.   Press some biscuit dough into each – spacing them apart from each other, if you can.   Press the dough in so it reached up the sides of the cupcake pan.  I haven’t tried this with cupcake liners but I cannot imagine they would be a bad idea.

Add crumbled sausage & grated or chopped cheese & then either carefully crack an egg in each or scramble some eggs & pour a bit in each.  Cook for about 25 minutes (which should cook the scrambled egg & cook a whole egg while still leaving the yolk runny) – or cook it until the eggs are done to your satisfaction.

Let rest a few minutes & then carefully run a knife around each cupcake & remove them.  Add S&P & some chopped parsley & eat’m up!

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