Fried Sage and Mushroom Pizza – A Vegetarian or Vegan Thanksgiving Alternative

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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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What can what say about pizza except, “Yes, please!”?

I love pizza.  I love sage.  I love mushrooms.  WTF?  Why haven’t I posted this pizza before?

I usually make my own sauce but this particular Rao’s is like crack for me & I use it when I am feeling very lazy, in a hurry or if I just don’t have the ingredients to make a sauce.

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It has a genuine kick & a great texture and I can literally eat it cold out of the jar with a spoon.  It is $$ but it is SO worth it!

I made my own dough (and always do) but I use this pizza dough recipe from SAVEUR – though I just dump all the ingredients into my bread machine (without letting the yeast do its thing) and I let the machine knead.  I also tend to use the dough the same day – but it makes enough for at least 4 individual pizzas so it takes a few days for me to get through it all.  If making your own dough is not your idea of fun – use your favorite store version.

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With many recipes, the quantity of each ingredient really depends on one’s personal preferences.  I like spicy food & I like thin crust pizza with toppings that do not overwhelm.  You might like a marinara or a thick pizza & triple cheese.  So – I will just tell you what I used – without strict quantities listed – and you make this bad boy to suit your own tastes.  The flavors here are reminiscent of the traditional Thanksgiving tastes – and nobody has to die!

Fried Sage and Mushroom Pizza

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I use THIS recipe)

Sauce (I used Rao’s Arrabbiata)

A handful of mushrooms – sliced

Garlic cloves (I left mine whole but you can chop yours)

Fresh sage

Butter or olive oil

S&P

Mozzarella cheese (fresh in water is best but I used the cheap grated shit & it was delicious) – or vegan alternative

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DIRECTIONS

Get your oven all the way to 450-500 degrees.  Full temp is important.

Melt 1-2 TBS butter or olive oil over medium-high heat & fry the sage for about a minute.  Do not burn it.  It should still look green & even still seems soft.  Remove the sage leaves with tongs or a slotted spoon & drain them on paper towels.  Raise the heat to high & fry the mushrooms and garlic in the sage-infused butter/oil.  Cook them until they are to your liking.   Set aside.

Roll out the dough to your preferred thickness.  Put it on some kind of cooking sheet.  I use a really cheap, old, round pizza pan topped with parchment paper but I could just treat it with cooking spray.  I have come to really love parchment paper, though, because nothing seems to stick to it & it because it looks pretty when it comes out of the oven.

I pre-cooked my crust after brushing it with olive oil (as you can see in the images) but I don’t really recommend that unless you are topping your pizza as lightly as you would a flatbread.  Just top it raw.

Add some sauce, mushrooms, sage & cheese.  I left my sage whole but can crumble yours, if you prefer.

Bake 8-12 minutes or until it is cooked to your liking.

Slice it up.  Eat it.  Make another.  Eat that, too.  Fuck it!  It is the holidays!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Marilyn Monroe circa 1951 ** I.V.

Marilyn Monroe circa 1951 ** I.V.

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Chocolate, Cheesecake, Pumpkin & Pecan Layered Pie with a Shortening-free Pie Crust

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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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(Photo of the slice of pie above is from Parsley, Sage & Sweet)

I am not much of a baker.  I almost never eat sweets & I live alone so – making a pie or a cake just means 1) I get fatter and 2) lots of whatever I made gets thrown away.  The exceptions to this rule are birthdays & holidays.

Last Christmas, I made a Chocolate Cinnamon Cannoli Tart but if you click that link there you will find out how that tart met a violent & untimely end.

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This year, I worked all day on this barely tweaked adaptation of Parsley, Sage & Sweet‘s multi-layered pie & was petrified it would meet a similar fate or that I would drop it getting out of the car or tripping on steps.  I am happy to report that the pie made it all the way to the dessert table but before that happened – this happened:

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That is to say, we ate a LOT of food & consumed even more wine so that, by the time we were cutting into the pie, I was holding one eye closed to keep from seeing two of them.  Two pies, that is.  I was pie-eyed when it was pie time and, thus, took exactly zero photos of the pie once it got sliced up.  So, I have no lush portraits of the interior of this baby but I can tell you – it was delicious.

I can also tell you it took a long time to make but that was due to a number of factors.  1) I made the crust from scratch.  You need not do that.  You could use a ready made crust.  2) I roasted my Halloween pumpkin & made the pumpkin pie layer with fresh pumpkin puree.  This is a very easy step to skip.  Just use some unsweetened, canned pumpkin.  Easier still, use canned pumpkin pie mix.  3) each layer needs to chill, even freeze, before the next layer can be added or it will all blend together.  It will all get blended in your mouth when you eat it so taste is not the concern.  But, if the layers blend, it won’t look like what Parsley, Sage & Sweet achieved up there.

You can easily eliminate any of the layers without any great loss to the overall deliciousness of this pie – so – give it a try – why don’t you!

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Shortening-free Pie Crust

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup VERY COLD butter

4-6 TBS VERY COLD water

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, mix the flour & salt.  Slice the butter up & work it into the flour.  I did this in my food processor by pulsing it until it was all crumbly.  Little chunks of butter in the dough are okay.  Add the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together.  Don’t add so much that it gets sticky or gooey.  Wrap in plastic wrap & chill while you prepare the pie layers.

When you are ready to assemble the pie, roll the dough out on a heavily floured surface.  Flour the top of the crust if it begins to stick to your rolling pin.  Roll it out a few inches larger than your DEEP pie dish.  Carefully fold the crust in half twice so it looks like a pie wedge.  Put it in your pie dish & unfold.  Trim the edges if you like & crimp the rim with your fingers.  Put this in the freezer & heat your oven to 400 degrees.  From Parsley, Sage & Sweets:

When oven temperature is at 400 F, remove the pie shell from the freezer and line the pie crust with a large sheet of lightly buttered aluminum foil, buttered side down, covering the edge of the crust so that it doesn’t get too brown. Fill the lined crust with pie weights, dried beans, or raw rice. Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Prick the bottom of the crust well with a fork and bake the crust for another 7 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, but the crust is not fully baked. Cool the pie crust on a wire rack while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

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Chocolate, Cheesecake, Pumpkin & Pecan Layered Pie

Chocolate Layer

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup heavy cream

Cheesecake Layer
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg

Pumpkin Pie Layer
1 2/3 cups unsweetened fresh or canned pumpkin puree (If using fresh – simply cut up & seed a pumpkin.  Roast at 350 for about 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender to a fork.  Puree with just as much water as you need to get it blended smooth.)
1 cup heavy cream (you can use evaporated milk, if you prefer)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Pecan Pie Topping
1 cup mix of whole and coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the crust or use a pre-made one.  My crust was a tad under-cooked – as you see in these photos but it cooked up fine when all was said & done.

If making fresh pumpkin puree – follow directions HERE.  Set aside.

Melt the chocolate & heavy cream in a double boiler (or a smaller pan set in a larger pan with boiling water in it).  When blended & smooth – pour this into the par baked pie crust.  Put this in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar, then add vanilla and 1 egg. Beat mixture until smooth.

Next, pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the chilled chocolate layer, spread evenly, then freeze for about 15 -20 minutes.

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In the mean time, in a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, heavy cream, the 2 lightly beaten eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt. Mix thoroughly until uniform.

Remove the pie shell with cream cheese from the freezer and pour the pumpkin mixture on top of it. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes.

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Combine the eggs, sugars, melted butter, corn syrup, vanilla extract and salt in a bowl.  Stir in pecans.  Remove pie from freezer and carefully spoon the pecan layer over the pumpkin layer.

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Place pie on the middle rack of your preheated oven.  Cover edges of crust with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield if browning too quickly, but you will eventually have to cover it  to prevent excess browning some time toward the end.  Keep checking every 20 minutes.

Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 60 to 75 minutes.  It really depends on your oven.  The the pecan pie topping should be dark and bubbling a bit.

And – once you’ve done all this work – be sure to get some good photographs of the results before succumbing to your alcoholic desires!  You will want to remember this baby!

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Vegetarian/Vegan Apple Sage Stuffing

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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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This is super easy & really quite delicious.  I used a spice called Bell’s Seasoning –

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but I think this might only be available in the Northeast.  If so – just use poultry seasoning.

So – no fanfare today.  So much to do.  To eat.  To drink.  So I will just get on with the recipe.

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Vegetarian/Vegan Apple Sage Stuffing 

INGREDIENTS

7 cups cubed bread (even gluten-free bread if you like)

1/2 cup diced shallots (or onion)

5 celery stalks – chopped

1 Golden Delicious apple (or any apple) – diced

10-20 sage leaves

olive oil

2 cups non-dairy, unsweetened milk

4 TBS vegan butter

1 tsp Bell Seasoning (or poultry seasoning)

1 tsp dry sage

1 tsp each S&P

2 vegan egg replacements (or other vegan alternative – like – 1/2 cup pureed silken tofu)

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DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the cubed bread in a large bowl.

Heat a TBS or two of olive oil in a large pan.  Saute the shallots/onion & celery until soft.  Add the apple & heat through.  Add this to the bread.

Add another TBS of olive oil to the same pan & fry the sage leaves until they begin to brown – turning them a few times.  Drain on a paper towel, crumble them & add to the bread.

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Melt the butter in another pan & add the milk.  Warm it & add the spices.  Add this to the bread.  Add the eggs to the bread & stir to combine well.

Grease a casserole dish with butter or cooking spray.  Put the stuffing in there & bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes.

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Remove the cover & bake another 20 minutes or so – until the top is crusty & golden.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!

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Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Glazed Carrots

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

I must admit – I have really been underachieving with this blog lately.  Lots of factors are to blame, though.  It hasn’t been lack of interest or effort on my part.  It has been a combination of my trying various recipes that fail & are unworthy of posting, my need to eat some Goddamn leftovers whenever I make something instead of tossing them so I have an excuse to make something new and then a week & a half over Thanksgiving with my boyfriend – whose palate is Southern & conservative & accustomed to a great deal of meat.  Mine is quite the opposite – northeastern, adventurous & lacto-ovo-pescatarian.  Hence – little cooking happened over the holiday that warranted posting – and most of what did (lots of Thanksgiving new additions to my menu) remained undocumented due to the sheer volume of things I cooked.  I made:

Brie & homemade cranberry sauce mini tartelettes, roasted turkey, celery root stuffing, vegan gravy, turkey gravy, cream cheese mashed potatoes, corn pudding, glazed carrots, cauliflower gratin torte with homemade crust, peas with roasted onion & mint, pumpkin mac & cheese, slow-cooked BBQ baked beans, homemade cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie cupcakes with homemade crust and a full-sized pumpkin pie with a homemade crust.  There just wasn’t time in my days (three of them spent cooking) to properly track my ingredients & quantities & to photograph everything.

Do not think I wasn’t self-flagellating as I slaved for three days over food as my blog remained stagnant & forgotten – and as I neglected to take advantage of what could have been a month worth of posts.  I comforted myself that food cooked so close to – and on – Thanksgiving day was likely to be no aid to those of you out there who might be looking for Thanksgiving recipes.  I will attempt to make up for it by posted a few in the near future that I think might serve you well over the December holiday season.

The first one I will share with you is the recipe for the VERY EASY glazed carrots.  I used Jack Daniels Honey whiskey – but any whiskey would likely do.  There are very simple & appropriate for kids, too, as the alcohol burns off in the cooking.   They can be made hours in advance & reheated just prior to serving.

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Jack Daniels Whiskey & Honey Glazed Carrots

(This recipe should serve 10-15 very generously – and up to 20 if there are lots of other sides on your table.)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

4 lbs carrots, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 1/2 sticks of butter (half a pound or MORE)

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

2 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

Chopped parsley or chives as garnish (optional but pretty)

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DIRECTIONS

Melt 3 TBS butter in a large saute pan over high heat.  If you do not have a large saute pan – do this recipe in two batches.   You want the carrots to come into contact with both the butter & the heat of the pan – and you do not want your butter to burn.  Add carrots & stir – sauteing them for 2-3 min.  Remove the carrots to a large bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add the whiskey & let it saute for 30-45 seconds.  Reduce heat & melt the remaining butter.  Add the brown sugar & stir to combine.  Once a glaze begins to form – a minute or two – add the carrots back to the pan & stir to get all the carrots coated in glaze.  Cover the pan & saute over medium or medium-low heat for maybe 5-10 minutes – until carrots are cooked to your preference.  Add S&P.

If serving immediately – pour the carrots & glaze onto a platter & top with the parsley or chives (if using) and serve.  Or – set them away off heat & reheat when ready to serve.

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