DDD #152 – Vegan Mushroom Pate

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2020

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 below to watch the video.

Vegan Mushroom Pate


3 TBS vegan butter

1 small onion or several shallots – diced

1 lb or more of mushrooms – sliced

4 garlic cloves – minced

5 oz vegan cream cheese

1 TBS chopped rosemary (or thyme or fried sage)

S&P to taste


Melt the butter in a large saute pan.  Cook the onion over med-low heat until soft.  Add the mushrooms & herbs & saute until most of the moisture is out of the mushrooms.  Add the garlic & salt & pepper.  Saute a minute & then transfer to a food processor.  Add the cream cheese and S&P & puree.

Chill & serve.



DDD #129 – Vegan Spicy Teriyaki King Trumpet Mushrooms

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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.


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.

Vegan Spicy Teriyaki King Trumpet Mushrooms

Feeds 2 with rice & a side veggie


9 or more ounces of King Trumpet or Oyster mushrooms

1 cup water

2 TBS brown sugar

1 TBS sesame oil

2 TBS minced ginger

6 TBS low sodium soy sauce

1 TBS sambal oelek (chili paste) – optional

1 TBS vegan oyster or mushroom sauce

1/4 cup cornstarch whisked into 1/4 cup water

Cooking spray (or oil)

GARNISH – steamed rice & bok choy & sesame seeds


Cut the tops off the mushrooms & either set aside for some other use or use in this recipe.  Slice the stems 1/2 inch thing.  Score them in a criss-cross & set aside.

Warm the water, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, sambal oelek, and oyster/mushroom sauce until the sugar dissolves.  Pour over the mushrooms & let marinate for 20-30 minutes.

Steam your rice, adding boy choy in the final three minutes.

Heat a pan treated with cooking spray or 1 tsp of oil.  Reserving the marinade aside – sear the mushrooms on both sides until browned & caramelized.  Set aside.  Bring the marinade to a boil in that same pan & add the cornstarch mixture.  Heat until thick.

Add mushrooms to the sauce, heat through & serve atop steamed rice & bok choy.  Garnish with sesame seeds.


DDD #108 – Eben McGarr’s Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff & Vegantuas!



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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



Click the image above to watch the video.

Eben McGarr’s Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

Serves 4 well


1 lb pasta – cooked & drained

1 1/2 pound mushrooms – sliced

1 large onion – sliced

1 stick vegan butter

1 cup veggie stock

3 TBS liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)

4 TBS vegan mayo

1/3 cup flour

S&P to taste

chopped parsley as garnish


Cook the pasta.

Melt the butter in a very large pan.  Saute the onions until soft.  Add mushrooms and cook them down.  Once soft, whisk in the stock & flour.  Once combined – add the liquid aminos & the mayo.  Heat through.  Season with S&P & toss with the pasta.  Garnish with the parsley & serve.

DDD #90 – Vegan Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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


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Click the image above to watch the video.

Ok – this pasta.  A Facebook friend requested it & I could not believe I had not already posted the recipe.  This dish is an old regular of mine from 25 years ago & there is a funny story that goes with it.  I used to make it all the time at home & for company & many of my friends had asked for the recipe.  One day, my then boyfriend & I were served a mushroom cream pasta dish at my friend Angie’s.  My boyfriend took one taste & looked at me and said, “Babe!  This is amazing!  You have to ask for her recipe!”

Yeah.  Well – it WAS my recipe.  The only difference was that she added salt to hers & I was still brainwashed into thinking using salt was a capital sin.   I learned that lesson well that day & now I consider salt a genuine ingredient in most things – not just a forgettable & optional seasoning.  There are all kinds of fancy salts widely available now, too, and some even have healthy benefits.  Pink Himalayan salt, for example, boasts these benefits:

(from http://fitlife.tv/10-amazing-benefits-of-pink-himalayan-salt/)

  • Create an electrolyte balance
  • Increases hydration
  • Regulate water content both inside and outside of cells
  • Balance pH (alkaline/acidity) and help to reduce acid reflux
  • Prevent muscle cramping
  • Aid in proper metabolism functioning
  • Strengthen bones
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help the intestines absorb nutrients
  • Prevent goiters
  • Improve circulation
  • Dissolve and eliminate sediment to remove toxins

So, yeah – use salt.   Salt is not just a flavor unto itself.  It also brings out & enhances other flavors.  Trust me.  Too much is awful but just the right amount is magic.

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Vegan Fried Sage and Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce with Orecchiette

Feeds 2 very well


1 pound pasta cooked according to package instructions

Olive oil

10 or more fresh sage leaves

1 lb mushrooms (of nearly any variety or mix) – sliced

2 shallots – chopped

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 cup (or more) vegan dairy (a combo of non-dairy milk & some vegan soft cheese of your choice)

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan

Salt & pepper to taste

Parsley – chopped as garnish (it adds a lot of flavor!)

Extra Parmesan for garnish

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Cook the pasta.  Reserve about a cup of the pasta water (in case you need it to thin your sauce later) & drain the pasta.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil over med-high heat & fry the sage a few minutes.  It need not brown.  Drain on paper towels.

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Add the mushrooms & about a tsp of salt & raise the heat to high.  The salt will help the mushrooms release their moisture.  Stir the mushrooms occasionally – letting them get seared.  When they are nice & brown – add about another TBS of olive oil & the shallots & garlic.  Fry for about 2 minutes & then add the vegan dairy & Parmesan.   Crumble the fried sage & add that to the sauce.  Bring to a boil & then lower to a simmer.  It should thicken very quickly.  Use more cream & cheese if you want a pasta with more sauce.  Add some pasta water if it gets too thick.   When it is the consistency of a heavy cream sauce – season to taste with salt & pepper.  Add the pasta, stir to combine & serve it up.  Garnish liberally with chopped parsley & maybe more Parmesan.

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DDD #88 – Garlic Roasted “Simon & Garfunkel” Mushrooms with Mixed Herbs – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

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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 just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

I love mushrooms.  This dish is very simple and could be tossed with pasta or dropped onto a pizza or crostini or over potatoes.  I used all button mushrooms but any variety or combination of various mushrooms would be lovely.  Mushrooms shrink a lot when they are cooked so you should probably make more than you think you need.

Garlic Roasted “Simon & Garfunkel” Mushrooms with Mixed Herbs – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme


2 lbs mushrooms – sliced

Olive oil

2+ garlic cloves – sliced

1-2 TBS each: thyme, sage, rosemary

Fresh chopped parsley as garnish

(If you are feeling fancy, drizzle some nice balsamic on them – or a bit of truffle oil)

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Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil, the garlic, sage, rosemary & thyme.

Cook for about 45 minutes – stirring once.  Season with S&P & garnish with parsley.  If using balsamic or truffle oil – get on that & then eat this yummy guys!

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DDD #85 – Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and My 1st Anniversary on Youtube – A One Year Retrospective!!



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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I did it! My channel is officially one year old! In this episode you will see how I make my grilled portobello mushrooms and, more importantly, get a look back at a year’s worth of rants (and there ARE some rants!), bloopers, blunders, boobs & f bombs.  I hope you laugh!  Thank you for your support this year. This channel would suck for me if nobody watched. And – PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!  Click the image below to watch.

Portobello mushrooms are a great meat substitute.  You can eat them hot or room temperature – in a salad or on a bun.  I sliced mine up & tossed them with the extra marinade & some heirloom cherry tomatoes, arugula & a few scallions.  It was like a vegan steak salad!  Mmmmmm!

Marinated Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

serves 4


4 large portobello mushrooms

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup nice balsamic vinegar

1 TBS sambal oelek or sriracha

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

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Cut the stems from the mushrooms & scrape the fine ribs from the bottom – as they can get bitter.

Mix the marinade ingredients & toss the mushrooms in it & let them sit at least an hour.

Heat your grill or dry grill pan until it is very hot.  The mushrooms should sizzle upon contact.  Cook 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve whole or sliced – any way you prefer.  You can drizzle the extra marinade on them – if you like.  Eat’m up!

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Deconstructed Vegan Shepherd’s Pie or Broccoli & Mashed Potato Casserole

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or 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.






This dish takes a few steps but all are easy.   I adapted this recipe from One Green Planet’s MASHED POTATO CASSEROLE WITH BROCCOLI AND A CAULIFLOWER GRAVY.  I already had gravy in the freezer – leftover from my effort at poutine – seen just below.  It was a leek & sage brown gravy & the recipe is HERE.  When I end up with more of something than I need for a recipe – I often freeze the extra in Ziplock bags that I store flat – so they take up very little space in my freezer – as seen just below the poutine here.  Just squeeze the air out & place it on top of a frozen pizza or some other flat item (a cookie sheet) until it freezes.  It thawed quickly in the bag when placed under hot running water.  You can use this gravy recipe or your own favorite one or the easiest one ever – HERE.





I wanted to use one of the vegan cheeses I recently bought from Soledad Goat Sanctuary…seen just above.  It is creamy & has a tang sort of like sour cream & I thought it would add a nice layer of flavor & some richness to the potato level.  You can use any soft cheese you like (cream cheese or whatever) or eliminate that ingredient with no real negative impact on this dish.

The nice thing about this dish is that it combines potato, broccoli & gravy in one decadent dish & it is easy to transport to a family or friend’s house as your vegan contribution to an otherwise potentially non-vegan meal.  Meat eaters will love it & vegans could really get away with eating only this & not feeling too ripped off.

I used fresh broccoli but frozen will do – if you prefer it.



Deconstructed Vegan Shepherd’s Pie or Broccoli & Mashed Potato Casserole


2 large heads of broccoli – cut into florets

10 small red potatoes – cut into large chunks (I left skins on)

1 (14 oz) can of white beans – drained & rinsed

2 cups gravy of choice (two recipes are linked above)

4 oz soft vegan cheese (optional) OR 2-4 TBS vegan butter (or both if you are feeling decadent!)

2 garlic cloves

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1/4 cup parsley

1 large rosemary sprig – leaves removed

small handful of fresh oregano

few sprigs of fresh thyme

2 TBS olive oil






Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make your gravy.  Set aside.

Prepare the broccoli (try very hard not to overcook it).   Steam or boil it for 2-3 minutes & drain it under cold water   When cool enough to handle – chop it pretty small.  (I take the steamed stalks & blend them into wet food for my dogs.)  Chop the thyme & oregano & toss with the broccoli & 1 or 2 TBS olive oil.  Season with S&P.  Set aside.


Puree the beans and 1/2 cup almond milk in a high power (or regular) blender until smooth.  (I REALLY love my Magic Bullet that I recently bought at Bed Bath & Beyond for $30 & I recommend them.)  Add the rosemary & parsley & puree them into the bean mixture.  Set aside.






Boil the potatoes and the garlic cloves until the potatoes are very soft.  Drain.  Return to the pan.  Add the bean puree, soft cheese or butter (or both) & blend with a hand mixer or immersion blender.  Add as much additional milk as you need to make them thick but creamy.  Season with S&P.



I sprayed my casserole pan with cooking spray but that probably is not necessary.

Spread the potatoes on the bottom.  Top with as much gravy as you like (I used about 2 cups – which was A LOT (though not too much for ME) – so add as much as feels right to you) & then the broccoli.




Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.  Let it rest a few minutes & serve!

If you have extra gravy, either put it on the table or freeze it.




Vegan or Vegetarian Poutine with Vegan Mushroom, Leek & Sage Brown Gravy plus Emily Valentine, 90210, Puddles Pity Party & Chucky!



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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It has been an exciting few weeks.  First of all – I attended Rewind Convention in Chicago for an 80’s-90’s TV & film thingy & lotsa the 90210 folks were there.  It was great seeing them!





It was as cool as seeing the Child’s Play 2 cast – which I did in September.  Coolest of all was seeing the 90210: The Musical in NYC!   It runs thru Dec. 17 so – if you live near NYC & love 90210 – you MUST go see it.  Here is a little peek:

Is that not BRILLIANT?  I have to say – this homage was as surreal as it was flattering.  Truly – a highlight of my career – to have a character I created recreated by others.  REALLY fun.

Then I got to see & MEET Puddles!!!   If you are unfamiliar – you are really missing out.  He is a 6’8″ sad clown with a truly golden voice!   See him if you ever get the opportunity.

So – it has been an incredible fall for me!






Oh!  And there is more!   I had a few lines on a new TV show!   See above.  Only a few lines but they were with Topher Grace (swoon!) and Ray Romano – so – that did not suck.  Even the 5am call time was made OK because it was at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery!  And Topher Grace was VERY generous & confessed to having been a big 90210 fan, back in the day.  It is always comforting when other actors acknowledge being aware of you and your work.  And I am a huge fan of Topher’s so – yeah.  That was fun!



So – yeah – a fun-filled autumn.

So – I realized this week that I am becoming a hoarder.  A food hoarder.  I have moth issues so I like to keep all my dry goods (beans, rice, sugar, flour, pasta etc) in the fridge or freezer.  Still – they keep putting that Di Martino pasta on sale for .79 cents a pound!  I cannot afford NOT to buy it!  So – as I was shoving my twentieth pound of overflow dry goods into my pantry – I saw my pantry.  Really saw it.


Those drawers are DEEP.  I have enough food in there to last years and I live ALONE!  I have every condiment from American standards to those needed for Thai or Indian or whatever-the-fuck food.  There are about 20 jars of Rao’s Arrabbiata pasta sauce and at least 20 pounds of dry pasta & every kind of canned bean & oil or vinegar of whatever you can think of.  If you can name it – I probably have more than one container of it and if it comes in varieties – I will have several.  I even have canned tuna & meats for my dogs.  It is a fucking problem.

Another problem is that I recently watched the amazing Food Choices documentary.  Click that to watch the trailer.  I already eat about 90% vegan – with cheese being my final hurdle.  The movie really drove home, for me, the idea that eating cheese is really no better than eating meat.  It requires the same suffering & death (of baby calves) – making cheese consumption on par with veal.  I would NEVER eat veal & even silently judge those I hear order it.  Yet – cheese is still on my plate.

So – I went to the farmers’ market in Hollywood the past crisp & gorgeous Sunday morning hoping to find the Soledad Goat folks & buy vegan cheese from them.  They were not there (but I discovered & purchased their cheezes online HERE this week & bought several) – but, like an asshole, I let myself be drawn to the local REAL cheese guy’s table.  I have been longing to experiment with a poutine recipe but have never seen cheese curds anywhere.  I was not even sure what they were.  But – he had them.  They are:

From Wikipedia:

Cheese curds, in cuisine or cooking, are the solid parts of curdled milk either eaten alone or used in various regional dishes mostly in Canada and the northeastern and midwestern United States. They are sometimes referred to as “squeaky cheese“.

Cheese curds start off with fresh milk. The milk is pasteurized, much like in the process of creating cheese. During this process, rennet is added to clot the milk. After the milk has been pasteurized, the result is a mixture of whey and the early stages of the curd. This mixture is then cooked. Next, it is pressed to release the whey from the curd, thus creating the final product of cheese curd.


Their flavor is mild, but can differ in taste depending on the process in which it was made. It has about the same firmness and density as cheese, but with a springy or rubbery texture. Fresh curds squeak against the teeth when bitten into, a defining characteristic due to air trapped inside the porous material. This “squeak” has been described by the New York Times as sounding like “balloons trying to neck”. After 12 hours, even under refrigeration, cheese curds lose much of their “fresh” characteristic, particularly the “squeak”.[4] Keeping them at room temperature can preserve the squeakiness.


While I debated buying those – he insisted I taste his sage-cheddar.  I did.  It was delicious.  I caved & bought the sage cheese & the curds.  Here are some of his other cheeses & some info on him.




I also headed to the Korean table because they make the MOST INSANELY DELICIOUS TEMPEH!  I bough two of those.  And a fennel bulb.  Then I became overwhelmed by the choices, the number of vendors peddling produce and, frankly, the prices.  These markets are not cheap.  So – I scuttled home with the tempeh, the guilty cheese & the fennel.



Several years ago, I realized I had stockpiles of food that were getting out of control.  I did an experiment & tried to ONLY eat what I already had, in an effort to spend ZERO on groceries in one month.  I managed to almost do it but I had to spend a few dollars here and there for non-dairy creamer & stuff.  But – I bought no produce so – after a week or so – I was fresh outta fresh produce & was reduced to eating pastas, rices & breads that I had frozen.  As I state in my novel – and all beige diet has consequences.   I will let you guess what I mean but let’s just say it is very different than, say, an all-BEET diet.  My friends knew I was doing this and began panicking.  Two different people delivered bags of produce to my door.  When I attempted this pantry-emptying plan a second time – again – one of those friends delivered produce to my door.  VERY VERY sweet!  But – I was not on a hunger strike.  I was just challenging myself to stop hoarding & being wasteful of perishables.

So – as I launch into my third effort to spend zero on groceries (wine being an exception – and eating in restaurants doesn’t count, either) – I will still allow myself my regular twice-monthly delivery of produce from Farm Fresh to You.  That way – my friends won’t be wringing their hands, terrified that my bones are crumbling & my skin is falling off or whatever it is they fear.   I will attempt to keep a log of what I eat & what money I spend.  Yesterday – I spent just under $10 at Carneys.  I had a Garden burger & fries.  For dinner – a small salad.




Today’s breakfast.  That is the best almond milk – in my opinion.  And vegans, beware!  Those Morning Star sausages are only vegetarian – not vegan!  Bear with me – these posts will get more and more creative as I am forcing myself to eat what I have without buying anything – for a month!   We will see how it goes.

OK – on to the POUTINE!  I do not think I have ever had poutine but the idea appeals to me.  You can use fresh cheese curds (as I did) or mozzarella or VEGAN cheese – like this amazing stuff below.



That little bag costs $8 but is the best & meltiest vegan mozzarella I have found – after my own homemade vegan mozzarella – seen below.


OK – so – you can make poutine using frozen fries & canned gravy & make this very easily.  I opted to MAKE the fries as I describe HERE.  And – I made a new vegan gravy because my other vegan gravy does not have the rich & dark color I wanted for the poutine.




So – first up – the

Vegan Mushroom, Leek & Sage Brown Gravy


5 TBS vegan butter

2 cups chopped mushrooms

1 leek

ten or more sage leaves

1/2 cup flour

6 cups vegetable stock

2 TBS soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos)

2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet

Chives – chopped for garnish (optional)




Finely chop the mushrooms & leek.  I pulsed them in my food processor.  If you do not own one – maybe just blend the finished gravy to make it smooth.




Heat the stock in a soup pan.  Add the soy sauce & kitchen bouquet.  Simmer.

In another pan, melt FOUR of the five tablespoons of the butter & saute the vegetables until soft.  Add the flour & stir to combine.  Add the stock 1/2 to 1 cup at at time – over high heat – until the gravy thickens.  If it is too thin once you add all the stock – just boil it down a bit.







Melt the remaining TBS of butter & fry the sage leaves a minute or two.  Drain them on a paper towl & crumble.  Add to the gravy.  Add the leftover sage butter to the gravy.  Voila!






Vegan or Vegetarian Poutine with Vegan Mushroom, Leek & Sage Brown Gravy


French fries – either THESE homemade, or your recipe or frozen ones

Gravy – either the recipe above or your favorite one

Cheese curds or grated cheese or vegan cheese

Chives or parsley as garnish





Once the fries are crispy & the gravy is warm – assemble the poutine:  fries, cheese, gravy & some chives or parsley.  Shove’m in your pie hole fast – before they get soggy.  Or – you can just dip fries & cheese in gravy.





Spicy Vegan Szechuan Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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This is really easy & does not use any ingredients that are especially exotic.  I added WAY too many hot peppers & blasted my face off with this one – so – I will recommend using less spice here than I did.  I used Gardein Beefless Tips that I found in the freezer section of my local Ralph’s.  You can use these or any other meat replacement you prefer.  The ratio of veggies is an entirely personal one.  You can take my suggestions or wing it – or just go straight beef & rice.  Your call.  But it is easy & bursting with flavor!



Spicy Vegan Szechuan Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry

Serves 4 with cooked rice


Cooked rice of your choice

2 TBS coconut oil (or other cooking oil)

9 oz meatless beef – defrosted

2 cups broccoli florets

2 bell peppers – seeded & cut into strips

3 carrots – chopped

1 leek or medium onion – chopped

1 large zucchini – chopped

4 oz mushrooms – sliced

1-2 jalapenos or serranos (seeded to lessen the heat) – or to taste – diced

1-3 tsp cornstarch (optional)

for the sauce

2 TBS vegan oyster-flavored or mushroom-flavored sauce

1 TBS minced ginger

1 TBS minced garlic

2 TBS chili garlic sauce (or sambal oelek)

1 TBS liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)

1 TBS dark soy sauce

1 tsp chili oil

1 TBS sesame oil

1 TBS dark berry jam (or molasses or brown sugar)










Cook the rice & set aside.

Mix the sauce & pour it into the bag with the faux beef & smoosh it around to marinate.

Heat the coconut oil in a wok or large fry pan.  I added the leeks & carrots & mushrooms first – because they take the longest to soften.





Add the fest of the produce.  Broccoli & zucchini cook fastest – so I added them last.  Once the veggies are cooked to your liking, stir in the beef & marinade.  You might want to add a bit of water – but not much.  If the sauce feels too thin – whisk in a tsp of cornstarch.  Mine did not need it but yours might.  Toss to heat through & serve with rice.




Hearty & Spicy Vegan Eggplant & Mushroom Bolognese Pasta Sauce

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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 had a fridge chock full of produce & not enough days of cooking before me to get through it all without a lot of it going bad – so – I made this very thick & hearty tomato sauce.  It is a great way to use a ton of veggies & clean out that fridge.  Additionally – if you puree it or use an immersion blender – you can hide the veggies from kids & other finicky palates.

I grilled the eggplant first – to add a smokey flavor – but this is not necessary.  I used kale & collard greens – because I had them – but they are totally optional – or you could use spinach, instead.  You can eliminate a lot of the ingredients without a negative impact on this sauce so feel free to customize it.

I had a bunch of sage that I had frozen.  It worked really well in this sauce – so – if you have herbs that are going to spoil, put them in sandwich bags & freeze them for use in future sauces.

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Hearty & Spicy Vegan Eggplant & Mushroom Bolognese Pasta Sauce

Makes a boatload – so either serve a large group or freeze some


9 oz vegan beef crumbles (I used Beyond Meat)

Olive oil

7 Japanese eggplants (or 3 large regular eggplants)

2 onions – diced

2 bell peppers – diced

2 large zucchini – chopped

4 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1 bunch kale – (optional) ribs removed, washed & chopped (or spinach)

1 bunch collard greens – (optional) ribs removed, washed & chopped fine (or spinach)

8 oz mushrooms – sliced

1/4 cup fresh sage – chopped

1-6 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 cup tomato paste (1 small can)

3 (26 oz) containers of chopped & strained tomatoes – in any combination (I used 2 strained & 1 chopped)

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan (very, very optional)

1 TBS salt

1-3 tsp crushed red pepper (according to your tolerance for heat)

1 TBS dry parsley

1 TBS oregano

1 TBS thyme (I used fresh chopped)

1/2 cup fresh basil – chopped

GARNISH – Cooked pasta, fresh chopped parsley or basil

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If you are grilling the eggplant – slice them & either spray them with cooking spray or brush them with olive oil & then grill them on both sides.  Set aside to cool – then chop.  Set aside.

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Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add onions & bell peppers & jalapenos.  Saute until softened.

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Add the zucchini & mushrooms & saute until tender.  Stir in the chopped eggplant.

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Add the greens you are using & fold in so they wilt.  Add the garlic & cook for a minute or two.

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Add all the other ingredients – EXCEPT the beef crumbles.   Bring to a boil & then reduce the heat & simmer for about 30 minutes.  If it gets too thick, add water.

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Now – if you are going to puree the sauce or use an immersion blender – now is the time.   Whatever you decide – pureed or not – add the beefy crumbles & heat through.

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Season with S&P.

Toss some of the sauce with cooked pasta.  You will have a lot of sauce left over – unless you are feeding a very large group.  Garnish with basil and/or parsley.

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Roasted Fennel & Mushroom Pizza

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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

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

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vromans back

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Ah, pizza!  This is not really a recipe – in that the quantities you use of each ingredient is up to you – as is the sauce you use & the dough you use.  I roasted the mushrooms – seen above (that recipe is HERE) and the fennel – but you could slice them very thin & use them raw.  I used real mozzarella here but your favorite vegan cheese will do.  It is pizza and pizza loves you no matter what.

Roasted Fennel & Mushroom Pizza


Pizza dough ( I use this No-Rise thin crust recipe, lately)

Sauce (I always use Rao’s Arrabbiata)


Roasted (or raw) sliced mushrooms

1 large fennel bulb – sliced very thin

Olive oil


Chopped basil as garnish

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Roast the mushrooms as outlined HERE – of just use them raw.

To roast the fennel – heat the oven to 400.  Toss the fennel slices with a little olive oil & a bit of salt.  Roast for 10-20 minutes – or until the fennel is soft & just turning color.

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Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

I love parchment paper as nothing sticks to it so I recommend it highly.  If you don’t have any – lightly grease your cooking sheet.

Roll out the dough & put it on the sheet.  Top with sauce, fennel, mushrooms & cheese.  Cook for about 12 minutes or until the crust is golden & the cheese is melted.  Add the basil & get busy getting your eat on!

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Vegan South Indian Coconut Curry with Mushrooms & Peas




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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Pictured above with Creamy Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry & Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”

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This one has quite a few ingredients only two of which might be hard to find – the fenugreek seeds & the curry leaves.  Honestly – I think there is so much flavor in this dish that you can omit those if you cannot find them.   This dish used unsweetened grated coconut blended with cashews & I did not blend my coconut fine enough & it added a bit of texture to the dish that was not unpleasant – but I will definitely pulse it more finely next time.

Indian foods are often served with one of my favorite condiments in the world – Spicy Cilantro and Mint Chutney (seen below) and I recommend making some because it really adds something special – though it is definitely not necessary.

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Vegan South Indian Coconut Curry with Mushrooms & Peas

Serves 4 with rice


1 lb mixed mushrooms – sliced

2 cups peas

2 tomatoes – diced

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

4 TBS fresh ginger or ginger paste

1 cup unsweetened grated coconut

20 cashews

15 curry leaves (optional)

2 tsp black mustard seeds (mustard powder – if you do not have seeds)

1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

2 TBS coconut or olive oil

5 cups vegetable stock

Garnish – cilantro

Cooked rice

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Pulse the cashews & coconut in a food processor or spice mill until the coconut is very fine – more fine than in my photo below.  Set aside

Heat 2 TBS oil & saute the mushrooms over high heat until they are soft & beginning to brown.  Put in a bowl & set aside.

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In the same pan  – add another TBS oil & add the mustard seeds heat until they begin to pop then add the fennel seeds & fenugreek seeds.

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Stir & add the onion & tomato & saute until the onions are soft.  Add the garlic & the ginger & the chili powder, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and cumin & stir to incorporate.

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Add the coconut/cashew blend & the curry leaves.  Blend & then add the stock & bring to a boil.

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Boil it down until it thickens a bit & then add the mushrooms & peas.  You might want to reserve a few mushroom slices & peas to garnish the servings but this is not necessary.

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If the texture is to your liking – serve it on top of rice.  I chose to puree about half of it with an immersion blender.  You can do this – or use a regular blender to puree some of it – or not.  Your call.

Serve over rice & garnish with reserved veggies or cilantro.

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Vegan Seared Garlic-Balsamic Mushrooms with Fresh Thyme & Creamy Polenta (Grits)

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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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vromans back

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What you see pictured here are actually grits.  Grits are the same as polenta but more coarsely ground.  And – if you are interested, yellow grits have fewer calories than white.  I used Red Mill grits (seen below in a photo I took from Google).


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They cooked up nice & creamy in less than ten minutes.  The polenta I used for my Vegan Creamy Polenta Bowl with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, Thyme & Balsamic Glaze – seen above – took longer but I cooked that in a slow cooker, so you could argue it was easier.

I really like grits (polenta) in pretty much any form (the soupier cream of wheat style being my favorite) and leftovers bake up will into delicious & guiltless fries (below).

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But – polenta can be served soft & creamy or in harder patties & it can be topped with just about anything.  If you eat seafood – Shrimp & Grits are pretty amazing.  But this dish here is very simple & straight-forward & delicious.  It comes together in the time it takes to cook your grits – and that depends on what brand you buy.

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Vegan Seared Garlic-Balsamic Mushrooms with Fresh Thyme & Creamy Polenta (Grits)

Serves 2


Polenta for 2 (this amount is your call- based on your appetite but know packaging usually defines a serving as smaller than is realistic – so err on the side of making too much & make baked fries out of the leftovers)

Mushrooms – I’d go with 8oz per person because mushrooms really shrink – sliced

Olive oil

1 or more garlic cloves (depending entirely on your taste for garlic) – minced

1-2 TBS fresh thyme removed from stems

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar


Fresh parsley – chopped

NOTE: If you want more flavorful grits – use vegetable stock rather than water when you make them.

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Cook the grits/polenta according to instructions.  If it gets too thick – just add more water.

Meanwhile – heat 2 TBS olive oil in a pan over high heat & add the mushrooms.  Leave them in a pan a few minutes at a time without stirring to sear them.  When they are tender & browning, add the garlic & thyme.  Cook for 1-2 minutes (do not burn the garlic or it gets bitter) then add the balsamic.  It will cook off fast.  Add S&P.

Serve over polenta.  Garnish with parsley.

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Creamy Vegan No-Pasta Zoodles with Arugula & Chanterelle Mushrooms & Thyme

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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vromans back

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Zoodles.  Noodles made from spiralized zucchini.  No carbs.  No guilt.  Really yummy & very easy.  I prefer the hand held & less expensive spiralizer like THESE for zucchini.  It is fast & easy to use & has minimal clean up – but if you have a tabletop version – knock yourself out.

I used Chanterelle mushrooms because I had them but any of the more mildly flavored mushrooms will do.  I might avoid portobello only because they can get dark when cooked and not look so pretty.  I also used arugula but spinach or any other leafy green, like kale or chard, would also work.

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I used my own, homemade vegan mozzarella (seen above) but any mild vegan cheese will do – and even real cheese would work – if you are a cheese eater.

This was my first effort with zoodles where I did not add real pasta to the mix so – without the heat of pasta to toss them with – they needed some cooking.  My result was more watery (you can see in the photos) than was ideal and so – in the future – I will use THIS technique to drain them a bit before cooking them and I recommend you do, too.  The procedure is simply to lay the zoodles on paper towel & lightly salt them & press more paper towel on top.  Maybe change out the top towel – if necessary.  Roll up in paper towel & squeeze.  This should get most of the excess moisture out.

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Creamy Vegan No-Pasta Zoodles with Arugula & Chanterelle Mushrooms & Thyme

Feeds 2


2 very large zucchini (enough so you get about 5-6 cups of spiralized noodles) – spiralized

1/2 lb mushrooms (I used Chanterelle) – sliced

1-2 cups arugula (or spinach)

1-2 cups grated vegan mozzarella (I used one cup but would suggest going with two)

2 garlic cloves – chopped

Olive oil

Several TBS Fresh thyme – removed from stems

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

1 cup almond (or other vegan) milk


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Spiralize the zucchini & follow THESE steps to remove excess moisture.

Heat the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour.  Add a TBS or two of fresh thyme.  Incrementally add the milk in small amounts – allowing the roux to thicken each time.   Add the cheese & stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese melts & the sauce is creamy.  Season with S&P.  Stir in the arugula.  Set aside on medium-low to keep warm.

In  saute pan – heat a TBS olive oil & cook the mushrooms.  When they are almost done to your liking – add the garlic & a TBS of thyme & stir to incorporate.  After 2 minutes or so – remove from heat because you don’t want to burn the garlic.  Season with S&P.

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In that same saute pan – heat another TBS or two & quickly cook the zoodles – not more than 2-3 minutes or they will get too mushy.  Toss the zoodles with the cheese sauce & heat through.

Serve on plates & spoon some mushrooms onto each serving.  Garnish with more thyme & freshly cracked pepper.

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CHEF’D – White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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vromans back

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There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.  And – while the meals were tasty, they were pretty labor-intensive – some taking an hour to prepare.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Additionally, so far, I have found their recipes fresh & interesting but fast & easy to prepare.  Great for date night!  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals




HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & posted about the burger HERE – and the tacos in another post HERE.  I also posted about the Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese HERE and the Tofu Parmigiana HERE.  They can be seen below, respectively.
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OK – so this is my third post about my box of three meals that I ordered from Chef’d in my second delivery from them.  It is their White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms and Arugula Salad with Lemon Mint Vinaigrette.  Arugula salad is my favorite thing ever & I am also a huge fan of lemon & mint – but – I had this box delivered Saturday & did not get to this recipe until Thursday.  As a result – through no fault of Chef’d – my arugula had passed its edible period.
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I considered using the wilted arugula on the pizza but it was too far gone.   Sad.  I love arugula!  But – I just didn’t get to it on time.  MY fault!
But everything else was still fresh.  The recipe called for (and provided) real milk.  While I am still not totally off cheese or butter (vegan butter is so far ahead of vegan cheese – so far) – I am trying really hard to be entirely off eggs & milk – so I just substituted almond milk & vegan butter.  Made no difference – as in – was just as good.  I did use the real cheese, though.
My experiences with the Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza & the Tofu Parmigiana were that I found that they probably were not enough to realistically feed two American adults – for dinner.  That was not the case with this pizza.  I had accidentally used one of the pizza dough balls provided by Chef’d for my two pizzas on a separate pizza altogether – so I used my own (peppered) homemade crust when I made this.  Also – I only made  half pizza (using half the ingredients) and I was STUFFED!  So – I think this pizza actually might satisfy two adults.  Here is the nutritional info:
white pizza
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At 2480 calories (including, I assume, the salad that I did not even make) – this is a hearty meal!  And it was DELICIOUS!  Again – I found the Chef’d recipe to be less labor intensive than other companies that I have tried – less labor intensive BY A LOT – and the result more satisfying.  I only ate half of the half recipe I made.  Rich & filling & yummy! And easy.  The white sauce came together quickly.
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Mushrooms & broccoli cooked up fast & easy & the pizza assembled without incident.  I did add crushed red pepper but I add that to almost all things not served in a glass.  That peppery crust you see is my own homemade crust.  But – the result was a pizza with lots of flavors & textures.  While I have found all of the dishes I have tried from Chef’d to be easy to make & really tasty to eat – this one is the current champion of full-blown decadence.  So – if one night – you eat this entire decadent meal – maybe the next night – you compensate with the far lighter tofu parmigiana?
Whether eating light is your concern or getting a rich & wintery meal into your pie hole is your goal – I think Chef’d has you covered.  And I don’t eat meat – so I can’t even get into sampling what those dishes offer.  But I recommend these Chef’d meals with complete enthusiasm.  Even for the most novice chef – and especially for novice vegetarians.  Lots of folks who want to cut more meat out of their diet fear only salads in their futures & Chef’d can quickly dispel those fears – and leave almost everybody feeling more empowered in the most important room in their homes – the kitchen!
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