DDD #59 – Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Dried Cranberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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 know I say that a great many of my recipes are born simply of what I have handy and it is true.  It is true even when I say that all I had around was a bag of Brussels sprouts and an aging pomegranate.  And pistachios.  And when I thought to make a salad of them, I wished I had some dried cranberries to add to it.  I don’t typically go for dried fruit in anything but dried cranberries just sounded so right for this.  I dug deep in my crisper drawers looking for some other inspiration & found an unopened but very old & gross bag of raisins & while I wondered why I ever even bought a bag of raisins because, you know, ew – raisins – I spotted a bag of something from a bulk bin in the corner of the drawer.   Closer inspection revealed it to be a small bag of dried cranberries!  WTF?  Why did I have dried cranberries?  Quickly, I wished for a series regular gig on what would turn out to be a long running & iconic HBO series and waited for a few seconds for my life to change.  Nothing.  A few minutes later I was still me, still unemployed & still holding the bag.  Of dried cranberries. Fuck.  I hate when I waste the wishes that will be granted on things like a small quantity of dried cranberries.  I felt like Peter Griffin on Family Guy when, confronted by a real, live genie, wishes for his own personal theme music & not to have bones.

So, yeah.  Career still on hold but that’s a go on the salad!

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Salads aren’t really recipes, are they?  I made this guy for myself & I used about 8-10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts & ate the entire salad – even though it was probably enough for two.  So – anyway – I will give you rough estimates of what I used but you can add or subtract ingredients & adjust quantities to suit your own taste.  If there is wiggle room in making anything – it is salad – so go for it.

I made a simple dressing of lemon & olive oil & then decided I wanted something a bit creamier – so I added a bit of Greek yogurt.  You can skip that or, if you are vegan, add a bit of vegan mayonnaise.   Or use another of your favorite dressings.  I ain’t judging.

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Dried Cranberries & Pomegranate Seeds

Serves two

INGREDIENTS

10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts

Handful of pistachios

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of pomegranate seeds

For the dressing

1/3 cup Greek yogurt or vegan mayonnaise  – optional

2 TBS lemon juice (or nice wine vinegar)

1 TBS olive oil

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the dressing ingredients together & season with S&P.  Taste & adjust the flavors.  Some like lemon more than others.  Some like more salt.  Suit yourself.

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Toast the pistachios in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes, until aromatic & beginning to change color.  Stir the whole time & take care not to burn them.  Set aside.

Trim the hard ends off the Brussels sprouts & shred with the blade of your food processor or cut thin by hand.  Be sure to break up any of the white cores that remain – even cutting them by hand if your food processor let them slip by.

Now, just toss all that shit together (go easy on the dressing) & eat both servings yourself.  FTW.

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut-Ginger Cream, Pistachios & Pomegranate Seeds

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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.

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This might – honestly – be the most delicious soup I have ever made and it is as easy as can be.  If you have a blender, food processor or immersion blender – you can wow the fuck out of your friends with this glorious, autumnal, light & healthy, rich & creamy soup!  I used all the random veggies that I had wilting in my vegetable bins.  You can add or subtract ingredients but I gotta say – this baby is kinda perfect!  Very little added oil & chock full of veggie nutrients.  The Coconut- ginger cream is certainly optional but it adds a nice level.  The pistachios & pomegranate were for texture & color – but they can go with little impact on this soup.  If you are not vegan – stirring in a little goat cheese might be a nice touch.

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut-Ginger Cream, Pistachios & Pomegranate Seeds

Serves 4 very well

INGREDIENTS

3 medium sweet potatoes – sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

3 bell peppers – halved & seeded

1/2 onion (or a leek or some shallots) – peeled & cut in half

10 small carrots – ends trimmed

1 jalapeno (optional)

1 TBS fresh lemon juice (optional)

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp red (or other) curry powder (or curry paste)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne

Several fresh thyme sprigs (or 1/2 tsp dry thyme)

4 cups vegetable stock

olive oil (or coconut or other oil)

S&P

Garnish – pistachios and pomegranate seeds (optional)

for the coconut-ginger cream

5.5 ounces coconut milk

1-3 TBS minced ginger (I used a squeezable kind) – or to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the vegetables in a bit of olive oil & spread in a single layer on cooking sheets (covered with either foil sprayed with cooking spray or parchment paper).  Salt & pepper liberally.  Cook for about 30+ minutes or until the veggies are soft.  Some might need to come out earlier than others.  I cooked an extra sweet potato to put in my dogs’ food tonight.  They LOVE sweet potatoes.  The bell peppers should blacken a little bit.  When the peppers are done – either put them in a tightly-closed container or wrap them in foil to cool a bit.  This will make them sweat & the skins should peel off nicely under running water.  Do not worry if all the skin does not come off.

Meanwhile – combine the coconut milk & ginger – adding ginger in increments – until it tastes good to you.  Set aside.

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Once you can handle the veggies (not the sweet potatoes) – chop them a little bit.  Seed the jalapeno to make it less spicy.  I used the seeds.

Heat a little olive oil in a large stock pot & add the chopped veggies & sweet potato and garlic.  Stir to combine & then add stock & spices.  Squeeze in about a TBS lemon juice.  Bring to a boil & turn off heat.

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Puree the soup in batches or with an immersion blender.  I added about 1-2 cups of water to thin it enough to puree in the blender.  Season with S&P.

Serve garnished with coconut-ginger cream, pistachios & pomegranate seeds.

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Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

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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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Fennel is a divisive vegetable.  The sharp licorice flavor is either something you love or hate, it seems.  But, as with garlic, the flavor of fennel mellows into something else entirely – when you roast it.  It becomes soft & sorta sweet & it compliments this salad nicely.

I used arugula but any mixed greens or baby spinach would work, too.  I added pistachios but any nuts would work – especially if you toasted them a bit first.

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I used this lovely blood orange olive oil but regular olive oil would work.  I used the dark balsamic – but white balsamic would be lovely, too.

And for the goat cheese – I used this stuff (below).   It has the texture of a soft goat cheese & was really delicious.  If you eat cheese – real goat cheese or feta would also work.

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Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

4-6 beets (red or golden – no matter)

1 large fennel bulb

2 fists full of arugula or other greens

1/4 cup pistachios

1 avocado – cubed

Vegan soft cheese (or real goat or feta cheese) – quantity up to you

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap the beets in foil.  No need to even wash them – as that will happen later.  If they are large (mine were about the size of ping pong balls) – cut them into smaller chunks.

Cut the fronds off the fennel (saving some of the dilly leaves for garnish) & cut the bulb in half.  Place on a cooking sheet & drizzle with olive oil.

Place the beets in foil on the cooking sheet with the fennel & roast 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  The beets might take longer than the fennel.

When the beets cool – wash them under running water & rub the skins off.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Slice up the fennel.

Place some greens on each plate.  Top with beets, fennel, avocado, pistachios & crumbled cheese. Drizzle with olive oil & balsamic.  Garnish with fennel leaves and S&P.

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

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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

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

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

Here you go!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arugula Pistachio Pesto

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

INGREDIENTS

6 oz fresh arugula

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/4 cup pistachios (or other nuts)

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

No-Carb Lasagna Noodles

INGREDIENTS

1 large head cauliflower – riced (about 10 cups)

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 TBS seasoning (see above)

1 TBS oregano

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

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

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

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Garlicky Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms & Leeks

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

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

2 leeks – white sections only – chopped small

1/2 lb mushrooms – diced

1 lb Brussels sprouts – chopped or sliced fine

1 tsp each S&P

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped

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DIRECTIONS

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

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

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

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Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel

INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond (or other) milk

3 TBS butter

3 TBS flour

2 garlic cloves – minced

8-10 oz goat cheese – room temp

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

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DIRECTIONS

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

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

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

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

INGREDIENTS

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

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

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

2-3 cups grated cheese (I used mozzarella)

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

Parsley – chopped (as garnish)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

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

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

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

1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

1/2 of the pesto

1/2 of the veggies

1/3 of the bechamel

another 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the other 1/2 of the pesto

the other 1/2 of the veggies

another 1/3 of the bechamel

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

the final 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the rest of the bechamel

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

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

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Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata

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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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This is not a vegan dish but the goat cheese & ricotta salata are just nice additional touches to the arugula pesto & could be eliminated – and the dish would still be yummy.  Ricotta salata is described like this on Cheese.com:

The words ‘Ricotta’ means re-cooked and ‘Salata’ means salted. Ricotta Salata is an Italian cheese made from the whey part of sheep milk, which is pressed, salted and aged for at least 90 days. It is milky white in color with firm texture and salty taste. The cheese is often used in salads and ideal for slicing, crumbling and grating.

It is just an elegant garnish here.  The goat cheese I added was so insignificant in quantity as to hardly matter.  I used real Parmesan – but they do make vegan ones so, if you are vegan, I still recommend this arugula pistachio pesto pasta.

Easy as easy gets – you just whip up the pesto in a food processor, boil some pasta & mix the shit up.  Add the cheeses if you are a cheese eater and that is that.  It can be ready in a little more time than it takes to cook the pasta.

I used this non-vegan stuff I found recently at my personal happiest place on Earth – Super King.  They were smaller than your average bow tie pastas & I liked that they call them butterflies.  🙂

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Arugula Pistachio Pesto

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

INGREDIENTS

6 oz fresh arugula

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/4 cup pistachios (or other nuts)

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

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

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

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Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata

OK – this is a dish where the ration of ingredients is up to the chef.  But here is a loose guide:

INGREDIENTS

Pasta enough to feed your guests

Arugula pistachio pesto (recipe above)

Additional fresh arugula

Goat cheese (less than an ounce per person) – optional

Ricotta salata as garnish (or Parmesan) – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Make the pesto.

Boil the pasta.  Drain it & return it to the pan.  Toss with pesto (starting in small increments because too much pesto gets yucky!).   If using goat cheese – add some here now & toss well.  Add some fresh arugula & toss.

Serve garnished with either shaved or grated ricotta salata or Parmesan.  Or not.

Lots of fresh pepper & you are done!  SEE HOW EASY?

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Grilled Caramelized Peaches with Burrata and Mint Pistachio Pesto

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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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These are pretty easy & really special.  I added brown sugar to caramelize the peaches but, in the future, I will not as I think they are plenty sweet on their own.  I caramelized them in butter but olive oil is just as good.

Burrata is basically a ball of fresh mozzarella filed with a creamier & softer version of the same cheese.  If you haven’t tried it you must!  If you cannot find it (TRader Joe’s & Costco both typically carry it) – just use the best grade fresh mozzarella you can find.

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Grilled Caramelized Peaches with Burrata and Mint Pistachio Pesto

This serves two as an appetizer

INGREDIENTS

2 peaches cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 burrata balls

butter or olive oil

Brown sugar (optional)

Mint Pistachio Pesto

Basil micro greens as garnish – if you want to be SUPER fancy & spend $5 on garnish

Extra pistachios as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Make the Mint Pistachio pesto (and thin it with water a bit).

You can grill the peaches on a grill or in a grill pan – or even in a saute pan.  If you want the peaches caramelized – press them into some brown sugar & caramelize them over med-high heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side in some melted butter – or just rub olive oil on them & grill them until they get grill marks & soften a bit.  Your call.  They will be great either way.

Then just plate them up with the burrata (or sliced fresh mozzarella) & drizzle with the mint & pistachio pesto.  Lots of cracked pepper & a far amount of sea salt really bring the flavors together.  I promise!

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

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Mint Pistachio Pesto

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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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I never use pine nuts anymore because 1) they are too expensive but more importantly 2) PINE MOUTH!  Click that link & read up.  You might opt to eschew them in the future yourselves.

Pesto can be made with nearly anything & I have posted a lot of options in the past.  This one is clean & fresh & would work on pasta or crostini or fish or lost of other things – like the grilled peaches & burrata I intend to post next.

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Mint Pistachio Pesto

INGREDIENTS

1 packed cup fresh mint

1/2 packed cup basil

1/4 cup pistachios

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 TBS lemon juice

(water to thin it – depending on how you intend to use it)

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DIRECTIONS

Blend it all up in a food processor.  Use it thick for crostini etc or thin it out with water to use as a drizzle (as I did on the peaches & burrata).

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

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vromans back

 

Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pistachios and 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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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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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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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Dried Cranberries & Pomegranate Seeds

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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 know I say that a great many of my recipes are born simply of what I have handy and it is true.  It is true even when I say that all I had around was a bag of Brussels sprouts and an aging pomegranate.  And pistachios.  And when I thought to make a salad of them, I wished I had some dried cranberries to add to it.  I don’t typically go for dried fruit in anything but dried cranberries just sounded so right for this.  I dug deep in my crisper drawers looking for some other inspiration & found an unopened but very old & gross bag of raisins & while I wondered why I ever even bought a bag of raisins because, you know, ew – raisins – I spotted a bag of something from a bulk bin in the corner of the drawer.   Closer inspection revealed it to be a small bag of dried cranberries!  WTF?  Why did I have dried cranberries?  Quickly, I wished for a series regular gig on what would turn out to be a long running & iconic HBO series and waited for a few seconds for my life to change.  Nothing.  A few minutes later I was still me, still unemployed & still holding the bag.  Of dried cranberries. Fuck.  I hate when I waste the wishes that will be granted on things like a small quantity of dried cranberries.  I felt like Peter Griffin on Family Guy when, confronted by a real, live genie, wishes for his own personal theme music & not to have bones.

So, yeah.  Career still on hold but that’s a go on the salad!

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Salads aren’t really recipes, are they?  I made this guy for myself & I used about 8-10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts & ate the entire salad – even though it was probably enough for two.  So – anyway – I will give you rough estimates of what I used but you can add or subtract ingredients & adjust quantities to suit your own taste.  If there is wiggle room in making anything – it is salad – so go for it.

I made a simple dressing of lemon & olive oil & then decided I wanted something a bit creamier – so I added a bit of Greek yogurt.  You can skip that or, if you are vegan, add a bit of vegan mayonnaise.   Or use another of your favorite dressings.  I ain’t judging.

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Pistachios, Dried Cranberries & Pomegranate Seeds

Serves two

INGREDIENTS

10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts

Handful of pistachios

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of pomegranate seeds

For the dressing

1/3 cup Greek yogurt (or vegan mayonnaise)  – optional

2 TBS lemon juice (or nice wine vinegar)

1 TBS olive oil

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the dressing ingredients together & season with S&P.  Taste & adjust the flavors.  Some like lemon more than others.  Some like more salt.  Suit yourself.

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Toast the pistachios in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes, until aromatic & beginning to change color.  Stir the whole time & take care not to burn them.  Set aside.

Trim the hard ends off the Brussels sprouts & shred with the blade of your food processor or cut thin by hand.  Be sure to break up any of the white cores that remain – even cutting them by hand if your food processor let them slip by.

Now, just toss all that shit together (go easy on the dressing) & eat both servings yourself.  FTW.

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Broccoli Rabe & Pistachio Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta & Shirataki

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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Ok – yeah.  This is the same broccoli rabe pesto from my Mashed Cauliflower with Broccoli Rabe Pesto, Seared Mushrooms & Vegan Gravy.  Same pics of that pesto, too.  Sometimes it gets overwhelming keeping this blog up.  Sometimes it gets expensive.  Sometimes, I make a large quantity of something & feel obligated to use it all.  This dish is the result of some leftover pesto and leftover spaghetti.  Originally, I made the whole wheat spaghetti (a full pound) with two bags of Shirataki Fettucine

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Adding the virtually guiltless shirataki to regular pasta stretches the dish out & reduces the calorie & carbohydrate consumed in a serving.   Originally, I had added olive oil, steamed cauliflower, lots of crushed red pepper & garlic to the noodles.  So – it was the remainder of those noodles to which I added the broccoli rabe & pistachio pesto.  The result was delicious.  This could be made with any kind of pasta, including a dish entirely comprised of shirataki.  Simple & easy.  The pesto should keep in the fridge for at least a week.  This pesto lends itself very well to the robust qualities of whole wheat pasta but regular pasta works well, too.

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Broccoli Rabe & Pistachio Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta & Shirataki

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta – any variety you prefer – whole wheat or otherwise

2 bags Shirataki (optional)

1 head of broccoli rabe

1 cup pistachios (or other nut) – toasted

1 heaping cup grated Parmesan

4 garlic cloves

3/4 cup olive oil

S&P to taste

Shaved Parmesan for garnish

Fresh parsley for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

If using shirataki, drain & rinse.

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Toast the pistachios in a dry pan, being careful not to burn them, until just fragrant.  Set aside.

Trim the rough stems from the broccoli rabe & immerse in boiling water for 3-5 minutes – until tender.  Drain & rinse in cold water.  Squeeze out all the excess fluid.

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In a food processor, pulse the cheese & garlic & nuts until they are a fine dice.  Then simply add the rest of the ingredients & pulse until pureed.  If it is too thick – add a small amount of water (or more olive oil).  Set aside.

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Cook your pasta according to package instructions.  Add shirataki (if using), in the last minute, just to heat through.

Drain pasta & toss with a portion (to taste – but likely not even half) of the pesto.

Garnish with cheese & parsley & fresh cracked pepper.

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Mashed Cauliflower with Broccoli Rabe Pesto, Seared Mushrooms & Vegan Gravy

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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This is comfort food at its finest.  Each of these components can be used individually of the others.  The gravy can be used any way you would use gravy.  The pesto would be great over pasta, as a base on pizza or on crostini – or any other way you might be inspired to use pesto.  It is a tad bitter – as broccoli rabe is wont to be – but I think that is its appeal.  The mashed cauliflower is a genius, light substitute for mashed potatoes & even the seared mushrooms could be used in pasta or risotto, on pizza or on crostini with some lovely meltable cheese – like goat or mozzarella or a bit of a blue cheese.

The mashed cauliflower can be made vegan (though it is not here) by simply using your vegan version of heavy cream or by replacing the cream entirely with a little veggie stock & vegan butter or just the veggie stock.   Roasted garlic could be added or cheese or anything you might like to add to your traditional mashed potato recipe.  It is as customizable as its potato counterpart.

My presentation here is not as I imagined.  I wanted to present it in a more sturdy tower like my Brown Rice & Quinoa Risotto with Arrabiata & Shrimp or my No Carb & 120 Calorie Shirataki Pasta Alla Checca – seen below respectively.

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Despite trying to limit the amount of heavy cream in the recipe, thereby keeping the texture of the mashed cauliflower pretty firm, I failed & my cauliflower wasn’t resilient enough to stand upright.  It didn’t effect how delicious this side dish is, though.   You can elect to reduce the cream in it if you want a less creamy, less mushy result.  Ramekins (or narrow bowls) can be used to tier the ingredients & then just flip the cauliflower-pesto layers onto a plate & top with mushrooms & gravy.  This can be eaten alone or as a side dish with a nice piece of grilled fish or other meat.  If the entire dish overwhelms you (there are many steps but all are SUPER simple) – please try at least one of the elements – the mashed cauliflower or the pesto or the vegan gravy – on their own.

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Mashed Cauliflower with Broccoli Rabe Pesto, Seared Mushrooms & Vegan Gravy

INGREDIENTS

For the mashed cauliflower

2 heads cauliflower – boiled soft

2/3 cups (or less) heavy cream (or vegan substitute)

S&P to taste

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For the broccoli rabe pesto

1 head of broccoli rabe

1 cup pistachios (or other nut) – toasted

1 heaping cup grated Parmesan

4 garlic cloves

3/4 cup olive oil

S&P to taste

For the seared mushrooms

8 large mushrooms – sliced thin

8 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS Marsala (optional)

Olive oil

S&P to taste

For the vegan gravy

7 medium shallots – whole & unpeeled

10 (or to taste) garlic cloves – whole

olive oil

5 large mushrooms – sliced thin

1 tsp fresh thyme

3 TBS flour

1/2 cup Marsala (optional)

2 TBS low sodium soy sauce

3 cups vegetable stock

1/2 tsp dry sage

1 tsp Dijon mustard

S&P to taste

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS

For the mashed cauliflower

Maybe do this step LAST just before serving – so mashed cauliflower maintains its heat.  Also – skip down to the gravy recipe below & roast the shallots & garlic first so they are ready when you need them.

Boil the cauliflower until very tender.  Puree in a food processor with heavy cream and S&P.

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For the broccoli rabe pesto

Toast the pistachios in a dry pan, being careful not to burn them, until just fragrant.  Set aside.

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Trim the rough stems from the broccoli rabe & immerse in boiling water for 3-5 minutes – until tender.  Drain & rinse in cold water.  Squeeze out all the excess fluid.

In a food processor, pulse the cheese & garlic & nuts until they are a fine dice.  Then simply add the rest of the ingredients & pulse until pureed.  If it is too thick – add a small amount of water (or more olive oil).  Set aside.

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For the seared mushrooms

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a saute pan.  Add the mushrooms & garlic (and 1/2 tsp salt) & stir over high heat until the mushrooms begin to brown.  Add the Marsala (if using) & cook it off.  Add S&P, remove from heat  & set aside.

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For the vegan gravy

Toss the unpeeled shallots & whole garlic cloves in 1 tsp olive oil & wrap in foil.  Roast in an oven heated to 350 for 45 minutes.  Remove from heat & allow to cool.  When cool enough to handle, squeeze the shallots out of their skins into a food processor.  Add the garlic & puree until smooth.  Set aside.

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In the same pan you used for the seared mushrooms, heat another 2 TBS olive oil & heat the mushrooms & thyme & cook over high heat for about 5 minutes.  Add the flour & stir to coat.  Add the Marsala (if using) & cook it off & then add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the gravy to thicken a bit after each addition.  When all the stock is incorporated, add the pureed shallots & garlic, soy sauce, sage, Dijon and S&P to taste.  Allow to simmer about 15 minutes.

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To assemble, either use a culinary ring like THIS or use a ramekin or narrow bowl.  Simply layer some mashed cauliflower, then some pesto & then more cauliflower & flip onto a plate.  Top with seared mushrooms & gravy & some chopped parsley serve.

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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.

~

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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Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi with Three Sauces: Orange Cream, Pumpkin-Sage & Pistachio Pesto

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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 back

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I used a 29 oz can of pumpkin for this recipe & it made a BOATLOAD of gnocchi.  Gnocchi is pronounced “Nyawkki,” for those that are unsure.

At any rate – this recipe will produce three cookie sheets of raw gnocchi – like this:

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I would say each of those sheets represents four very healthy servings.  You might want to cut this recipe in half.  Not wanting to turn orange from pumpkin consumption, I opted to freeze the bulk of these.  To do that, I put the entire cookie sheet in the freezer & when the gnocchi were frozen solid, I chipped them off the cookie sheet & put them in individual zip lock bags – each containing a single serving.  To cook frozen gnocchi – put them in boiling water directly from the freezer & boil until they float to the top.  If you let them thaw first, they will become a gooey mess.

Another note, these gnocchi are vegan.  In the past, I have made potato gnocchi & they required eggs.  These do not & I like any opportunity to skip the use of eggs & dairy (though there is lots of dairy in two of the sauces).  However, the resulting gnocchi were more dense than the potato variety – even though I was careful not to over flour them & even rolled & cut the dough while it was still a bit tacky.  I am not sure if that is true because of the lack of eggs or maybe the wet pumpkin just combines differently than baked potato – but – just know these are pretty substantial – maybe even a tad chewy.  I will make potato ones soon, which come out a bit lighter.

As to the sauces I made – I wanted to avoid the traditional fried sage & brown butter sauce, mainly because it is how pumpkin things are always served.  These sauces might have photographed better with a white gnocchi beneath them (especially the green pistachio pesto which wasn’t pretty on the orange gnocchi) – so do not be thrown by the images here.  I must confess, I underachieved in the photography department here partly because I had color combos that were not ideal and, primarily, because I had three different gnocchi to photograph & I wanted to EAT them before they got cold.  I had my friend Mike taste all three sauces with me.  He liked the lemony pistachio pesto & the orange cream best.  I thought the orange cream was a tad sweet, despite the fact that there is no sugar added.  Maybe the California Cutie I used was too sweet for this recipe – and a regular orange would have been better.

I liked the pumpkin cream sauce but, in the future, will add much more fried sage (which I can eat like chips).  I liked the pistachio pesto – but I think it might be better served with a more neutral flavored gnocchi.  All the sauces are VERY easy to make & all would do well over pasta – so – if they sound good to you but an hour of rolling gnocchi does not – just open a box of penne or something & use the sauces on that.

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Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi

INGREDIENTS

1 29 oz can pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp nutmeg

5 1/2 – 6 cups flour

1/2 tsp each of S&P

DIRECTIONS

On a floured surface or in a bowl – combine the ingredients, adding flour incrementally just until the dough is no longer sticky.  Knead the dough for several minutes until it is soft & pliable.

OR – stick everything in your bread machine & run it on the pasta dough cycle.  This is what I did.

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Divide the dough onto sections about the size of a child’s fist & roll each out into snakes that are about 3/4 inch thick.  Cut the snakes into pieces (under an inch) and either use them as they are or roll them over fork tines to get a texture or use this awesome tool I got on Amazon for a few bucks.

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Let them rest on a lightly floured surface (or refrigerate) until you are ready to cook them.

To cook – simply boil water, add gnocchi & boil until they float to the surface.  Drain & top with your sauce & devour!

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Orange Cream Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 orange – zest & juice

2 TBS butter

3/4 cup vegan heavy cream

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Zest the orange – set zest aside.  Juice the orange – set juice aside.

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Heat the butter in a sauce pan & add the zest – reserving some for garnish later.  Let this cook on medium heat until it begins to thicken.  Add the cream & cook until it begins to thicken.  When it reaches a consistency you like – add S&P.

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Pumpkin-Sage Sauce

INGREDIENTS

olive oil

2 TBS butter

20 fresh sage leaves

1 small onion – diced

3 cloves garlic – minced

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup vegetable (or other) stock (I use water & veggie bouillon)

1/2 cup vegan heavy cream

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DIRECTIONS

Heat  butter with a little olive oil in a frying pan.  When hot – add the sage leaves & fry for a minute of two – until they begin to brown.  Drain on paper towels.

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Add onion & garlic to the pan & saute until they soften.  Add the pumpkin, stock & cream & simmer until it thickens.  Reserve the fried sage to top the gnocchi as garnish.

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Pistachio Pesto

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh basil

2 garlic cloves

3/4 cup shelled, roasted pistachios

1/3 cup vegan Parmesan cheese

1 TBS lemon juice

1/4 olive oil

1 tsp each S&P (or to taste)

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DIRECTIONS

Blend all ingredients in a food processor to create a paste.  Add water if you feel it is too thick.

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To assemble your gnocchi, just top hot gnocchi with either the orange cream garnished with orange zest or the pumpkin-sage sauce & the crumbled, fried sage or with the pistachio pesto with some crushed pistachios as garnish.  Get likkered up & gorge!

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Pistachio & Gruyere Pizza with Red Onions & Goat Cheese Rosemary Cream

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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.

~

I wanted to make a pizza without going to the store.  I had dough, Gruyere & the rosemary cream sauce left over from my Roasted Cauliflower pizza effort.  I had a bag of shelled pistachios from Trader Joe’s & I had a red onion.  The images here show a dough rolled thin to the point of being a flatbread.  I had a scant amount of the rosemary cream left so it was used sparingly.  I used too little Gruyere as well.  The result was an austerely topped but really pretty pizza.  In the future, I would go thicker with everything.  In fact – I would add a few gobs of goat cheese, too.  The rosemary cream recipe below omits the roasted garlic that was used in the Roasted Cauliflower Pizza recipe – primarily to simplify this recipe & skip the step of roasting garlic.  You could certainly add the step back if you have the inclination.  Conversely – you could omit the rosemary cream altogether – especially if you go heavier with the other toppings & add goat cheese.

So – in closing – this was a tasty & unusually flavored pizza.  I just recommend you go thicker with your dough & apply the toppings with a heavier hand.

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Pistachio & Gruyere Pizza with Red Onions & Goat Cheese Rosemary Cream

INGREDIENTS

GOAT CHEESE ROSEMARY CREAM (if using)

5 oz goat cheese (or just use goat cheese directly on the pizza – skipping this cream recipe)

2 TBS butter

1 1/4 cups heavy cream (or 1 1/4 cups Mexican Crema mixed with 1/2 cup water)

dry rosemary – a TBS & a pinch – chopped finely or crushed with a mortar & pestle.

3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary

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Pizza dough – homemade or prepared

Handful shelled pistachios – quantity to taste

Gruyere – grated – quantity to taste

1/2 red onion – shaved very, very thin

1 TBS fresh rosemary – chopped

Fresh Parmesan – grated – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

For the rosemary cream sauce (if using):

Heat 2 TBS butter in a stock pan.  Add the rosemary sprigs and simmer a minute then add the heavy cream.  Bring almost to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover & allow the rosemary to steep in the cream.  You can actually remove it from heat altogether & let it steep several hours – if you feel like it.  If using immediately – let it steep for 15-20 minutes then whisk in the goat cheese.  Add a pinch of dry rosemary.  Right before using, remove & toss the fresh rosemary sprigs.  If the cream sauce is too thick, add water.  If it is too thin, cook it down a bit.

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Assemble the pizza by rolling the dough out, not too thin, and topping it with the cream sauce (if using) and Gruyere, pistachios, shaved red onion & chopped fresh rosemary.  Add dollops of goat cheese – if you have it.  My pizza here did not have extra goat cheese & I believe it suffered for it.  Bake at 450 degrees until cheese melts & bubbles & the crust browns.  I added a little grated Parmesan as a garnish.

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Pizza with Fresh Figs, Goat Cheese, Roasted Pistachios & Honey at Pink Flamingo, Paris

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https://www.facebook.com/pinkflamingopizza

http://www.pinkflamingopizza.com/

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All photos in this article are credited to: Pink Flamingo

I will post a pizza from one of the several European franchises every once in a while because I think Pink Flamingo, established by my friends Jamie & Marie, makes the most astonishingly creative pizza masterpieces ever.   I highly recommend visiting one if you are in Europe.  In Paris, you can order a pizza and go sit by the river with the pink balloon they will hand you.  When your pizza is ready, they locate the balloon & deliver it to you.  One restaurant has a retro-fitted VW Bus outside that serves as a private 7 person dining room (Pink Flamingo du Maris – 105 rue Vieille du temple/01 42 71 28 20).

Even if you cannot get to one of their locations, you can certainly look at their Facebook posts & glean some inspiration!  I know I do!

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Their branding is unbelievably cool, too!

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