DDD #140 – Violife Vegan Cheese Review (Sharp Cheddar, Feta & Parmesan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

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

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6-Ingredient Wheat Berry Salad with Peas, Mint & Feta (Vegetarian or Vegan)

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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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Wheat berries – crunchy & healthy & tasty!  If you don’t like or cannot find wheat berries – use any other grain like couscous, quinoa, rice – whatever.  It is all about the peas & mint.  I used real feta here but I also made a version with this vegan cheese below & it was just as delicious.

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6-Ingredient Wheat Berry Salad with Peas, Mint & Feta (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Serves 4 as a side dish

INGREDIENTS

1 cup uncooked wheat berries (or other grain)

2 cups fresh peas (or frozen)

1/4 lb feta (or vegan cheese) – crumbled

1/4 cup fresh mint – chopped

1/8 cup olive oil

1/8 cup apple cider vinegar

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the wheat berries or other grain.  Add the FRESH peas about 4-5 minutes before the grains are done to soften the peas.  If using frozen – add them in the last minute or 2.

Run the wheat berries & peas under cool water to stop their cooking then toss with the other ingredients.  Season with S&P.

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Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto & Feta Cheese (Vegan or Vegetarian)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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A few months ago, I made the vegan arugula pesto you see above.  I made a lot of it & then I froze it in batches of about 1/2 to 1 cup each – freezing each serving in sandwich baggies – like below.

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They freeze flat – like little DVDs – and take up very little room in the freezer.  Then – you can just thaw it as you need it.  I used some to make this pasta salad for a BBQ this weekend.  I used real feta in this but – at home – I would have used this vegan cheese here – below the feta.  You could do whichever – or leave the extra cheese out entirely.  Your call!  Whatever you decide – this is easy & fresh & tasty!

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Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto & Feta Cheese (Vegan or Vegetarian)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta – cooked, drained & rinsed in cold water

1 arugula pesto recipe

6 oz feta or vegan cheese – crumbled

1/2 to 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes – halved or quartered

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta & drain under cold water.

Make (or thaw – if you are using some you froze) the pesto.

Ratio of pesto to pasta is a personal thing.  Start light & add as much as feels right to you.  Mix well.

Stir in cheese & tomatoes.  Season with S&P.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

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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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Fennel is a divisive vegetable.  The sharp licorice flavor is either something you love or hate, it seems.  But, as with garlic, the flavor of fennel mellows into something else entirely – when you roast it.  It becomes soft & sorta sweet & it compliments this salad nicely.

I used arugula but any mixed greens or baby spinach would work, too.  I added pistachios but any nuts would work – especially if you toasted them a bit first.

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I used this lovely blood orange olive oil but regular olive oil would work.  I used the dark balsamic – but white balsamic would be lovely, too.

And for the goat cheese – I used this stuff (below).   It has the texture of a soft goat cheese & was really delicious.  If you eat cheese – real goat cheese or feta would also work.

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Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

4-6 beets (red or golden – no matter)

1 large fennel bulb

2 fists full of arugula or other greens

1/4 cup pistachios

1 avocado – cubed

Vegan soft cheese (or real goat or feta cheese) – quantity up to you

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap the beets in foil.  No need to even wash them – as that will happen later.  If they are large (mine were about the size of ping pong balls) – cut them into smaller chunks.

Cut the fronds off the fennel (saving some of the dilly leaves for garnish) & cut the bulb in half.  Place on a cooking sheet & drizzle with olive oil.

Place the beets in foil on the cooking sheet with the fennel & roast 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  The beets might take longer than the fennel.

When the beets cool – wash them under running water & rub the skins off.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Slice up the fennel.

Place some greens on each plate.  Top with beets, fennel, avocado, pistachios & crumbled cheese. Drizzle with olive oil & balsamic.  Garnish with fennel leaves and S&P.

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Kale & Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad with Avocado (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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Kale, Spinach & Cashew Pesto

Makes about 2 cups – which is a lot

INGREDIENTS

2 cups kale with the ribs removed

2 cups organic spinach

2-6 garlic cloves (depending on your taste for garlic)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

1/4 cup cashews (or almonds or pistachios or walnuts or pecans)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Blanch the kale in boiling water for 1 minute & then drain & put into cold water.  When it is cool enough, squeeze the water out & pulse it in a food processor a few times.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan – agitating them so they do not burn – for a few minutes or until they start to brown a bit & smell fragrant.  Do not burn them or the pesto will be bitter.  Pulse them into the Kale.

Add all the other ingredients & pulse until smooth.  You might need to add more or less water to get the desired consistency – which should be thick but smooth.  Season with S&P.

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This is a pretty healthy pasta salad.  No mayo & lots of veggies.  I used some leftover kale & spinach pesto that I had frozen but any pesto will do.  I added some feta cheese to mine because I had some leftover from Blue Apron meals I never prepared but there was not a lot & it certainly was not critical to the dish so – if you are vegan – simply omit it.

The amounts you add of each thing is really a personal preference but here is how I did it.

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Kale & Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad with Avocado (Vegan or not)

Feeds a lot as a side dish maybe 10-15 people

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lbs pasta – cooked, drained & cooled

1 small red onion – diced

2 large avocados – cubed

1 red bell pepper – diced

1 green bell pepper – diced

10 oz of cherry or grape tomatoes – halved

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1/2 cup pesto (more or less – according to taste)

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (more or less acording to taste) – OPTIONAL – omit if you are vegan

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Mix it all up & season with S&P.

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Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad

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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 – this is another fast & easy one.  If feta & watermelon seem like an odd mix – just think of the popularity of salting watermelon.  It might seem, initially, like an odd combo but it works really well.  It it refreshing & clean & and the water density of the watermelon makes it surprisingly satisfying.

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Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad

serves 2

INGREDIENTS

2 cups diced watermelon

1/4-1/2 (or more) diced feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 red onion sliced paper thin

1-3 tsp olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lime

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Mix & serve.

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Roasted Beet and Chickpea Salad with Dill and Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette

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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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I love beets!  I love lemon!  I love arugula!  I LOVE THIS SALAD!  If you are vegan – either just lose the feta cheese or add a vegan alternative.  There is enough flavor here that the cheese is just a layer of flavor but the salad doesn’t depend on it.

I roasted the beets days ahead & just used them yesterday.  You can do this, too, or roast them as needed.  I like having them in the fridge – ready & waiting for me to be inspired to use them.  I made this dressing fresh but most any tart dressing would work.

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Lemon Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup olive oil

juice of one lemon

1 1/2 tsp Dijon

1 garlic clove – minced

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Blend the ingredients & then add more lemon or oil or S&P – to suit your taste.

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Roasted Beet and Chickpea Salad with Dill and Arugula

INGREDIENTS

The ratio here is really up to you but here are my suggestions:

2 large beets

1/2 (15 oz) can chickpeas – drained & rinsed

A few cups of arugula

1/2 cucumber – sliced thin

1 cup feta – crumbled

Fresh dill

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DIRECTIONS

Wash the beets & wrap them in foil with a little olive oil drizzled on them.   Roast, wrapped in foil, at 400 degrees for about an hour.  Allow to cool & peel.  Cut into bite-sized chunks & set aside.

Make the vinaigrette.

Now just layer your ingredients as you like & drizzle with dressing.  Lots of freshly cracked pepper adds a nice touch.  Eat it up & sit back & think about the fact that your pee will likely be pink tomorrow.  🙂

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Wheat Berry Salad with Orange Vinaigrette – in a Mason Jar

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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 a very easy recipe & you can tweak it any way you desire.   Lose the cheese for a vegan version or add other veggies or pomegranate seeds or nuts.  Go crazy!  The jar is a nice way to bring the salad to work or a picnic.

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Wheat Berry Salad with Orange Vinaigrette – in a Mason Jar

Feeds 2 well as a main course or 4 as a side

INGREDIENTS

Orange Vinaigrette

2 cups cooked wheat berries

1 cup cooked (or canned) black-eyed peas – rinsed

1 cup dried cranberries (or other dry fruit)

1/2 cup red cabbage – chopped

1/2 cup feta cheese – crumbled

1/2 cup red onion – diced

1/2 cup fresh mint – chopped

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Toss that salad!   Add dressing in small increments until you get it like you like it.  MMMMM!

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Pasta with Mint, Feta & Edamame

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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 so easy – it comes together faster than it takes for the pasta to cook.  Clean & light and yummy enough that, if you are vegan, you could lose the feta & still have a flavorful dish.

With all the extra time I saved you with this easy recipe – perhaps you should check out MY BOOK on AMAZON???  Reviews are great – and from both men & women!  Why not check it out?

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Pasta with Mint, Feta & Edamame

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta

1 TBS olive oil

3 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS lemon zest

1 cup edamame

1/4 cup fresh mint – chopped

Feta cheese to taste (I used a piece about half the size of a deck of cards)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta according to directions.  Drain & set aside.

Chop the mint & the garlic.  Zest the lemon.

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Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic & saute a minute.  Add the edamame & lemon zest.  Add the pasta & stir to heat through.  Add the feta & mint and some S&P to taste.  Go light on the salt as feta can be very salty.

And that is all she wrote!  It’s just that easy.  Say – and guess what?

Exciting news! I’ll be performing live in a charity production of Eve Ensler’s critically-acclaimed play, “The Vagina Monologues” at the Atwater Village Theatre in Los Angeles (3269 Casitas Ave 
LA, CA 90039). 

The shows will be performed on May 16th, 17th & 18th at 8pm. Each night will feature a different cast of twenty actresses, from TV, films and theatre, and will be directed by LA Talk Radio’s Sheena Metal (“The Sheena Metal Experience”). 

Proceeds go to the anti-abuse charities V-DAY (http://www.vday.org/) and PROTECT (http://www.protect.org/). This wonderful play, equal parts comedic and dramatic, is a celebration of the female spirit and the human condition that is not to be missed and I hope to see you there.

For more info on the shows, the charities and to get your tickets visit:http://www.vdayatwater.com/ or email: sheena@sheenametalexperience.com.

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Pizza with Roasted Red & Golden Beets, Garlic Fried Brussels Sprouts, Pistachios, Feta & Honey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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OK – well – it’s pizza again!  This one was inspired simply by the existing produce in my house.  The result has a lot going on but, overall, it is a rather sweet pizza.  I used feta cheese but I think goat cheese might be a nicer fit – or maybe even brie.  Whatever you choose to use – you are in for a treat!

Speaking of treats – look how cute my Memphis is!!!

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And speaking of cute – my badass boyfriend, Miles Miller, completed principal photography on his first feature film – All the Birds Have Flown South.  I will keep you posted as that develops – but behold the vision that is my boy, Miles!

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Pizza with Roasted Red & Yellow Beets, Garlic Fried Brussels Sprouts, Pistachios, Feta & Honey

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I make THIS)

1-2 beets (red and/or golden)

Feta Cheese

10 Brussels sprouts – cut or shaved thin

4 garlic cloves – chopped

Olive oil

Pistachios – chopped

Honey

Fresh mozzarella – sliced

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450.

Place the beets on a sheet of foil (separately – if using two colors) & drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap them up & roast for abut 45 minutes.  Allow them to cool & then peel them under cold running water.  Slice thinly & set aside.

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Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a saute pan.  Pan fry the Brussels sprouts over high heat until soft & beginning to crisp – not long – a few minutes, tops.  Add the garlic & heat another minute – then set aside.

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Grease a pizza pan.

Roll out your dough.  Place it on the cooking sheet & top with sliced beets, Brussels sprouts, crumbled feta cheese, pistachios & sliced mozzarella.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil & cook at 450 for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese & crust are cooked to your liking.  Drizzle with honey & slice it up.  Pour some wine.  Or stick a straw in a bottle.  Eat & drink yourself into a food coma & then go on to Amazon.com & buy my book!   The phrase “I could not put it down!” has been uttered by a conspicuous number of folks – both male & female.  Why not find out for yourself?

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Roasted Cauliflower “Pizza” with Spinach, Feta & Parmesan

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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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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First of all – I saw this article about ten vegetables & herbs you can buy once & regrow yourself.  HERE it is.  Well – I found myself with scallions the other day & decided to try it out.  These pictures were taken on January 28 after about two days in the water.

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I was so excited – I decided to try it with a browning romaine stump.

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That is about two day’s growth.  Here they are now.

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Isn’t that awesome?  I guess I need to pot them in soil soon but I am very fucking excited about this shit.

Another thing I am excited about is my book!  www.bathingbook.com

Here is my friend Baxter – about to crack open his copy!

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If a little rescue mutt can get it together to buy & read my book, what excuse do you have?  It’s REALLY FUCKING FUNNY – I promise.  Literally laugh out loud funny.  Trust.

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OK – so now on to my faux pizza.  I was too lazy to make cauliflower crust so I just used the cauliflower plain.  I don’t really know what else to call this but pizza.  It was light & delicious & really easy.  Try it!

Oh – and I used this basil oil I got at TJ Maxx.  TJ Maxx is great for discounted fancy food items.

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Roasted Cauliflower “Pizza” with Spinach & Parmesan

INGREDIENTS

Slices of raw cauliflower

Spinach

Feta cheese

Parmesan

Garlic

Olive oil

S&P

Crushed red pepper (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450.   Grease a cooking sheet with cooking spray or use parchment paper.  I ADORE parchment paper!  Nothing sticks & clean up is easier.

Drizzle olive oil on some sliced cauliflower arranged as you want on the cooking sheet.  Add some S&P.  Cook for about 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, mix up some spinach with Parmesan & crushed garlic & some S&P.  When the cauliflower is tender & browning, take it out & top it with the spinach mix.  Crumble some feta on there.

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Cook another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted & browning.

Top with more feta or Parmesan & lots & lots of crushed red pepper.  Maybe drizzle a bit of nice olive oil on there?  Voila!

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Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese Galette in Sour Cream Pastry with Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon (Vegetarian)

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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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Wow.  Last night I was just not myself.  I blame the overpowering stench of the decomposing rat in my walls somewhere – somewhere near my kitchen.  I am not sure how many of you have had this experience but it is wildly unpleasant & sometimes can linger for a week or more.  Once that smell is in your olfactory memory bank, you never forget it.  In fact, if you are in the early days of said decomposition – you feel like that smell is on your upper lip & you start smelling it everywhere.  I got in my car yesterday & swore I smelled it.  I took my car to to the car wash as a concession to my paranoia.  They found no dead rats.  I swore I smelled it as I strolled the aisles at my glorious Super King.  I wondered how super markets are NOT overrun with rats.  All that food & produce.  How are rats not all over it at night?  Why do I have to store my flour etc in my fridge & freezer to avoid those little bugs that get in them – but stores can have stuff on the shelves forever & nothing invades?  I’m not a dirty girl.  My house isn’t dirty.  Anyway – I digress.

I decided that, rather than concede defeat & eat out last night, I would cook a lot of aromatic foods & try to combat the vile stench that way.  And I am happy to say, I was largely successful.  Today, I baked some sweet potatoes & now I smell autumn & holidays more than – you know what.

So – I made this galette last night.  It is basically an open-faced pie without the benefit of a pie plate to shape it.  They can be made sweet or savory.  This one is, obviously, savory.  I used a mix of crimini, portobello & oyster.  You can use any mix you like or use all white mushrooms.  It doesn’t matter.  I used blue cheese.  You can use goat cheese or feta or gorgonzola – your call.  I made the crust from scratch.  You can use a pre-made crust – or even a filo pastry.  Don’t get intimidated.  Just do whatever works for you.

I also made a faux bacon from eggplant slices.  It doesn’t taste like bacon AT ALL but it is smoky and oddly satisfying.  And the eggplant I used looked like a gorgeous leopard.  Not sure why.  I ate a bunch just standing there at the stove – trying to fill my head with other sensory experiences than dead rat.  Then – perhaps all doped up on the toxic fumes that had filled my house all day –  I FORGOT to use it in the galette recipe!  So – I just took bites of it as I ate my slice of galette & it was very yummy.  So – I will include the faux bacon as a potential ingredient but it certainly is not necessary.  If you are a whore for real bacon – feel free to fry some up & crumble it into the mushrooms when they are done.

Finally – I want to note that photographing cooked mushrooms is a tricky business.  They tend to get very dark & photograph as inky muck – so – be kind.

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Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese Galette in Sour Cream Pastry with Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon (Vegetarian)

INGREDIENTS

For the Sour Cream Pastry Crust

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1/4 pound) of butter – cut into small cubes & then FROZEN

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 ice water

For the Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese filling

Between 1-1.5 lbs mixed mushrooms (I used crimini, portobello & oyster) – sliced thin or coarsely chopped

4 TBS butter

4 garlic cloves – minced

3 scallions – sliced (white and green parts)

1/2 cup sherry (or dry white wine)

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

4 ounces blue cheese (or goat cheese or feta or gorgonzola or other) – crumbled

S&P

For the Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon

1/2 large eggplant – sliced 1/8 thick

2 TBS soy sauce

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

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DIRECTIONS

For the Sour Cream Pastry Crust

Combine salt & flour in a bowl (I did all this in my food processor but it can be done in a bowl, too).  Add the butter & mix or pulse until just combined & it resembles a coarse meal.

Whisk the sour cream, ice water & lemon juice together.

With a wooden spoon (or pulsing in the food processor), slowly add the sour cream mixture until you get large lumps.  Collect into a large ball of dough & wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour.

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For the Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese filling

In a large saute pan, melt 2 TBS of the butter (half the butter) over high heat.  Add the mushrooms and a scant pinch of salt & fry them over high heat until they release their liquid & then most of it has evaporated off.  Add the garlic & scallions & saute until the mushrooms begin to brown & sear a bit.  Add the sherry & cook it off then lower the heat to medium.  Add the second 2 TBS butter & the herbs & saute until well combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat & allow to cool.

Crumble the cheese & set aside.

Parsley – chopped – as garnish

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For the Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon

Heat the oven to 425 & prepare a cooking sheet with cooking spray.  Place the eggplant in a single layer & bake 8 minutes on one side & flip & cook another 3-5 – until it begins to brown.  You might need to do this in several shifts to cook all your eggplant.  Remove from the oven & allow to cool a bit.  Lower the oven temperature to 350.

Mix the soy sauce & liquid smoke in a bowl.  Dunk each slice of cooked eggplant in the liquid & put back on the cooking sheet.  Cook another 3-5 minutes.

Eat it like it is – or layer it into your galette.

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To assemble the galette

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a floured surface – roll your sour cream pastry out to about a 12 inch circle.

Place the crust on a cooking sheet treated with cooking spray or topped with parchment paper or foil treated with cooking spray.

If you are using the faux bacon – layer it on the crust leaving 1.5 inch border (to be folded over later).

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Drop 2/3 of the cheese onto the crust leaving that 1.5 inch border (to be folded over later). Top with the mushroom mixture (leaving that border) & then fold the edges over the top – pleating if you can – leaving the center uncovered.

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Bake for 30 minutes or so & then top with the remaining cheese crumbles.  Bake another 5-10 minutes or until your crust is golden.

Remove from the oven & allow it to rest 5 minutes or so before cutting into it.

Garnish with chopped parsley & indulge!!!

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Kale, Mushroom & Ricotta Open-Faced Quesadilla Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes & Feta

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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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These pizzas or open-faced quesadillas are the easiest thing ever & they cook up really fast – so it leaves time to get fancy with your toppings.  Not that roasting tomatoes or sauteing kale are complicated adventures but they are extra steps beyond a simple sauce & cheese (for pizza) or solomente cheese – in the case of quesadillas.   The quantity of the ingredients for these gets difficult to define as everyone likes a different level of cheese & ratio of vegetables etc.  What I can say is that a head of kale wilts down to a quantity likely to be sufficient for 3-4 of these medium-sized tortillas.  I can’t be sure because I kept eating it out of the pan while I waited for the tomatoes to roast.  I roasted a few grape tomatoes & one Roma – for no other reason than those were the ones that needed cooking most urgently.  At any rate, with pizza and quesadillas, there is really no proper recipe, but rather a suggestion of toppings & fillings.

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Kale, Mushroom & Ricotta Open-Faced Quesadilla Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes & Feta

INGREDIENTS

Tomatoes – cut into a large dice (cherry & grape tomatoes – halved)

Kale – ribs removed & chopped

Mushrooms (I used about 10-15 to a single head of kale) – sliced

Garlic (I used 3 cloves) – chopped

Crushed red pepper (I used about 1 tsp)

Olive oil

Ricotta cheese

Feta cheese

Tortillas

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the tomatoes in a little olive oil & some S&P.  Roast them on a parchment paper-lined cooking sheet for about 20 minutes or until they go from A to B – as shown below.

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Set the tomatoes aside.

Remove the ribs from the kale & chop it.

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Heat about 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large pan.

Add the chopped garlic & saute about 30 seconds & then add the mushrooms and crushed red pepper.  Saute over med-high heat, stirring often, until they they begin to brown.  Add the kale & saute until it wilts – only a few minutes.

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Add S&P to taste.

Now – I added a step here where I baked the tortillas first before I topped them.  I had seen another recipe that suggested this so I tried it.  I am not really sure what it achieves.  They do puff & brown nicely – but then they get a little brittle for handling & the edges get too cooked after the final round of baking.  So – if you want to try it – simply poke them all over with a fork & put them on a greased cooking sheet in the 400 degree oven for about 6 minutes or until they come out like below.  Or – you can just start topping the tortilla raw & bake it up.

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Then simply slather a little ricotta on there.

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Add some of the kale-mushroom mix & the feta & the roasted tomatoes.

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Then – simply cook them up in a 400 degree oven for about 6 minutes or until it looks like mine below.  Divvy that shit up or eat it all yourself.  I ain’t judging.  🙂

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Lavash Wrap with Arugula, Avocado & Whipped Feta

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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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This isn’t really a recipe.  It is just a delicious & REALLY light lunch idea.  Not quite as light as THIS recent lunch of mine

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…yeah.  That’s right.   A tofu dog & a mustard dip.  I live large.  Don’t hate.

But I loved this silly wrap & you might, too.  I also love when dogs sit “sloppy” – like this:

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I also love that I can shop for gourmet (a generous adjective, perhaps) food items at TJ Maxx.  Look at what I scored there yesterday.

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It is way cheaper to buy nice olive oil there.  And I got a few flavored oils, too!  And I got a new cookie sheet (under all the items) to replace this thing – which I am embarrassed to own.

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Here is something I do NOT like.

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How is that OK?  REALLY drives home why I do not eat meat.  So fucking nasty.

Anyway – on to the wrap.  This isn’t really a recipe & you can wrap lavash around whatever you want – even chunks of some poor pig who can watch you while you do it.  I went pretty clean, though, and opted for undressed arugula, tomato, avocado & whipped feta.  It was delicious!  Other ideas for such a wrap is to smear your lavash with cilantro pesto, or collard green pesto, Swiss chard pesto, broccoli & goat cheese pesto, broccoli rabe & pistachio pesto, dill & lemon & almond pesto, spinach pecan pesto, spinach & kale pesto, kale pesto, pea pesto or evenspinach & pea pesto.  I make a LOT of pesto!  Jeez.

PS – Whipped feta is made by simply blending 8 oz of feta with 3 oz cream cheese & just enough water to get them to blend in your food processor or other tool you use to whip things.

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Lavash Pizza with Whipped Feta, Grilled Eggplant, Red Onions & Arugula Salad

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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 love pizzas with cold salads on top of them.  I will even dump a bunkus “house salad” of iceberg lettuce & shaved carrots on a slice – if I find myself in a pizza joynt.  But arugula salad is my favorite salad & arugula tops pizza so delightfully – I hope you give this a try.

This particular pizza was so delicious last night – I kept thinking, “I think this is my favorite pizza ever.”  That is saying a lot because I experiment with pizza nearly weekly.  Last August, I posted a Grilled Indian Eggplant Pizza with Feta, Tomatoes & Black Olives made with tiny, little Indian eggplants.

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And while that pizza was yummy – the one last night was a revelation.  Maybe the lavash (rather than pizza dough) allowed the subtle flavors to come through better.  I’m not sure.  But I really recommend this pizza with all the enthusiasm I can muster.  If lavash isn’t available near you – try this with tortillas – like I did HERE.

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I used Japanese eggplants here & sliced them VERY thin.

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You can use regular eggplant but that can sometimes be bitter.  I sliced my Japanese eggplants as thin as I could with a mandolin & then dredged them through some bullshit Italian dressing I had.

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I grilled them on each side for about a minute or two.

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You could pan sear them a few minutes on each side or use a grill pan – or even roast them at 450 for just a few minutes.  But I think precooking them some way is sorta critical to the overall result here.  Still – you could probably use them raw – just slice them PAPER thin.

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I will not give specific quantities of certain toppings here because that is really a matter of personal taste – but I will show you what I used.  Also – fresh mozzarella is nicer than the processed kind you typically buy grated up for pizza topping but that can also be used.  The fresh is better, though.

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Lavash Pizza with Whipped Feta, Grilled Eggplant, Red Onions & Arugula Salad

INGREDIENTS

Lavash (or tortillas or pizza dough)

Whipped feta ((t is made by simply blending 8 oz of feta with 3 oz cream cheese & just enough water to get them to blend in your food processor (or other tool you use to whip things)

Japanese eggplant – sliced very thin

Red onion – sliced paper thin

Cherry tomatoes (or other tomato) – diced

Fresh mozzarella – sliced

Fresh oregano – chopped

Crushed red pepper

S&P to taste

Arugula

Lemon

Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

If using lavash or tortillas, preheat the oven to 350.  If using pizza dough – heat it to 500.

Dip the sliced eggplant in an oil based Italian (or Greek) dressing (or olive oil) & grill just to soften & give some color.

To assemble simply layer your lavash with whipped feta, eggplant, fresh oregano, mozzarella, tomatoes, onion and crushed red pepper.   Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted & the lavash is browned at the edges.

Meanwhile, toss the arugula in a LITTLE olive oil & some fresh lemon juice.  Add S&P to taste.

When the pizza is done, top it with the arugula salad & serve it up!

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Tortilla Pizza with Whipped Feta, Cilantro Pesto & Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

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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.

vromans front

vromans back

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Today is the first anniversary of my blog!!!!!!  AND – the 4th birthday of my gorgeous daughter, Moxie!!!  Here is how she woke up this morning.  As you can see – my dogs have it pretty rough.

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At any rate – a year!  Today!  I can hardly believe it.  And I wonder if I can come up with another year’s worth of entries.  It is already a challenge for me to come up with new things – so you might want to brace yourself for some kooky ideas!

Thanks for reading.  Please – tell your friends.  And if you are not already receiving emails about my posts – just click the “follow this blog” link under my photo there on the right.  Cheers!

So!

Pizza on flour tortillas!  Easy & fast.  And maybe a little lighter in the carbohydrate area, too.  The salsa recipe here is quite spicy but really tasty.  You might opt to cut the amount of jalapeno or lose the chipotle pepper – if spices bother you.  The feta & cilantro & salsa really do create a wonderful combination of flavors, though, so the salsa is worth the effort.

I went rather light with the toppings so that they did not get the tortilla too soggy so keep that in mind when you assemble yours.  The layer of whipped feta seemed to create a decent barrier between the tortilla & the wetter ingredients.

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Tortilla Pizza with Whipped Feta, Cilantro Pesto & Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

INGREDIENTS

Flour tortillas

Cherry (or other) tomatoes – diced

Fresh mozzarella – sliced

Whipped feta (It is made by simply blending 8 oz of feta with 3 oz cream cheese & just enough water to get them to blend in your food processor (or other tool you use to whip things).

Chopped cilantro for garnish

For the cilantro pesto

1 bunch cilantro – stems & all

1/4 cup walnuts

2 TBS Parmesan – grated

2 garlic cloves

juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 cup (or so) olive oil

S&P

For the roasted tomatillo salsa

10 tomatillos

1 Roma (or other) tomato – quartered

2 jalapeno peppers

6 cloves garlic still in their peels

1/2 onion

1/3 cup cilantro

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

1 TBS lime juice

olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

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DIRECTIONS

For the cilantro pesto

Toast the walnuts in a dry pan for about 3 minutes or until fragrant – being careful not to burn them.  Put them in your food processor with the remaining ingredients & pulse into a pesto.  You might need more or less olive oil so you can reach your desired consistency.  A little water can be added to thin it, too.

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For the roasted tomatillo salsa

Heat the oven to 375.  Peel the papery skins off of the tomatillos & wash them.  Take half of them & put onto a baking sheet with the UNPEELED garlic (ignore that mine pictured here are peeled) and the jalapenos & toss in a little olive oil.

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Roast for about 30 minutes or until they begin to char.  Place in a sealed container for about 15 minutes to sweat them.  Squeeze the garlic out of the skins into your clean food processor.  Then – under cool water, peel & seed the jalapenos & the tomatillos.  The tomatillos are likely to have roasted away to almost nothing.  Place the peeled (don’t worry if you cannot get all the skin off) tomatillos & jalapenos into the food processor.

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Cut the stemmed tops off the remaining, uncooked tomatillos.  Quarter them & put them in the food processor with all the remaining ingredients.  Pulse into a puree.Image

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Lower the oven temperature to 350.

Assemble your tortilla pizza with some whipped feta, a layer of cilantro pesto & the fresh tomatoes & mozzarella.  Bake on a cooking sheet for maybe ten minutes or until the cheese melts.  Check it while it cooks to be sure you do not burn it.

Top with a dollop of roasted tomatillo salsa & some chopped cilantro.  Mmmmmm!

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