DDD #41 – Vegan Vietnamese Fresh Salad Rolls with Homemade Peanut Dipping Sauce

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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.

Click the image below to watch the video.

Vegan Vietnamese Fresh Salad Rolls

Ingredients:

FILLING OPTIONS:

  • 1 package vermicelli rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • Tofu or other protein
  • Basil – fresh (Thai sweet or hot basil is nice, too, if you can find it)
  • Mint – fresh
  • Cilantro – fresh
  • Butter lettuce, washed and separated into leaves – ribs removed
  • Carrots, peeled & cut into very thin matchsticks
  • Cucumber, peeled and cut into very thin strips
  • Avocado
  • Purple cabbage
  • Bell pepper strips
  • Asparagus
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Sprouts
  • Micro greens
 Be sure you have the type of wrappers pictured below (or another brand) and not egg roll or wonton wrappers.  Those are an entirely different breed & need cooking.

Directions:

Prepare the noodles & vegetables in advance – being sure they are washed & dried.  Have a large bowl of warm water ready for dipping the spring roll wrappers.
  • 1  Dip a sheet of spring roll wrapper into water very quickly, no longer than a second or two (or they will get too soggy) and lay flat on a work surface.
  • 2  On one edge, lay a small handful of noodles, some basil & mint leaves, some pressed tofu, some cucumber & carrot strips, purple cabbage, avocado & some micro greens (or whatever fillings you are using) – being careful not to overstuff the wrapper.
  • 3  Roll up burrito style, tucking in the sides, then continue to roll up-but not too tightly or the spring roll wrapper will tear.
You will, no doubt, need a few attempts to get one right. Be patient – it gets easier.  Be prepared to throw a bunch away or to settle for some funky shaped rolls!  They should be served fairly quickly after preparing them. Too much time in the fridge after assembly will dry them out. These can be filled with nearly anything so feel free to get creative!

You can BUY a spicy peanut sauce in a jar or can at most Asian markets or online (for example – http://www.lynmarket.com/proddetail.asp?prod=011152198903).  They are usually quite good, but, if you are feeling motivated –

Peanut Sauce Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter – smooth or chunky
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 TBS low sodium soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • cilantro, crushed nuts or a swirl of sriracha for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine
  2. Garnish with a squeeze of sriracha or nuts or cilantro

Of not in the mood to make sauce – many options are available at the store.

Vegan Rice Paper Bacon

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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.

images (1)download (1)

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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Photo credit: Veganer.nu

So!  The vegan world has been all abuzz recently about this new invention – rice paper bacon.  I admit to having held a deep skepticism about how it might taste but I researched photos & recipes.  THIS ONE seemed the easiest & looked very good – so I tried it.  And OH MY GOD!  Really easy, as fast as real bacon & damned convincing!   A revelation!

Vegan Rice Paper Bacon

INGREDIENTS

Rice paper sheets

2 TBS olive oil

3 TBS soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos)

6 TBS nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

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DIRECTIONS

Cut the rice paper into strips.

Mix the remaining ingredients.  Get a bowl of water.

Heat a frying pan.  I sprayed mine with cooking spray.  Soak the 2 strips in the water a few seconds until they soften.  Squeeze excess water off the first one & dredge it through your smokey paste.  Stick the other strip to one side of the dredged slice to make it a double thick slice (single thickness is too fragile in the pan).  Dredge the thicker slice again & fry it 2 minutes or so on each side or until it starts to get crispy but before it burns.  Drain on paper towels.   Repeat.

Taste.  Lose your shit.

Blue Apron Vegetarian Dinners – Night One – Spring Pea Gnocchi

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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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First of all- CONGRATULATIONS to the LGBT community!  The Supreme Court upheld gay marriage so – now – we can finally just say MARRIAGE, for everyone.  That Jesus meme, above, really reduces the objections to gay marriage for the farcical horseshit that they are.  So – bravo to the LGBT community for a win over bigotry!

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Now – on to this gnocchi.  My good friend, Jackie O, VERY GENEROUSLY gifted me three meals from Blue Apron.  Thanks, Jackie O!   You gifted me a food adventure!  AND – at least three blog posts that require no thought or inventiveness from me.  Whew!

They have a meat or vegetarian option so, obviously, I chose the vegetarian.  Here is what showed up at my door yesterday:

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Organized!  Pretty!  Exciting!!

I decided to make the Spring Pea Gnocchi.  There were lots of fresh ingredients portioned perfectly to make this dish for two.  They gnocchi were fluffy & soft & I wanted to eat them at their freshest – hence my selecting that recipe first.  I had never heard of or seen garlic scapes – which are, basically, scallions that taste like garlic.  I assembled & prepared the produce as instructed.

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I boiled the gnocchi & drained it & made the sauce.  My first issue was the suggestion of two tablespoons of olive oil to saute the scallions & scapes.  That seemed high to me so I used only 1 TBS.  When it came time to add the grated Parmesan – the portion they provided also seemed high – and I am a gal trying to drop a few LBs – so I cut that cheese in half, too.  I did not, however, think to cut the water by half so the sauce was pretty thin & I could never get the Parmesan to fully melt & incorporate…maybe my fault for tweaking the ingredients/directions.

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Another direction I ignored was the suggestion to use a non-stick skillet to brown the gnocchi.  I like my chrome-looking pan more & it photographs well – so I used that, instead.  Mistake.  Before the veggies could soften – I was burning the fuck out of the gnocchi & at risk of mashing them into a mashed potato thing.

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So – I transferred it all to a non-stick pan & completed the cooking process.  I plated a single serving (because each recipe is for two) and did my best to photograph it on my stove top.  I was starving & taking photos was the last thing I wanted to do but – if you wanna blog you gotta photograph.  It is a curse.

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It tasted pretty good – I will admit – but it has a pretty high calorie count at 560 per serving and, I must say, the cooking process was no simpler than any other recipe I might make – except that the portions are pre-measured.   It took about an hour before I was eating & then a good twenty minutes of clean-up, afterward – and that burned pan is still soaking.

So – is it easy – easier than just making your own recipes?  Only if measuring things makes you want to shoot yourself in the face. I guess you get to skip the shopping for things – which is nice – and you have no leftover portions of stuff to leave until they rot in your fridge.  But – on the down side – the vegetarian version offers no options or opportunity to customize the selections – so your menu is set & inflexible.  Plus – vegetarian meals often cost less that the $10 per person you pay for each meal on this plan.  HERE is the menu I will be getting next week – Black Bean & Red Quinoa Enchiladas, Fried Green Tomato Burgers & Mozzarella & Barley Stuffed Zucchini.  I am pretty sure I could make all those things at home for less than $20 a meal.   Another issue for me is that I live alone.  Which means I eat each meal 2x – meaning my dinners are booked 6 nights a week.  As a blogger – a food blogger – that shit ain’t gonna cut it.

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So – while it might work for you – Blue Apron is not a fit for me.   I mean – my other menu items THIS week are a Grilled Brie Sandwich & Szechuan Tofu & Long Beans.  One – I am not a huge tofu fan – despite the success of my awesome Vegan Tofu Chilaquiles with 5-Minute Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce – seen below.

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And two – I would never eat so many heavy meals in a week & I pretty much never eat bread – which brings me to the nail in Blue Apron’s coffin: they delivered 4 – count’em FOUR – loaves of bread.  Airy, chewy & totally unyummy bread.  The kind that has absolutely no crispiness or flavor.  Look at it.

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It is exactly as lame as it looks.  Not even worthy of being made into garlic bread.  Yet, after I cleaned up from the gnocchi – it was like 9:30p – shockingly late for me to be doing my post-dinner settling in – and my brain began quietly flashing the word BRIE in my head.  Brie….brie.  SHUT UP – I told my brain.  Brie.  Brie.  STOP IT.  BRIE.  BRIE.  Fuck off!  BRIEBRIEBRIEBRIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Then- I realized.  The brie was not calling from my head.  It was calling from INSIDE THE HOUSE!  There was brie – IN MY FRIDGE!  Brie for the Goddamn Grilled Brie Sandwiches I was supposed to eat two times in the next few days.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

That cunting brie in the fridge was calling.  BRIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!  Coaxing.  Taunting.  Demanding to be acknowledged.  To be heard.  To be EATEN!

And I am weak.  I would never be foolish enough to stock my house with things like bread & cheese – especially after my admitted obsession with tortilla cheese pizzas.  I never buy junk food because red wine, a weak will & junk food under the same roof are a calamity waiting to happen.  I know.  I have seen the carnage.  Carnage like the roof of my mouth seared by Family-Size Bag Dorito-induced chemical burns or hanging in shreds from an orgy of reduced-fat chips & shitty powdered onion dip (made with yogurt to save calories).  Yes – of course – the champagne involved typically dulls my sense of shame in the immediate aftermath of these blood baths but my scale is always there in the morning to bear witness to my gluttony & chide me for my shallowness of character.

So – yeah.  Fuck it.  Fuck you.  I got up & got that brie out of the fridge and without even the decency to let it warm to room temperature – I placed it on the table & sat down in front of it.  I tried to rip off a chunk of the uncrustiest bread ever but it moved in my hands like a Stretch Armstrong – rubbery & flexible.  But it was no match for me.  I had low-end, hard & cold brie in front of me & I was going to eat it.  Just SOME of it – settle the fuck down.  I dug a nail into a loaf to create a perforation in the defiant bread & ripped like a strongman tearing a phone book in two.  The bread was no mach for my brie-frenzy.  It gave in – and tore – jagged & ugly – revealing just how much of the loaf was just a honeycomb of air & thready dough – but with the resiliency of a particularly stubborn cobweb.  My mouth was already hanging open in anticipation – and my fatty Memphis was table-side to catch any errant orts that might fall his way.  The brie – like a jaded hooker on the job too long – was too cheap to even pretend to want to spread & the bread was too flaccid to gain any leverage to use against the brie – so I just placed a hard slice atop the porous carbs and crammed them into my pie hole.  There may have been unsavory sounds, groans or slurps, as I ingested the stuff – I can’t rightly say – but I can say the bread & cheese combo was underwhelming to the extreme – as if it had come from 7-11.  Even the plastic container I was eating the cheese from (because who had time to bust out a plate?) – screamed 7-11.  It was just awful.   Absolutely just the worst sort of emotionally-unsatisfying, empty calories.

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So, as you likely could predict, I ate the rest of it.  All of it.  Well – almost all of it.  Out of decency & for appearances  – I left that little bit there – which actually looks bigger than it was.  I say was – because I promptly ate it – in one tiny bite – early this AM.  But know that it was no larger than one from a standard pair of dice.

So, yeah, Blue Apron.  You can suck it.  I worked all evening to prepare a calorie-dense gnocchi, I still have a charred pan still soaking in my sink and I am cramping up at work from a belly-full of what was meant to be two more meals.  What did I eat last night?  2000 calories?

So – I will go home tonight & make the Szechuan Tofu & Long Beans – and I might report on them in the near future.  Also – I canceled too late – so I will get the menu for next week, too, and likely share the results but – the bottom line is that Blue Apron it not safe for a single old lady with no willpower & who is happy eating tortilla pizzas & curling up with a bottle of red every night.  It is just NOT SAFE!  You have been warned.

Summer Garden Vegetable Pizza

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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.

images (1)download (1)

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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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Sometimes pizza is really just a bread plate.  That is the case here.  This pizza is really just a few warmed vegetables on a plate of bread with a little cheese.  I have never been one for extra cheesy pizza.  I prefer other flavors & this pizza offers a lot of them!  It was inspired by a box of locally grown vegetables that got mistakenly delivered to my door.  Relax!  I called the company that delivered them & was informed that food safety laws prohibited them from redelivering the box.  So I got to keep it!

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Say – have you heard?  I wrote a fucking NOVEL!!!  It is hilarious!  Read the reviews on Amazon – HERE.  They are VERY positive!  Why not buy a copy & check it out?

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OK – so – at the risk of sounding like a broken record – pizza toppings are very much a matter of personal preference.  Not just as to which ones to use but also how much of each.  I don’t like heavy or thick pizzas.  Others do.  So – I will just list the ingredients I used for this beauty & let you make your own choices.

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So – again – here is the pizza dough I use – and all I do is throw everything in my bread machine & let it run on the dough cycle.  SO EASY!  Then I let it sit & rise or a hour & either use it immediately – or use a bit & store the rest in plastic wrap in the fridge.

PIZZA DOUGH

MAKES FOUR 12-OZ. BALLS

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. sugar (⅞ oz.)
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more (½ oz.)
½ tsp. active dry yeast
5½ cups flour
2 tbsp. kosher salt (¾ oz.)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine sugar, oil, yeast, and 2 cups cold water in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; let sit until foamy, 8-10 minutes. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. With motor running, slowly add flour mixture; mix until a smooth dough forms, 8-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Divide dough into 4 balls; transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ dish; brush tops with oil. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 48 hours (or get impatient like me & use it immediately).

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Summer Garden Vegetable Pizza

INGREDIENTS

Dough

Fresh mozzarella (or other pizza cheese)

Parmesan – grated

Tomatoes – sliced

A few mixed baby squashes – sliced

Basil

Jalapeno – seeded & sliced

Onion – sliced thin

Avocado

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450-500.

Treat a pizza pan with cooking spray or use parchment paper.

Roll the dough out & put it on the pan.  Score it a bit with a knife or fork tines.

Divide the avocado portion you are using in half – and reserve half the avocado & all of the basil for AFTER the pizza is cooked.

Layer toppings starting with the cheese & layering veggies on top of the cheese.  This make the pizza bright & vibrant with the colors of the vegetables – rather than the white cheese.

Bake that fucker for 10-15 minutes or until the crust & toppings look done to you.  Top with more avocado & the basil.

Kid yourself that this is just a warm salad & that there is no harm in eating the entire thing yourself!  And then DO IT!

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