DDD #87 – Vegan Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Fried Sage

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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

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Click the image above to watch the video.

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

 

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Vegan Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Fried Sage

Serves 4 well

INGREDIENTS

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

2 TBS olive oil

1 package or bunch of fresh sage

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

1 medium onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – minced

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

2 cups vegetable stock

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

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

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

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

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

Plate the pasta & crumble sage on it.  Garnish with fresh cracked pepper & maybe some vegan Parmesan.

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Vegan Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo with Garlic Seared Mushrooms

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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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This recipe is simply my Vegan Creamy Alfredo recipe with seared garlic mushrooms added on top.  The mushrooms add lots of flavor & takes some of the weight off the Alfredo – as far as having an authentic Alfredo taste.

I will be honest here.  I have yet to make a cauliflower-based “cheese” that tastes convincingly of heavy cream & Parmesan.  I will also add that nutritional yeast is either a flavor you like – or not.   I find it pleasant & sort of nutty – but it does not taste like cheese.  So – this Alfredo is not going to convince a cheese-eater that it is real Alfredo – but if you are a seasoned vegan & accustomed to managing expectations – this is really quite good.  It is also good if – like me – you cannot imaging eating something as rich & FATTENING as a real plate of pasta Alfredo.  This dish is creamy & visually satisfying & it is tasty.  It feels decadent but the only thing decadent is the actual pasta.

That said – let me give you a peek into the reality of food photography.  Typically – I march all around my house with the plate of food & I place it in several locations – trying to find the best light & background.  Sometimes – that spot is on my dining room floor.  See?

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That is my son, Dexter.  He is 10 & has nerve damage & needs yoga mats everywhere so his rear legs can get traction.  He is a gorgeous boy & my best fried & always offers his support as I put food all over the place to photograph it.  He never tries to sneak a bite.  He is just a curious little momma’s boy.    I am pretty sure most bloggers are using cheated shots like this that are cropped to keep the bizarre stuff in frame out of the final image.  So – there you go.

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Vegan Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo with Garlic Seared Mushrooms

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta

2 cups cauliflower florets

1 TBS olive oil

1-4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups almond milk

1-3 TBS nutritional yeast (start with less & only increase after tasting each time)

1 tsp cayenne pepper

A few shakes of hot sauce (I always use Crystal)

Parsley – chopped

S&P

for the seared garlic mushrooms

Olive oil

1/2 lb sliced mushrooms

1-6 cloves garlic – chopped

SP

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil & cook the garlic for about 1 minute.  Add the 1 1/2 cups milk (or more) & cauliflower & boil the cauliflower in the milk until it is very tender – 10 minutes or so.  My cauliflower soaked up all the milk – so I had to add more in the blending process.  Be careful you don’t burn the cauliflower & add more milk as it cooks – if it needs it.

Meanwhile – cook the pasta.

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When the cauliflower is very soft – puree it in a blender nutritional yeast, additional milk (if necessary), cayenne & hot sauce (maybe not ALL the milk & nutritional yeast).  Season with S&P and adjust the milk & nutritional yeast to suit your tastes in both flavor & consistency.

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for the seared garlic mushrooms

Heat a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil over high heat.  Add the mushrooms & cook – stirring infrequently – so they get a chance to brown.  When the are done to your liking – add the garlic & cook one minute longer.  Remove from heat.

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Drain the pasta & return it to the pot.  Toss with SOME of the sauce.  You may or may not want to use all the sauce.  That is just a personal preference.  When it looks nice & creamy to YOU – plate it & garnish with seared mushrooms & parsley.

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Vegan Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo

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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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OK – I will be honest here.  I have yet to make a cauliflower-based “cheese” that tastes convincingly of heavy cream & Parmesan.  I will also add that nutritional yeast is either a flavor you like – or not.   I find it pleasant & sort of nutty – but it does not taste like cheese.  So – this Alfredo is not going to convince a cheese-eater that it is real Alfredo – but if you are a seasoned vegan & accustomed to managing expectations – this is really quite good.  It is also good if – like me – you cannot imaging eating something as rich & FATTENING as a real plate of pasta Alfredo.  This dish is creamy & visually satisfying & it is tasty.  It feels decadent but the only thing decadent is the actual pasta.

That said – let me give you a peek into the reality of food photography.  Typically – I march all around my house with the plate of food & I place it in several locations – trying to find the best light & background.  Sometimes – that spot is on my dining room floor.  See?

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That is my son, Dexter.  He is 10 & has nerve damage & needs yoga mats everywhere so his rear legs can get traction.  He is a gorgeous boy & my best fried & always offers his support as I put food all over the place to photograph it.  He never tries to sneak a bite.  He is just a curious little momma’s boy.    I am pretty sure most bloggers are using cheated shots like this that are cropped to keep the bizarre stuff in frame out of the final image.  So – there you go.

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Vegan Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta

2 cups cauliflower florets

1 TBS olive oil

1-4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups almond milk

1-3 TBS nutritional yeast (start with less & only increase after tasting each time)

1 tsp cayenne pepper

A few shakes of hot sauce (I always use Crystal)

Parsley – chopped

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil & cook the garlic for about 1 minute.  Add the 1 1/2 cups milk (or more) & cauliflower & boil the cauliflower in the milk until it is very tender – 10 minutes or so.  My cauliflower soaked up all the milk – so I had to add more in the blending process.  Be careful you don’t burn the cauliflower & add more milk as it cooks – if it needs it.

Meanwhile – cook the pasta.

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When the cauliflower is very soft – puree it in a blender with all the other ingredients (maybe not ALL the milk & nutritional yeast) – except the parsley.  Season with S&P and adjust the milk & nutritional yeast to suit your tastes in both flavor & consistency.

Drain the pasta & return it to the pot.  Toss with SOME of the sauce.  You may or may not want to use all the sauce.  That is just a personal preference.  When it looks nice & creamy to YOU – plate it & garnish with parsley.

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Pasta with Romanesco Cauliflower (Broccoli), Lemon & Chili Flakes (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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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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Every two weeks, I get a box of mixed veggies from Farm Fresh To You.  I enjoy it because they are locally grown but also because they send me things I have never used before – like this Romanesco Cauliflower (or Romanesco broccoli).   It is striking to look at & almost looks other-worldly.  It has the texture of cauliflower but is described as tasting slightly nutty & earthy.  I found the flavor to be very mild – much like cauliflower – so you can use it any way you would use cauliflower.  I chose this light pasta dish.  I used real cheese in it but that is not necessary.  You can omit it with little loss to overall flavor or use a bit of nutritional yeast or vegan hard cheese – grated.

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Pasta with Romanesco Cauliflower (Broccoli), Lemon & Chili Flakes (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1-2 heads of Romanesco cauliflower – cut into florets (or one bunch broccoli or head of cauliflower – cut into bite-sized pieces)

1 lemon (zest & juice)

Olive oil

Crushed red pepper to taste (I used a lot – like – 2 TBS – but use it at your own discretion)

1-4 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 lb pasta (cooked)

S&P

Cheese (grated Parmesan or other hard cheese or vegan alternative or a TBS or so of nutritional yeast) – quantity totally up to you

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DIRECTIONS

Cook pasta according to directions, drain & set aside.

Meanwhile – boil the Romanesco florets for about 3 minutes.  Scoop out about 1 cup of the hot veggie water & set aside.  Drain & plunge the Romanesco into cold water to stop it from cooking too much.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the crushed red pepper, garlic & lemon zest.  Cook for about a minute & then add the Romanesco.  Heat through.

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Add some cheese & some of the hot veggie water.  Stir to combine.  Season with S&P.  Add more cheese if you like.

Add the pasta & some of the lemon juice.  Stir to combine & then adjust seasonings – maybe adding more cheese (or nutritional yeast) or S&P or lemon or crushed red pepper.

Serve!  Add more cheese if you desire.

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Homemade Black Pepper Fettuccine Pasta with Summer Truffles, Parmesan and Butter

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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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I made this dish with THESE noodles & simply added a tablespoon of ground pepper to the eggs before kneading them into the dough.   Any dry pasta would work, too, but fresh noodles are just that much more delicate and the flavors here benefit from that.  If you cannot (or don’t care to) make homemade pasta – maybe buy the fresh pasta available at most supermarkets in the refrigerated section.

I found these truffles at my local Gelson’s for $14 and could not resist trying them – for that low price.

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Ultimately, they were very, very lightly flavored – so I added a drizzle of the truffle oil above.  Still, the flavors were almost imperceptible but that was OK because I discovered that noodles with butter & Parmesan (and maybe some fresh parsley) are pretty awesome, too, and had that as my second meal with the homemade fettuccine.

If you ever come across actual fresh truffles, come back to this recipe & try them this way.   Or – if you have a truffle oil you love, drizzle that on the pasta & skip the actual truffles, altogether.

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Homemade Black Pepper Fettuccine Pasta with Summer Truffles, Parmesan and Butter

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb fresh pasta (or dry pasta of your choice)

2 Summer Truffles (optional) – sliced at thin as you can muster

Truffle oil

2 -3 TBS of the highest quality butter you can find (preferably grass fed)

1/2 cup or more of Parmesan cheese (highest quality you can find) – grated or shaved

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

Fresh parsley – chopped (if you are not using truffles)

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain the pasta – reserving about 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan (large enough to hold all the pasta).   I drizzled a bit of the liquid from the truffle jar in the butter & a few little bits of the truffles.

When the butter is melted, add the pasta & the Parmesan.  I used about 1/2 cup but the amount of cheese is really up to you.

Stir to blend & warm through.

Plate the pasta & garnish with sliced truffles, truffle oil, salt & lots of freshly cracked pepper.  Add more cheese, if you like.

If you are not using truffles, freshly chopped parsley is nice.

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Pasta with Pan-Seared Tomatoes, Spinach & Burrata

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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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So – Jason Priestley has a book out now – a memoir.

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I make an appearance in it as we lived together for 5 years or so.  There is a picture of me in there in a bathing suit top & some Calvin Klein men’s boxer briefs.  I was not consulted on the photo choice.  🙂  But, I am referred to as “captivating” and I am given credit for turning him on to wine.  I haven’t read it myself.  Yet.  But I will.  You should, too.

In the meantime – I hope you read MY book!  Reviews are solid!  And it can be found in the very store in Pasadena where Jason will make an appearance this month (and I will make one in June) – at Vroman’s!  Here it is on the shelf there!  www.bathingbook.com

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This is another one of those pasta dishes that can come together in just the time it takes to boil the pasta.  The real key is the burrata.  See how creamy the inside of burrata is?  And that is room temperature – not warmed.  It is a crazy & decadent mozzarella heaven.   They have it at Costco & often have it in mainstream supermarkets – typically there with the other fresh mozzarella that is sold packed in water.

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I used the same leftover homemade spicy basil marinara that I used in yesterday’s Vegan Chicken Parmesan recipe.

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 I have several recipes for sauce on this blog – Spicy Basil MarinaraFive (5) Minute Arrabiata Sauce, or my basic Marinara Sauce.  You can make one of those in advance or make your own favorite recipe or just use a nice jarred sauce.  Rao’s arrabbiata sauce is costly but so genuinely awesome – I recommend it very highly.

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I used fettuccine but any pasta will do.

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HERE is an interesting piece on which things are most important to buy ORGANIC.Image

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You will notice spinach is on the list of things to be sure you buy organic.  So – I did.

Aside from the burrata – this is a very clean & healthy dish – as pastas go.  Not even any olive oil and the spinach is hardly cooked. And it is a bit of a show stopper – with that creamy burrata bleeding all down your plate so do not be afraid to serve this one to guests – if only for its wow factor & simplicity.

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Pasta with Pan-seared Tomatoes, Spinach & Burrata

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta

2-3 cups pasta sauce (to taste)

20 cherry or grape tomatoes – halved

4 cups organic FRESH spinach

2 balls burrata – ROOM TEMPERATURE

Cooking spray

Basil or parsley as garnish (optional)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta.  Heat the pasta sauce.

Meanwhile, spray a pan with cooking spray & put the tomatoes cut-side down in the pan on med-high heat – for about 2 minutes or until seared.  Stir the tomatoes for another 30 seconds or so & remove from heat.

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When the pasta is done, drain it & in the same pan you cooked the pasta in – toss the pasta with the fresh spinach & enough pasta sauce to suit your taste.

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Divide the pasta up over two plates, top with a little more sauce (if you like) and the burrata.  S&P and maybe some chopped basil or parsley & that is it!   Enjoy!

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Spinach Fettuccine with Creamy Spinach, Avocado & Feta Sauce

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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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Yesterday, my day was more interesting that usual.  Typically, I get up some time between 6-7am, take the dogs on a coffee & donut run, post a blog bit, work out & then come home & try to think of something to invent for the next day’s blog.  But, yesterday, I had a friend passing through Union Station (one of my favorite places in L.A.) and he wanted me to come down & kill some time with him.  So, at 6:30 am, I picked him up & we went to Nick’s Cafe.  It was kinda fun being down there so early.  Here is the early shift at Nick’s:

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And here is the outside of Nick’s any my outrageously delicious chilaquiles:

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Then, we headed over to Olvera Street because my friend, Bradley, had never been.  It was about 8am at that point & Olvera Street was still mostly closed.  Only a few little shanty joynts were open serving breakfast.  But look at how pretty it is when abandoned:

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Anyway – it was kind of an adventurous early start to my day.

My dinner was less of an adventure but it was just as satisfying.  The pesto sauce here is all raw & so easy!  You can choose to make homemade Spinach Fettuccine or use a boxed pasta of your choice.

This recipe makes a lot of this sauce.  You will definitely have leftovers – unless you are feeding a very large group.  This recipe nearly filled a standard pickle jar – and each serving will only require a few tablespoons of the sauce.

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PRINT THIS RECIPE

Spinach Fettuccine with Creamy Spinach, Avocado & Feta Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry pasta or some homemade Spinach Fettuccine

1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans or almonds)

5-5 oz feta cheese (or a 1x2x3 inch block) – plus extra as garnish

1 avocado

10 basil leaves – plus extra as garnish

6 cloves of garlic (or less)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 TBS pepper

water

4 -5 packed cups of spinach

1 tomato – diced as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Toast the nuts in a dry pan, stirring constantly, for a few minutes.  Once they start to smoke a bit but before they brown (or burn) remove them from the heat.

In a food processor, blend the nuts, feta, garlic, basil, oil and S&P until pureed.

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Add the avocado & blend smooth.  Then add the spinach, a cup or two at a time & blend.  Add a little water if it gets too thick.  Once all the spinach is incorporated – you are done.

To assemble – simply cook your pasta, drain & toss with a quantity of the sauce to suit your taste.  I do not like a heavy amount of sauce & this is so flavorful – you can go light with it.  Garnish with extra feta, chopped basil & diced tomatoes.  Grind fresh pepper over it & chow down!

PRINT THIS RECIPE

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