Vegan Ash Mash (Persian Mung Bean Soup) with Purple Kohlrabi & French Breakfast Radishes – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

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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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I bought mung beans at my local Asian market with no idea what to make with them.  Having had such success this week with my Vegan Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top (seen just above) – I decided to make another slow cooker soup with them.  This soup has such simple ingredients it is hard to understand why it is so tasty – but it really IS!  I used purple kohlrabi because I could not resist buying these gorgeous things when I saw them at the store.

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They come in green, as well, and have a texture like the stem of broccoli – but also have something in common with radishes.  I saw lots of people suggesting to slice them thin & salt them & eat them raw.  I tried that – and liked it – but I was Hell bent on soup.  Because these reminded me of radishes – I decided to also use the French breakfast radishes you see in the enchilada soup photo.  The nice side benefit of using kohlrabi & radishes is that – once cooked – they seem like potato – but without that heaviness.  If you don’t like the sound of kohlrabi & radishes (which become creamy & mild in this soup) – use turnips – or even potato, instead.

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Lets talk about mung beans.  That bag had two cups of dry beans in it & I got it for $1.49.  That is CHEAP eating!    Here is some info from Dr. Axe on mung beans:

Mung beans — a type of small, green legume in the same plant family as peas and lentils — is a high source of protein, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Although in most parts of the world they’re less popular than other bean varieties, like chickpeas or black beans, mung beans have some huge health benefits to offer!

While mung beans may be new to most people in the U.S, they’ve been a part of traditional Ayurvedic diets in India for thousands of years. Mung beans are considered  “one of the most cherished foods” in the ancient Indian practice that’s been a traditional form of medicine since roughly 1,500 B.C.

These days, mung beans are beginning to pop up in protein powders, canned soups and in restaurant dishes state-side. So here’s what you need to know about mung beans:

  • Mung beans are a high source of nutrients including: manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins.
  • They are also a very filling food, high in protein, resistant starch and dietary fiber.
  • You can find mung beans in dried powder form, as whole uncooked beans, “split-peeled” form (just like you’d find split green peas), as bean noodles, and also assprouted seeds (which are the kind you’d see used on sandwiches or salads).
  • Their dried seeds may be eaten raw, cooked (whole or split), fermented, or milled and ground into flour.
  • Because of their high nutrient density, mung beans are considered useful in defending against several chronic, age-related diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Clinical evidence continues to show that plant-derived foods have various potential health benefits, including lowering inflammation. Health experts recommend that plant-based foods make up a large portion of every person’s diet, and many worldwide health organizations have recommended an increase in the intake of plant-derived foods to improve health status and to prevent chronic diseases. Among plant-based sources of protein and nutrients, mung beans are one of the foods gathering the most attention.

As you’ll come to learn, mung beans are one of the healthiest sources of plant protein there is when you consider how many other nutrients they contain in addition to amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). As the Journal of Chemistry Central puts it, “mung beans have biological activities including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, lipid metabolism accommodation, antihypertensive and antitumor effects.” (1)


Mung Beans Nutrition Facts

One cup of cooked mung beans contains the following (percentages based on the RDAs for the average adult female): (2)

  •  212 calories
  • 14 grams of protein
  • 15 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram of fat
  • 4 grams of sugar
  • 321 micrograms of folate (100%)
  • 97 milligrams of magnesium (36%)
  • 0.33 milligrams of vitamin b1 thiamine (36%)
  • 0.6 milligrams of manganese (33%)
  • 7 milligrams of zinc (24%)
  • 0.8 milligrams of vitamin B5 pantothenic acid (8%)
  • 0.13 milligrams of vitamin B6 (11%)
  • 55 milligrams of calcium (5%)

If you choose to sprout mung beans and eat them raw, each cup will only have about 31 calories and will provide about three grams of protein and two grams of fiber.

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And from GreenMungBeans.com:

Green Mung Bean Nutritional Information
• High in Protein
• High in Fiber
• Low in Fat
• Low in Calories

Nutritional Facts: 1 oz (28 grams) of dried Green Mung Beans:
• 100 Calories
• 0g Fat
• 5g Fiber
• 7g Protein (Protein equivalent to 1 hardboiled egg or 1 oz of chicken, turkey, salmon, etc.)

Green Mung Beans are Nutritional Powerhouses
• Good source of protein
• Good source of dietary fiber (helps to lower cholesterol, prevents constipation and keeps you feeling full)
• Low in sodium
• Low in cholesterol
• Vitamins: A, B Vitamins (Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid) Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin K.
• Minerals: Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
• Sprouted Green Mung Beans produce live enzymes
• Mung Beans are low on the glycemic index at 25 and have a low glycemic load of 4 making them a smart food choice for diabetics. Diabetics can safely eat Green Mung Beans. The low glycemic index, fiber and protein help to regulate blood sugar.
• They also contain skin anti-aging properties that stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin, all essential to younger healthier skin.

Eating Green Mung Beans is Ideal for those with Digestive Issues and Sensitive Stomachs

Green Mung Beans Are:
•Easily digestible
•Anti-inflammatory (can reduce inflammation)
•Containing oligosaccharides to prevent gas and bloating, unlike other beans
•Containing high amounts of fiber, thereby preventing constipation
•One of the few tridoshic foods in Ayurvedic diets that can be eaten to balance all three dosha’s (energetic forces) in the body

Green Mung Beans Exhibit Powerful Antioxidant Properties that can Help Fight Disease as well as Protect the Body.

Consuming Green Mung Beans Have Been Studied to Treat the Following Medical Conditions:
•Diabetes
•Heart Disease
•Cancer
•Celiac Disease/Gluten Free Diets
•Anemia
•Osteoporosis
•Digestion
•Inflammation

Green Mung Beans Contain Phytoestrogens Contributing to Anti-Aging Benefits
Benefits of Phytoestrogens:
•Produce Collagen, Elastin, and Hyaluronic acid, All Three of which are Essential to Acquiring Younger and Healthier skin
•Can Regulate Hormones after Menopause, Relieve Hot Flashes, and Prevent Osteoporosis

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So – as you can see – there are lots of reasons to track down & chow down some green mung beans!  When you add all the benefits of turmeric & the fact that the rice makes this soup a complete protein – you are hard-pressed to make a more robustly healthy soup.   If you cannot find mung beans locally (in health or Asian food stores) – try here on AMAZON.    Another great thing about this soup is how economical it is.  Some cheap beans, some rice, a few cheap veggies & some stock.   I bet this vast quantity of soup cost me less than $20.  With some crusty bread, you could feed a very large group of folks.

This recipe makes A LOT of soup but this is a very protein rich vegan soup & great for cold weather and we are nowhere near the end of winter.  I have not yet frozen any but I certainly will be.  I imagine it will freeze well – so make the vat of it & freeze a bunch for lazy days.

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Vegan Ash Mash (Persian Mung Bean Soup) with Purple Kohlrabi & French Breakfast Radishes

Serves a boatload of people as it fills a 7 quart slow cooker.

INGREDIENTS

 1 cup dry green mung beans

1 cup long grain Basmati (or other) rice

2 (15 oz) cans white beans – drained

2 jalapenos – seeded & diced (very optional)

1 onion – diced

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp pepper

16 cups vegetable stock (try to use a low sodium one)

5 kohlrabi – cubed

10 French breakfast radishes – cubed

GARNISH – vegan sour cream

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DIRECTIONS

for the slow cooker

Heat the olive oil in a pan & saute the onion & jalapenos (if using) until soft.

I boiled the stock before putting it in the slow cooker because I was unfamiliar with the cooking time of the mung beans.  I left the slow cooker on high for 5 hours – and everything was very soft – so – the boiling of the stock might not be necessary but – if you need to serve this at a 5 hour deadline – maybe boil the stock, too.  Otherwise – if time is not an issue – you needn’t.

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Now – just put everything into the slow cooker – on high – for 5 hours.  I imagine low for 8 hours would work, too, but I ain’t tried that.   When it is done – you can choose to garnish with sour cream – but it doesn’t really need it.

for the stove top

Heat the olive oil in a pan that will be large enough to hold the entire recipe & saute the onion & jalapenos (if using) until soft.  Add everything else & bring to a boil.  Simmer until the rice & beans are soft – 30 minutes to an hour.  When it is done – you can choose to garnish with sour cream – but it doesn’t really need it.

And – now your house smells all homey & yummy & you have 30+cups of protein-packed, healing soup!  Invite the villagers in & impress them with your skills & generosity.

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Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto (No Carb – No Pasta)

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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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Did you happen to miss my appearance on Nicole Richie’s show –#CandidlyNicole @VH1? No worries! Here it is! I show up HERE after the break – about 16 minutes in!
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AND – if you missed my hour-long Oh, Mary! Show appearance this week – well – you are in LUCK! Here are all four segments! LOTSA dirty talk! Many laughs!

Here you go!

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-01/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-02/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-03/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-04/

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OK – in all fairness – this recipe has a lot of steps.  Without a food processor – it might be too much of a pain in the ass to attempt.  If you have a food processor & an afternoon to kill – this might be a fun project.  It is pretty delicious – though not particularly healthy – despite the no-carb noodles made from cauliflower.  This could be made vegan by subbing out the animal products with vegan alternatives but I will leave that to the motivated vegans out there.  I don’t think I have to say “or vegan alternative” after every egg, butter or cheese ingredient for the vegans to work it out.

I used leftover arugula & pistachio pesto that I still had from my Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata.

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You can make this or any other pesto – or use a store-bought one.

Arugula Pistachio Pesto

This makes enough for at least a pound or two of pasta but it keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS

6 oz fresh arugula

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/4 cup pistachios (or other nuts)

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

I used 1/4 cup olive oil & 1/4 cup of water to thin the pesto.  1/2 cup of oil just seems crazy to me – but you can go all oil if you want to.

Blend into a pesto in a food processor – starting with just the 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Drizzle more (or water) in as it purees until you get the consistency you like.  Set aside.

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I made a homemade bechamel but you could use a store-bought alfredo & get much the same results.

I used chopped mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts – but any mix of sauteed vegetable would work.

I used this pink Himalayan salt that I have become obsessed with but any salt will do.  And I used the Dash Onion & Herb seasoning but any Italian seasoning (or mix of onion & garlic powders) would be fine.

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I used cauliflower “noodles” in this but real lasagna noodles work, too.

No-Carb Lasagna Noodles

INGREDIENTS

1 large head cauliflower – riced (about 10 cups)

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 TBS seasoning (see above)

1 TBS oregano

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

I used a silicone cooking mat treated with cooking spray but greased parchment paper should work, too.  Know that this stuff STICKS  – even to the greased silicone mat – so – slather your cooking shit up.

Take the cauliflower & grate it up with the grater blade of a food processor – or with a manual grater – or get to chopping by hand until it has a rice-like look.

You can zap this in the microwave in 2 minute increments – stirring in between – until it softens but I loathe nuking things.  I submerged the cauliflower in boiling water for about 5 minutes & then drained it in a colander under cold running water.

Once it is cool, in small batches, twist the cauliflower up in a kitchen town & wring as much moisture out of it as you can.

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Then simply mix it up in a large bowl with the other ingredients & press it onto your well-greased cooking sheet (see images above).  Bake it for about 45 minutes or until it begins to brown & is cooked pretty dry.  Set aside & allow it to cool.

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Garlicky Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms & Leeks

I made the mushrooms & leeks first & then decided to add Brussels sprouts so my photos might show a different cooking sequence but it can be done as I will outline now.

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

2 leeks – white sections only – chopped small

1/2 lb mushrooms – diced

1 lb Brussels sprouts – chopped or sliced fine

1 tsp each S&P

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped

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DIRECTIONS

It is important to cut the leeks & mushrooms & Brussels sprouts small so they do not stay too chunky & impede clean slicing of the lasagna.

I chopped the mushrooms & leeks & ran the Brussels sprouts through the slicer of my food processor.

Heat 2 (or so) TBS olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat & saute the Brussels sprouts until they begin to brown a bit.  Add /4 water & steam them soft.  Once the water is absorbed or evaporated – add the leeks & mushrooms & saute until tender – maybe 5 minutes.  Stir in the S&P & the minced garlic and the parsley.  Saute another minute & remove from heat.  Set aside.

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Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel

INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond (or other) milk

3 TBS butter

3 TBS flour

2 garlic cloves – minced

8-10 oz goat cheese – room temp

2 TBS chives (or other herb) – minced (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a soup pan over med-high heat.  Add the flour & garlic & whisk constantly until it thickens, begins to brown & becomes aromatic – maybe 2 minutes.

Add the milk in 1/4 cup increments & whisk it in until it incorporates & thickens before adding more milk.  This should take maybe 5 minutes.

Add the goat cheese & chives & whisk until the goat cheese melts.  Set aside.

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Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower “noodles” (recipe above) or real (cooked) lasagna noodles

1 cup pesto (recipe above) – or any pesto you prefer

Garlicky mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts (recipe above) – or any cooked veggie mix you prefer

2-3 cups grated cheese (I used mozzarella)

Several hunks of fresh (packed in water) mozzarella (optional)

Parsley – chopped (as garnish)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

My photos show this lasagna cooked once & photographed & then reheated for a new photo session – hence the paler & more golden cheesy tops.

Prep your ingredients.  Cut the cauliflower “noodles” into three equal portions – or however you can to get some layer-able “noodles.”  Never fear if they break apart & stick a lot.  Patch the pieces in & nobody will ever know the difference.

Assemble the lasagna.  I started with a layer of bechamel (whisk it smooth if a skin has formed while it waited).  Then I added the layers in this order:

1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

1/2 of the pesto

1/2 of the veggies

1/3 of the bechamel

another 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the other 1/2 of the pesto

the other 1/2 of the veggies

another 1/3 of the bechamel

Grated cheese – in an amount that looks good to you – I used about 1/2 – 3/4 cup

the final 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the rest of the bechamel

More grated cheese & some fresh mozzarella – if you are using it

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 Bake that son-of-a-bitch fr 25-45 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bubbly & looks the color you want it to look – whether JUST starting to brown at the edges – or a bit golden all over.
Let it rest for 10 minutes or so.  Garnish with chopped parsley & eat it up!!!!

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Vegan Ground Beef Taco Bowl with Cilantro Scallion Lime Cauliflower Rice and Easy Fresh Salsa

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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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More summer ease here!    I used this awesome Beyond Meat beefy crumble.  You could use any brand you prefer or even real, greasy & disgusting ground cow.  🙂

I served this in a bowl with my Easy Cilantro Scallion Lime Cauliflower Rice and Super Ultra Easy Any Season Spicy Salsa.   Each item is very easy individually & made for a hearty bowl of spicy, vegan healthiness!!  You can add or lose any ingredients – according to your own tastes.   Add cold beer & you are good to go!

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Vegan Ground Beef Taco Bowl

Serves two very well – with rice

INGREDIENTS

11 oz vegan ground beef

Olive oil

1/2 red bell pepper – chopped

1 jalapeno – diced (seeds in for more heat)

1/4 onion – diced

1 cup ORGANIC corn (as regular corn is very likely a GMO)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp crushed red pepper (less if you are heat intolerant)

1 tsp chili powder or cayenne (less if you are heat intolerant)

(***OR – you can replace the dry spices with 1/2 packet or so of taco seasoning but that might not be vegan & will have loads of salt***)

GARNISH SUGGESTIONS

Sliced black olives

Avocado

Purple cabbage – chopped

Grated carrots

Sliced radishes

Black Beans

Cilantro

Lime Wedges

Vegan Cheese and/or sour cream

Chopped lettuce

Diced tomatoes

Pico de gallo

Chopped fresh or jarred jalapeno

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DIRECTIONS

Heat about 1 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add all the other ingredients (but not your various garnish selections) and saute until the onion & red pepper are softened & the beef is heated through.

Serve over my Easy Cilantro Scallion Lime Cauliflower Rice and Super Ultra Easy Any Season Spicy Salsa.   Garnish as you like & devour!!!

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The top video there is trailer for my novel.  The second is me reading from it a while back – at Vroman’s.

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Easy Cilantro Scallion Lime Cauliflower Rice

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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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Another easy one!  You could use two cups of real cooked rice, if you prefer, but this cauliflower version is guiltless & who needs guilt?  And by guilt – I mean a fat ass.  So – why not try it at least once?

Easy Cilantro Scallion Lime Cauliflower Rice

INGREDIENTS

1/2 head of raw cauliflower (about 2 cups once “riced”)

1 cup cilantro

4 scallions (green parts only – put the white bottoms in a glass in some water & let them regrow!)

3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of two limes

1 tsp salt

water

S&P

Lime wedges & cilantro as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Grate the cauliflower with a cheese grater – or far more easily – with the grater blade in a food processor.

Puree the remaining ingredients.

In a large pan – add the puree & the cauliflower & heat over med-high heat until the cauliflower is tender.  A few TBS of water might speed that along.  Season with S&P.

Serve with lime wedges & cilantro.  Or with my Vegan Ground Beef Taco Bowl with Cilantro Scallion Lime Cauliflower Rice and Easy Fresh Salsa!

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The top video there is trailer for my novel.  The second is me reading from it a while back – at Vroman’s.

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Roasted Cauliflower “Pizza” with Spinach, Feta & Parmesan

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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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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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Guiltless Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce – Faux-fredo! (Vegan & Gluten-free)

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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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OK – this is EEEEEASY to make & can be vegan or not.  I added some shaved Parmesan as garnish – mainly to make it pretty to look at.  I also added a tiny bit to the sauce but it is completely unnecessary so – you can either skip it or use a vegan cheese.  I chose not to add any other dairy (real or vegan) to the sauce but it would likely have delivered an even creamier result.  This is plenty creamy & plenty flavorful – so I did not see the point in adding calories.

I also made it with a gluten-free quinoa pasta.  Regular pasta, especially a fettuccine, would be delightful, too.

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Guiltless Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce – Faux-fredo!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta – gluten-free or otherwise

1/2 head cauliflower – cut up into flats or florets

4 garlic cloves (or to taste) – chopped

2 tsp Dijon mustard

Olive oil

About 1/2 cup of vegetable stock

1/4 cup Grated Parmesan or vegan alternative (optional)

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Heat a TBS or two of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the garlic & saute for 30 seconds.  Be careful not to burn or brown the garlic.  Add the stock & the cut up cauliflower.  The stock will not cover the cauliflower.  Bring it to a boil & then reduce heat.   Simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower is very tender.

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Put the cauliflower & stock in a food processor and add the Dijon & cheese (if you are using cheese).  Blend until very smooth.  You might want to add more stock or water to thin it a bit.  Add S&P to taste.  I added lots & lots of pepper.  You can add heavy cream or a vegan alternative for an even creamier result.  Return this puree to the saute pan & simmer on low while you cook your pasta.

Drain the pasta & toss with the sauce & go to town!  Add more freshly ground pepper or some grated Parmesan if you want.  Mmmmm!

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Easy & Delicious Pasta Aglio e Olio (w/ Gluten-free & Vegan Options)

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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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This is a delightful dish & the only way you could have an easier pasta dish on your hands is to just open a jar of sauce.  Simple, basic ingredients & it comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta.  I will list quantities here as a guide but the amounts of garlic, crushed red pepper & cheese are really up to you.  I used way more garlic & crushed red pepper for mine than I will suggest here.  I like my shit spicy & I have never tasted something that I would call “too garlicky.”

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 Easy & Delicious Pasta Aglio e Olio

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb dry pasta – I used gluten-free brown rice spaghetti

olive oil

3 garlic cloves (or to taste) – chopped or sliced (I used 6)

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper – or to taste (I used more than 1 TBS)

1/2 cup Grated Parmesan – or to taste (I used less) – OR VEGAN ALTERNATIVE

Chopped parsley

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile, heat 1 TBS or so in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the crushed red pepper.  Be careful not to brown the garlic.  Lower heat if necessary.  When the pasta is done, drain it & add it to the garlic pan.  Stir & add the grated cheese.  Add some parsley.

Sever that bitch up with more parsley, grated cheese & salt & pepper to taste.

See?  EEEEEEASY!!!!!

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Lemon & Rice Egg Drop Soup with Cauliflower & Baby Kale

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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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This soup is really easy & a great way to use up leftover rice.  I attempted to make a more traditional Greek Avgolemono but I had a hard time keeping the egg creamy.  You are supposed to whisk egg & lemon together & then drizzle in hot water while whisking until it becomes creamy so you no longer risk the egg cooking upon contact with the soup stock.  I failed at this step so my soup has that feathery cooked egg on the surface.  The fact is, it doesn’t taste any different & it looks kinda pretty – so – I am going with this as an egg drop soup.   You can try to achieve the creamier-looking version yourself and, if you fail, you will end up with the same delicious result that I did.  So – never fear.

I used orange cauliflower to make it a bit heartier & added baby kale for color.  Neither of these things are necessary.  Lemon, rice & eggs make a perfectly lovely, comforting soup.

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Lemon & Rice Egg Drop Soup with Cauliflower & Baby Kale

INGREDIENTS

8 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock

4 eggs

5 TBS lemon juice

3-4 cups cooked rice (add more for a thicker soup)

1/2 head cauliflower – cut into tiny florets (optional)

1 cup baby kale (optional)

S&P to taste

Extra lemon wedges for garnish

Extra baby kale as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the rice if you have none leftover from something else.

Heat the stock with the cauliflower (if using).   Scoop out about a cup or two of hot stock.  Whisk the eggs with the lemon juice.  Whisking continually, slowly drizzle the hot stock into the eggs.  They should get kinda creamy looking.  Add this warmed egg mix to the stock.  Add the rice.  Stir it together for a few minutes.  You will either get the opaque, creamy texture of traditional Avgolemono – or you will get the feathery-looking egg bits on the top like I did.  Either way, season it with S&P.  Add the baby kale.  If it gets too thick, just add more stock or water.  Serve with a bit more kale on top & a lemon wedge.  Mmmmmmmm!

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Vegetarian/Vegan Apple Sage Stuffing

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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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This is super easy & really quite delicious.  I used a spice called Bell’s Seasoning –

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but I think this might only be available in the Northeast.  If so – just use poultry seasoning.

So – no fanfare today.  So much to do.  To eat.  To drink.  So I will just get on with the recipe.

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Vegetarian/Vegan Apple Sage Stuffing 

INGREDIENTS

7 cups cubed bread (even gluten-free bread if you like)

1/2 cup diced shallots (or onion)

5 celery stalks – chopped

1 Golden Delicious apple (or any apple) – diced

10-20 sage leaves

olive oil

2 cups non-dairy, unsweetened milk

4 TBS vegan butter

1 tsp Bell Seasoning (or poultry seasoning)

1 tsp dry sage

1 tsp each S&P

2 vegan egg replacements (or other vegan alternative – like – 1/2 cup pureed silken tofu)

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DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the cubed bread in a large bowl.

Heat a TBS or two of olive oil in a large pan.  Saute the shallots/onion & celery until soft.  Add the apple & heat through.  Add this to the bread.

Add another TBS of olive oil to the same pan & fry the sage leaves until they begin to brown – turning them a few times.  Drain on a paper towel, crumble them & add to the bread.

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Melt the butter in another pan & add the milk.  Warm it & add the spices.  Add this to the bread.  Add the eggs to the bread & stir to combine well.

Grease a casserole dish with butter or cooking spray.  Put the stuffing in there & bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes.

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Remove the cover & bake another 20 minutes or so – until the top is crusty & golden.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!

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Gluten-Free Polenta Crust Pizza & Pizza Towers

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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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This couldn’t be much easier to make – unless you just bought a pre-made pizza.  Polenta (the quick cook kind) is done in 5 minutes.  Or – you could buy it like this:

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If you buy it like that – then these are just really glorified English muffin pizzas.  SO EASY!  If you buy instant polenta like this:

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then it comes together in about 5 minutes for a more traditional pizza – like I posted above.  For the towers – you need to chill it in the fridge for a while (30 minutes?) til it sets – like this:

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See?  I just poured it into a container – chilled it – then sliced it up & cut rounds with a cookie cutter (or the top of a glass).  The chilled polenta lasts for days & can be used to make little pizzas on the spur of the moment.

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I added a TBS or two of fresh thyme to my polenta as it cooked.  This is totally optional.

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So – calling this a recipe is overstating things.  I used some homemade red sauce that I had around.  You can use your favorite recipe (I have a 5-Minute arrabiata here & also a marinara) or a jarred version.

I used a combination of fresh mozzarella & Parmesan.  You can use any cheese or any other pizza toppings you desire.  I added fresh basil (and I recommend this as it really does add a lot) and a few sprigs of arugula.  Both of these are optional.  I found the larger pizza to be a bit more moist than I would have preferred so I really suggest the little mini pizzas over the larger one – even if you do not care to present them in tower form.  I’ve been popping little cookie-sized pizzas into my mouth all weekend.  I recommend it highly!

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Gluten-Free Polenta Crust Pizza & Pizza Towers

INGREDIENTS

Polenta (either pre-made or instant made as the package instructs)

Fresh thyme – optional (add to the polenta as it cooks)

Tomato sauce and/or sliced fresh tomatoes

Pizza cheese

Crushed red pepper (optional)

Fresh basil and/or arugula – shredded as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Make the polenta & either take a portion & spread it into a 1/4 inch pizza crust on a greased sheet or pan covered in parchment paper.  Cook at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the edges crisp.

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Top the pizza with sauce, tomatoes & cheese & cook until the cheese is melted & beginning to brown.  Garnish with basil and/or arugula & eat it up!  OR!

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Chill the polenta until it is firm (maybe 30 minutes – or overnight).  Slice it to your desired thickness & (optionally) cut it into little rounds.  Or – just open that pre-made tube of polenta and slice that fucker up.

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Place on a greased cooking sheet or on parchment covered pan.  I then doused mine with crushed red pepper.

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Bake these at 450 degrees for about ten minutes & then top them with sauce & cheese.

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Then bake until they look done to your eye.

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You can garnish them with basil & arugula & serve them like this or let them cool for about a minute & stack them.  You will likely need a toothpick spiked through the center to keep them from sliding into a gooey mess.  Whatever you decide – pop open a bottle of wine & get your munch on!

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Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry with Gluten-Free Cauliflower “Rice”

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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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OK – before I get into this very easy recipe for Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry with Gluten-Free Cauliflower “Rice” – let me begin my effort to prep the world for the upcoming release of my first novel – Bathing & the Single Girl.

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Is was inspired by my short film of the same name.  The trailer for that film can be seen HERE.  I will be releasing it as an E-book only (for now) and I hope to have it up for sale before Christmas.  It is a comic Hollywood mockumemoir about fading fame, excessive drinking, awkward sex and the horrors of dating (and bathing with) younger men.  I hope you will read it when it comes out!

Here is a quote from the book’s heroine:

“See?  I can be selfless.  As long as there is something in it for me.” – Ruby Fitzgerald

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OK, that said – let’s move onto this delightful recipe!  It is very easy & very customizable.  I used the vegetables I used here because I had them on hand.  You could sub out things you don’t like or do not have & use things like carrots or sweet potatoes or green beans or cauliflower.  Whatever.  You could also use real beef.  I made a special effort to only use really mainstream ingredients & skipped the typical Indian spices like garam masala and curry leaves – because I wanted everyone to be able to make this – even those without access to the more exotic ingredients.  Do not be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list.  If you have a spice rack, you probably already have at least half of the stuff listed.

I served this with the gluten-free (guilt free, too!) cauliflower faux rice but you could use any rice you like – especially the wonderfully aromatic & traditional basmati rice.   Because this is really just an Indian beef stew, it would also go nicely over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

The rice I made here used a bit of this stuff –

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which I buy at Super King for about $7.  You can buy it online.  You could use this or saffron threads threads or just a bit of turmeric to add color.

I also used coconut oil –

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and Trader Joe’s Beef-less strips.  If these are not available to you, use olive oil & and brand of faux beef you can find – or even a tofu or tempeh variety.  I used these little potatoes – but any potato will do.

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I used a butternut squash (half of one) and a red onion.  Sweet potato or brown onions all you have?  Use those!

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Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry with Gluten-Free Cauliflower “Rice”

serves 4-6 easily

INGREDIENTS

For the cauliflower “rice”

1/2 large head cauliflower

1/2 onion – diced

1 TBS saffron liquid (or a few saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot water for a few minutes) – or 1-2 tsp turmeric (for color)

2 TBS olive oil

Salt to taste

For the Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry

Coconut oil (or olive oil)

2 (8 oz) packages of Trader Joe’s Beef-less Strips (or similar quantity of other vegan meat – or real beef)

Cornstarch

1/2 lb potatoes – cubed

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1 onion – diced

1/2 butternut squash – peeled & cubed (or a few sweet potatoes or carrots)

1 cup peas

Coconut oil (or olive oil)

2 TBS Madras Curry

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 TBS crushed red pepper (or to taste)

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt (or more – to taste)

1 TBS ginger – minced

8 garlic cloves – chopped

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

Paprika – as garnish

Fresh cilantro as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

For the Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry

Toss the meat with a TBS or two of cornstarch until it is coated.

Heat 2-3 TBS coconut oil (or olive oil) in a large saute pan on high heat.  Sear the meat on all sides.  Set aside.

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Add another few TBS of oil to the pan & add the onion & jalapenos.  Saute over med–high for a few minutes or until soft.  Add the curry, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, salt, sugar, crushed red pepper, ginger & garlic and stir for about a minute.

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Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar & water & stir to blend.  Add the meat, potato & squash.

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Bring this to a boil & reduce to a simmer & let cook while you make the rice.

For the cauliflower “rice”

Using the grater blade of a food processor or just a regular grater – shred the cauliflower into a rice-like texture.

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Heat a few TBS of oil in a large saute pan & saute the onion until soft.

Add the cauliflower.  Add the saffron liquid or saffron threads & their steeping water or the turmeric and the salt.  Saute over med-high heat until tender – maybe 5-10 minutes.

Add the peas to the simmering beef curry & heat through.

Once the potato & squash are tender – serve your curry with the cauliflower rice & garnish them with the paprika & cilantro.  Eat way more than is decent or civilized because – what the fuck?  Why not?  This shit is vegan & gluten-free!  It is like eating air.  Really tasty air!

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Jameson Whiskey Spicy Vegan Beef Bourguignon with Gluten-Free Pasta & Broccoli

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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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OK – I am officially obsessed with Trader Joe’s Beef-Less Strips.  The other day I made the easiest & most awesome Spicy Vegan Mongolian Beef.

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Last night I made this vegan variation of beef bourguignon & it was amazing!  Beef bourguignon is, basically, a French beef stew.  Many recipes call for cognac.  I didn’t have cognac so I used Jameson whiskey.  Many beef bourguignon recipes require a good 3-4 hours of cooking the meat in the oven.  This was made stove top in thirty minutes & I believe that would hold true even if you used real meat.  It was so Goddamn delicious – I ate it all – by myself!  I served it atop gluten-free spaghetti.

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You could use any pasta you like or mashed potatoes or polenta – whatever.  I also steamed some broccoli & added it to the plate.  It was really quite something & I sincerely hope you try it.  It is SO EASY & so yummy – I promise – you will make it again.

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Jameson Whiskey Spicy Vegan Beef Bourguignon with Gluten-Free Pasta & Broccoli

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

8 oz package Trader Joe’s Beef-less Strips (or other brand or similar portion of real beef – cubed or strips)

10 pearl onions (fresh or frozen)

3 carrots – chopped

5-10 mushrooms – cut in half (or quartered, if they are large)

1 TBS cornstarch (or flour)

olive oil

1/4 cup Jameson whiskey

1 cup red wine (use a decent one so you can drink the rest of the bottle with the meal)

1 cup vegetable stock

1 TBS tomato paste

2 bay leaves

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 tsp (or more – to taste) crushed red pepper (optional)

Fresh thyme

S&P to taste

1/2 lb pasta

Broccoli florets (enough to feed two as a side)

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DIRECTIONS

If using fresh pearl onions – put them in boiling water for 3 minutes & then drain under cold water.  Cut the ends off & peel.  Set aside.  If using frozen ones – jump ahead.

Dredge your meat (real or vegan) in the cornstarch.

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Put a thin layer of olive oil in a large saute pan & heat over high.  Add the meat & sear on all sides.  This will likely take longer if you use real meat.  Don’t worry much about under-cooking real meat as it will continue to cook as you add ingredients.

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Deglaze the pan with the Jameson whiskey (simply by adding it & stirring it in – scraping the bottom of the pan) & then add 1 cup red wine, the vegetable stock, tomato paste, bay leaves, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using).  Heat to a boil then reduce to med-low.  Add S&P to taste.  Ad several sprigs of chopped fresh thyme (leaves only – not stems).

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In another pan, add a glug or two of olive oil & over medium heat, saute the pearl onions, mushrooms & carrots.   Saute, stirring frequently, until they begin to sear or brown a bit (5 minutes or so).  Deglaze the pan with either more Jameson whiskey or wine (or water) and then add the lot to the beef stew pan.

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Continue cooking over medium heat until the carrots are tender.  If the stew is too thick, add some water.  If it is too thin – increase heat & cook until you get the desired consistency.  Lower heat & let it simmer while you cook the pasta & steam the broccoli.  I simply added the broccoli florets to the pasta for the final two minutes.  Remove the bay leaves.

Drain the pasta & broccoli & put some on plates.  Top with the beef bouguignon (and maybe extra thyme as garnish?) & serve with wine.  At least one bottle per person.  🙂

Or slop this stuff down with the remaining Jameson, in which case, the one bottle should be enough for two.  😉

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Vegetarian Cannellini & Garbanzo Bean Faux Meatballs and Gluten Free Spaghetti

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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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vromans front

vromans back

Sometimes you just want simple comfort food.  For vegans & vegetarians – this used to be very challenging because so many of those meals are meat and/or dairy-based.  If you add gluten intolerance – things got pretty hairy.  Back in the day, anyway.

But, nowadays, there are vegetarian meats and vegan cheeses & gluten-free pastas & just about any dietary need can be tailored to by just knowing where to shop & how to substitute.  Look at this.

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Ronzoni, people!  Making gluten-free pasta.  I got it Ralph’s.  Pretty mainstream.

Recently, a reader (or non-reader, as it seems) felt the need to inform me that vegans do not eat fish – because I used the word vegan in the heading of my Easiest Spicy Thai Coconut Salmon Soup for the Slow Cooker.

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If they had bothered to read the post, they would have found that I suggested to my vegan readers that they sub out the salmon (and fish sauce) with extra vegetables.  Sometimes I think it is a waste of breath (or typed words) to suggest to a vegan how to modify a recipe to suit their needs as, I assume, most vegans are already pretty savvy about that.   Any mac & cheese recipe can be made vegan by just using vegan cheese.  Do I have to actually say “or vegan alternative” next to every non-vegan ingredient?  I look up traditional chicken dishes all the time – even though I do not eat chicken – and sub out the chicken with a seafood option or, in many cases, cauliflower (the most adaptable & wonderful veggie!).  I don’t get all hinky if I see chicken in the recipe.  I don’t EAT chicken but I am still allowed to acknowledge the word exists.   Still, I find that putting the words vegetarian or vegan or no carb or gluten-free in the heading of a post can often drive lots of traffic to it.  Why?  Because people are actively hunting for these things.  I’d hate for a vegan to miss my meatball recipe here just because it includes an egg.  I would assume that most vegans have met this hurdle before & have found a way around it – like these products HERE, for example.  Still – it seems lots of folks expressly use keywords like “vegan” in their searches and I’d like to show them some of my ideas – so I often add a parenthetical (vegan) to a heading.  And just so nobody thinks I am picking on vegans – conversely, do I really need to explain that my Chicago-style Veggie Hot Dog on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla 

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could be made with BEEF hot dogs & traditional buns?  Well – criminy!  I hope not – but I bet the words “carnivore’s dream” would bring new eyes to that recipe.

“Hey, Christine.  Vegans don’t eat fish.”

411.  Let me make a note.

Moving on.

I wanted spaghetti & meatballs.  I made it.  With fake spaghetti & fake meatballs.  But – never fear meat eaters.  REAL meatballs could be used, too.

“Hey, Christine.  Cranky much?”

🙂

I would like to mention that the gluten-free pasta tasted pretty much like white pasta, especially with the sauce on it but the texture was just a bit more brittle.  I’d compare it to day old pasta that you re-heated.  It doesn’t twirl around your fork very easily (who cares?) and I’m not sure a true al dente can be achieved but if you are a gluten-intolerant carb whore – I don’t think these are major drawbacks.  I recommend this as a very reasonable alternative to wheat pasta.

The meatballs will never fool a carnivore that they are eating Bessie but, for a 25 year-long vegetarian – they do the trick pretty nicely.  But, I don’t think I need to tell anybody who has been vegetarian for very long that there are very few truly convincing meat substitutes.  Still – nobody mistakes diet soda for real soda but that hasn’t hurt Diet Coke much.  You just adapt.  Adapt your expectations.  And broaden your palate.  Use your imagination.

Vegan & the recipe calls for an egg?  Google it.  Here are the suggestions that PETA makes:

There are plenty of egg substitutes available for baking or preparing a dish that calls for eggs. Ener-G Egg Replacer is a reliable egg substitute for use in baking. It is available at health food stores and most grocery stores.

Tofu: Tofu is great for egg substitutions in recipes that call for a lot of eggs, like quiches or custards. To replace one egg in a recipe, purée 1/4 cup soft tofu. It is important to keep in mind that although tofu doesn’t fluff up like eggs, it does create a texture that is perfect for “eggy” dishes.

Tofu is also a great substitute for eggs in eggless egg salad and breakfast scrambles.

In Desserts and Sweet, Baked Goods: Try substituting one banana or 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg called for in a recipe for sweet, baked desserts. These will add some flavor to the recipe, so make sure bananas or apples are compatible with the other flavors in the dessert.

Other Egg Replacement Options

• 1 egg = 2 Tbsp. potato starch
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup canned pumpkin or squash
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup puréed prunes
• 1 egg = 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 egg = 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed simmered in 3 Tbsp. water
• 1 egg white = 1 Tbsp. plain agar powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water, whipped, chilled, and whipped again

Egg Replacement Tips

• If a recipe calls for three or more eggs, it is important to choose a replacer that will perform the same function (i.e., binding or leavening).

• Trying to replicate airy baked goods that call for a lot of eggs, such as angel food cake, can be very difficult. Instead, look for a recipe with a similar taste but fewer eggs, which will be easier to replicate.

• When adding tofu to a recipe as an egg replacer, be sure to purée it first to avoid chunks in the finished product.

• Be sure to use plain tofu, not seasoned or baked, as a replacer.

• Powdered egg replacers cannot be used to create egg recipes such as scrambles or omelets. Tofu is the perfect substitute for eggs in these applications.

• If you want a lighter texture and you’re using fruit purées as an egg substitute, add an extra 1/2 tsp. baking powder. Fruit purées tend to make the final product denser than the original recipe.

• If you’re looking for an egg replacer that binds, try adding 2 to 3 Tbsp. of any of the following for each egg: tomato paste, potato starch, arrowroot powder, whole wheat flour, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, instant potato flakes, or 1/4 cup tofu puréed with 1 Tbsp. flour.

And PETA is just one resource.

Anyway – I digress.  The spaghetti used here can – wait for it…

be replaced with REGULAR pasta or whole wheat pasta or penne or farfalle.  But you knew that.  And the meatball recipe can be adapted to include whatever spices your grandma used to use or ones you see in any traditional meat ball recipe.  Being rigid & literal only works for bakers.  Most other cooking benefits from a looser interpretation & your own imagination.  Try it.  It is part of what makes cooking fun.

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Vegetarian Cannellini & Garbanzo Bean Faux Meatballs and Gluten-Free Spaghetti 

(makes about 30 small meatballs)

INGREDIENTS

Pasta of your choice

Pasta sauce of your choice (my marinara is HERE & my 5-minute arrabiatta is HERE)

1 (15 ounce) can of cannellini beans

1 (15 ounce) can of garbanzo beans

1 onion – quartered

3 jalapenos – seeded (optional)

8 ounces mushrooms

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup parsley – chopped

1 TBS dry oregano

1 egg (or vegan substitute <wink>)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (more or less)

S&P to taste (at least 1/2 tsp each)

Garnish – grated cheese (or vegan alternative), chopped parsley and/or chopped basil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350.  Grease a cooking sheet (cooking spray or olive oil).

Drain & rinse the two cans of beans.  Pulse in a food processor until mostly broken up.  Do not puree them.  Put them in a large mixing bowl & set aside.

Pulse the onion, jalapenos & garlic until chopped pretty fine.  Add to beans.

Pulse the mushrooms until chopped pretty fine.  Add to beans.

Add parsley, oregano, egg and breadcrumbs & mix it all up.  If it is too wet, add more breadcrumbs.  Add S&P.

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Create little meatballs (a bit smaller than a golf ball) in your palms & place on the cooking sheet.  I think I got about 32 meatballs this size.

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Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes & then carefully turn them & cook another 15-20 minutes.

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Heat your sauce.  Maybe heat some faux meatballs in there but be careful they do not fall apart.  Make your pasta.  Assemble.  Garnish.  Pour wine.  Devour food.  Scream out “VEGANS DO NOT EAT FISH!”  Feel self-righteous.

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Spicy Orange Cauliflower with Cauliflower Fried Rice (Vegan & Gluten Free)

1 Comment

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 recipes are the result of a week-long effort at avoiding carbs.  I am trying to shed a few pounds fast and, since carbs make up most of my regular diet, I thought cutting them out for a bit might get me some quick results.  So far, so good – and I haven’t missed the carbs at all because I have gotten very clever at using cauliflower to masquerade as (among other things) pizza dough

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& tortillas (which I also used as mini pizza crusts)

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hot dog buns

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mashed potatoes

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and fried chicken (while chicken is not a carb – it is always off my diet so this recipe pleases me especially).

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These faux buffalo wings are pretty great, too!

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At any rate – this faux rice made of grated cauliflower topped with spicy orange cauliflower is pretty delicious & nearly guilt-free.  And vegan!  And gluten-free!  And EASY!  So TRY IT and watch your ass lose mass in real time.

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Spicy Orange Cauliflower

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower – cut into florets

2 cups orange juice

6 TBS soy sauce

4 tsp ginger

6 garlic cloves – minced

4 TBS Mirin

2 TBS brown sugar

6 TBS sriracha

2 TBS cornstarch

Garnish: sesame seeds and/or scallions and/or chives and/or cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

Steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes or roast it (tossed lightly in olive oil) at 425 for about 15-20 minutes.  Test that t is tender but don’t cook it until it gets mushy.  Set aside.

Heat the orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, mirin, brown sugar, sriracha to a boil.  Whisk in the cornstarch & simmer until it thickens – which should take less than five minutes.  Add the cauliflower & stir to coat.  Set aside on low heat.

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Cauliflower Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower

1 small bell pepper (red is prettiest) – diced or slivered

3 carrots – shredded

1 small onion – diced

1 cup peas

1 TBS olive oil

2 TBS soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

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DIRECTIONS

Grate the cauliflower with a grater or the grater blade of your food processor (a far less messy option).  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok.  Add the vegetables & saute about 5 minutes.  Add the soy sauce & sesame oil.  Stir to blend.   Once these vegetables are tender – add the grated cauliflower.  Stir to blend.  Test the cauliflower for readiness but it should soften in less than five minutes.

Serve with the warm, orange cauliflower & garnish as you will.  Devour with abandon & laugh at the Gods!

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Gluten-Free Spinach Pizza Crust Dough

6 Comments

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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Hey guys!  I wrote a funny novel!  I hope you will check it out!  www.BathingBook.com

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Inspired by the success of my cauliflower tortillas and my earlier cauliflower pizza crust & quinoa pizza crust recipes – I decided to attempt a spinach-based pizza crust.  My issues with this spinach crust are that 1) cooked, it isn’t that vibrant green and, hence, isn’t the prettiest crust I’ve ever seen and 2) that the recipe calls for a full cup of grated mozzarella & and egg which, combined, add about 430 calories or so to the crust itself.  In contrast, the cauliflower tortillas only require 3 eggs which is a total of about 270 calories.  So – if calories are your concern – go cauliflower.  If the issue is gluten & calories don’t matter – then I suggest trying them all because, despite the fact that the spinach crust was a tad higher in calories and was pretty soft as far as crusts go, it was really delicious!  I was surprised at how delicious – because (frankly) it did not look so appetizing.

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The recipe is super easy (if you have a food processor) so do not be intimidated.  The spices I added were sort of random so you can either use them or not or go a different way but this version is very tasty!  One thing, though – be sure to use parchment paper because, due to the cheese, this dough can get very sticky.

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Gluten-Free Spinach Pizza Crust Dough

INGREDIENTS

2 cups tightly packed fresh spinach (or more)

1 cup packed grated mozzarella cheese (or more)

1 egg

1 tsp each: dry oregano, dry basil, dry parsley, onion powder, garlic powder

S&P to taste

PARCHMENT PAPER (critical)

DIRECTIONS

Puree the spinach in your food processor.

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Add the cheese & egg & blend.  Add spices & blend.

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Line a pizza pan with parchment paper & press the spinach mix onto it in the shape you want your pizza to be.

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Bake it at 425 for about 15 minutes.  Check to be sure it doesn’t overcook.  Mine was thinner in some places & browned a bit too much.

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Ideally, only the edges would be browned.

I then lined a second pizza pan with parchment paper & flipped the dough over onto it.

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This step was probably unnecessary as the pizza crust was pretty resilient at the oint and the flipping didn’t result in a crispy result (my aim).  So – feel free to just top the thing without the flipping.  I topped mine with whipped feta (4 oz feta + 1 oz cream cheese plus 1 tsp lemon zest, a tsp water & some pepper – blended in a food processor), sliced tomato, additional fresh spinach, chopped roasted peppers, red onion, grated mozzarella & some fresh mozzarella.  I cooked it at about 350 for 20 minutes or so.  Y.U.M.M.Y!

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Chicago Veggie Hot Dog Taco on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla

2 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

~

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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Another way to avoid carbohydrates!  Cauliflower tortillas!  A traditional Chicago hot-dog would be served on a poppy seed bun & use something called sport peppers.  I didn’t have sport peppers (nor have I ever heard of them) but I did have leftover roasted jalapenos – so I used those.  A real Chicago dog would use white onions – but I had red.  They call for dill pickles – so I used my homemade ones.  Yellow mustard only – no Dijon or other fancy stuff & sweet relish, which I usually hate but I thought it was great on these.  And lastly, it should be sprinkled with celery salt but I discovered that I had none after it was too late.  I loved the result here so much, however, that I am buying celery salt tomorrow & I am going to look for sport peppers.

You could make these using real hot dogs or with a real bun.  But these guys are really satisfying the way I assembled them so, if you eat veggie dogs & wanna go even lighter with them – this is the way to go.

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24-Hour Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

INGREDIENTS

1.5 lbs cucumbers (I used cocktail cucumbers – but you can try any variety you find available) – cut into spears or 1/4″ chips.

8 garlic cloves – 4 quartered, 4 left whole

8-16 sprigs fresh dill

2 TBS coriander SEEDS (not ground)

3 TBS sea (or Kosher) salt

2 TBS sugar

1 1/3 cups white vinegar

water

Jars for containing the pickles

DIRECTIONS

NOTE – these are very garlicky!!!  If you don’t LOVE garlic – cut the garlic back a lot.

In a sauce pan – heat the vinegar & add the salt, sugar & coriander seeds.  Heat, stirring, just until both the sugar & salt dissolve.  Try to get this done before the vinegar gets hot.  If it gets very hot – let it cool before pouring over your cucumbers.

Put your cucumbers in the pickling container (a mason jar, old pickle jar – or other container with a water-tight lid) – with the garlic & the fresh dill.  Pour the vinegar mix over the cucumbers.  Add water to fill the container to the top.  Seal the container & chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  Try one.  ENJOY!

These should last in your fridge (in a sealed container) for up to one month.  If they get too vinegary – drain the jar & replace the vinegar with fresh water.

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Chicago Veggie Hot Dog Taco on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla

INGREDIENTS

Hot dogs (heated whichever way you like)

Cauliflower tortilla (or a bun) – toasted or not – as you like

Sport peppers (or roasted jalapenos)

Yellow mustard

Sweet relish

Dill pickle spears

White onions – diced

Tomato – diced

Celery Salt

DIRECTIONS

Layer the cauliflower tortilla (or other tortilla or bun) with the hot dog, mustard, dill pickle spear, onions, sweet relish, tomato & celery salt.  Shove it in your face like a competitive eater.  Smile!

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