DDD #93 – Vegan Grated Heirloom Tomato Pasta Sauce

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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 of me below to watch the sauce recipe WITHOUT the mushroom.  These images here reflect the use of a crazy lobster mushroom I bought when I originally made this recipe.  You need not use the mushroom – in fact – I rather suggest against it because it was very expensive and underwhelming but I include it here, anyway, for the curious & the risk takers.

I went to the farmer’s market for the first time in forever.  Once there, I was reminded of why I no longer go.  IT COSTS A FORTUNE.  Everything seems reasonable until you walk out with fingers screaming from the pain of carrying 400 pounds of produce & $200 poorer.  But it is always fun & there are usually yummy things to sample.  This time there were almond croissants the size of footballs, boxes of mixed mushrooms for $20, some peana & eggphan (I can’t resist misspelled signs).

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There were also golden beets that were larger than a softball and the crazy-looking thing above.  That, my friends, is a lobster mushroom.  It was about the size of a small Russet potato & weighed about 4 ounces.  I asked the mushroom monger what it was & she told me it was a lobster mushroom.  I asked why they were called that & was told that they not only have a reddish color similar to a cooked lobster but also that they have a slight seafood taste.  I had to have one!  I let her pick one out and as she weighed it, I began pulling out ones to pay for it.  I pulled for a while because that fucker there cost me $17!!!  I almost choked at the price but decided it would be a worthy blog post so I paid & walked away – wondering what the fuck I was gonna do with it.

Intimidated by the idea of ruining a $17 mushroom barely larger than my fist, I Googled to see what others had done with them.  I found this gorgeous photo & checked out the recipe at THE COFFEE TABLE COOKBOOK.

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I had the bulk of the ingredients already so I decided to make a vegan version of their FETTUCCINI WITH LOBSTER MUSHROOM AND SCRATCH-MADE HEIRLOOM TOMATO SAUCE.  I simplified the sauce recipe quite a bit but the most interesting thing I learned from their post was the concept of grating tomatoes.  Click that link & see how it is done & how not to grate your flesh into the sauce.  You basically grate the tomatoes on a box grater & it results in a beautiful tomato puree without any skin.  See below.

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I added a lot of crushed red pepper to my sauce which might have been a mistake because the spicy sauce sort of overwhelmed the very delicately flavored lobster mushroom.  The mushroom had only the slightest mushroom flavor & no seafood element at all.   Those photos above are the mushroom cut up.  Looks like chicken or pork – or bread.  It is very light & porous so it reduced to almost nothing in the saute pan.  Overall – I would say there is no reason to pay so much for what amounts to so little.  Regular mushrooms are just as good and far less costly.

I do recommend trying this sauce, however.  I eliminated the dairy from the original recipe & also could not bring myself to add a cup of the precious – a cup of white wine – to the sauce just to cook it off.  I felt the wine would be better used poured down my gullet & I don’t think the sauce suffered and I know I didn’t.

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Vegan Pasta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce & Lobster Mushroom

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta

for the sauce

5 large heirloom tomatoes – grated (see here)

1 TBS olive oil

2 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 tsp to 1 TBS crushed red pepper – to taste

10 basil leaves (plus more for garnish)

several sprigs of fresh thyme

S&P

IF USING  – for the mushroom

4 oz lobster mushroom (or 1/2 lb regular mushrooms)

2 TBS olive oil or vegan butter

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 tsp thyme leaves

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DIRECTIONS

for the sauce

Heat the olive oil & add the garlic.  Saute one minutes & then add the other ingredients.  Simmer on med-high until it reduces by about half.  Season to taste.  Remove the thyme sprigs and throw them away.

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for the mushrooms

Heat the olive oil or vegan butter and saute the mushrooms until they are nearly done to your liking.  Add the garlic & thyme & cook another minute or two.  Be sure not to burn the garlic.  Season with S&P.

Cook the pasta as directed & toss with the sauce.  Serve & top with mushrooms & chopped fresh basil.

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DDD #91 – Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef with Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

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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 the video.  I had a head of purple cabbage in my fridge that was the size of a basketball.   I decided to add half of it to some leftover rice to accomplish two things: not waste all the cabbage & to extend the quantity of rice with some guiltless & vibrant cabbage.  I am very happy with the result both in color & the crunch the cabbage adds to the texture.  I recommend it very highly.

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Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS

(I used a tad more cabbage than rice but the ratio is up to you.)

2 cups cooked rice

2 cups chopped purple cabbage

1/2 onion – diced

1 cup grated or slivered carrots

1-5 cloves garlic – chopped

2 or more TBS fresh minced ginger

1 TBS sesame (or other) oil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large wok or saute pan.  Add the onions, & cabbage & saute until they begin to soften.  Add the carrots, rice & ginger & stir to combine & warm through.  Add the garlic and saute another minute or two.  Serve.

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Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef

Serves 2 very well (this is HALF the recipe I made in the video)

INGREDIENTS

2 or 3 stalks of lemongrass – cut into 3″ lengths & smashed with the handle of a knife (to bruise them & release the flavor.  The cooked lemongrass is inedible so pick around it in the finished dish.) . Or – use the juice of 1/2 lemon.

8+ ounces seitan (or other meat replacement like – Beyond Meat Chicken or Gardein beef or pork products)

3 dry red chilies (optional – they are quite spicy) – crumbled a bit

3 garlic cloves – chopped

2 or more cups of fresh green beans – trimmed

1 TBS sambal oelek or garlic chili paste (more for extra heat)

3 TBS vegan mushroom or oyster-favored sauce

2 TBS minced ginger

1 TBS ground anise or szechuan pepper

2 TBS dark soy sauce (it gives the seitan that dark & beefy color)

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 TBS shao xing rice wine

2 TBS brown sugar

Potential garnished: sliced red or green jalapeno peppers, basil or mint or cilantro leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a wok or large pan & add the dry red chilies – if using.  Add the lemongrass & saute a minute or two.  Add the green beans & saute on high heat until they begin to sear a bit.

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Add the remaining ingredients.  Add about 1/4 cup water to aid in steaming the beans a bit & create some sauce.  Heat through – until the sauce thickens.  Serve with rice.

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DDD #89 – Vegan Spicy Szechuan Lo Mein Noodles with Vegetables

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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 just 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 really easy recipe but truly makes a fuckton.  So, unless you are feeding a large group or intend to eat this for days, consider cutting the recipe down.  The veggies you choose to use are up to you.  This can be made with no veggies at all or with regular pasta.  It is a very forgiving dish.

Click the image above to watch the video.

Vegan Vegetable Spicy Szechuan Lo Mein Noodles

Feeds 10 or more

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 lbs of SOFT (or cooked) lo mein or chow mein noodles or even cooked spaghetti

1/2 lb vegan meat of choice (I used leftover Tofurky ham) – diced (very optional)

for the veggies

2 tsp hot chili oil (or other oil)

2 tsp sesame oil

1 small onion – diced

6 long beans (or other green beans) chopped

1 bell pepper (I used 1/2 red & 1/2 yellow) – diced

1 zucchini – diced

2 dozen snow peas – trimmed & sliced

6 mushrooms – sliced

2 small heads of broccoli – cut into florets

5 or 6 carrots – chopped

1 cup purple (or other) cabbage – chopped

8 oz can sliced water chesnuts – drained

6 bird’s eye chilis – split (optional)

1/2 cup water

for the sauce

2 TBS minced ginger

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice

2 TBS Shaoxing cooking wine or rice vinegar

4 TBS light soy sauce

2 TBS dark soy sauce

1 tsp agave

1 large handful Thai basil (or other basil)

GARNISH – more shredded basil or cilantro, sesame seeds, sliced scallions, lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

In a very large wok, heat the two oils.  Add all the ingredients in the “for the veggies” list.  Heat over high heat for about 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

Add the noodles, faux meat (if using) & everything in the “for the sauce” list.  Combine & heat through.

Serve with your garnishes of choice.

DDD #84 – Vegan Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

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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 the video.

This is another very easy dish.

Vegan sausage is usually pretty nasty but I keep hoping I can find a way to doctor it up & make it edible and, finally, with this dish – I SUCCEEDED!  The secret was a pinch of fennel & a shit ton of crushed red pepper.  The filling in these shells was so delicious – I kept eating it directly out of the pan.  A few simple ingredients, a half hour in the oven – and you are neck deep in heaven.  Trust!

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Vegan Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells 

(This makes enough to fill three pie dishes)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry fill-able pasta shells (any variety works)

Olive oil

4 vegan sausages – chopped

1 lb fresh spinach (or kale or arugula or other greens of your choice)

4-10 garlic cloves (depending on the size & your passion for garlic) – coarsely chopped

2 (10 to 15 oz) cans chopped tomatoes (I used Rotel & fire roasted tomatoes)

1 lb vegan ricotta

8 oz or more vegan mozzarella

1/2 cup grated vegan Parmesan

1 tsp dry fennel

1 tsp dry oregano

1 TBS crushed red pepper (I used closer to 3 TBS but I love spice)

1-2 cups red pasta sauce (I used some spicy Rao’s & spicy Guy Fiery sauces but homemade would be even better)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta until al dente – or maybe a minute less than the package suggests.  Drain & run under cool water.

Heat 1-2 TBS of olive oil in a large saute pan.

Saute the sausage with spices (fennel, oregano & crushed red pepper) until it is begins to brown.

Add the garlic & spinach & tomatoes.  Cook until the spinach is just wilted.  Season with salt & pepper & blend them in.

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Put the mix in a food processor & puree it.  Add about 1/3 of your mozzarella & the ricotta.  The blending is not strictly necessary but it makes filling the pasta easier if the filling is mushy.

Put some of your pasta sauce on the bottom of a casserole or pie dish.  Fill the pasta shells & place them on top of the sauce.  Sprinkle with whatever amount of mozzarella appeals to you and additional sauce, if you like a wetter dish.  Maybe sprinkle some vegan Parmesan on there, too.  Put it in the oven & bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bubbly & the pasta is brown in spots.  If you want to freeze some – wrap the dish in foil & freeze – UNCOOKED.

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DDD #80 – Vegan Aloo Palak – Indian Spinach & Potato Curry

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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 fucking love Indian food.  I always have.  I have posted many Indian recipes & Indian food is the easiest way to feed someone vegan food without them noticing.  If you research, you will find that most recipes have largely overlapping ingredients.  If you intend to get into cooking Indian food – the critical spices (outside of cumin & coriander) are garam masala & cardamom.  If your local market does not carry the spices you need – and there is no local Indian spice source (ethnic markets are THE BEST resource for cheap spices) – buy them on Amazon.  This recipe calls for fenugreek (or kasuri methi) but I read that celery seeds are a decent substitute.  If you can’t find either – blow it off.

If you are accustomed to cooking Indian food – you might notice I tend to use far larger amounts of the spices than your average recipes.  The measurements are very forgiving, though, so don’t worry if you want to use more – or less – than what I suggest.

I used a vegan goat cheese that I bought at a Soledad Santuary stand at the Hollywood farmer’s market.  If you live in Hollywood or can make it to that market – look for them.  They recently turned vegan & are experimenting making many kinds of vegan cheese.  (If you get there – BTW – look for Dave’s Korean stand, too.  Their tempeh is INSANE!)  You can use any soft vegan cheese (cream cheese or yogurt or goat cheese – if you can find some).  If you are not vegan – a Boursin or garlic/chive cream cheese would work.  You just need some sort of “dairy” to mellow out the overall flavor.

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Vegan Aloo Palak (Indian Spinach & Potato Curry)

Serves 4-6 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 – 2 lbs fresh spinach (You can use canned or frozen but the flavor will not be the same & you won’t get the vibrant green color.  Google Aloo Palak & see how ugly it can look.  LOL)

3 large red potatoes – cubed

1 large onion – diced

1-3 jalapenos (to taste) – chopped (remove seeds to lessen the heat)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp cumin

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced (I used jarred)

1 TBS garlic – minced (I used jarred)

1-3 tsp chili powder (I used 3 but I like heat)

1 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp dry fenugreek (or celery seeds) – OPTIONAL

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 cup vegan soft cheese

Salt

Olive oil

Garnish – cooked rice and/or naan

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DIRECTIONS

Boil a large pot of water & blanch the spinach by immersing it for 30 seconds to a minute – so it wilts.  Plunge into cold water & drain.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil & pan fry the potatoes until they begin to brown – turning often.  This might cook them through – depending on how large your cubes are.  If it doesn’t do not worry.  They can cook more in the spinach.  Set aside.

In that same pan – heat another TBS olive oil & add the cumin seeds.  Once they begin to sputter, add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, & spices.  Cook until the onion is soft.

In a food processor – blend the onion mix.  Then – add the drained spinach & puree.  Return this to the pan.  Stir in the cheese & add the potatoes.  Heat through & be sure your potatoes are soft.  You may have to add between 1-2 cups of water to thin it out.  If it is too thick add more water.  Too thin?  Cook it down.

Serve with rice or naan – or eat it naked!  I mean – the spinach & potatoes could be naked – as the potato adds a starch to the dish, already.  But – if you wanna be naked yourself – I don’t see a problem with that.  Your roommate or children might feel awkward but fuck’m.  You just made motherfuckin’ Aloo Palak.   What the fuck have they achieved lately?  Probably not appreciate you enough, that’s what.

See my point?  Might as well swill some wine, too.  Haters gonna hate.  No reason for you to give any fucks at all.  Eat, drink & be proud you just made a yummy vegan meal!

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DDD #76 – Spicy Vegan Szechuan Chickpeas

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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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OK.  Another SUPER DUPER easy one!!!  The first time I made it, I just threw this shit into a two serving slow cooker, hiked for two hours (that recipe is HERE) – and came back to this really spicy & really yummy dish!  This recipe now is for the stove top.   While Szechuan dishes are often very greasy – this has only one TBS of sesame oil in the whole thing.  None of the ingredients are particularly exotic & if you find one in the list you don’t have because it is too exotic for your local stores – blow it off.

These dry red chilies are kind of important for flavor but I expect most big grocery stores will carry them.  If not – sub out with crushed red pepper in a quantity that suits your tolerance for heat.

Stove top – this can be ready in 10 minutes.

Click the image below to watch the video.

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Spicy Vegan Szechuan Chickpeas 

serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas

2 TBS hoisin sauce

2 TBS chili paste (chili garlic sauce or sambal oelek or sriracha)

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 TBS sesame oil

5 TBS low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

1 TBS ginger – minced or grated

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS Chinese rice cooking wine (not vinegar) or dry sherry

1/4 cup water

5-10 dry red chilies (halved or quartered) – THIS IS A LOT – so – use way less if you are not heat tolerant – the seeds are hot so discard if you hate spice.  I used 15 peppers in this – seeds & all – hence EXTRA spicy.  PS – you do not EAT these peppers once the dish is cooked.  Use crushed red pepper (to taste) if you cannot find these.

1 tsp Chinese Five Spice

1 tsp anise pepper (or Szechuan pepper – they are the same thing)

1 TBS cornstarch

PEANUTS as garnish

Scallions – sliced

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DIRECTIONS

Heat everything except the chickpeas & garnishes in deep pan.  Whick to blend.  Add the chickpeas & heat on high until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the peanuts.

Serve over rice with sliced scallions.  REMEMBER – do NOT eat those dry red peppers.  I mean you can – but it is not advised.

See?  EASY!

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DDD #75 – Vegan Spicy Citrus Black Beans

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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 the video.

These are as easy as putting everything into a slow cooker & walking away.  I did not even pre-soak the beans.  You could speed this process up either by using canned beans or soaking dry beans overnight or quick soaking them or cooking them on a higher setting – or by doing it stove top.  These are mildly spicy & mildly citrusy.  You could ratchet either of those flavors up or down – according to your preferences.

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Vegan Spicy Citrus Black Beans (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

Feeds 6 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry black beans

5 cups water or stock (1 cup only if using drained, canned beans)

Juice of 2 limes

juice of 1 large lemon

juice of 1 large orange

6 garlic cloves – minced

2 (or more or less) chipotle chilies in adobo – minced

1 onions – diced

3 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – minced (or to taste)

1 TBS  ground cumin

2 TBS dry oregano (or fresh – chopped)

2 bay leaves

2 tsp dry sage

1 tsp of salt

Squirt sriracha

Garnish – cilantro & cooked rice & maybe citrus wedges to squeeze

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DIRECTIONS

SLOWCOOKER

Put it all in a slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.  Cook uncovered longer if they are too wet – add water if they are too dry.  If they seem too runny – maybe puree a small amount of the beans & return them to the pan.

STOVE TOP

Put everything in a very large stock pot & bring to a boil & simmer until the beans are tender (90 minutes or more or until the beans are tender).  Boil longer if they are too watery.  Add water if they get too thick.  If they seem too runny – maybe puree a small amount of the beans & return them to the pan.

INSTANT POT

Put it all into the Instant Pot & cook on manual for 25 minutes.  Drain in a colander if they are too wet.  Add water if they get too dry.  If they seem too runny – maybe puree a small amount of the beans & return them to the pan.

All of these methods will go much faster with beans soaked overnight and, in the case of canned beans, the only times required is maybe an hour to let the flavors meld.

Garnish with cilantro & serve with rice.  Maybe squeeze a bit of lemon, lime or orange juice onto the beans.

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