Spicy Vegan Vegetable Fried Rice with Chicken & Romaine Lettuce and 90210: The Musical

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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 past weekend, I went to NYC to host 90210: The Musical.    I had no idea what to expect.  I did not know if the writers & cast were talented.  I did not know the take they would have on the show, on my character & maybe even of me.  When they invited me, I had to reconcile to laugh with everyone if I got roasted brutally.  The fact is, I made fun of a lot of the aspects of the show myself – even as I was still shooting it.  Plus – I like to think I am able to laugh at myself – so – fuck it!  I went.  And I am SO HAPPY that I did!!!

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HERE is a little review that includes a short video clip.

The show is brilliant!  Smart, dirty & REALLY funny.  Several females roles are played by men which just adds to the hilarity.  I honestly cannot recommend this show any more highly.  I saw it two nights in a row & I feel like I could watch it infinitely more times.  And what a surreal & amazing experience – to not only see such a large part of my professional life presented this way – but even my character – Emily Valentine.  Such a singular experience.  A highlight in my life.  Truly.

Now – on to food.  Every get overly ambitious about your intentions to eat healthier or come home from the farmer’s market with enough produce to cater a vegetarian wedding?  Ever end up just sorta watching that produce wilt & decay – because you ended up eating Kraft mac & cheese three days in a row or you went out to dinner all week?  SUCKS to watch all that costly food go to waste.

Well – upon my return from NYC, that is where I found myself.  Looking, sadly, at a fuckton of produce that needed eating.  No way to eat it all as separate courses.  Most frustrating was 2-3 heads of romaine lettuce just starting to brown at the edges & along the thick spine.  What to do, what to do?   My freezer is already chock full of frozen leftovers from past slow cooker efforts to use less than robust produce.  Then – I spotted a leftover box of rice from my favorite Thai restaurant – Torung.  Aha!  I would make a stir-fry!  And – guess what?  I decided to add LETTUCE to this stir-fry.  And why the fuck not?  Lettuce is a leafy green – just like spinach or bok choy.  So – I used it & it worked.

This dish is – as is often the case with my recipes – the result of what I had & what I needed to use.  You can customize this any way you want.  Add water chestnuts or baby corn.  Lose the tomatoes.  Lose the serrano peppers.  Add sriracha.  Whateverthefuck you want.  It makes a boatload so – unless you are feeding 6 people or you want to eat lots of leftovers – reduce this recipe – maybe by 50%.

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Spicy Vegan Vegetable Fried Rice with Chicken & Romaine Lettuce

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

1 or more cups of cooked rice

Coconut (or other) oil

10 Brussels sprouts – sliced or shredded

4-6 carrots (I used heirloom and regular) – sliced

2 bell peppers (I used 5 small gypsy peppers) – diced

3 serrano peppers (or to taste) – sliced (remove seeds to reduce heat)

4 mushrooms – sliced

1 head broccoli

1 (9 oz) package Beyond Meat vegan chicken (or whatever brand you find available) – thawed & cubed

10 cherry tomatoes – halved (plus a few extra – quartered – as garnish)

7 scallions – green & white parts – sliced

1 head romaine (or other) lettuce – chopped

Fresh spinach as a bed for the rice – optional

Lime wedges as garnish (optional)

for the sauce

1/4 cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

3 TBS fresh ginger (or less – if you are not big on ginger) – I used a squeezable kind

1/4 chop Shao Xing wine

1 TBS chili garlic sauce

2 TBS hoisin sauce

1 TBS toasted sesame oil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat 1-2 TBS coconut (or other) oil in a wok or very large frying pan.  You might need to add more oil along the way – if things dry out – but that is your call.

The rest of this can really be done any whichaway – just start with the veggies that are take longest to cook first.  I started with the shredded Brussels sprouts because I like how they taste when they get sorta charred.  Here is how I proceeded:

Add the Brussels sprouts & then the carrots & peppers & serranos.

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I added more coconut oil, at this point.  Stir.

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I then literally put the entire head of broccoli in the pan & sliced it off right into the pan.  Seemed less messy that way.  I reserve the stems to steam for my dogs.  Add the mushrooms & chicken.  Combine.  Add the rice.

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Add the tomatoes and scallions (reserving some green scallions for garnish).  Combine & then add the lettuce.

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Stir in the sauce ingredients & heat through.

Serve on spinach (if you want to ) and garnish with scallions & raw tomato.  Lime wedges might be nice, too, though I did not have any.   See?  Easy!

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Grilled Romaine & Avocado Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

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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 – this dressing is my amalgamation of several recipes I looked at.  I wanted to avoid using avocado in it so I could save that for grilling.  I wanted to lighten it up with yogurt so that it wouldn’t be so rich and I added a huge jalapeno in a final moment of inspiration.  The result? I was literally eating this stuff with a spoon.  It is just ridiculous.  I suspect this recipe is very forgiving & could stand a few ingredient substitutions if something in it doesn’t appeal to you or is hard for you to find.  A vegan mayo could be used for both the mayo & yogurt portions to make this vegan.  Beyond that – this is made simply by blending the ingredients in a food processor.

As to the grilled romaine & avocado – very easy if you have access to a grill.  This salad is delicious & sort of unusual & an easy way to impress your less than culinary guests.  My one issue was that I was starving last night (having only eaten two bowls of my Zero Calorie Pho all day) and I was impatient to eat it.  Therefore – I failed miserably in getting a pretty photo of this salad.  Please, do not be thrown by my poor documentation of the dish.  It really is delicious!

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Grilled Romaine & Avocado Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

INGREDIENTS

For the grilled salad

Romaine lettuce, ends removed & halved

Avocados – peeled & halved

Tomatoes – diced (for garnish)

olive oil for grilling

For the dressing

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 TBS tahini

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 garlic clove

10 mint leaves

1 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1 TBS lemon juice

1 large jalapeno – seeded (optional but delicious!)

1 tsp pepper

1 TBS olive oil

salt to taste

Grated or shaved Parmesan

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DIRECTIONS

Blend all the dressing ingredients in a food processor.

Heat your grill to high.  Brush olive oil on the cut side of the lettuce & avocado.  Grill for a minute or two.

Place a wedge of grilled lettuce & half an avocado on each plate.  Drizzle with dressing.  Garnish with chopped tomatoes & Parmesan.

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