DDD #105 – Herbivorous Butcher Unboxing & Review

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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

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Click the image above to watch as I unpack a bunch of Herbivorous Butcher items & review them. Also – meet BRUCE – my newest foster – rescued from the South Korean dog meat trade.

 

DDD #77 – Vegan Smoked Dal Makhani – Punjabi-Style – Instant Pot or Not!

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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 the video.

I love Indian food.  I always have.  I also love cooking with dry beans & lentils because they are so inexpensive & yield many servings for pennies per serving.  The only issue with Indian recipes is acquiring the exotic spices – which can be expensive if you do not buy them from an Indian market.  Ethnic markets are always the best place to buy spices because each will typically carry all you need for recipes from that area of the world and at greatly reduced prices.  If you do not live in an area with much diversity – Amazon is wonderful.  You can typically omit a few spices from most recipes with little loss of flavor but it is really satisfying to be as authentically true to a regional recipe as possible.   With Thai food, for example, getting fresh kaffir lime leaves & Thai basil makes an enormous difference.  You just open the packages of these things and are transported to your favorite Thai restaurant.  Indian food has a few staples that are hrd to get around – garam masala, for example.  But it is stuff like cardamom & fenugreek (methi) that add authenticity.  Fenugreek is an herb – pictured below – both fresh & dried.  It also comes in seed form & as a powder and it is ubiquitous in Indian recipes in one form or another.  It might be a good idea to research a few Indian recipes & stock up on the critical spices sif you want to experiment with this wonderful cuisine.  HERE is a list of the most used spices – garam masala being the most commonly used and that list omitted the kasoori (or kasuri) methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and I would add that to your list as well as amchoor (mango powder).

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I made a version of mahkani in July – seen above – my Spicy Vegan Dal Makhani (Beluga or Black Lentils) for the Slow Cooker.   That dish used beluga lentils & is not as authentic as today’s recipe. In today’s recipe I used whole black lentils (also called urad dal or black gram) and red kidney beans (rajma).    I not only soaked these beans overnight but I also cooked them in my slow cooker for 5 hours on high AND left them overnight to let the flavors meld.  I recommend this (though it is not necessary) to let the beans really soften & the flavors blend – so – if you are making this dish it takes two days before you are eating it.  Again, you definitely could eat it after the 5 hours but like many stew-type dishes – it gets better over time.  The good news is – there is no prep cooking for this dish so, except for cutting up an onion & 2 peppers – the slow cooker does all the work (except the smoking process – explained below).  The lentils & beans I used are below – dry – and as they looked after soaking them – separately – overnight.  As you can see – they changed color considerably.   This dish is traditionally very rich using varied amounts of butter & heavy cream.  I used only 2 TBS of vegan butter & 1/2 cup vegan sour cream – so this dish is not quite so heavy.

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As to smoking your dal makhani – it is VERY easy & I recommend it very highly.  It just requires a chunk of a natural charcoal & a small metal bowl.  You simply heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!  (The photo of the smoking charcoal is from my Smoked & Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry (Vegan – Vegetarian) – seen below.)

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Vegan Smoked Dal Makhani Punjabi-Style (Black Gram/Urad Dal & Rajma) – 

Serves 6+ with rice

INGREDIENTS

 1 cup dry black urad dal – soaked overnight

1/2 cup dry red kidney beans – soaked overnight

1 onion – diced

2 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – seeded & diced

2 TBS vegan butter (or coconut or olive oil)

4 cups water (or vegetable stock)

1 cup tomato puree

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 tsp amchoor

2 TBS dry methi leaves

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp chili powder

3 green cardamom pods

1 TBS fresh or jarred ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/2 cup vegan sour cream

Steamed rice

GARNISH – more sour cream, cilantro or fresh fenugreek leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Soak the beans overnight.   Drain & rinse.

INSTANT POT

Heat the oil or butter using the saute setting – saute the onion & peppers until soft.  Put everything else in & cook, sealed, on manual for 35 minutes.

SLOWCOOKER

Put everything except the sour cream into a slow cooker & cook on high for at least 5 hours – maybe more.  If you are going for the overnight uber-cooking (as I did) – leave it covered overnight.  I left my cooker off as there was nothing in there that would spoil but – if you are not comfortable with that – add some water & leave it on warm overnight.

STOVE TOP

Heat the oil or butter and saute the onion & peppers in a large stock pot until soft.  Put everything else in & bring to a boil.  Reduce heat & simmer until the beans are tender – 30 minutes or so.

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Either way – the next step is the smoking (which you can skip but I recommend trying it because it is amazing.  Heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker or Instant Pot or pan.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!

Now – stir in the sour cream.   If it is too thin – add water or vegan milk to thin it.  If it is too thin – cook it on high with the lid off until it thickens.  Mashing some of the dal with a wooden spoon or pureeing with an immersion blender gives an even creamier result.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream & serve with rice.

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DDD #47 – Vegan Smoked & Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry

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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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Click the image below to watch a video for this recipe.


OK – this dish is really easy to make & wildly delicious!  And – you get to smoke it yourself in just five minutes!  This is a really cool new trick I learned & I cannot wait to find new ways to use it.

All you need is a piece of natural charcoal (without lighter fluid or chemicals) – like this:

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You heat it up on the stove – like this:

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There is one more step but I will get back to that later.  There are a few steps involved in the overall recipe but all are very easy!  And the only “exotic” ingredient is the garam masala.  If you cannot find it or don’t feel like looking for it – you can make it from stuff you likely already have.  Look for recipes HERE.

This recipe really makes quite a lot of this stuff – enough for four – more if you serve it with rice or naan or roti.   If you don’t have lots of folks to feed & don’t want yummy leftovers – cut the recipe in half – at least.  I like my Indian food very flavorful & I tend to double or triple the amount of spices that traditional recipes typically suggest.  I will post this recipe with a suggested amount of each thing & then tell you what I used.  This dish is spicy but not crazy spicy – but I do like heat.  If you have a more tender palate – be conservative.

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Oh – and check out this tip on how to cut an onion without crying!

Smoked & Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry

Feeds 4 generously – served with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 small onions – diced

1 red bell pepper – seeded & diced

6 medium tomatoes

30 raw almonds (or raw cashews)

3+ TBS vegan butter

2 lb eggplant (any variety) – cubed

1-2 TBS ginger – minced (I used 2 but mine was jarred.  Maybe go lighter if you are using freshly grated ginger)

4-10 garlic cloves – minced (I used 10)

1-2 TBS garam masala (I used 1)

1-3 tsp chili powder (I used 1)

Cilantro – as garnish

(serve with steamed rice or naan or roti or tortillas)

for smoking the eggplant curry

1 lump of coal about the size of a lemon or larger

2 TBS olive or vegetable oil

1 small METAL bowl to safely hold the hot charcoal

You also need a large saute pan & some sort of cover.  I used my wok cover.

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DIRECTIONS

Soak the nuts in some water for 5 minutes.  I used this metal dog food dish & used it again later in the smoking process.

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(In the video version – I did not peel the tomatoes so feel free to skip this step.)  Meanwhile – poke some holes in your tomatoes with the tip of a knife & drop them into boiling water.  After a few minutes – you will see the skins curling off.  Drain & run under cool water until you can handle them without burning yourself.  Then core them.

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Drain the nuts & then puree them in a blender with the tomatoes.  Set aside.

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Heat 3 TBS of vegan butter or olive oil in a large saute pan – large enough to hold ALL the ingredients.   Over high heat – saute the onions & red bell pepper & eggplant.  Saute until the eggplant begins to brown.  Add more vegan butter or olive oil if needed.  This should take about 10 minutes.

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Add the garam masala & chili powder & the ginger – stir to incorporate.  Add the garlic & stir for one minute – then add the tomato puree.  Boil this for about 5-7 minutes until it thickens.  If it gets too thick – add a bit of water.

When it looks about like this:

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TURN OFF THE HEAT & put your metal bowl in the center of the pan.

Now – heat up the charcoal – like this:

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When it is red hot or graying on the outside – USE METAL TONGS & put it in the bowl in the center of your curry.  Then pour some olive or vegetable oil on it  It will immediately begin smoking so – if you have a hood with vents – turn them on.   Quickly – cover it up with a pot cover of some sort.  I used my old & very beaten up wok cover.

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Let this sit for 5-10 minutes & let the smoke work its magic.  I went 6 minutes because I was afraid it would be too smoky.  It wasn’t.  In the future – I will go for ten minutes.  CAREFULLY remove the metal bowl – with two pairs of tongs.  DO NOT BURN YOURSELF!

DEFINITELY season this with salt.  Do not be shy – but add it in increments.  Salt is under-rated as a spice.

Then – just serve this over some rice or with naan or a tortilla or roti – garnished with some cilantro.

Awesome?  Right?

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Smoky Guinness Mac & Cheese with Crispy Fried Onions

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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 a slight adaptation from a recipe posted by one of my favorite food bloggers – How Sweet It Is.  The main difference being simply that she topped hers with panko & fresh basil.  I opted for canned crispy onions!

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This is a really easy dish & the flavor of the Guinness really does come through.  Because of the dark beer – the dish has a browner color than traditional mac & cheese.  The crispy onions on top add a bit of sweetness.  A perfect dish for St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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Smoky Guinness Mac & Cheese with Crispy Fried Onions

serves 8-12

INGREDIENTS

5 cups uncooked macaroni

4 TBS butter

4 TBS flour

16 ounces milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

16 ounces Guinness or other stout (or other beer)

16 ounces cheddar (I used a mix of 7 oz Kerrygold Dubliner & 9 oz Tillamook sharp) – grated

plus 1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)

8 ounces Parmesan – grated

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp pepper

pinch of nutmeg

6 ounces crispy fried onion pieces from a can

Additional grated cheese to top the casserole – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cook & drain the pasta.  Feel free to under cook it a minute or two as it will cook more in the baking process.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over med-high heat.  Whisk in the flour & stir constantly for a few minutes – until it begins to brown.

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Slowly add the milk & beer – in increments – and stir constantly as it thickens.  It will not be as thick as most recipes because of the beer.  Once incorporated, add the 16 ounces of cheese & blend.  Add the spices & blend.   Lower the heat to medium & simmer about 5 minutes.  Add the pasta & blend.  Add an additional cup of grated cheese – if you feel it needs it.  I did.

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Transfer the mix to a greased casserole pan.  Top with more cheese (optional – I did not add more here) and top with the crispy onions.

Bake 25-30 minutes & then allow to set & cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Slop that baby out onto some plates & swill it down with more Guinness!  HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese Galette in Sour Cream Pastry with Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon (Vegetarian)

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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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Wow.  Last night I was just not myself.  I blame the overpowering stench of the decomposing rat in my walls somewhere – somewhere near my kitchen.  I am not sure how many of you have had this experience but it is wildly unpleasant & sometimes can linger for a week or more.  Once that smell is in your olfactory memory bank, you never forget it.  In fact, if you are in the early days of said decomposition – you feel like that smell is on your upper lip & you start smelling it everywhere.  I got in my car yesterday & swore I smelled it.  I took my car to to the car wash as a concession to my paranoia.  They found no dead rats.  I swore I smelled it as I strolled the aisles at my glorious Super King.  I wondered how super markets are NOT overrun with rats.  All that food & produce.  How are rats not all over it at night?  Why do I have to store my flour etc in my fridge & freezer to avoid those little bugs that get in them – but stores can have stuff on the shelves forever & nothing invades?  I’m not a dirty girl.  My house isn’t dirty.  Anyway – I digress.

I decided that, rather than concede defeat & eat out last night, I would cook a lot of aromatic foods & try to combat the vile stench that way.  And I am happy to say, I was largely successful.  Today, I baked some sweet potatoes & now I smell autumn & holidays more than – you know what.

So – I made this galette last night.  It is basically an open-faced pie without the benefit of a pie plate to shape it.  They can be made sweet or savory.  This one is, obviously, savory.  I used a mix of crimini, portobello & oyster.  You can use any mix you like or use all white mushrooms.  It doesn’t matter.  I used blue cheese.  You can use goat cheese or feta or gorgonzola – your call.  I made the crust from scratch.  You can use a pre-made crust – or even a filo pastry.  Don’t get intimidated.  Just do whatever works for you.

I also made a faux bacon from eggplant slices.  It doesn’t taste like bacon AT ALL but it is smoky and oddly satisfying.  And the eggplant I used looked like a gorgeous leopard.  Not sure why.  I ate a bunch just standing there at the stove – trying to fill my head with other sensory experiences than dead rat.  Then – perhaps all doped up on the toxic fumes that had filled my house all day –  I FORGOT to use it in the galette recipe!  So – I just took bites of it as I ate my slice of galette & it was very yummy.  So – I will include the faux bacon as a potential ingredient but it certainly is not necessary.  If you are a whore for real bacon – feel free to fry some up & crumble it into the mushrooms when they are done.

Finally – I want to note that photographing cooked mushrooms is a tricky business.  They tend to get very dark & photograph as inky muck – so – be kind.

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Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese Galette in Sour Cream Pastry with Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon (Vegetarian)

INGREDIENTS

For the Sour Cream Pastry Crust

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1/4 pound) of butter – cut into small cubes & then FROZEN

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 ice water

For the Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese filling

Between 1-1.5 lbs mixed mushrooms (I used crimini, portobello & oyster) – sliced thin or coarsely chopped

4 TBS butter

4 garlic cloves – minced

3 scallions – sliced (white and green parts)

1/2 cup sherry (or dry white wine)

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

4 ounces blue cheese (or goat cheese or feta or gorgonzola or other) – crumbled

S&P

For the Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon

1/2 large eggplant – sliced 1/8 thick

2 TBS soy sauce

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

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DIRECTIONS

For the Sour Cream Pastry Crust

Combine salt & flour in a bowl (I did all this in my food processor but it can be done in a bowl, too).  Add the butter & mix or pulse until just combined & it resembles a coarse meal.

Whisk the sour cream, ice water & lemon juice together.

With a wooden spoon (or pulsing in the food processor), slowly add the sour cream mixture until you get large lumps.  Collect into a large ball of dough & wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour.

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For the Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese filling

In a large saute pan, melt 2 TBS of the butter (half the butter) over high heat.  Add the mushrooms and a scant pinch of salt & fry them over high heat until they release their liquid & then most of it has evaporated off.  Add the garlic & scallions & saute until the mushrooms begin to brown & sear a bit.  Add the sherry & cook it off then lower the heat to medium.  Add the second 2 TBS butter & the herbs & saute until well combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat & allow to cool.

Crumble the cheese & set aside.

Parsley – chopped – as garnish

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For the Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon

Heat the oven to 425 & prepare a cooking sheet with cooking spray.  Place the eggplant in a single layer & bake 8 minutes on one side & flip & cook another 3-5 – until it begins to brown.  You might need to do this in several shifts to cook all your eggplant.  Remove from the oven & allow to cool a bit.  Lower the oven temperature to 350.

Mix the soy sauce & liquid smoke in a bowl.  Dunk each slice of cooked eggplant in the liquid & put back on the cooking sheet.  Cook another 3-5 minutes.

Eat it like it is – or layer it into your galette.

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To assemble the galette

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a floured surface – roll your sour cream pastry out to about a 12 inch circle.

Place the crust on a cooking sheet treated with cooking spray or topped with parchment paper or foil treated with cooking spray.

If you are using the faux bacon – layer it on the crust leaving 1.5 inch border (to be folded over later).

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Drop 2/3 of the cheese onto the crust leaving that 1.5 inch border (to be folded over later). Top with the mushroom mixture (leaving that border) & then fold the edges over the top – pleating if you can – leaving the center uncovered.

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Bake for 30 minutes or so & then top with the remaining cheese crumbles.  Bake another 5-10 minutes or until your crust is golden.

Remove from the oven & allow it to rest 5 minutes or so before cutting into it.

Garnish with chopped parsley & indulge!!!

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