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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Vegan Creamy Polenta Bowl with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, Thyme & Balsamic Glaze

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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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Once again, I created a dish out of an effort to use what I had on hand and, I must admit, I am quite delighted.  I had a bag of polenta from the bulk section at Lassen’s (a store that is a wonderland of healthy foods but 1) mixes meat & vegan items in the same cases & it can get confusing and 2) is SO FUCKING claustrophobic that I am in a mild panic the whole time I am there).  I also had some roasted beets I needed to use.  Voila!

I am a huge fan of both polenta & grits (grits being the same thing, really, but just not as finely ground).  I especially like them creamy & soft – like a porridge.  Most polenta & grits recipes have cheese in them & you can certainly add cheese but this didn’t need it.  AND – I cooked the polenta in my slow cooker while I went spinning this morning!  I came home, exhausted, to a vat of steaming, creamy polenta.  Win win!

If you are not vegan, some crumbled goat cheese on this would be divine!  Actually – they make lots of vegan cheeses that are like goat cheese or Boursin & a little bit of one of those might be a nice addition to this dish.   If you don’t like or don’t have walnuts – I think pistachios would be better, anyway – I just didn’t have any.  Oh – and polenta is naturally gluten-free.  This is a very low fat recipe but is warm & hearty & great for winter weather.  If you really want to get all cold-weather crazy – stir a small can of pumpkin puree into the polenta.   Yuuuum!

I used this balsamic glaze (below) but a balsamic reduction is VERY easy to make.

BALSAMIC REDUCTION

Simply boil a nice balsamic until it reduces by about 50-75% and has a thick syrupy texture.  It really does reduce a LOT so – if it reduces to too little for your pizza – just boil down some more.  Be careful not to burn it! I used about a tablespoon of the reduction on this polenta.

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Vegan Creamy Polenta Bowl with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, Thyme & Balsamic Glaze

This makes enough polenta to feed 4 easily.  The quantity of the toppings is up to you.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups dry polenta

8 cups vegetable stock

Beets

Walnuts (or pistachios)

Fresh thyme removed from stems

Balsamic glaze (see recipe above if you want to make it yourself)

(Adding vegan goat cheese – or any other very soft cheese) at the end with the beets & nuts would take this to the next level.  Fried sage – in place of the thyme – might also be nice.)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

I cooked my polenta in a slow cooker by simply putting the polenta & stock in there, setting it on high (cover on) and two hours later – I had a lot of creamy goodness.  If it gets too thick, add more water or stock.  If it is too thin – cook a bit longer (taking the top off accelerates this process).

OR – cook your polenta according to the package (using stock rather than water).  Stove top – this should take 30-40 minutes.

Wrap beets well in foil. You might want to drizzle a bit of olive oil in there but that is not necessary.  Place on a baking sheet and bake until beets are slightly soft to the touch, 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on their size. Cool beets and then rub off skins (use a paring knife for tough spots).

Toast the nuts in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes – stirring frequently so they do not burn.  Set aside.

Now – assemble your bowls.  Spoon in the polenta, top with beets & nuts & a drizzle of balsamic glaze & some thyme leaves.  Add cheese – if you are using some.  I did not.

Eat’m up!

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Vegan Pasta with Grilled Yellow & Baby Zucchini, Lemon & Pistachios

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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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Lately, I feel like I keep saying my recipes are easy & delicious – and this one is no exception.  A few simple ingredients & it can really be read in 20 minutes.  I bought these gorgeous yellow zucchini & cutie baby zucchini (above) at the farmer’s market recently.  I also bought those garlic chives you see under the zucchini.  Regular zucchini & regular garlic will work just fine.  I did not add cheese to this but (if you are not vegan) some high quality Parmesan might be nice – or vegan Parmesan.  The amount of lemon & garlic are a matter of taste – and I tend to lay on all flavorful ingredients with a heavy hand.  You might prefer smaller quantities – your call.  The pistachios add a nice crunch but are not critical to the dish.  Toasted pine nuts might be nice, too.  Either way – I repeat – this is easy & delicious.

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Vegan Pasta with Grilled Yellow & Baby Zucchini, Lemon & Pistachi

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta – cooked & drained

1/2 lb baby zucchini – ends trimmed

2 yellow zucchini – sliced into rounds

(OR – 4-5 regular zucchini – sliced)

1 lemon – zested & juiced

10 garlic chives – chopped (or regular garlic- I would use 4 – or to taste – chopped)

Shelled pistachios – chopped (quantity up to you – I used about 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup some sort of Italian dressing or just plain olive oil

Olive oil

S&P

Parsley – chopped

Garnish – lemon wedges

OPTIONAL – 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan or vegan alternative

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta.

Toss the zucchini in the Italian dressing or olive oil & grill (on a grill or in a grill pan) on high for a few minutes – turning once or twice – until tender & a bit charred.  Set aside.

In a large saute pan – heat maybe 1 TBS olive oil & saute the garlic chives or regular garlic for a minute.  Add the zucchini & a few pinches of lemon zest. Add some lemon juice and S&P.  Taste & add more of the zest, juice and S&P until it tastes right to you.

Add the pasta & toss & heat through.  If using vegan or regular Parmesan – toss that in now.  Serve with parsley, pistachios, lemon wedges & lots of fresh cracked pepper.

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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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