Vegan Pasta Salad with Lemon, Garlic, Chicken & English Peas

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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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This is easy & really garlicky & delicious.  It can be served warm or room temperature and has no mayonnaise or other ingredients that are quick to spoil so it is great for picnics, barbecues or pot lock buffet kinda things.  As always – I used Beyond Meat chicken because it is the best stuff on the market – and in a clean dish like this – the quality of the chicken is critical because its flavor stands out.  Try it on your friends without mentioning that it is fake chicken.  I bet they won’t notice.  I fed two meat-eating boys veggie dogs yesterday & they never suspected a thing!  People don’t question it if you don’t point it out.  I used to have a boyfriend that claimed to hate low fat mayo.  Unbeknownst to him, I had filled an empty jar of regular mayo with my low fat stuff & he frequently pointed out to me how much it bet his full fat mayo tasted – while unknowingly eating the low fat version.  Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids.  🙂

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Vegan Pasta Salad with Lemon, Garlic, Chicken & English Peas

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta

9 oz vegan chicken – thawed & cubed

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup vegan Parmesan

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 garlic cloves – chopped

1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (or tamari or A-1 steak sauce)

1-2 cups fresh English peas

2 scallions – sliced

1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley – chopped

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta according to directions.  In the last two minutes – add the peas.  When done – drain & set aside.

In a blender – puree the olive oil, Parmesan, lemon, Worcestershire sauce & garlic – until smooth.  Season with S&P.

Toss the pasta, peas, chicken & sauce & serve with scallions & parsley as garnish.

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Spicy Chipotle Cream Pasta with English Peas & Tortilla Strips

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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I have had a rough week.  Had to go to one of the most dreaded places on Earth.  Worse the the gynecologist.  Worse than the incredibly awful, boob-squishing mammographer’s office.   Almost as bad as the dentist’s office.  I had to go here:

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Time to renew my driver’s license.  Despite being freshly showered & having an appointment, the staff here treated me with suspicion & hostility & looked at me like I had a load in my pants.  They spat questions at me & demanded I stand squarely behind this counter or that, cover this eye or that while reading this string of letters or that.  It was like a fucking field sobriety test and every answer or action on my part seemed to beg imprisonment or the opening of some trap door through which I could be permanently disappeared.   I am not sure why the people at the DMV are such douche bags but I am sure that they are.  More mysterious to me is how they actually PULL OFF being so intimidating.  They have no Goddamn power.  They are not cops.  Why did I panic with every irritated question they asked & quiver under the scrutiny of their surly focus?   It’s ridiculous.  Anyway – I had to run nearly their full gauntlet:  the eye exam, the written test & get a new photo.  I managed to avoid the cavity search but I have no idea how.

From there, I had to go to that other glorious bastion of government animosity – the post office – where, again, I was treated like an illegal trying to hustle female minors over a border for enslavement in the sex trade.  All I wanted to do was mail a package to Canada with a tracking number & insurance.  It took FOUR different clerks & thirty minutes before they stopped shoving my package back at me, telling my request was impossible & screaming, “NEXT in line!” over my shoulder.

They said:

You cannot track international packages.  (You can)

You cannot insure documents. (You can if they are negatives.)

You cannot insure international packages.  (You can.)

You cannot use a Priority envelope.  (You can.)

You have the wrong customs form.  (I didn’t)

Speak to that manager out there on the floor. (Who stared back at me blankly and gave me a different form.)

This form is the wrong one.  (It was – but the manager had just given it to me.)

Stand aside & fill this one out.  NEXT person in line please!

Meanwhile, the 32 minutes I had on my meter outside ticked away as the meter maid sat in her car ten feet away.  Parked in the red.

There was more – but you get the picture.  In the end – they did everything I asked but it was like some Kafka-esque nightmare of willfully ignorant bureaucracy & I was seconds from screaming, “No wonder people want to kill you fucktards!”  But, I didn’t.  I just wanted to mail a fucking valuable item to Canada.  Is that the most exotic request the Wilcox post office (the largest one in Hollywood) had ever encountered?

Anyway – with that task completed & seriously disgruntled, I headed home & tried to think of something to cook that could be made without having to venture forth and deal with anyone else in the disservice industry.  I decided to make this dish & as I went to remove my first effort at baked tortilla strips (which I baked to blackness) – I burned my arm.

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I have a much grosser image of this sizable burn but this is a food porn blog & I don’t want to put anyone off their dinner.

Ok – despite the unfortunate burn – this is a really easy dish to put together.  You can use any basic pasta sauce – with or without cream.  I used a little 6 oz container of my homemade vodka sauce that I had in my freezer – so this is a recipe to feed two.  You could use a homemade or jarred vodka sauce or other pink sauce or even a marinara.  I used 4 chipotle peppers in adobo -and found that to be a tad ambitious on the spice side.  I think, in the future, I’ll cut that in half with a quantity of sauce as small as I worked with last night.  I added peas because I had them & they looked pretty.  I added the tortilla strips for the Hell of it.  Either of these two ingredients could easily be omitted with no great loss to the overall impact of the flavor of this dish.  Really – all this is is a sauce with some chopped chipotle pepper in it.  You can’t mess that up.  And it is really delicious!

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Spicy Chipotle Cream Pasta with English Peas & Tortilla Strips

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb dry pasta

6 oz vodka sauce (or other pasta sauce)

2 chipotle peppers in adobo – chopped finely

1 tomato – diced

Parsley or cilantro – chopped for garnish

2 corn tortillas (optional)

1 cup peas (optional)

Pico de gallo – as garnish (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400.

Slice the tortillas into 1/4 inch strips.  Spray with cooking oil & bake for 5 minutes or so – until crispy.  Remove from heat & set aside.

I used fresh peas so I wrapped them in a wet paper towel & zapped them in the microwave for a minute.  This isn’t necessary with frozen or canned peas.

Warm your sauce, add the chipotle & peas, stir & heat it all through.

Cook the pasta as per box instructions.

Drain.  Toss with sauce.  Top with tortilla strips, diced tomato & cilantro or parsley.

Voila!

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Baked Leftover Pasta with Heirloom Tomato Bisque, English Peas & Three Cheeses in Ramekins

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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.

As promised, another recipe made up from several other recipes posted this week.  This one uses leftover fettuccine from my Cilantro-Serrano Pasta post and leftover Tomato Bisque and some of my Homemade American Cheese.   You can use freshly cooked pasta or leftover, if you have it.   The soup can be replaced with ANY pasta sauce you prefer from a simple arrabiata to a marinara to an alfredo.  The cheese can also be substituted with goat or Parmesan or whatever you have handy.  I used English peas because I had them & I love them.

This particular effort isn’t that pretty because green noodles & a pink sauce make for an odd combination but let me tell you – it is friggin’ DELICIOUS.  I made it & just meant to taste one & stood there & inhaled an entire serving.   Really, really good!  I had intended to make little wonton baskets for each of these but forgot to – so a version using wontons is likely in my future.   At any rate – if you use a white pasta & a red sauce – or some other more compatible color combination – your effort should come out prettier.

I cooked 6 of these ramekins in a larger pan with water that came up about half way on the ramekins – and one just out there on its own in the oven.  In the future – I will blow off the whole water business because it achieved nothing that I could appreciate except maybe slowing the heating process a tad – and there is no practical purpose for that in this recipe.  So – you will see images of the larger pan & water but I am not recommending you do it that way.  The only thing it adds is a VERY real danger that you will scald yourself with the hot water as you remove these from the oven.

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Baked Leftover Pasta with Heirloom Tomato Bisque, English Peas & Three Cheeses in Ramekins

INGREDIENTS

4 cups cooked pasta

1 1/2 cups leftover bisque or other pasta sauce

1 cup fresh English peas (optional)

2 large balls fresh mozzarella – sliced

1 2″ cube homemade American cheese or other cheese of your choice

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Fresh basil and/or chopped fresh tomato – as garnish

Extra bisque or pasta sauce – as garnish

Fresh Parmesan to shave – as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Blend the pasta, sauce and whatever cheese(s) you are using (NOT the mozzarella) in a bowl.  Add the peas – if using.

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Spray 7 ramekins (sorry – it just worked out to 7) with cooking spray.  Divide the pasta mix among them.  Try not to over-fill them or they will get messy in the oven.  Top with a little extra bisque/sauce & put a slice of fresh mozzarella on each. Grind some pepper on them.

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Place on a cookie sheet & cover each with a sheet of foil that has been greased with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Remove foil & bake another ten minutes.

Remove from the oven & let cool a minute or two.  These can be served in the ramekins or flipped over & served on a plate.  Either way, garnish each with chopped tomato and/r fresh chopped basil and/or some freshly shaved Parmesan.

Devour & be proud of yourself for using up your leftovers!  Maybe even serve with some leftover Artisan bread!!!

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