Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey Banana Almond Bread

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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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Bananas & avocados.  Delicious when they are perfect.  Perfectly ripe, that is.  “Perfectly ripe” is a tiny window in time for these fruits.  And perfectly ripe is open to interpretation – especially with bananas.  I like mine with a bit of green on the peel & the inside still very firm.  Others like them at their candy-sweetest – once a few spots begin to appear on the skin.  But, so far, I have never met anyone who prefers them mushy & showing as much as brown on the outside – so – when I spotted a bunch of bananas in this sad & dejected state – I took them & decided to make banana bread.  As long as the fruit inside itself is not brown – no banana is too ripe for banana bread.  I made three versions of banana bread & another sweet bread without bananas so this will be one of four breads I will roll out in the next few days.

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Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Banana Almond Bread

INGREDIENTS

3 ripe bananas

1/3 cup butter – melted

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 TBS Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey (optional)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

pinch cloves

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup chopped almonds (and a few whole ones for decoration)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

If your almonds are whole – put them in a sandwich bag & crush them.  I used the bottom of the Jack Daniels bottle.  Save a few whole ones for decoration.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl.   Then, just basically mix up the ingredients.  Pour into a greased loaf pan, place a few whole almonds on top, if you want, and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.

Voila!

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Easiest Ever Vegan Garlic Sesame Chicken (with or without Honey) for the Slow Cooker

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There is nothing easier than putting raw ingredients into a crock pot & walking away – only to return in a few hours to a home that smells yummy & food that is delicious.

This is the easiest fucking dish ever.  I used Beyond Meat’s vegan chicken but if you insist that meat be involved – just use it.

I used honey but I am not vegan.  If you are – don’t get your panties in a bunch.  Either use agave nectar or just omit it & don’t sub anything else.  I don’t think it is critical as the jam adds all the sweet this dish needs.

There are no photos of the process because there is no process.  Just dump the shit into your crock pot & go for a hike.  Come home & shove this in your pie hole.  You can thank me later.

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Easiest Ever Vegan Garlic Sesame Chicken (with or without Honey) for the Slow Cooker

Feeds 2 well with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan chicken

6 cloves garlic – minced

1 small onion – diced

1/4 cup of some dark berry jam – I used blueberry but blackberry would be great

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1/2 cup honey (if you are not vegan) or agave nectar (if you are) – optional

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 TBS sesame oil

1 – 2 TBS cornstarch

For garnish:

Scallions, sesame seeds and/or Thai basil and cooked rice

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Directions

Cook some rice.

Put everything EXCEPT THE CORNSTARCH the garnishes in your crock pot.  Stir it all up.  My crock pot has no settings so I assume it is just always on high.  Leave it alone for an hour or two – stirring it if you can or want to but it doesn’t need it.

Once it was all bubbly & hot, I used a slotted spoon & took the chicken out and used two forks to sorta shred it – like a pulled pork.  I whisked about 1-2 TBS cornstarch into the sauce to thicken it & then returned the shredded chick to the pot.  I let it sit a while longer but it didn’t need it.  It didn’t REALLY need the shredding or cornstarch, either, so if it looks good to you right outta the pot au naturale – go for it!

Then I garnished it & ate some over rice.  I enjoyed it.

True story.

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Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pistachios and Honey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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TODAY is the second anniversary of this blog!!!!  It is also my Moxie’s 5th birthday.  Isn’t she a character?   She is an amazing little rescue pup!

Now – as to crostini – they hardly require a recipe.  You can top them with whatever you like & in whatever quantity you prefer.   The title here says it all – Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pistachios and Honey.  Not a lot of mystery.

I want to say – just as an aside – that figs are almost IMPOSSIBLE to photograph poorly.  They are the supermodels of the food porn world!  Look at them!  Gorgeous!

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I used avocado honey that my friend Rose gave me – that she got  from a co-worker who is a beekeeper.  It is delicious!

So – without further ado – I give you Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pistachios and Honey!!

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Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pistachios and Honey

Quantities are really up to you & the amount of folks you are feeding.   I’d allot 2 or 3 per person.

INGREDIENTS

Baguette

Goat Cheese

Fresh figs – stemmed & quartered

Pistachio nuts

Honey

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spread some goat cheese on sliced baguette & arrange them on a cooking sheet.  You might want to press some pistachios into the cheese now as it might be neater.  Bake about 10 minutes or until the cheese softens & the bread begins to brown. Add pistachios – if you haven’t already – and top with fig quarters.  Drizzle with honey & serve!

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Boozy & Spicy BBQ Baked Black-Eyed Peas (Beans) – Vegan

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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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OK – let’s talk about these beans.  They can be made with black-eyed peas, as I show here, or with white beans or really any kind of beans you prefer.  There are lots of ingredients & none of them are critical – so – if you want to skip one or two go ahead.  Or if you do not feel like wasting beer & whiskey in a pot of beans – don’t.  There is plenty of flavor in these guys so I feel confident you will like them even if you tweak the recipe a bit.

I quick-soaked these which is to say – I covered them with several inches of water and brought it to a boil & left them to soak (off the heat) for about an hour.  Or – you can just soak them overnight.  This makes them cook faster & breaks down the stuff in them that inspired that “beans, beans – good for you heart” gem we all remember.

I cooked these for about 3 hours.  If that sounds interminable – use canned beans and these could be done in an hour but the full two hours will blend the flavors better.

 

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Boozy & Spicy Baked BBQ Black-Eyed Peas (Beans)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry black-eyed peas (of which I used about 4 of the resulting 5 cups of beans post-soak) or 5 cans beans

1/2 green bell pepper – chopped

10 sweet mini peppers (or the other 1/2 of the green bell) – chopped

1 jalapeno – seeded and chopped (optional)

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce

2 TBS red wine vinegar

2 TBS lime juice

1/2 cup soy sauce

1-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – minced (use as much as your heat tolerance allows)

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 agave nectar (or honey – if you are not vegan)

1 TBS ground cumin

1 teaspoon dry thyme

3 TBS Dijon or other spicy mustard

1 bottle dark beer (I Used Guinness but Guinness is not vegan – so if you are vegan – use a vegan dark beer) – optional

1/4 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey (or regular whiskey – if the honey whiskey isn’t vegan)  – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

If using dry beans – quick soak them & then bring them back to a boil & allow to simmer for an hour – while you get the other ingredients prepped.  Before draining the beans – reserve a cup of the bean water.  Measure out 4 cups of beans.  Save the rest for a recipe I will post soon!

Or just open & drain the cans of beans.

I pulsed the mini peppers, garlic & jalapeno in my food processor to mince them but a more coarse chopping is fine.  In a large bowl – combine all the remaining ingredients – except the beans & reserved bean water.

I sprayed a large (9×12?) ceramic baking dish with cooking spray & put the black-eyed peas in there and poured the liquid on top.  I baked it for two hours, stirring occasionally & added some of the reserved bean water to thin it a few times.  You may or may not choose to do this – depending on how much liquid you like in your beans.  I hadn’t boiled my beans for the hour after quick-soaking so they were still a tad more al dente than I like so I baked them another hour.  You may or may not choose to do this.

If using canned beans – all the steps above apply but they will probably be done in one hour – DEFINITELY in two.

Maybe try these with my Vegan Korean BBQ Ribs?

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Vegan Crock-Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Coleslaw

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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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Holy smoke!  I am really on a roll with these vegan meat things!  This stuff is so easy & so delicious – I could hardly keep from eating it all before I could photograph it.  I made the BBQ Honey Pulled Chicken in a crock-pot over a few hours but it could just as easily be simmered stove-top.  I made the coleslaw to top it but it doesn’t need it.  Both dishes have a few ingredients but all should be readily available & both dishes really just require that you throw everything together.  So – vegans!  Here is an awesome choice for Memorial Day!

I used one bag each of the Beyond Meat & the Simple Truth brands below.  The others are just there as there examples of meatless chicken.  I prefer the Beyond Meat brand & there is a coupon below for you to print & use.

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Oh – and I wrote a funny & dirty novel!!  www.BathingBook.com.  I hope you read it!  The reviews on Amazon are solid!

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Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Coleslaw

Makes about 2 cups

INGREDIENTS

1/4 head green cabbage (I used Napa) – chopped fine (I used the grater of my food processor)

1/4 head purple cabbage – chopped fine (I used the grater of my food processor)

2 carrots – grated

1/4 red bell pepper – grated or chopped

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped (optional – if you hate cilantro)

1 TBS chopped fresh mint

1 tsp grated ginger

1 TBS fresh lime juice

1/2 – 1 cup vegan mayo (or to taste – as some folks like wet coleslaw & others like it drier)

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp (or more to taste) sriracha

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 TBS black sesame seeds (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Mix everything together & adjust seasonings.  Yup.  Just that easy.

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Vegan Crock-Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich

Makes about 4 decent-sized sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

Bread or rolls

20 oz or so vegan chicken

2 TBS Agave nectar (or honey – if you are not vegan)

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup BBQ sauce

1/4 hoisin sauce (optional)

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 shallot or small onion – diced

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

1/4 cup Italian dressing

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DIRECTIONS

If using a crock-pot – just throw everything in there & let it simmer for a few hours.  My crock-pot is little & has no settings so I do not know if the default is high or low – but this faux chicken doesn’t need COOKING so it isn’t really an issue.  All you really want to do is simmer everything a while – even in a pan on your stove – for at least an hour.  I let this sit for 3-4 hours.  While it simmers, intermittently dig in there with two forks & shred the chicken up.

When you are ready to get your eat on – prep your bread, dump some of this awesomeness on there & maybe even top it with some slaw.  Crack a cold one & get busy.  Make a toast to the chickens out there that dodged a bullet because of your cruelty-free meal & let yourself feel pretty fucking superior for a while.  Why not?  Some shit is bound to happen – sooner or later – that will crash your buzz completely so why not revel in the good feelings when you can?  Right?  🙂

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

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I make THIS)

1-2 beets (red and/or golden)

Feta Cheese

10 Brussels sprouts – cut or shaved thin

4 garlic cloves – chopped

Olive oil

Pistachios – chopped

Honey

Fresh mozzarella – sliced

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450.

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

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

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Grease a pizza pan.

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

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Vegan Sriracha Chipotle Cauliflower “Wings”

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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YEAH!  I wrote a funny & dirty novel that is getting great reviews on Amazon!  Check it out – at – www.BathingBook.com!

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OK – my book has been out for a week & a half.  Have you read it yet?  It is only the funniest, fucking book ever written!!!  What the Hell are you waiting for?

Check it out!!!  www.BathingBook.com

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OK, now for the matter of these faux wings.  I love spicy food & chicken wings are something I always find myself envious of when I see others eat them.  I also love sriracha – but ONLY this brand:

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(Image stolen from Google)

This company produces a sauce that is the very definition of sriracha.  But, alas, they have been victims of Irwindale residents near their plant complaining of the spices in the air & it has resulted in lots of problems for the company.  Recently, I have been finding it VERY HARD to find this sriracha – anywhere.  I was extremely distressed because this is not only a frequent ingredient in my recipes but it is an absolute MUST in my Bloody Marys!

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Well, at my local Bangluck Market – I found a whole selection of other brands of sriracha.  Of course, I bought the one in the prettiest bottle.  See there – behind the holy basil?
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I used it in a Bloody Mary & had to throw the cocktail away.  This sriracha isn’t spicy & has a sickly sweet flavor.  Do not fall for these low rent srirachas!  You have been warned!

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These guys are pretty easy to make and delicious.  I ate them two ways – right off the plate as an appetizer or over rice as a meal.  Ymmmmm!

Sriracha Cauliflower “Wings”

INGREDIENTS

1 small head of cauliflower cut into “drumettes”

2 TBS butter (or vegan butter) – melted

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

S&P

For the glaze

1 chipotle pepper & 2 TBS of its adobo sauce – minced

1/4 cup sriracha sauce

2 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS butter (or vegan butter)

1/4 cup (or less – to taste) honey – or agave nectar

1-2 TBS soy sauce

juice of 1 lime

Garnish: chopped cilantro and/or sesame seeds

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400.

Whisk the melted butter with the olive oil, onion powder & garlic powder.  Add a little S&P.

Toss the cauliflower drumettes in this & roast for about 15-20 minutes (check mid-way to be sure your florets are not getting to mushy) – or until just beginning to brown at the edges.  Parchment paper makes this a far neater process.  If you don’t have any, treat your cooking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.

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While the cauliflower cooks, melt the butter for the glaze in a sauce pan & then whisk in the other glaze ingredients.  Bring it to a boil & then simmer it over medium heat until it thickens a bit.  Set aside.

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When the cauliflower is ready – toss it with some glaze & roast another 5 minutes.  I then turned the broiler on and WATCHED THEM VERY CAREFULLY (and turned the pan a few times) to get a bit of a blackening effect.  This is totally an optional step.

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Drizzle a bit more glaze on the wings & garnish with cilantro and/or sesame seeds.  Eat as they are or on top of some steamed rice!

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Honey, Maple, Mustard & Sriracha Glazed Baked Ham

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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 don’t eat meat.  I probably have not tasted ham in 25+ years.  But – my badass boyfriend lives almost exclusively on animal protein (something I want to work on) and, occasionally, I make a meat item for him.  During his most recent trip to LA, I hosted a small shindig.

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I served Vegan Hoppin’ John & vegan collard greens & corn bread.  Others contributed deviled eggs & an antipasto salad (among other things).  At the very last minute, as I shopped for a few forgotten groceries, I spotted hams at the store.  $20 for a ten pound ham seemed like such a cost effective way to feed a crowd that I stood there for a few minutes pondering my willingness to make it for Miles.  Then I saw the 50% off sticker.  $10 for a ten pound ham?  That cinched it for me.  I mean – at that price – it was a cheaper source of food for my dogs than their limited ingredient dog chow so – I could not possibly lose.

So I bought the gruesome thing & brought it home.

This isn’t really a recipe beyond the fact that I customized the glaze that came with the meat.  I cooked it as instructed with the exception of covering it in foil for the first part of the heating.  I neglected to do that.  This resulted in quite a charred exterior but, once this was glazed, the charred bits became a crust that I saw Miles seeking out as he stole bits of ham as he walked by it.  That sentence is clumsy but I have a terrible cold & my brain is foggy.  Please forgive me.  My point is – the burned bits were quite popular so do not be afraid to burn your ham a bit.  Oh!  And…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

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Honey, Maple, Mustard & Sriracha Glazed Baked Ham

INGREDIENTS

Ham (I used a cooked, spiral-cut ham)

The glaze packet that comes with it

1/2 cup honey

3 TBS grain mustard

1 TBS maple syrup

1 TBS sriracha

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DIRECTIONS

Over medium heat – whisk the glaze packet with the other ingredients & cook until the sugar dissolves.  Let cool.

Cover a baking sheet with a few layers of foil.  It makes cleaning so much easier.  Put the ham cut side DOWN on the foil-lined cooking sheet & either cover it with foil (or not – if you want a bit of char on the outside like mine) and cook it at 350 for 45-60 minutes.

Remove the ham from the oven & increase the temperature to 425.  Remove the foil covering if you used one.

Use about 1/4 of the glaze to coat the ham.  Cook it for 15 minutes & repeat the process – glazing every 15 minutes until the glaze is gone.

Let the ham cool for AT LEAST 30 minutes.  Then, simply serve it – cut side facing out (not down) – and watch your carnivorous friends lose their shit.

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Fig & Gruyere Quesadilla with Balsamic Glaze & Honey or Fig, Spinach & Whipped Goat Cheese Pizza with Honey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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

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I can’t resist figs now when I see them at the store.  They are beautiful to look at and so delicate & versatile – I love them.  But they tend to go bad fast so, when I buy them, I end up eating fig everything.  To extend their shelf life, I put them in a Ziplock baggy & put them in a single layer on a shelf in the fridge.  That seemed to add a day or two to their lifespan.

These are not really recipes.  These are really just suggested ways to use figs.

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Fig & Gruyere Quesadilla with Balsamic Glaze & Honey

INGREDIENTS

Flour tortilla

Gruyere cheese – sliced

Figs – sliced

Honey

Balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

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Bring some balsamic vinegar to a boil & then reduce to a simmer.  In 20 minutes – my 1/4 cup of balsamic reduced to only one or two teaspoons of glaze – so boil down an appropriate quantity.

Layer the cheese & figs on a tortilla, fold it over & grill it on both sides until the cheese melts & the tortilla browns.

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Slice it up & drizzle with honey & the balsamic glaze.  MMMMM!

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Fig, Spinach & Whipped Goat Cheese Pizza with Honey

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (mine is HERE)

Spinach

Figs – sliced

Mozzarella – grated

Goat Cheese

Cream cheese

Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

To get whipped goat cheese – simple blend goat cheese with some cream cheese at approximately a 2 to 1 ratio, like – 4 ounces goat cheese to 2 ounces cream cheese.  Go heavier with the goat cheese if you want that flavor to be stronger.

Now just roll out your dough, put it on a greased baking sheet and smear some whipped goat cheese on it.  Layer some spinach & drizzle with olive oil.  Add figs & then some grated mozzarella & bake at about 450-500 (be sure the oven is at full temperature before putting pizza in there) for about 12 minutes or until the cheese melts & the crust browns.  Drizzle with honey!

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Spicy Honey Chipotle Homemade BBQ Sauce & Golden Road Beer

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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

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This is pretty straight forward.  I used this on a bunch of chicken drumsticks that I barbecued over the weekend for my carnivorous boyfriend & some other guests.  They looked like this (the drumsticks – not my guests):

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And they smelled so good – it was all I could do not to just quit this pescatarian business & devour a few of those bad boys.  The BBQ sauce is genuinely spicy & could be used any way you might use such a thing – or maybe even mixed into some potato salad or something.

The beer in this photo here

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is by a local Los Angeles brewery called Golden Road & it is delicious!  See – the cans are all marked with the date they were canned?  I once had a beer from there that was only a day old.  There is a pub, too, with vegan & other bar food.  I will definitely be going there soon so I can report back.

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Spicy Honey Chipotle Homemade BBQ Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 small onion – diced

olive oil

4 garlic cloves – chopped

3 TBS brown sugar 3/4 cup ketchup

1 TBS molasses

1/4 cup honey

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

2 chipotle peppers in their adobo sauce – minced

2 TBS Dijon mustard

1 TBS sriracha

1 tsp chipotle powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne

DIRECTIONS

Heat about 1 TBS olive oil in a stock pan.  Saute the onion until translucent.  Add the other ingredients & bring to a boil.  Lower heat & simmer for 10-20 minutes to let it thicken a bit & to let the flavors meld.  Add water if it is too thick.  When it cools – blend it to break up any onion or chipotle still left in pieces.  Put it in an old pickle jar or something & chill until you are ready to use it.   This should last at least a week in the fridge – maybe more.

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Fig, Fennel, Blackberry & Goat Cheese Pizza

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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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If you live even remotely near Glendale, California – you simply MUST check out Super King – the grocery store near there on San Fernando Road by the 2 freeway.  It is so friggin’ CHEAP to buy produce there AND they have lots of unusual seasonal items like squash blossoms & sour grapes & grape leaves etc.  I bought kale there this week – 3 for .99 cents.  Kale costs $2.50 a bunch at my local Gelson’s.

Anyway – on my last trip to Super King – I got a litle container of blackberries for about .79 cents and I bought a container of green figs.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with either (as I find blackberries always to be disappointingly sour and I have never purchased a fig before) but they were practically free & offered new culinary avenues to explore.  As it turned but, I didn’t explore very far – in that – I just made another pizza but it was a delicious & uniquely flavored pizza with a lot going on.  As it turned out, I again found all but a few of the blackberries to be sour & I found myself picking them off of this pizza as I ate it.  And I did eat it.  ALL of it.  But not the blackberries.  So – if you make this pizza – be sure to use very ripe berries or eighty-six them entirely.  They add a pretty color but there are so many other flavors vying for attention here – you won’t miss the berries.

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Fig, Fennel, Blackberry & Goat Cheese Pizza

INGREDIENTS

(I won’t list quantities here because that is a matter of taste)

Pizza dough of choice (mine is HERE)

1 fennel bulb – shaved very thinly

Blackberries

Goat cheese

Walnuts – crushed a bit

Figs – cut thin

Honey

Fresh rosemary – chopped finely

olive oil

S&P to taste

Crushed red pepper (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat your oven to 450-500 degrees & be sure it reaches temperature before putting your pizza in there.

Roll out your dough & put it on the cooking sheet.  Brush some olive oil on there & maybe lightly salt it.  (I went a little heavy with the olive oil.  Oops!)

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Set the walnuts aside for now.  Then, simply layer the fennel & some rosemary & figs & berries & goat cheese & on your crust.  Top with more rosemary.

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Bake the pizza for 12-18 minutes or until the crust is browned & the cheese melted a bit.   When you think the pizza is about 3 minutes from being done – add the walnuts.  Finish baking.

When the pizza is done – drizzle all over with honey.

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Slice it up & eat it.  I added some crushed red pepper because that is how I roll.  Enjoy!

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Brie Quesadilla with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey-Soaked Cherries

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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

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This Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey cherry idea was my boyfriend’s.  He loves my Jack Daniels Whiskey & Honey Glazed Carrots – a lot.  When I ran a few of my quesadilla ingredients by him (one using Coca Cola & another using balsamic vinegar) – he suggested something with this whiskey.  So – essentially – I made the exact recipe but with fresh cherries instead of carrots.  It is outrageous!  I used it in this quesadilla but it would be incredible on anything from salmon to chicken to ice cream.   Crazy yummy!  Maybe just pour it over a wedge of brie & serve it with a crusty bread.  Ymmmmm!

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Brie Quesadilla with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey-Soaked Cherries

INGREDIENTS

Tortillas

Brie – sliced thin

1 cup fresh cherries – pitted

2 TBS butter

1 TBS brown sugar

3 sprigs of thyme – leaves only

1/4 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

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DIRECTIONS

Melt one of the tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over high heat.  Add cherries and thyme & stir – sauteing them for 2-3 min.  Remove the cherries to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add the whiskey & let it saute for 30-45 seconds.  Reduce heat & melt the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Add the brown sugar & stir to combine.  Once a glaze begins to form – a minute or two – add the cherries back to the pan & stir to get them coated in glaze.  Cook another minute or two & set aside.

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Then – simply assemble the quesadilla the normal way.  Heat a dry pan.  Place a tortilla in it.  Layer the brie & some of the cherries & fold the tortilla.  I use a put lid to apply pressure & trap the heat.  After a minute or two – flip the quesadilla.  When golden on both sides – unceremoniously shove it in your face and commence to making another!

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Blue Cheese with Honey & Toasted Walnuts

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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 isn’t really a recipe.  It is more of a suggestion.  I like blue cheese but do not adore it.  I am not a fan of honey at all.  This appetizer?  Outrageously delicious!  You just need to buy the best quality blue cheese you can find (or Cambozola or brie or Saint Andre – any strong but soft cheese you love).  I got mine at the awesome Super King – which has a pretty amazing deli meat counter with LOTS of delicious cheeses available by the pound.  They also sell walnuts for like $5.50 a pound at their MASSIVE nut counter.   Cashews are about $6 pound.  CHEAP.  I got my honey at Super King, too.

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I’m sure it came from one of the places you are not supposed to by honey from, like China, but Super King had no locally sourced honey.  Surprising because honey is used so much in Middle Easter baking (think baklava).  And – as an aside – do not think a label reading “Distributed by XXX in Glendale, Ca” means it is California honey.  It likely means they bought tons of it from China & just bottled it here.

Anyway – dry toast your nuts (pecans and almonds work, too).

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When they are fragrant & just begin to smoke but are not changing color yet (which happens fast – so watch & stir them the whole time) – remove them from the heat.  Then – just plate the cheese, drizzle lots of honey on it & sprinkle with nuts.  Serve with crusty bread & a box of wine & make yourself very happy.

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Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Marinated BBQ Pork Loin

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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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vromans front vromans back

Hey, kids!  I wrote a hilarious novel!  Read the reviews on Amazon!  Buy it – read it!  Laugh until you pee!

Now – food!

I don’t eat meat & haven’t since the late 80’s.  Some time in that period, my then boyfriend & I were renting a house that had a strange chicken coop kinda thing in the yard.  The house was on Mount Washington in Highland Park – not exactly a rural location – but we thought – a few chickens might be fun.  We thought we could raise them & then eat the eggs they produced.  So – we bought a book hilariously titled “Poultry as a Hobby” – found a pet store selling teenage chicks, bought a few – and built a little chicken-wire run around the coop and deposited the new pets into their new home.

A few weeks later, as I was hosting a dinner party, I remembered I had neglected to lock the chickens back up inside their coop for the night.  I ran outside but, even though it had just gotten dark out – in the dim light – I could see that there were no chickens in the run.  Coyotes had gotten them all, leaving no trace of their crime.  I returned to my dinner party, sobbing, and declared to my guests, “No chicken will ever again die because of me!”  And I gave up all meat & poultry forever – right then & there.

That boyfriend has since gone on to marry & have a pack of gorgeous, bi-lingual kids & open a chain of AMAZING gourmet pizza places all over France (and in other parts of Europe).  Look up PINK FLAMINGO PIZZA, if you are ever in Paris.  Truly inventive & amazing pizzas.  With lots of meat.  HERE is a post I wrote about the restaurant last year.  Definitely check it out!

My current boyfriend is also an over-achieving carnivore & regularly orders things with names like “Meat Lover’s Pizza.”  He happened to be in town for Easter this past weekend & I decided to treat him to something other than my vegetarian pastas & pizzas.  I bought a huge log of pork loin at Costco that was nearly as long as his leg & as big around as his slim thigh.  And it was only $20!  Who knew pork was such an economical way to feed people?  $20 for nine pounds of pork loin? Wowza!

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So – I brought it home & cut it into three roasts & marinated it for three days.  On the day, I fired up some coals on a grill & when they were all hot & ashy – I put one of the roasts on the grill.  I decided to cook one up on its own lest I try to cook – and ruin – all three at once.  It blackened nicely on the outside & took probably 45-60 minutes to finally reach 145 degrees in the thickest part (a meat thermometer is crucial for cooking pork).  I let it rest for about ten minutes & then sliced it up.  Miles, my boyfriend, tasted it & gave it his seal of approval.

I put the other two chunks of meat on the grill but the grill was only hot enough, by that point, to char the outside.  So – I put them in a roast pan with some olive oil & baked them at 350 for about 30 minutes – until they, too, were 145 degrees inside.  Then I just sliced them all up, too, and put them on a platter with little slider rolls & a few variations of BBQ sauce.  It smelled incredible & people inhaled it.  I highly recommend trying this if you want an easy & cheap way to feed about 20 people!

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Here are the ingredients I used for the marinade:

9 pounds pork loin – divided into three

1 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

2 TBS Worcestershire sauce

1 cup Dijon mustard

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup your favorite BBQ sauce

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Brie Pizza Two Ways ~ With Mushrooms, Thyme & Pistachios or with Honey, Apple & Red Onion

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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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These were inventions born of items on hand.  I was uncertain about the use of brie & how rich the resulting pizza might be.  Not a huge fan of honey, I was also concerned that the flavor of the honey pizza would grow old quickly and may be better suited to an appetizer than a dinner recipe.  So – I made a single pizza two ways.  The result was pretty delightful.  The brie was not overpowering – even though I used a cheap brie.  The real secret, I think, to success with the apple-brie pizza is ultra thin slices of both apple & the red onion – as in – papery thin.  With the mushroom pizza – searing the mushrooms & garlic into a nearly caramelized submission before using them on the pizza.  I am not going to give any real measurements in these recipes as the ratio of ingredients is really a matter of taste.  Both of these pizzas were delicious & both would work wonderfully as appetizers.

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Pizza with Brie, Mushrooms, Thyme & Pistachios

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough

Brie – chilled & sliced into thin squares

Mushrooms & garlic – sauteed in olive oil & salt until browned

Fresh thyme – chopped

pistachio nuts

Arugula

Pizza with Brie, Honey, Apple & Red Onion

INGREDIENTS

Pizza Dough

Brie – chilled & sliced into thin squares

crushed red pepper

honey

green apple (or other tart apple) – sliced very thin

red onion – sliced very thin

ASSEMBLY

Roll out the dough.

For the mushroom pizza – simply layer brie then thyme then mushrooms & pistachios.  Bake in an oven pre-heated to 450 for about 10 minutes or until done.  When done – top with fresh arugula leaves.

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For the honey-apple pizza – spread a thin layer of honey, sprinkle crushed red pepper & then layer apple & red onions.  Bake in an oven pre-heated to 450 for about 10 minutes or until done.

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Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Glazed Carrots

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

I must admit – I have really been underachieving with this blog lately.  Lots of factors are to blame, though.  It hasn’t been lack of interest or effort on my part.  It has been a combination of my trying various recipes that fail & are unworthy of posting, my need to eat some Goddamn leftovers whenever I make something instead of tossing them so I have an excuse to make something new and then a week & a half over Thanksgiving with my boyfriend – whose palate is Southern & conservative & accustomed to a great deal of meat.  Mine is quite the opposite – northeastern, adventurous & lacto-ovo-pescatarian.  Hence – little cooking happened over the holiday that warranted posting – and most of what did (lots of Thanksgiving new additions to my menu) remained undocumented due to the sheer volume of things I cooked.  I made:

Brie & homemade cranberry sauce mini tartelettes, roasted turkey, celery root stuffing, vegan gravy, turkey gravy, cream cheese mashed potatoes, corn pudding, glazed carrots, cauliflower gratin torte with homemade crust, peas with roasted onion & mint, pumpkin mac & cheese, slow-cooked BBQ baked beans, homemade cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie cupcakes with homemade crust and a full-sized pumpkin pie with a homemade crust.  There just wasn’t time in my days (three of them spent cooking) to properly track my ingredients & quantities & to photograph everything.

Do not think I wasn’t self-flagellating as I slaved for three days over food as my blog remained stagnant & forgotten – and as I neglected to take advantage of what could have been a month worth of posts.  I comforted myself that food cooked so close to – and on – Thanksgiving day was likely to be no aid to those of you out there who might be looking for Thanksgiving recipes.  I will attempt to make up for it by posted a few in the near future that I think might serve you well over the December holiday season.

The first one I will share with you is the recipe for the VERY EASY glazed carrots.  I used Jack Daniels Honey whiskey – but any whiskey would likely do.  There are very simple & appropriate for kids, too, as the alcohol burns off in the cooking.   They can be made hours in advance & reheated just prior to serving.

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Jack Daniels Whiskey & Honey Glazed Carrots

(This recipe should serve 10-15 very generously – and up to 20 if there are lots of other sides on your table.)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

4 lbs carrots, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 1/2 sticks of butter (half a pound or MORE)

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

2 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

Chopped parsley or chives as garnish (optional but pretty)

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DIRECTIONS

Melt 3 TBS butter in a large saute pan over high heat.  If you do not have a large saute pan – do this recipe in two batches.   You want the carrots to come into contact with both the butter & the heat of the pan – and you do not want your butter to burn.  Add carrots & stir – sauteing them for 2-3 min.  Remove the carrots to a large bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add the whiskey & let it saute for 30-45 seconds.  Reduce heat & melt the remaining butter.  Add the brown sugar & stir to combine.  Once a glaze begins to form – a minute or two – add the carrots back to the pan & stir to get all the carrots coated in glaze.  Cover the pan & saute over medium or medium-low heat for maybe 5-10 minutes – until carrots are cooked to your preference.  Add S&P.

If serving immediately – pour the carrots & glaze onto a platter & top with the parsley or chives (if using) and serve.  Or – set them away off heat & reheat when ready to serve.

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