DDD #120 – Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant – Better Than Take-Out!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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This dish is SO easy & outrageously delicious!  It is also genuinely spicy but you can control that level yourself.

Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant

Serves 2 or more

INGREDIENTS

2 medium eggplants – cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 onion – diced

Thai basil (or red basil or regular basil) – chopped – optional

Sesame oil

6 garlic cloves – chopped

4 TBS minced ginger (I used jarred)

3 TBS brown sugar

1 TBS sriracha

2 TBS sambal oelek (or chili garlic sauce)

2 tsp molasses

3 TBS reduced sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup tomato sauce

2 TBS rice vinegar

Crushed red pepper

Salt

Sesame seeds

1/2 cup water

OPTIONAL – 1-3 TBS black soy sauce for a richer color

Scallions – green parts sliced – as garnish or sesame seeds or additional sliced basil.

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DIRECTIONS

Heat 1-2 TBS sesame oil in a pan & add the eggplant.  Add a little salt & some crushed red pepper.  Add the diced onion.  Saute over medium heat until tender but not mushy.  Maybe 5-8 minutes.

 

 

Add 2-3 TBS sesame seeds & the garlic & the ginger.  When the garlic begins to brown add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, srirachasambal oelek (or chili garlic sauce), molasses, soy sauce, rice vinegar, & water.  Simmer over med-low heat for ten minutes.  Add the eggplant & onions & simmer another 5 minutes.  Stir in some chopped basil (if using).

Serve over rice garnished with additional chopped basil, the scallions & some additional sesame seeds.

 

 

DDD #119 – Vegan Sriracha Chicken Bowl with Broccoli

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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Click the image below to watch the video for this recipe.  Plus – watch it to meet my newest foster dog – an adorable & brave trauma rescue from Uruguay and hear how I met Rachel Maddow, Fairuza Balk, Doyle from the Misfits & more!

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This chicken & broccoli comes together faster than the rice – so – if you have warm, cooked rice ready – you can serve this in ten minutes.  None of the ingredients are particularly exotic but it is GENUINELY spicy.  I like a lot of heat & this took it to my limit – so – if you are more timid in the spice department – cut the spicy things way back or drop them completely.  I used – as always – Beyond Meat brand vegan chicken because it is absolutely the best on the market.  It comes in 9 ounce packages.

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10-Minute Spicy Vegan Sriracha Chicken & Broccoli Bowl

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

9 to 12 ounces vegan chicken – cubed

1 jalapeno – seeded & diced (optional)

1/4 red bell pepper – chopped

Olive oil

1-5 dry red chilies – halved & seeded (VERY optional as these are VERY spicy – and if you use hem – do not chew & swallow them – but pick them out when you eat)

1/2 cup vegan hoisin sauce

1-2 TBS sriracha sauce

1-3 tsp crushed garlic (I used jarred)

1 TBS ginger (I used jarred)

Broccoli for 2 – fresh or frozen

Salted peanuts

Sliced scallions as garnish

Cooked rice for 2

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the rice.  If you are using fresh broccoli – steam it a few minutes until it is done to your taste & set aside.  If using frozen – cook it according to directions & set aside

Heat 1 TBS olive oil in a pan.  Saute the jalapeno & red chili – if using them.  When the jalapeno is softens (a few minutes) – add the garlic & ginger & saute 1 minute.  Add the hoisin & sriracha and the chicken & heat the chicken through.

Assemble the bowls with the rice, broccoli & chicken & garnish with peanuts & scallions.

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DDD #118 – Vegan Cauliflower Gnocchi with Arugula Pesto

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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


Click the image above to watch the video.

Arugula Pesto

INGREDIENTS

Handful of fresh basil

1/4 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves

juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup nutritional yeast (or vegan Parmesan)

1/3 cup vegan Parmesan

1/2 cup pecans (or other nuts)

5 oz fresh arugula

S&P

DIRECTIONS

Blend in a food processor until smooth.  Add water or more oil if it is too thick.  Season with S&P.  Set aside.

Cauliflower Gnocchi

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower – cut into florets

Flour

GARNISH: basil, parsley, or lemon wedges

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees & roast the cauliflower for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it is finely chopped.

Put some flour on a kneading space.  Knead just enough flour into the cauliflower until you have a nice, dough that is no longer tacky.  Use as little flour as possible or your gnocchi will be too dense.

Quarter the dough & roll each quarter out to a long snake that is about 3/4 inch thick.  Cut your gnocchi in about 3/4 inch pillows.  You can rill them on a fork or gnocchi board (below) – to aid in making sauces cling but that is unnecessary.

If the gnocchi are still tacky, dust with more flour.  Set aside until you are ready to eat.

When ready, heat the pesto.  Bring salted water to a rolling boil.  Put the gnocchi in the water & boil until they float to the top – a few minutes.  Drain & toss with the pesto.  Garnish with fresh basil or parsley or lemon wedges.

To freeze some, put them on a floured cooking sheet or on a cooking sheet with parchment paper & freeze flat.  Once frozen, you can transfer them into any other container – even a Ziploc bag.  Always put frozen gnocchi into water at a rolling boil without letting them defrost first – or they will become a gooey mess.

 

DDD #117 – Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Casserole with Cauliflower Rice & Sausage

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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

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Photo from The Iron You.

Click the image above to watch the video.

The photo just above is from the wonderful blog – The Iron You.  It is their Eggplant Parm Rice Casserole and it is that recipe that inspired mine here.  There are a few subtle changes but the primary difference is that I used cauliflower rice rather than real rice and I made it vegan.  That way – this dish is very light & nearly guiltless.  Is is very easy to make & comes together in less than 45-60 minutes – 30 of which are in the oven.  It is a surprisingly tasty recipe & chock full of fresh vegetables.

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Eggplant Parmesan Casserole with Cauliflower Rice (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower

2 eggplants – cut into 1/4 inch slices

Olive oil

1 cup basil – chopped

2 large shallots (or 1/2 small onion) – diced

2 cups cherry tomatoes – quartered (reserve a few extra to garnish)

2-3 cups vegan mozzarella – according to your preference (I used 3 cups)

1-2 cups grated vegan Parmesan – according to your preference

S&P

1 TBS oregano

1 TBS crushed red pepper (optional)

1 cup vegetable stock

1 1/2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce

3 (or more) vegan sausages – cooked

Parsley or basil – chopped as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

If you have a grill or grill pan, spray some olive oil on the eggplant (or toss them in a light coating of olive oil or dressing) & grill on each side until a bit charred & soft.  Set aside.

If you do not have a grill or grill pan – follow Iron You’s oven method directions:  Preheat oven to 400°F  and place a rack in the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease them with vegetable oil. Set aside.
Fill a large bowl with cold water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and stir until it dissolves completely.
Add eggplant slices and let them sit for at least 20 minutes to draw out the bitterness.  Fish the eggplant slices out of the water, pat them dry, and arrange them on a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the slices turn deep brown on top.
Remove the slices from the baking sheets and carefully transfer them on a plate to cool.

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Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Cook sausages & chop.

Cut the florets from the cauliflower & either grate them on a box grater or using the grater of your food processor (the FAR neater way to go).  Set aside.

Toss the tomatoes with basil, a pinch or S&P & the oregano & crushed red pepper & set aside.

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Heat a TBS or so of olive oil in a large frying pan (large enough to hold all the cauliflower rice) & saute the shallots or onion until soft.  Add the cauliflower rice & the stock.  Over high heat – saute until the cauliflower is soft & the bulk of the stock has evaporated.  Stir in the tomato & basil mix and the sauce.

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Grease a casserole pan (I used cooking spray) and layer 1/3 of the rice on the bottom.  Top with half the eggplant and 1/3 of the cheese and 1/2 the sausage.  Add another 1/3 of the rice, remaining eggplant and 1/3 of the cheese & the remaining sausage.  Top with a final layer of rice & cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted & the casserole is heated through.

Let sit for 10 minutes & then serve with parsley or basil & maybe extra diced tomato.

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DDD #114 – Rabbit Hole Foods – Vegan Egg, Tuna & Chicken Salads Reviewed

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8-23-18 (20)All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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DDD #113 – Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart (Pie) with Homemade Buttery Crust

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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

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I keep throwing softballs like this out there to you kids.  Softballs in that the recipe is easy & the result delicious.  When, oh when, will you trust me & try one?

This one is almost like a quiche but uses no eggs or heavy cream – and it is vegan!  I used three colors of heirloom tomatoes but any tomatoes would work, even cherry tomatoes, I suspect.

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For the pastry crust

makes two tarts

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

16 TBS ice cold (even frozen) vegan butter

1/4 cup or more of ice water

Heirloom Tomato Pie with Arugula, Tofu, Cream Cheese & Parmesan

makes two tarts

INGREDIENTS

Pie crust – uncooked

5-6 heirloom (or other) tomatoes – sliced thin

2 cups fresh arugula

2 cloves garlic

1 (14 oz) block firm tofu

4 oz vegan cream cheese

2 slices of your favorite flavor vegan cheese

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan – grated  (plus a bit extra for topping – optional)

S&P

Basil – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

For the pastry crust

Put the flour, salt & sugar in a food processor.  Pulse to blend.  Then, 1 TBS at a time, pulse in the cold butter until it is all incorporated.  Add a few TBS water & pulse until little balls of dough begin to form & it falls away from the bowl of the processor.

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Remove from the bowl & press into two balls – one a tad larger than the other.  Press flat, wrap in plastic wrap & chill for about an hour.  Let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you roll it out.

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DIRECTIONS

for the Heirloom Tomato Pie with Arugula, Tofu, Cream Cheese & Parmesan

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Press the dough into a greased pie or tart pan.  A traditional pie dish is absolutely OK to use – as is a spring form pan.  Slit the crust at the bottom and par-bake it for 7 minutes.

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Put the sliced tomatoes on paper towels, salt them & press more paper towels on top.  If your tomatoes are very wet & seedy, squeeze some of the seeds out to avoid excess moisture in the pie.  You can see that I did this with my red tomatoes.

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Meanwhile, blend the tofu, cream cheese, cheese slices, vegan Parmesan, arugula & garlic in a blender or food processor.  Season with S&P.

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When the crust has baked 7 minutes, top with the cup of grated Parmesan, the tofu mix & the drained tomatoes.  Add some S&P.  Maybe sprinkle some grated vegan Parmesan on top.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.

Bake for 45-60 minutes – or until the ricotta is set.  You might need to wrap the edges of your pie with foil (or one of these cool silicone things – the red thing below – that I got at Bed Bath & Beyond) to prevent the crust from over-browning.

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When the center seems set, allow this to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it.  It can be eaten warm or room temperature.

Garnish with basil & eat it up!

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DDD Ep. #112 – Vegan Spinach-Stuffed Eggplant Rollatini with Homemade Arrabiata Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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This is a really easy, 5-minute pasta sauce.  It is fairly spicy so cut back on the crushed red pepper if you are sensitive to heat.  Canned tomatoes are not desirable – even BAD – (read why you should avoid canned tomatoes & seven other foods HERE) – but they are sometimes the only affordable (and super convenient) option. .

Fresh herbs will also improve this sauce measurably but – in a pinch –  they are absolutely not REQUIRED to make this sauce tasty.

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Five (5) Minute Arrabiata Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 27 oz carton tomato sauce
Garlic to taste
1 tsp each of crushed red pepper, oregano, pepper & sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh thyme (optional)
Fresh basil – chopped (optional)
Fresh parsley – chopped (optional)
Fresh oregano – chopped (optional)
1 TBS olive oil
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DIRECTIONS
Heat the olive oil. I sautéed maybe 10 tiny garlic cloves whole. If giant chunks of garlic offend you or yours, you might want to crush them a bit with the side of a knife or press them through a garlic press or chop them fine. Just do not burn the garlic and burning is easier – the smaller you chop the cloves. With whole cloves – I sautéed a minute before adding the spices. If you chopped the garlic – add it and the spices at once.After about a minute of both the garlic and all other spices sautéing – add the tomato sauce. Be careful as it will sputter and splatter you when it hits the hot oil.
A few minutes in – I used a slotted spoon to fish out the garlic cloves & put them through a garlic press but this is not totally necessary.Heat over med-low heat until ready to use. Add chopped fresh basil/parsley at the very end – if you are using fresh herbs.

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Eggplant is an odd thing.  Some of my favorite dishes are made of eggplant – most markedly my nearly guiltless Indian Baingan Bharta & one of the most popular recipes of this blog’s history, my Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant – both seen just below.

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But if it is cut into slices or cubes that are too large & then under-cooked – it can have an icky texture & an icky flavor.  Lots of people categorically reject it because the first time they tried it – it was yucky.  But it is so versatile & can take on so many flavors so well.  I love it & I feel certain I could convert more than a few haters – if I served them the right dish.

THIS dish might just be that dish – assuming they do not also hate spinach.   The eggplant is very subtle & melts in your mouth.  This could be customized a zillion ways.  There are no rules.  Just make a little mash of some flavors you like & roll’em up & bake them – and voila!  Yes – there are a few steps but none are difficult & the result is delightful.  A tad hard to photograph but really delicious.

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Oh!  I got this new little garlic press at Bed Bath & Beyond for (I think) under ten dollars & I am kind of in love with it.  There are to ways to go with this – sliced or minced (there is a second blade tucked into the base) & all you do is press the garlic through & it creates a little drawer of crushed garlic for you.  Se easy & easy to clean & no garlic fingers!

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Easy Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach 

Should feed 4

INGREDIENTS

2 medium eggplant – tops removed & sliced 1/4 inch thick (thick makes assembly harder)

1 lb fresh spinach (or 8 oz frozen or other spinach – thawed)

3-4  cups (28 0z or so) – marinara (your favorite brand or homemade or the one I  post below) or my 5-minute spicy arrabiata 

Handful vegan Parmesan

1/2 cup vegan ricotta

1/4 cup parsley – chopped

4 oz vegan mozzarella

S&P

Olive oil

More vegan mozzarella to melt on top – to taste

Parchment paper (if possible but not imperative)

Foil

Garnish: more cheese and/or parsley and/or basil

 

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the tops off the eggplant & try to cut them evenly 1/4 inch thick.  I used a mandolin.  Lay the slices on paper towels & sprinkle with salt.  Flip & salt the other side (lightly – so they won’t be overpowered by salt).  Salting the eggplant helps release excess moisture & can temper any bitterness.  Let them sit for about ten minutes.

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Steam the fresh spinach by simply boiling a tiny bit of water to a very large stock pot & adding the spinach.  Cover the pan.  It should wilt in less than a minute (this works to thaw frozen spinach, too, though it might take longer).  Strain into a colander & run cold water on it.  Squeeze out as much water as you can & chop the spinach.

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Put the spinach, parsley, & your Parmesan & ricotta & mozzarella cheese in a large bowl & blend.  Add some S&P.

 

Pat the eggplant slices dry & sprinkle with ground pepper.  Place them on a cooking sheet covered in parchment paper (or foil treated with cooking spray – because you do not want these guys sticking).  Bake about ten minutes.

Layer some sauce on the bottom of a casserole pan.  Spread about 2 TBS of the filling on each of the eggplant slices.  If you have extra – spread it around.  Carefully roll those guys up & place them in the pan, seam side down.

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Layer some more sauce on top & then sprinkle with mozzarella.  Cover tightly with foil & bake for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven & uncover & let rest a good 5-10 minutes before cutting in.  Serve with more cheese and/or parsley and/or basil and copious red wine.  See?  You like eggplant!

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