DDD #126 – Holiday Vegan Torta Rustica with Creamed Spinach and Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes & Sweet Potato-Butternut Squash Puree

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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Click the image above to watch.

OK – this one takes a few steps but all are easy & you end up with a GIGANTIC mound of all things savory & Thanksgivingy!  It is a bread course, sweet potato/squash dish, creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes & chicken courses – all rolled into one.  You can sub out the ingredients to suit your tastes.  This is basically an enclosed shepherd’s pie & is as versatile at shepherd’s pie is.

**PLEASE NOTE** – transferring this tart from the cooking sheet onto a serving platter might prove VERY tricky.  It will be very heavy – and the warmer it is when you try to transfer it – the more delicate that procedure will be.  It would SUCK to put all the work in – only to break it when you are ready to serve it.  If you don’t have two very large spatulas – and maybe an assistant – perhaps consider cooking this on something you can also serve it on.  Surrounding it with leafy kale (or other greens) at the base & a few cranberries & it will look festive & spare you the trauma of transferring it to a platter.  SERIOUSLY consider baking & serving from the same piece.  I am devastated just imagining what a failed transfer would do to my life – and I don’t want that for you.

Thanksgiving Vegan Torta Rustica with Creamed Spinach, Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes & Sweet Potato-Butternut Squash Puree

Feeds 8 easily

INGREDIENTS

for the soft tart dough

4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

8 ounces vegan butter

3/4 cup silken tofu – pureed (I just smashed it all up with a fork)

1/3 cup vegan milk

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for the creamed spinach 

1 small onion or large shallot – diced

1 lb fresh spinach

2 (9 oz) packages vegan chicken (I highly recommend Beyond Meat brand.  Best on the market!) – cubed

4 oz vegan cream cheese

1/2 cup vegan milk

4 slices vegan cheese (I used the Chao below)

S&P

Olive oil

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for the scalloped potatoes

2-3 medium potatoes – peeled & cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

2 cups vegan milk

7 oz vegan cheese (I used that Daiya)

S&P

for the sweet potato-butternut squash puree

1 butternut squash – peeled & cubed

1 large sweet potato – peeled & cubed

4-6 TBS vegan butter

Pinch of nutmeg

S&P

PARCHMENT PAPER for cooking

Vegan egg wash – small but equal parts agave nectar – soy milk – olive oil

GARNISH – kale (or other leafy greens) and fresh cranberries – to arrange around the tart.

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DIRECTIONS

for the soft tart dough

By food processor: Combine flour, salt & butter in a food processor using a metal blade.  Process with short pulses until the mixture is crumbly.  Add tofu with short pulses.  Add milk, gradually, with short pulses until it begins to clump and – eventually – orbit as a ball inside the food processor.  You might need a little more flour.  When the dough is formed – it will be very soft.   Gather it into a ball & wrap it tightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 3 days.  When ready to roll it out bring it back to room temperature and flour a work surface to facilitate handling.

By hand: combine flour & salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center & add the butter and the smashed silken tofu.  Lightly blend the butter & tofu with fingertips.  With a knife or pastry blade, cut the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture.  Gradually, add the milk – tossing with a fork until the dough comes together.  The dough will be very soft.  Add more flour if it is too wet.  Gather it into a ball & wrap it tightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 3 days.  When ready to roll it out bring it back to room temperature and flour a work surface to facilitate handling.

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for the scalloped potatoes

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour & a little S&P.  Heat until it just begins to turn golden then slowly add the milk – letting it thicken before you add more.  When all the milk is incorporated & it is still sorta thick – melt in the cheese.  Season with salt & pepper.  Toss with the sliced potatoes & place in a greased casserole dish.  Cook for 45-60 minutes or until it is bubbling & the potatoes are soft.  Set aside to cool completely.

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for the creamed spinach & chicken

Heat a TBS of olive oil in a saute pan & cook the onions until soft.  Add the spinach & let it wilt – then add the cream cheese & milk.  Heat until the cheese melts & you have a thick & creamy spinach.  Season with S&P & toss the chicken in & stir.  Set aside to cool.

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for the sweet potato-butternut puree

Boil the sweet potato & butternut chunks until soft.  I then drained them & mashed them with the butter, nutmeg and S&P.  Set aside to cool.

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to assemble the tart

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line a medium bowl with plastic wrap.  A moderately deep & wide one is best.  If the bowl is too deep – your tart will be too tall & be more likely to collapse.  Also – be sure your bowl opening (at the top) is no wider than the cooking sheet you will be using to bake the tart.

Roll out 2/3 of the dough big enough that it not only lines your bowl but has overhang.

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DO NOT OVERFILL!  Only fill it to below the depth of the bowl.  The stuffing ingredients should be to warmer than room temperature.

Place a thin layer of puree in the bottom & then a thick layer of scalloped potatoes & then the rest of the puree.  Put the four slices of cheese on top of that then all of the spinach & chicken.

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Roll out the remaining dough so that it fits the top of your bowl & then fold the edges of the bottom crust over it & use a knife or fork to pinch it sealed.  Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper & invert it on top of your tart – and VERY CAREFULLY – flip it over so your tart is sealed-side down.  Be sure to put the cooking sheet with the parchment ON TOP OF your bowl & flip.  Do not try to just flip the bowl onto the cooking sheet.   This sucker likely weighs more than a turkey & the soft dough will not withstand that much pressure.  Remove the bowl & the plastic wrap.

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I sprayed it with cooking oil but found that did not give me a golden glaze so – mix up a little vegan egg wash (small but equal parts agave nectar – soy milk – olive oil) and occasionally brush the tart as it bakes.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until it looks nice & browned.

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Look how HUGE that thing is!  See the pastry brush?  That has to be 12 inches long.

OK – here comes a tricky part.  Let it cool a while before fussing with it.  Once anything that seeped out of it has pretty much cooled – run a knife under it to loosen the tart from the escapes bits.  I used an ENORMOUS spatula & the parchment paper to very delicately shift the tart to a serving plate.  It is a heavy & unwieldy thing – so be very delicate when handling this tart – get assistance, if possible.  If the transfer is too risky for you – consider just putting some leafy greens & cranberries around the base on the pan itself & serve this bad boy directly from the cooking sheet.  Better to go low brow than having this guy fall apart.

This should be served warm but is delicious at room temperature, too.

Happy vegan Thanksgiving!

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Vegan Potato, Leek, Fennel & Turnip Soup with Carrots & Pepitas

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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 soup is very easy & guiltless & comforting & delicious.  I roasted the turnips because I was roasting other veggies & just included them.  Once they were done, I though – why not add them to this soup.  You could roast all the veggies n this soup first, if you wanted to, but that is not necessary.  There is enough flavor going on without that extra step.  The vegetables I used were random & included simply because I had them around.  You can add or delete ingredients according to your taste or what you have handy.

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Vegan Potato, Leek, Fennel & Turnip Soup with Carrots & Pepitas

Makes about 8 cups

INGREDIENTS

3 TBS vegan butter

1 large fennel bulb – chopped (reserve some fronds for garnish)

1 large leek – sliced

1 zucchini – sliced

2 celery stalks – chopped (reserve a few celery leaves for garnish

3 large potatoes – peeled & cubed

3 small turnips – chopped

4 carrots – sliced

4 cups vegetable stock

2 TBS fresh oregano (plus maybe a bit extra for garnish)

2 TBS fresh thyme (plus maybe a bit extra for garnish)

Vegan milk (I used unsweetened almond milk) – maybe a cup or so

S&P

Pepitas as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

I like a few chunks in my pureed soups so – if you do, too – take one carrot & one potato (both cubed) & boil until soft.  Drain & set aside.

If you want the soup completely pureed – skip that step.

Heat the butter in a large stock pot.  Add the chopped, raw veggies & saute until soft.  Add the stock & herbs (no need to chop the herbs) & bring to a boil.

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Very carefully, in batches, blend the soup smooth.  I added just enough almond milk to each batch so that it blended very smoothly.  Reheat.  Add the boiled carrots & potatoes.  Ladle into bowls & garnish with celery leaves or fennel fronds & some pepitas.  Add some cracked pepper.  Enjoy!

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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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Thanksgiving Vegan Torta Rustica with Creamed Spinach and Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes & Sweet Potato-Butternut Squash Puree

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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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OK – this one takes a few steps but all are easy & you end up with a GIGANTIC mound of all things savory & Thanksgivingy!  It is a bread course, sweet potato/squash dish, creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes & chicken courses – all rolled into one.  You can sub out the ingredients to suit your tastes.  This is basically an enclosed shepherd’s pie & is as versatile at shepherd’s pie is.

**PLEASE NOTE** – transferring this tart from the cooking sheet onto a serving platter might prove VERY tricky.  It will be very heavy – and the warmer it is when you try to transfer it – the more delicate that procedure will be.  It would SUCK to put all the work in – only to break it when you are ready to serve it.  If you don’t have two very large spatulas – and maybe an assistant – perhaps consider cooking this on something you can also serve it on.  Surrounding it with leafy kale (or other greens) at the base & a few cranberries & it will look festive & spare you the trauma of transferring it to a platter.  SERIOUSLY consider baking & serving from the same piece.  I am devastated just imagining what a failed transfer would do to my life – and I don’t want that for you.

Thanksgiving Vegan Torta Rustica with Creamed Spinach, Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes & Sweet Potato-Butternut Squash Puree

Feeds 8 easily

INGREDIENTS

for the soft tart dough

4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

8 ounces vegan butter

3/4 cup silken tofu – pureed (I just smashed it all up with a fork)

1/3 cup vegan milk

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for the creamed spinach 

1 small onion or large shallot – diced

1 lb fresh spinach

2 (9 oz) packages vegan chicken (I highly recommend Beyond Meat brand.  Best on the market!) – cubed

4 oz vegan cream cheese

1/2 cup vegan milk

4 slices vegan cheese (I used the Chao below)

S&P

Olive oil

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for the scalloped potatoes

2-3 medium potatoes – peeled & cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

2 cups vegan milk

7 oz vegan cheese (I used that Daiya below)

1 cup panko or other bread crumbs

S&P

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for the sweet potato-butternut squash puree

1 butternut squash – peeled & cubed

1 large sweet potato – peeled & cubed

4 TBS vegan butter

Pinch of nutmeg

S&P

PARCHMENT PAPER for cooking

Vegan egg wash – small but equal parts agave nectar – soy milk – olive oil

GARNISH – kale (or other leafy greens) and fresh cranberries – to arrange around the tart.

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DIRECTIONS

for the soft tart dough

By food processor: Combine flour, salt & butter in a food processor using a metal blade.  Process with short pulses until the mixture is crumbly.  Add tofu with short pulses.  Add milk, gradually, with short pulses until it begins to clump and – eventually – orbit as a ball inside the food processor.  You might need a little more flour.  When the dough is formed – it will be very soft.   Gather it into a ball & wrap it tightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 3 days.  When ready to roll it out bring it back to room temperature and flour a work surface to facilitate handling.

By hand: combine flour & salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center & add the butter and the smashed silken tofu.  Lightly blend the butter & tofu with fingertips.  With a knife or pastry blade, cut the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture.  Gradually, add the milk – tossing with a fork until the dough comes together.  The dough will be very soft.  Add more flour if it is too wet.  Gather it into a ball & wrap it tightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 3 days.  When ready to roll it out bring it back to room temperature and flour a work surface to facilitate handling.

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for the scalloped potatoes

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour & a little S&P.  Heat until it just begins to turn golden then slowly add the milk – letting it thicken before you add more.  When all the milk is incorporated & it is still sorta thick – melt in the cheese.  Season with salt & pepper.  Toss with the sliced potatoes & place in a greased casserole dish.  Top with panko or bread crumbs & cook for 45-60 minutes or until it is bubbling & the crumbs are browned.  Set aside.

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for the creamed spinach & chicken

Heat a TBS of olive oil in a saute pan & cook the onions until soft.  Add the spinach & let it wilt – then add the cream cheese & milk.  Heat until the cheese melts & you have a thick & creamy spinach.  Season with S&P & toss the chicken in & stir.  Set aside.

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for the sweet potato-butternut puree

Boil the sweet potato & butternut chunks until soft.  I then drained them & mashed them with the butter, nutmeg and S&P.  Set aside.

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to assemble the tart

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line a medium bowl with plastic wrap.  A moderately deep & wide one is best.  If the bowl is too deep – your tart will be too tall & be more likely to collapse.  Also – be sure your bowl opening (at the top) is no wider than the cooking sheet you will be using to bake the tart.

Roll out 2/3 of the dough big enough that it not only lines your bowl but has overhang.

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Place a thin layer of puree in the bottom & then a thick layer of scalloped potatoes & then the rest of the puree.  Put the four slices of cheese on top of that then all of the spinach & chicken.

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Roll out the remaining dough so that it fits the top of your bowl & then fold the edges of the bottom crust over it & use a knife or fork to pinch it sealed.  Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper & invert it on top of your tart – and VERY CAREFULLY – flip it over so your tart is sealed-side down.  Be sure to put the cooking sheet with the parchment ON TOP OF your bowl & flip.  Do not try to just flip the bowl onto the cooking sheet.   This sucker likely weighs more than a turkey & the soft dough will not withstand that much pressure.  Remove the bowl & the plastic wrap.

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I sprayed it with cooking oil but found that did not give me a golden glaze so – mix up a little vegan egg wash (small but equal parts agave nectar – soy milk – olive oil) and occasionally brush the tart as it bakes.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until it looks nice & browned.

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Look how HUGE that thing is!  See the pastry brush?  That has to be 12 inches long.

OK – here comes a tricky part.  Let it cool a while before fussing with it.  Once anything that seeped out of it has pretty much cooled – run a knife under it to loosen the tart from the escapes bits.  I used an ENORMOUS spatula & the parchment paper to very delicately shift the tart to a serving plate.  It is a heavy & unwieldy thing – so be very delicate when handling this tart – get assistance, if possible.  If the transfer is too risky for you – consider just putting some leafy greens & cranberries around the base on the pan itself & serve this bad boy directly from the cooking sheet.  Better to go low brow than having this guy fall apart.

This should be served warm but is delicious at room temperature, too.

Happy vegan Thanksgiving!

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Cauliflower & Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Red Curry – or – Ginger & Garlic

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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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I am offering two ways to make this soup because the red curry one has, essentially the same flavor profile as my Vegan Spicy Thai Pumpkin & Chicken Curry – seen above.  I had a lot of extra of those ingredients so it made sense just to use them.  But – if you prefer less spice & a nice ginger flavor – I will post that recipe here, too.

This soup is easy & filling & can be completely pureed or partially pureed – leaving some chunks & texture.

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If you are using fresh pumpkin – don’t throw those seeds away!  Make my EASY Homemade Crunchy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – seen above.

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Vegan Creamy Roasted Cauliflower & Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Red Curry – or – Ginger & Garlic

Makes a lot – enough for 8-10

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower – cut into florets

1 pumpkin about the size of the cauliflower – peeled & cubed

2 leeks – sliced

2 TBS turmeric

Olive oil

1-2 (15 oz) cans of coconut milk (depending on how much produce you have & how thick you like your soup

4 cups water (or veggie stock)

S&P

GARNISH – sour cream (I used vegan Tofutti brand) or cilantro or basil on the red curry version.

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for the red curry

2 TBS red curry paste

6 kaffir lime leaves – leaves slit to release flavor (as above_ or 1 TBS lime zest

juice of 1/2 lime

OR –

for the ginger garlic

2 TBS minced fresh ginger

1-4 cloves of garlic – minced

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the cauliflower in a little olive oil & roast for 20 minutes.  No need to turn them.  Set aside.

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Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil & cook the leeks until soft – maybe 5 minutes.

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Now add EITHER:

2 TBS red curry paste

6 kaffir lime leaves – leaves slit to release flavor (as above_ or 1 TBS lime zest

juice of 1/2 lime

OR:

2 TBS minced fresh ginger

1-4 cloves of garlic – minced

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Cook for about a minute on high heat & then add pumpkin, coconut milk, water or stock & turmeric.  Bring to a boil & cook until the pumpkin is soft (this will depend on the size of your cubes).

Add about half (more or less) of the cauliflower & puree the soup.  I did this with an immersion blender but a regular blender is fine – just do it in batches & BE CAREFUL you don’t burn yourself.

Taste for seasoning.  Add salt or pepper or more curry paste or more lime or even stir in a bit more fresh ginger – depending on which version you went for.  If the soup is too thin, cook it with the top off until it thickens.  If it is too thick, add more water.

Heat the soup through & serve with a few whole roasted cauliflower florets in each bowl.  Drizzle with sour cream – if you are using it.  Serve!

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Spicy Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash & Celery Root Soup

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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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Lots of my recent recipes have been born from the need to use the vegetables that Farm Fresh to You sends me every two week.   I had a butternut squash and, you guessed it, celery root.  Two.  HUGE.  Celery roots.  I love celery root but there are not really that many ways to use it (it ain’t no cauliflower – that’s all I’m saying) – but this soup is a perfect way.  Creamy & light & guiltless.  I ate it for lunch at work for ten days straight.  I am certain it will freeze well – so if variety is the pice of your life – get ready to freeze some of this stuff.

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Spicy Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash & Celery Root Soup

Serves 10+ depending on portions

INGREDIENTS

1 large butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 large celery roots – peeled & cubed

1 onion

3 celery stalks – sliced

5 carrots – sliced

1 jalapeno – seeded & chopped (I did not seed mine & the soup was delightfully spicy!)

1-2 TBS dry sage (add it in increments)

10 cups vegetable stock

1 cup almond (or other vegan) milk (option – skip the milk & add more stock)

olive oil

S&P

GARNISH OPTIONS – fresh chopped sage, fried sage, a dollop of vegan sour cream or lots of freshly cracked pepper

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DIRECTIONS

Heat a glug or two (2-3 TBS) of olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add the onions, carrots, celery & jalapeno until the onions just start to turn color – just a bit.  Add everything else except the almond milk.  Bring to a boil & cook until the squash & other veggies are VERY soft.

Puree in a blender in batches – putting the puree into a clean pan.   When it is all smoothly pureed, season with S&P & stir in the almond milk – or more stock – if you think it needs it.  Heat through.

Serve with whatever garnish you choose.

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Vegan Carrot and Sage Soup – Easiest Soup Ever!

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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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vromans back

 Another crazy easy recipe & it is seriously yummy & guilt-free.  This can be made with so many other veggies, too.  Instead of carrots, you could substitute them with squash or broccoli or pumpkin or sweet potatoes.  Sage adds a real depth to this so I really recommend you include it.

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Vegan Carrot and Sage Soup – Easiest Soup Ever!

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs carrots – cut into chunks

1 large onion – cut into chunks

Olive oil

1 cup (or one bunch) fresh sage – chopped

1 tsp each of S&P

6 cups of vegetable stock

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DIRECTIONS

If you want to, you can put a glug or two of olive oil into a stock pot & saute the onion until it softens but this step can be skipped.

If you wanna just cut to the chase, simply boil all the ingredients together (skipping the olive oil) until the carrots are soft.

Puree in increments in a blender – being VERY careful not to burn yourself.  Season with S&P.

Eat.

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One Pot Spicy Vegan Orange Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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

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This really is about as easy as a soup can be.  It comes together in about 20-30 minutes total & is powerfully flavorful.  There is no dairy of any kind so it is as guiltless as it is delicious.  A really wonderful, winter warmer!

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One Pot Spicy Vegan Orange Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

INGREDIENTS

2 large sweet potatoes – peeled & cubed

1 onion (I used a red one) – chopped

4 garlic cloves – chopped

Olive oil

Juice of 2 oranges

1-3 chipotle peppers (or to taste) in their adobo sauce – chopped

6 cups stock

1 tsp ground coriander

S&P to taste

Garnish ideas: avocado, arugula, black and/or white sesame seeds

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DIRECTIONS

Heat about 1 TBS olive oil in a deep stock pot.  eat the onions & garlic over medium heat until just tender, trying not to brown them.  Add the stock, orange juice, chipotle peppers, coriander & sweet potatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer for about 15 minutes or so – or until the sweet potatoes are very soft.

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I used an immersion blender to puree the soup but, if you do not have one, puree the soup in a blender.  Season with S&P.

Garnish as you like & commence indulging yourself!

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Vegan Puree of Celery Root Soup with Jalapeno & Caramelized Balsamic Pears

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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

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This is a VERY easy soup to make.  The caramelized balsamic pears REALLY make it, too, so do not skip them.  They come together very fast & will impress your neighbors immensely.

I drizzled a little olive oil on this soup – which isn’t necessary but it looks pretty & gave me a chance to try my Rosemary & Crushed Red Pepper Infused Olive Oil.

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I must say, the oil has been brewing since June 6th & is still only VERY subtly infused.  Maybe I should muddle the herbs & spices a bit?  I don’t know.  I will experiment.

But this soup!  Healthy & delicious!  This makes quite a lot of soup so be prepared for leftovers. These sorts of soups age well in the fridge over a day or two – but they often need a bit of water added in the reheating, sometimes quite a lot.  So – don’t be afraid to add as much water as you need to get it to your desired consistency.

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Vegan Puree of Celery Root Soup with Jalapeno & Caramelized Balsamic Pears

INGREDIENTS

1 TBS + 1 tsp olive oil

1 small onion – chopped

4 celery stalks – chopped & then divided into two portions

1 leek – sliced (white part only)

2 garlic cloves – chopped

3 celery root (about baseball size) – peeled WELL (get all that rough brown & hair off!) & diced

2 medium potatoes – cubed

2 jalapenos – seeded & chopped

4 Bosc pears – peeled & seeded

7 cups vegetable stock

S&P to taste

4 TBS honey

2-4 large rosemary sprigs (more for garnish – if you like)

2 TBS quality balsamic vinegar

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the honey in a saute pan over med-high heat.  When bubbly, add TWO (reserving the other two) of the pears & the rosemary sprigs to the honey and, stirring constantly, cook until the honey is almost cooked off & the pears are soft & beginning to brown.

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Add the balsamic & cook for another minute or two – being very careful not to burn the glaze.   Carefully (that glaze will burn you!) transfer to a bowl & set aside.  Soak your pan immediately.  That honey-balsamic glaze is HOT & will become like cement fast.

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If you like a 100% pureed soup – skip this step.  I like a little bit of something in there to chew.  Heat 1 tsp olive oil & saute HALF the sliced celery stalks to the oil & saute until soft – without browning.  Maybe 2-3 minutes.  Drain on paper towels & set aside.

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Be sure you have removed all the brown & coarse, hairy bits from the celery root.  Otherwise, you will be spitting what feels like hairballs into your napkin later.  Not fun.  Or pretty.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the jalapenos, onion, the remaining half of the sliced celery (or ALL of it – if you are skipping the step above) & the leek.  Saute until soft but not browned.  Add the garlic for a few seconds then add the potato, celery root, the remaining two pears & all the stock.  Bring to a rapid boil then reduce heat & simmer about twenty-thirty minutes or until everything is very tender.

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When the vegetables are tender either use a blender (immersion or otherwise) or a food processor to puree the soup until it is very smooth.  Add more water if it is too thick for your taste.  If you sauteed the 2 celery stalks, add those to the puree now.  Add S&P to taste.

When ready to serve, discard the rosemary from the pears, heat the puree & then pour some into bowls & top with about 1 TBS of the caramelized balsamic pears & maybe a sprig of fresh rosemary.   Drizzle with olive oil (infused, if you have it) & add some fresh cracked pepper & go to town!

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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Dill & Cheddar

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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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Another in what must seem like an endless chain of cauliflower recipes.  This is so delicious – I ate the entire thing myself last night.  The amount of cheese is up to you.  I went light to save calories but more would have been a lot better.  This takes a total of 10-15 minutes once you have boiling water.  Try it at least once!

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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Dill & Cheddar

INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower

1/8-1/4 cup fresh dill plus more for garnish

1/4 cup grated cheddar plus more for garnish

1 TBS butter

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Cut the cauliflower in half or quarters & add to boiling water.  Boil about ten minutes.  Leave it in the hot water until you are ready to serve it because it comes together fast but gets cold fast, too.   When ready to serve it – simply puree everything in the bowl of your food processor.  Garnish with a little extra cheese, dill sprigs & some freshly ground pepper.  Hover over it like a fucking prison inmate & shovel it in your face with zero dignity.  Grunting sounds optional.

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Carrot & Celery Root Soup with Lavender & Herbs de Provence

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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 soup isn’t enormously different from my Carrot & Pumpkin Lavender Soup except that it uses celery root rather than pumpkin.   The celery root adds a creaminess to the soup that makes the cup of heavy cream I included very optional – without which (the cream) this soup is vegan & very light!   The culinary lavender I included is also probably optional but I do recommend buying some & experimenting with it.  It adds an olfactory sensation that is as soothing as the warm soup itself is.

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Carrot & Celery Root Soup with Lavender & Herbs de Provence

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs carrots – sliced

2 celery roots – peeled & cubed

1 large onion – diced

1 leek – sliced (white part only)

4 garlic cloves – chopped

5 TBS lavender

3 TBS olive oil

2 TBS herbs de Provence

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream (optional)

2 TBS butter (or vegan option)

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp dry ginger

4 TBS sugar

Creme fraiche (as garnish) – optional

S&P to taste

Cheesecloth or other fine straining device

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DIRECTIONS

Boil 4 cups of water & add the lavender.  Remove from heat & allow to steep for at least 10 minutes.  Using cheesecloth – strain the lavender out & reserve the water.

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Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot.  Saute the garlic, onion, leek & herbs de Provence a few minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Try not to brown them.  Add the white wine & bring to a boil.  Add the carrots & celery root & the lavender water.  Bring to a boil & reduce heat to medium & simmer until the carrots & celery root are soft (20 minutes or so – depending on the size of the cubes) – adding water if needed to keep the vegetables covered.  Add butter (if using) and the nutmeg, ginger & sugar.  Stir to dissolve the sugar & distribute the spices.

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The soup is ready to be pureed.  You might want to let it cool a bit to avoid scalding yourself.   You can use an immersion blender or a traditional blender & puree the soup in batches.  Once it is creamy, return it to heat & add heavy cream (if using) and salt & pepper to taste.  Garnish with fresh cracked pepper or a dollop of creme fraiche.  Serve!

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Vegan Celery Root Puree Soup with Black Truffle Oil

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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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Food doesn’t get much easier than this.  The truffle oil is a delightful touch but not required to make this soup addictive.  Despite tasting rich & creamy – this is vegan & virtually calorie-free.   TRY IT!

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Vegan Celery Root Puree Soup with Black Truffle Oil

4 softball-sized celery roots – peeled & cubed (save a few green top leaves for garnish)

1 onion – diced

1 TBS olive oil

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp white pepper

Water to cover (or stock)

Black (or white) truffle oil for drizzling

Salt to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Put the celery root cubes in a soup pot.  Add water or stock (or water with a few bouillon cubes) to cover.  Boil the celery root until soft.

Saute the onion & garlic in the olive oil until the onion is translucent.  Add the onions to the celery root & stock.  Add white pepper & puree with either an immersion blender or in batches with a regular blender.

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Add salt to taste.  Serve in bowls, drizzle with truffle oil (or not), lots of cracked pepper & a few celery leaves.

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Vegan Roasted Heirloom Tomato Bisque

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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.

This soup is spicy & tastes rich & creamy despite its total lack of dairy.  It gets the rich creamy element from soaked & pureed cashews.  Ymmm!  There are a few steps required but all are simple.  Do not be intimidated.  I used lots of celery because I had it & it needed to be used.  I also used heirloom cherry tomatoes – for the same reason as the celery – but larger tomatoes are more desirable.  You can use heirloom or Roma or any variety of tomato.  My soup came out less red than your average tomato soup because not all my tomatoes were red & because I did not use tomato paste.  Also – I used a red onion because that was what I had.  Yellow or brown might be better.  Also – since spending 90 minutes caramelizing an onion might be too labor intensive for you & make you blow off this recipe entirely – know that the caramelized onion ingredient can be omitted without a huge loss in flavor.  Also – cashews can be soaked overnight rather than boiled & soaked for an hour.  Also – this soup need not be vegan.  Heavy cream added at the end is a nice touch if that appeals to you – and would make the cashews unnecessary.  I recommend trying the cashew version at least once, though.  It is a healthier option.

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Vegan Roasted Heirloom Tomato Bisque

INGREDIENTS

2.5 – 3 lbs heirloom (or other) tomatoes

10 celery stalks – chopped (VERY optional)

1 vegetarian bouillon cube (optional)

4 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers (optional)

10 garlic cloves – or to taste

1 cup raw cashews

olive oil

6 or more fresh basil leaves – chopped

1 TBS crushed red pepper flakes (or less – to taste)

1/2 tsp dry thyme

1 tsp oregano

1 large onion – quartered & slices 1/4 inch thick

2 or more TBS tomato paste (optional)

S&P to taste

GARNISH OPTIONS – more fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, grated cheese, blue cheese or goat or feta (crumbled on top), fried sage leaves, shaved Parmesan, homemade basil oil, sour cream, creme fraiche, heavy cream, croutons – whatever you like.  And LOTS of fresh cracked pepper!

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

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In a small pan, cover the cashews with water & bring to a boil.  Remove from heat & allow to soak one hour.  Or, conversely – let them soak overnight.

Cut your tomatoes in half (or if using some cherry tomatoes, as I did, leave them whole) & toss all the tomatoes & FIVE of your garlic cloves & serrano or jalapeno peppers with 4 TBS olive oil, crushed red pepper, thyme, oregano & a sprinkling of salt.  Place tomatoes cut side down on a greased (with cooking spray) or parchment paper lined cooking sheet & roast in the 350 degree oven for about one hour.

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Meanwhile, saute the onions in 1/4 cup olive oil on low to medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 90 minutes.  This will release their sugar & caramelize them nicely.  Once they are caramelized, add tomato paste (if using) & saute for a few more minutes – stirring to blend with the onions.  Set aside.

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Once the cashews have soaked for an hour, puree them in a blender or food processor with the water until perfectly smooth.  Set aside.

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If using celery, saute the celery in 2 TBS in a large stock pot in olive oil for 5 minutes or until it becomes tender.  Add the 5 remaining garlic cloves & continue cooking another 2-3 minutes.  Or – if not using celery – start just by sauteing the 5 cloves or garlic for a minute or two & carry on as follows.  Add the caramelized onion & tomato paste mixture.  Add the cashew puree.  Stir.

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When the tomatoes are done roasting, see if any of the charred skins can be easily plucked off.  Be careful not to burn yourself.  Pluck off the skins that come away easily & discard.  If the skin resists, leave it be.  Cut the stems off your serrano/jalapenos & then add all the roasted items and any juices to the stock pot.  Stir to combine.  Add the chopped basil and the bouillon cube (if using).

At this point, you may or may not want to add some water.  This is a judgement call based purely on how thick or thin you like your bisque.  I went VERY thick & did not add much water at all – less than a cup in total.  I used & immersion blender & pureed everything in the stock pot.  You can do this or blend it in batches in a blender or food processor.   Whether or not you add much water, once the soup is blended, taste it & add salt & pepper to taste.  If you want a really creamy bisque, adding a half pint of heavy cream would achieve this nicely.

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Tomato Bisque three ways: with balsamic vinegar and with grated cheese & with fresh basil.