DDD #87 – Vegan Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Fried Sage

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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 super easy & healthy one!  I used sweet potatoes but any orange squash would also work.  No dairy in this at all & it still tastes so decadent!  If you own a blender – you can make this in less than 30 minutes.   The sauce can be used as it is here – over pasta – but if you added a bit more stock or some non-dairy milk or vegan heavy cream – you would have a delightful soup!  Or – leave it thick & make ravioli.  Or slather some in a white lasagna.  Mmmmm!

 

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Vegan Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Fried Sage

Serves 4 well

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta (if you use less pasta – see notes above about how to re-purpose the extra sauce)

2 TBS olive oil

1 package or bunch of fresh sage

1 large sweet potato (2 lbs or so – or 3 cups) – peeled & cubed

1 medium onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS (or less – if heat bothers you) crushed red pepper

2 cups vegetable stock

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain your pasta – but reserve about a cup of the hot pasta water.  Toss the pasta with a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking.  Set aside.

Over medium heat – warm the oil in a large saute pan & fry the sage.   Be careful not to burn it (it should not brown in the pan).  After 2 minutes or so – drain it on papers towels & set aside.

In the same pan, add the onions.  Once softened, add the sweet potato, garlic & crushed red pepper.  Stir for one minute & then add the stock.  Bring to a boil & boil until your sweet potato is soft.

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Being careful not to burn yourself, puree the sweet potato mixture.  Season liberally with S&P (to taste).   Put the noodles in the pan you cooked the sweet potatoes in.  Spoon only as much of the sweet potato puree onto it so you get a light cover.  You don’t want to drown the pasta.  I had a lot of puree left over from the 1/2 pound of pasta I cooked & I will make it into soup (see notes above the recipe).  If it gets too thick, stir in some of the reserved pasta water – a bit at a time.

Plate the pasta & crumble sage on it.  Garnish with fresh cracked pepper & maybe some vegan Parmesan.

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DDD Ep. #68 – Vegan Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemon for your Instant Pot

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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 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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Click the image below to watch the video.

OK – in order to make this recipe – you really will need two important ingredients – seen above – preserved lemons & ras el hanout.  The preserved lemons will give the dish its distinctive Moroccan flair and the ras el hanout will keep this stew from tasting like a curry.   You can make the ras el hanout – as it is just a blend of other spices – but buying it will be so much cheaper & easier.  See the package below – list the spices involved in that particular brand.

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I used saffron – because I had it – but saffron can be very expensive so – if you don’t have any & don’t want to shell out the funds – blow the saffron off.  Same with the harissa (a hot sauce).  The two things I really suggest you not blow off are the preserved lemons & the ras el hanout – both of which can be purchased on Amazon.

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Preserved lemons come in a jar (see above) & are simply lemons pickled in brine.  They maintain all their sharp lemon flavor but are quite salty & very soft.   The flavor they give this dish is critical – so – be patient – and get some before making this.

Other than that – this is a straight-forward slow cooker dish (which could be made by simmering on the stove, too) with ingredients that are easy to come by.  I served mine with this Trader Joe’s blend of grains but couscous is more traditional.  I like this stuff from Trader Joe’s because it is pretty & offers lots of textures.  You can serve yours with whatever grain you prefer.

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I used Beyond Meat chicken because I think it is the best on the market.  I thawed & shredded it because it breaks down in stews better that way & because – visually – it really looks like shredded chicken.   I am convinced you could slip this by meat-eaters with no complaints.

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Vegan Moroccan Chicken, Chickpeas & Butternut Squash with Preserved Lemons for the Slow Cooker (or Not)

Serves 4-6 with couscous or rice

INGREDIENTS

9-12 oz vegan chicken

1 onion – diced

2-4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas – drained

4 cups vegetable stock

1 TBS ras el hanout

1/4 – 1 preserved lemon (depending on hpw large it is) – diced small (start with less & add more as you go – just so that this flavor doesn’t get to overpowering for you) – I used the entire 1/2 lemon using all parts

Saffron (a large pinch or more) – optional

Green and/or black olives – I used half Kalamata & half large martini olives – in a quantity to suit your taste for olives – optional

1 TBS harissa (or other hot sauce) – optional

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 carrots – chopped

1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

1/2 – 1 red bell pepper – diced

1 lemon – peeled & sliced

1 handful cilantro

GARNISH – chopped cilantro or parsley, lemon wedges/slices

Cooked couscous or other grain

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DIRECTIONS

Instant Pot – Put all the ingredients in & use soup setting for 20 minutes.

Slow cooker – Put everything into a slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8.  If you started light with the preserved lemon – taste occasionally & add more – if you like the flavor.  Overall – it should have a strong lemon flavor.  It should not need salt – because the preserved lemons, olives & stock should have that covered.

Stove top – just bring to a boil & simmer everything until the vegetables are soft – likely less than an hour.  If you started light with the preserved lemon – taste occasionally & add more – if you like the flavor.  Overall – it should have a strong lemon flavor.  It should not need salt – because the preserved lemons, olives & stock should have that covered.

In all cases – add water if it gets too thick.  Drain in a colander if it is too wet.

Serve with whatever grain you chose & garnish with cilantro or parsley & lemon wedges.

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DDD #64 – My “You Are Not Vegan Enough” Rant & Holiday Leftovers Shepherd’s Pie & 14 Other Ideas

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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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Ok – so I posted my Vegan Whole Turkey (seen above) – and the vegans on Facebook lost their collective shit.  Despite knowing it was a vegan item – I got blocked & banned & verbally assaulted SAVAGELY.  This video below is my response to the “You are not the right kind of vegan” attacks I got from the most self-righteous douchebags ever.  I also show you how I reinvented a bunch of random leftovers into and epic Shepherd’s Pie.

Below the video here are the 14 recipes I suggest as potential uses for your holiday leftovers.

Click the image to watch the video.

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

Vegan Chicken & Mixed Vegetable Pot Pie

Vegan Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Vegan Marinated Chicken Banh Mi Sandwich

Vegan Horseradish Chicken Salad with Pecans and Jalapeno Potato Salad in Baked Wonton Cups

Vegan Chicken Salad Wraps

Cool Vegan Cashew & Cranberry Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado

Sweet & Spicy Vegan Island Chicken with Pineapple

10-Minute Spicy Vegan Sriracha Chicken & Broccoli Bowl

Healthy Vegan Chicken Fricassee with Tarragon

Healthy Vegan Chinese Chicken Salad with Spicy Asian Dressing

Vegan Cold Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad with Asparagus & Spinach

Vegan Firecracker Chicken

Vegan Beef and Vegetable (Shepherd’s Pie) Empanadas

DDD #56 – 5-Minute Vegan Sticky & Spicy Indian Masala Chicken Fingers

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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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Click the image above to watch the video.

Today is Official Chucky the Killer Doll Day!  So – be sure to watch the UNRATED dvd version for a post credits surprise!

1989 – above.  2017 – below.

Kyle fan art by @LuxBlackArts

Isn’t that cool?  Anyway –

These take 5 minutes & are completely irresistible!  I ate the entire 9 oz of chicken in one sitting.  I recommend using Beyond Meat chicken because it really is the best on the market.  Click the link to  use their store locator.  In the pictures – I cooked these in a regular non-stick pan but I did, ultimately, transfer them to a grill pan – just for the aesthetic of the grill marks.  If you have a grill pan – use it – otherwise any pan will do.

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5-Minute Vegan Sticky & Spicy Indian Masala Chicken Fingers

Serves 1-2 as an appetizer (though this would go great with rice, too)

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan chicken

2 TBS garam masala

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup chili sauce (the sweet Thai kind)

2 tsp soy sauce

2 TBS sriracha

1 TBS ketchup

juice of 1/2 lime

Agave nectar

Olive oil or cooking spray

GARNISH – sliced scallions, sesame seeds

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk all the ingredients except the chicken, agave & garnish.  Set the sauce aside.

If you have a grill pan (or other pan) – treat it with cooking spray or olive oil.  Put the chicken in the pan on high heat.  Add the sauce & cook, turning the strips frequently, until the sauce thickens & begins to blacken in spots – likely only a few minutes.  Just before they are done – drizzle with a little agave nectar for moisture.

Serve with choice of garnish.

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DDD #31 – Sweet & Spicy Vegan Island Chicken with Pineapple

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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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This is a very easy recipe & it is very flexible.  You can use the veggies that I did or sub in ones you prefer.  You could use jalapeno for a spicy dish or add brown sugar for a sweeter dish.  Click the image below for the recipe video & please subscribe to my channel.

Sweet & Spicy Vegan Island Chicken with Pineapple

INGREDIENTS

2 TBS coconut oil

9 oz vegan chicken

1 jalapeno – diced (optional)

1-2 cups dice fresh pineapple

1 red bell pepper – diced

1 cup carrots – chopped or grated

1-2 cups broccoli florets

3 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS soy sauce (or liquid aminos or tamari)

2 TBS sriracha

2 TBS ginger – minced

juice if 1/2 lime

2 TBS brown sugar (optional – I did not use it as I am not a fan of things too sweet)

Cornstarch

S&P

2 cups cooked rice OR tortillas (for tacos or wraps) OR lettuce leaves (for lettuce cups)

Garnish: cilantro or sesame seeds or sliced scallions

DIRECTIONS

Thaw the chicken, cube it & toss with some cornstarch.  Set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan or wok.  Add the veggies (bell pepper, broccoli, jalapeno, carrots) & saute until soft.  Add the soy sauce, sriracha, ginger & combine.  Add brown sugar (if using – I did not). Combine & then add pineapple.  Combine & then add rice (if doing a stir fry).  Stir in the garlic & squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lime.  Season with S&P to taste.  Heat through & serve (either with rice or as tacos, wraps or lettuce cups).  Garnish as you desire & devour!

 

Vegan Crab Cake Po’ Boy with Avocado, Purple Coleslaw on a Homemade Pistolette Roll

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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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See that gorgeous slaw?   My recipe for it is HERE.  It takes ten minutes & can be made even a day or two in advance.  I used just a hint of Just Mayo in it.  If you are curious about vegan mayonnaise – there is a great article about how the various brands fared against each other & against egg mayo – HERE.

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Because I am trying to spend as little money as possible on groceries & I needed a roll for my Po’ Boy – I had to make my own bread!  I used Deep South Dish’s recipe found HERE for Pistolette Sandwich Rolls.  There were several steps but none were difficult.  Plus – the whole house smelled like freshly baked bread – a WONDERFUL thing anytime but especially in colder weather.  Here are some photos of my process:

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I put a little dish of water in the oven while they baked & they came out golden & crusty on the outside & soft in the middle.  They would make amazing dinner rolls or as an accompaniment to cheese like – maybe – my Vegan Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Cashew Nut Cheese – seen just above.  That is a raw cheese and can be made in minutes.

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Vegan Crab Cake Po’ Boy with Avocado

Serves one

INGREDIENTS

As many Gardein Crabless Cakes as you desire – fried or baked (I fried mine in a little olive oil)

The roll of your choice

Avocado slices

Lettuce

Coleslaw

Sliced radishes (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Assemble your Po’ Boy!  It is just that simple.  Some bread, a bit of lettuce, a few avocado and/or radish slices, your crabless cakes & some slaw!  BOOM!  Enjoy!

I initially assembled the sandwich with the crab cakes whole but mashing them up made the Po’ Boy easier to eat & more appetizing to look at.  It looks like crab!

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Vegan Spicy & Sweet Purple Cabbage Slaw

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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 is super easy.  I used purple cabbage, carrots & radishes but just cabbage would be fine.

Vegan Spicy & Sweet Purple Cabbage Slaw

INGREDIENTS

1 cup purple (or other) cabbage – shredded

3 radishes – chopped

1/2 cup carrots – grated or cut into matchsticks

1-2 jaleno peppers – diced (seeded for less heat)

1/4 cup vegan mayo

2 TBS relish

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Mix everything up & season with S&P.  Add more relish for more sweetness or more mayo for a wetter slaw.

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Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles & Bok Choy

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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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So – last week on Tuesday – I began a test to see how long I could go without spending ANY money on groceries.  The only cheats allowed would be the delivery of vegetables I get every two weeks from Farm Fresh To You & any restaurant meals.  I eat out VERY seldom so – that second one is not much of a cheat.  Still, I started the challenge out eating that Gardenburger from Carney’s.  That cost me $10 with fries & a drink.  Then, I spent the next week eating things like these:

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Vegans, beware!  The Morning Star veggie sausage is merely vegetarian – not vegan.  If I ever eat breakfast (and I seldom do) – it typically looks like that above.

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I eat tortilla pizzas a SHOCKINGLY frequent amount of dinners per month.  I adore them.  And that cheese there is vegan!    It is Parmela Creamery cheese.  I like it A LOT more than Daiya which – I think – tastes funny & doesn’t melt easily.

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More often than not – I eat a giant, zero-carb, 100-calorie bowl of vegan pho for lunch.  Made with shirataki noddles – it is a wonderfully filly & guiltless soup.

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That is a salad of red lettuce, tomatoes & (I admit) a bit of goat cheese.

I also ate my Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchilada Casserole with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce and my Vegan Potato, Leek, Fennel & Turnip Soup with Carrots & Pepitas – seen below, respectively, so I had a pretty well-fed week.  In the past when I attempt the pantry challenge – I do not allow the acquisition of ANYTHING if it can be avoided.  Almond milk for coffee & wine being notable exceptions.  In the past, once the fresh produce ran out, I became reduced to frozen leftovers & lots & lots of dry, white food – like pasta & rice.  Panicked friends began delivering fresh produce so – to avoid a full-scale panic – I am allowing (as I stated) a 2x monthly delivery of veggies.

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Well – everything was going great – until yesterday.  I had not spent one cent on food since that burger at Carney’s – 8 days before.  But, yesterday, I got bored.  I wanted to cook.  I wanted to post something on this blog.  So – I cheated & allowed myself a stop in the CRAZY inexpensive Thai market – Bangluck.   Shit is practically free in there but I still managed to spend $52.  Here is the bulk of what I got there:

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Those two jars of gluten look like lab specimens but I could not resist.  Each of those cans of varied mock meats are gluten & all cost under $2.  I bought that tofu above for under $2 each – far better than the price at Gelson’s – about a mile away – below.

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Drunk from my misbehavior & shopping orgy – I drove by Sacred Farts.  Yes.  Sacred Farts.

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I Googled it & I guess it is a dance & yoga studio.  Who knew?

Well, my will weakened, I decided to stop by Silom Market – also in Thai Town.  This place is super sketchy and always has a security guard at the front door.  Armed guard to protect bulk spices?  Sorta seems like Silom might be a front for something else – but I digress.   If you go there & decide to buy some of the fresh items they make & sell there – be sure to check ingredients.  By check – I mean GOOGLE.  Let me recount an experience I had there once.

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In the cooler section – they had what seemed to be a large selection of locally produced pre-made sauces & curries & pastes….sold in the lidded plastic containers delis use to sell you potato salad. I looked at a bunch of them, mouth watering as I thought of how authentic my dishes would taste if I used these expertly prepared flavorings.  I saw one that looked dark & spicy & read the ingredients

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Ingredients: Chili, onion, garlic, mangda, sugar, salt, fish, tamarind paste.  It was called Nam Prik Mang-da.  I love prik pao squid at my beloved Torung & this stuff looked like culinary gold.  I didn’t know what mangda was but wrote it off as an obscure name for a common thing – like my recent anise pepper experience.  $5.  Sold!

Upon closer inspection – I see these curries/pastes are made in-house at Silom!

When I got home – I Googled the name of the chili paste I just bought looking for culinary inspiration.  I was ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIED when the search engine spat out its results.  Here – take a peek and see what MANGDA means – HERE.  Don’t look at the horseshoe crabs.  In fact – here is a stock photo of your garden variety MANGDA:

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Yes, folks.  Mangda means giant water bug!!!!!!  OMG!  I’m gagging just looking at that thing!  And I should have known better.  This isn’t my first time crossing paths with these fuckers.  No!  I pointed them out to you guys in my Bangluck Market post.  You can buy 4 of these guys whole, in the refrigerated section, for $4.49 – and they have 35 calories in the 4 together – 15 of which come from fat.  Yeah – they are nearly 50% fat.  Gag.  Needless to say – I threw the $5 container in the trash and pronto.

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So – I have learned to be a careful label reader in Thai markets.

Anyway – here are some new things I found at Silom:

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It is vegan & it is $5.  It didn’t seem very appetizing so I passed on it.

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 Vegan crispy balls?!  I have no idea what they are but I fucking BOUGHT some!

Then I found fresh, frozen jackfruit but I already had 4 cans from Bangluck – so I passed.

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That is how the stuff is displayed in the freezers at Silom.  I dug into one & pulled out a package almost totally obscured by frost.  I scraped it off & discovered this!

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Vegan strip steak!   And then I found this!

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I was VERY excited by these two discoveries but stopped my impulse to buy the entire stock before I had put them to the taste test.

I also bought keffir lime leaves & some other stuff  (some of the stuff below came from Bangluck):

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So – I dropped another $35.  And – when I got home – I realized I wanted red bell peppers for this beef dish so – I went to Gelson’s.  I had a $5 off a $25 purchase so – of course – I had to spend $25.  I filled my basket with what I guessed would just be $25 but I miscalculated.  It never crossed my mind that two red bell peppers would cost over $6!   I also bought the chorizo below.  Gelson’s has a sorta fun (if very expensive) selection of vegan things.  I bought the chorizo – but here are a few of the other vegan delights they offer.  Anyway – I dropped another $40.  So – there’s that.

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OK!  On to this Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles!!!  I added fresh noodles that I bought at Bangluck but this would go just as nicely over rice – or in lettuce wraps.  The revelation is this AMAZING S.P.A. vegan beef!  Read that nutrition label above.  Non-GMO soy protein.  This shit is guiltless and looks EXACTLY like slices of steak!  It is pretty innocuous in the flavor department so – like chicken – it kinda just takes on the flavors you add to it. HERE they are on Facebook.  I will DEFINITELY be buying more & more & more of this stuff.   Once my pantry challenge is over.

This dish is very easy & doesn’t use anything especially exotic.  I recommend it very highly!

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Vegan Thai Pad Gra Prow – Spicy Beef & Basil – with Wide Rice Noodles & Bok Choy

SERVES 2 well

INGREDIENTS

A few TBS sesame oil (or olive oil)

7 (or more) ounces vegan beef

12 ounces fresh rice noodles (or cooked pasta or cooked rice)

1/2 red bell pepper – sliced into strips

1/2 small onion – diced

2 jalapenos – diced

2 heads bok choy – cleaned (optional) & chopped a bit

5 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari) – plus extra

1 tsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp vegan oyster or mushroom sauce

1 TBS sambal oelek

1/2 tsp agave nectar (or brown sugar)

1 cup basil leaves (I used a mixture of Thai sweet basil & Thai holy basil but any basil will do – Thai ones being preferred)

GARNISH – lime wedges, cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

If using noodles – separate them under cold running water.  If using pasta or rice – cook it & set aside.

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I did not bother to defrost the beef.  It might be easier if you do.  Either way – heat the sesame oil (2 or 3 TBS) in a wok or large saute pan.  Cook the beef until it is seared on both sides.  Set aside.  (I only used 1/2 of the cooked beef in the noodle dish & reserved the rest for another recipe.)  I covered the beef while it cooked to hasted the defrosting.

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In the same pan – add a bit of olive (or sesame) oil & heat it.  Add the red bell pepper, onion & jalapenos.  Saute until soft.  Add all the other ingredients except the garlic & basil (and the garnish).  Heat the noodles & meat through & let the bok choy wilt.  I added a bit of extra liquid aminos here because I thought the dish needed a tad more salt & moisture.  This is your call.  Once the bok choy is wilted & the ingredients are well-combined – stir in the garlic & basil.

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Serve with cilantro & lime wedges!

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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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Vegan Sticky, Sweet & Spicy Chinese Five Spice Pork for the Slow Cooker

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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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Nothing is easier than a slow cooker dish.  You could make this stove-top by simply simmering it until the sauce is as thick as you like it to be.  Not much more to say about this except that it is damned tasty & crazy easy.

Vegan Sticky, Sweet & Spicy Chinese Five Spice Pork for the Slow Cooker

Serves 2 very well when served with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 (10.5 oz) packages Gardein Porkless Bites (or other vegan pork, beef or chicken) – I threw the sauce packets away

1/4 cup Shao Xing rice wine

2 TBS minced ginger (I used the squeezable kind pictured)

2 TBS minced garlic (I used jarred)

1 TBS tomato paste or ketchup

2 TBS sesame oil

2 TBS vegan hoisin sauce

2 TBS vegan oyster or mushroom-flavored sauce

2 TBS sambal oelek (less if you do nott like a lot of spiciness)

2 TBS sweet Thai chili sauce

2 TBS dark soy sauce

1 – 3 tsp Chinese 5-spice (I used 3 but I think that was heavy-handed.  Maybe start with one & increase it as it cooks – if you think it needs more)

Cooked rice for 2

Garnish – cilantro and/or sliced hot peppers (I used red jalapenos)

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything except the rice & garnish in a slow cooker & leave on high for 4 hours.  Mine was still too thin at that point – so I cooked it a bit longer with the lid off.  If you are going to leave this on low for 8 hours – maybe add a cup of water – so it doesn’t burn – and then cook off excess moisture at the end by taking the lid off.  If it gets too thick – add water.

Serve with rice & garnish as you desire.

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Vegan Char Siu or Chinese BBQ Pork Ribs

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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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One of my all-time favorite foods, since childhood, is BBQ ribs – especially of the Chinese variety.  Sticky, sweet & chewy – just delicious.  I lived above a Chinese take-out while I was in high school & smelled this shit cooking every day & never tired of it.  Even as the grease filled the air & I could feel my skin breaking out – I still craved these all the time – even if I only let myself have them on special occasions – mainly because I perceived them as extremely fattening and bad for you.

Then I gave up meat in the eighties & all ribs of all varieties fell forever from my diet.

Still – I craved that BBQ sauce & would have my mother send me the Ah-So Sauce (below)  – a brand not available in Los Angeles – and I would stir it into rice or dip vegetables in it.  It was not nearly as satisfying as ribs but I learned to live with it.

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Chinese BBQ pork is called Char Siu.  Lee Kum Kee brand is widely available & certainly available online.  I saw this jar on a shelf & a great idea popped into my mind.  Why not make BBQ pork using Beyond Meat vegan chicken?  Why not, indeed!  Their chicken strips have a texture that can be experienced as chicken OR pork – as pork & chicken really do have a very similar quality.   And – I also decided to make the Char Siu sauce from scratch.  The ingredients are not terribly exotic & can certainly be purchased online – if your local ethnic or regular grocery stores don’t have them all.  The result was visually vibrant & the flavor is dead on.  I recommend this dish very highly!  You could also chop these “ribs” up & make a pork fried rice that would feel even the most deenerate carnivore.

I marinated the chicken overnight (in the bag) but that is totally unnecessary.  You can whip these up in ten minutes & feel all take-out Chinese-y & get your late night, OMG-I-drank-too-much experience right in the comfort of your own kitchen.

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Vegan Char Siu or Chinese BBQ Pork Ribs

Serves 2 as an appetizer – double the marinade recipe if you like lots of BBQ sauce on your ribs

INGREDIENTS

9-12 oz vegan chicken (or seitan strips)

1/2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice

2 TBS agave nectar

2 TBS Shao Xing Chinese rice wine

1 TBS hoisin sauce

1 TBS Thai chili sauce

1 TBS dark soy sauce

2 tsp vegan oyster or mushroom-flavored sauce

2 tsp molasses

1 TBS minced garlic

1 TBS sesame oil

1 tsp red food coloring (critical for the fiery red color)

GARNISH (optional) – sliced scallions or green garlic

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DIRECTIONS

Blend all the ingredients together & then add the chicken.  Marinate for a few minutes – or overnight.  I did this right in the Beyond Meat packaging.

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When you are ready to cook them – heat a pan treated with cooking spray.  Add the MARINADE first & heat until it bubbles.  Add the chicken & cook, on high, turning often.  The idea is to let them get a bit blackened.  The sauce will thicken very quickly – which is why I suggesting doubling the marinade recipe if you like lots of sticky BBQ sauce.  You could even heat part of the marinade in a separate pan & pour it over your finished ribs.

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Beyond Meat Vegetarian Roasted Sweet Potato Chili with Beyond Beef – Frozen Dinner – Part 3

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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 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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Ever have a bad day?  Did your dog die?  Your woman left you for your best friend?  Your horse run off with that wild stallion?  Broke your last git-tar string?  Coffee run out?  Whiskey, too?   Dusty trail whipping sand in your face & tumblweeds frolicking ever-where – mocking your pain?  Ten gallon hat feeling 5 gallons flat?  Feeling slow on the draw?  Plum outta chaw?   That saloon whore left you feeling itchy in places nobody wants to be itchy?  Has your get up & go just got up & went?  Has one final-straw motherfucker used the phrase “assless chaps” – as if ASSLESS was not the fucking DEFINITION of chaps – otherwise they’d just be called fucking PANTS?

Need a little comfort food to go with your moonshine but you can’t really cook or you are too exhausted, anyway?  Well – giddy-up, cowboy!

Beyond Meat to the rescue!

Beyond Meat has done it again!  Very soon, 4 different, single-serving frozen meals will become available.  They might already be available at Whole Foods in the frozen meal aisle.  I was lucky enough to find one of each kind and I will talk about the Vegetarian Roasted Sweet Potato Chili here today.

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Zaps in the microwave in between 3-6 minutes.  And an even lower calorie count (compared to the Korean BBQ & Vietnamese Lemongrass) – with only 270 calories!!!    I like my food spicy so I added a squirt (or ten) of Crystal hot sauce to this & it was perfect!  And for those concerned about protein intake – this has 21 grams!  This dish was hearty for 270 calories & I bet meat eaters would never guess it is vegan.  Tough to cook on a campfire but you are probably glamping, anyway.  So far – Beyond Meat has hit it out of the park with the three I’ve tried.  My review of the fourth coming soon!

Non-GMO & 100% vegan – this is a welcome new dish in the convenience food market.  I highly recommend it!  Vegan, non-GMO & right in the ballpark with Lean Cuisines (et al) with a very low calorie count.  Win-win-win!

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Easy Vegan Thai Minced Pork with Holy (& Sweet) Basil – Pad Ga Prao Muu – in Lettuce Cups

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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 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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I live very close to the area in LA called Thai Town (Hollywood Blvd – essentially – east of Western).  It is an incredible resource for Thai & other Asian ingredients – like canned jackfruit, every manner of noodle & rice & some exotic spices.  The other day, at my favorite Thai market, Bangluck, I spotted these guys here:

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Vegetarian pork, duck & generic meat – in cans – for just over a dollar each.  The photos are not so appetizing but I could not resist trying them.  For whatever reason – I got two cans of the pork & decided to try them out today in this Thai dish.  Apparently, authentic Pad Ga Prao Muu uses only the Thai Holy (or hot) basil but I dd not have enough of that so I added some sweet Thai basil.  Here is how they look (holy/hot basil on top & Thai/sweet basil below with the purple flowers:

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The holy basil has serrated edges & the sweet basil does not.  They really do smell & taste very different but, I think, only a true aficionado of Thai food would know or care about the difference.  I used both & I was very pleased with the result.

Even more exciting – the canned pork!  Seitan, really.  Here are the details:

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Drained, it did not smell or taste funky.  AT ALL.  And even kinda looks like pork.  Any seitan would work for this recipe – stuff from your health food store or Whole Foods or homemade.  I posted some recipes with a recipe for seitan HERE.  The advantage o this canned stuff is shelf-life and COST!  It is so cheap & easy!  If you don’t have Asian grocers near you, the canned stuff is available online HERE.  I will report on the other two cans of stuff when I think of what to do with them.

As to this dish – crazy easy & outrageously delicious.  I like my food genuinely spicy so – if you do not – be sure to adjust the hot elements to suit your taste.

The seitan pork, though?  Totally convincing!  I think you could serve this dish to a meat eater & they would not question it.  You might want to call it chicken, if you have a real skeptic on your hands, because pork tends to be chewier than chicken but – whatever you decide – this will look like meat & taste like meat.  This recipe is killer!  And once your ingredients are prepped – it takes about 10 minutes.  EASY!

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Easy Vegan Thai Minced Pork with Holy (& Sweet) Basil – Pad Ga Prao Muu – in Lettuce Cups

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

20 oz (or so) seitan (or enough for 2 portions)

2 TBS coconut or olive oil

2 packed cups fresh Holy/hot and/or Thai/sweet basil

1-10 cloves garlic – chopped

2 shallots (or one small onion) – diced

4 red scallions (OPTIONAL!  I only used these because I had them) – sliced (bottoms only)

1 red bell pepper – seeded & sliced

1 cup carrots – matchsticks or sliced

1-10 red/green Thai chilies – split (I used 10 & this was very spicy)

1 serrano chili – diced (very optional)

2-3 TBS vegetarian oyster or mushroom sauce

3 TBS liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp dark soy sauce (optional)

1 tsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) OR 2 tsp brown sugar

Lettuce leaves for cups (I used romaine but butter lettuce is nice, too)

GARNISH – lime wedges, cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Prep everything because this comes together fast.  Whisk the liquid ingredients (oyster sauce, soy sauces) together.

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the shallots, chilies, scallions (if using), red bell, and carrots.  Saute until the peppers & carrots soften (maybe 5 minutes).

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Add the seitan & heat through.  Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add the liquids & combine.  Stir in the basil & once it wilts – you are ready to serve.

Serve in lettuce cups or with rice & garnish with lime wedges.

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Sweet Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella & Watercress

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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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See that mozzarella above?  It is vegan and I posted my attempt at The Artisan Vegan Life’s recipe for it HERE.  My only problem with the result was that the cheese had a bit of a sour tang to it because it was made with vegan yogurt.  While I found that unpleasant when eating the cheese naked (because it seemed like real cheese that had gone bad) – I still had high hopes for what it would be like on pizza. I felt that – if this cheese had other flavors competing with it – the mild sour flavor might disappear.  I was also curious about its melting abilities.

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My first attempt with a pizza is above.  I used Rao’s Arrabbiata sauce because I love it & because I felt it would have enough flavor to make the sour yogurt element of the cheese go away.  I also made the pizza with half REAL mozzarella – so I could properly compare the melting.

On the top right of that image above, you can see how the real cheese melted – completely melted & released some fat & looks ooey-gooey delicious – and it was.  The rest of the image shows the vegan mozzarella.  While it never lost its shape – it did soften – a lot.  And more importantly – the sour flavor was undetectable!   Big victory!  Still – this cheese would never fool a real cheese whore – but I bet it would make a lot of vegans VERY happy – and really is a solid replacement for real cheese – whatever your reasons for wanting to avoid real cheese might be – beyond being vegan.  Also – melted – it has a texture very much like ricotta so – I imagine – this would be amazing in a vegan lasagna.

Encouraged by the success of the first pizza – I decided to make another – but one with more subtle flavors so I could see if the sour flavor was still mitigated.

I decided to make this Sweet Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella & Watercress – primarily because I had been baking sweet potatoes for my dogs & they smelled so fucking good – I had to use some.  I also, predictably, had some random produce that was on the verge of spoiling (asparagus & watercress, to be specific) – so this pizza was born.  If you can’t find watercress – arugula would be great, too.  It is a VERY mild pizza – so – in lieu of watercress and arugula – you could top this with some fried sage or fresh, chopped rosemary before baking it for an even more autumnal combination of flavors.

And – good news!  Despite the mild flavors – the cheese blended in beautifully & the sour flavor was imperceptible.  And – as you can see in the photos – it did actually melt & brown.  So – I recommend The Artisan Vegan Life’s vegan mozzarella very highly.

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Sweet Potato and Asparagus Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella & Watercress

As with most of my pizzas – I suggest ingredients but not the quantity to be used because that is up to each person’s personal preference.

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I used this no-rise Easy Thin Crust Pizza dough)

Vegan sour cream

Slices of boiled or baked sweet potato (cut thinner than 1/4 inch)

Asparagus (tough ends removed like THIS)

Watercress or arugula

Vegan mozzarella

S&P

Cooking spray (I used an olive oil type)

Semolina flour (optional) or regular flour – for rolling your dough

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 500 – or as close as your oven gets to that.

Prepare your veggies.

Put a little semolina (or regular) flour on a flat surface & roll your dough out.  Place it on a greased cooking sheet (or – better yet – use parchment paper).  Put a thin layer of sour cream on top & then arrange the sweet potato slices & asparagus.  Top with slices of mozzarella & a good dose of S&P.

Cook for 10-12 minutes (more or less – depending on your oven & the density of your pizza).   About half way through – I sprayed olive oil on the mozzarella & I think that helped it brown, a bit.  When your crust is done to your liking & the cheese has softened (maybe even melted & browned a bit) – take it out & top with watercress or arugula.  Yummy!

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