Vegan Garden Veggie Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles with Cucumber Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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

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

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This is an easy & satisfying dish.  It can be made healthier by just increasing the ratio of veggies to peanut noodles.  There are zillions of recipes for peanut sauce and lots of varieties available in stores so – if you have a favorite recipe or brand – go with those.

I am adding a recipe for Thai cucumber sauce because it is nice to have this as an option to drizzle on the noodles & cut through a bit of how rich the peanut sauce can be.  It is in NO WAY critical or even necessary for this dish to be a hit.

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Thai Cucumber Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/8 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 cucumber – diced

1-2 red and/or green hot peppers – seeded & diced

1 small shallot – minced

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the vinegar in a small pan & add the salt, sugar, shallots & peppers.  Heat just until the salt & sugar dissolve.  Remove from heat.  Add the cucumbers.  This is good for about a 1/2 day to a day – or until the cucumber gets unpleasantly mushy.

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This recipe for peanut sauce makes quite a bit but it stores well in a jar in the fridge – really for at least a week or more.  If it gets too thick, just stir in a bit of water.

Thai Peanut Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk (I used lite)

2 oz red curry paste (skip it if you cannot find it in the store)

3/4 cup peanut butter (the more natural the better – but I used a combo of the ones seen below)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

2 TBS apple cider vinegar (or white or rice vinegar)

1 tsp (or more) sambal oelek (chili paste) or sriracha (optional)

Water at your discretion

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the ingredients together in a small pot.  Heat over MEDIUM until it comes to a boil – stirring the whole while.  Reduce heat to low & simmer about 5 minutes.  You might want to add water to thin it – or more peanut butter to thicken it.  Allow to cool.

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Vegan Garden Veggie Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles

Serves 2 well

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta noodles

Olive oil

Your selection of veggies – in both variety & quantity.  I used:

1/2 cup chopped purple cabbage

1/2 red bell pepper – seeded & sliced

5-6 baby squash – mixed variety – cut up

1 carrot – chopped

3/4 cup edamame

1 cup broccoli florets – cut small

1 hot red pepper – seeded & diced

4 small sweet peppers in different colors – seeded & cut into matchsticks

2 scallions – as garnish

1 handful cashews – some reserved for garnish – or use peanuts

Chili paste – as spicy garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Prep your veggies.

Heat 2 or so TBS olive oil in a large saute pan over med-high heat.  Saute the vegetables until tender.  Remove from heat.

Cook the pasta as directed.  Reserve about 1 cup of hot pasta water & then drain the noodles.  Stir in a small amount of the peanut sauce.  Start light with it & add more to taste.  I don’t like the noodles heavy with sauce – but you might.  If it gets too thick – add some pasta water.  Once the noodles seem dressed to your liking – add them to the veggie pot & heat through.

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Serve this goodness up on plates & garnish with cashews & scallions.  Maybe add a dollop of chili paste or drizzle some cucumber sauce over the noodles.  Experiment!  Enjoy!

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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.

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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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Chicago Veggie Hot Dog Taco on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla

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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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Another way to avoid carbohydrates!  Cauliflower tortillas!  A traditional Chicago hot-dog would be served on a poppy seed bun & use something called sport peppers.  I didn’t have sport peppers (nor have I ever heard of them) but I did have leftover roasted jalapenos – so I used those.  A real Chicago dog would use white onions – but I had red.  They call for dill pickles – so I used my homemade ones.  Yellow mustard only – no Dijon or other fancy stuff & sweet relish, which I usually hate but I thought it was great on these.  And lastly, it should be sprinkled with celery salt but I discovered that I had none after it was too late.  I loved the result here so much, however, that I am buying celery salt tomorrow & I am going to look for sport peppers.

You could make these using real hot dogs or with a real bun.  But these guys are really satisfying the way I assembled them so, if you eat veggie dogs & wanna go even lighter with them – this is the way to go.

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24-Hour Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

INGREDIENTS

1.5 lbs cucumbers (I used cocktail cucumbers – but you can try any variety you find available) – cut into spears or 1/4″ chips.

8 garlic cloves – 4 quartered, 4 left whole

8-16 sprigs fresh dill

2 TBS coriander SEEDS (not ground)

3 TBS sea (or Kosher) salt

2 TBS sugar

1 1/3 cups white vinegar

water

Jars for containing the pickles

DIRECTIONS

NOTE – these are very garlicky!!!  If you don’t LOVE garlic – cut the garlic back a lot.

In a sauce pan – heat the vinegar & add the salt, sugar & coriander seeds.  Heat, stirring, just until both the sugar & salt dissolve.  Try to get this done before the vinegar gets hot.  If it gets very hot – let it cool before pouring over your cucumbers.

Put your cucumbers in the pickling container (a mason jar, old pickle jar – or other container with a water-tight lid) – with the garlic & the fresh dill.  Pour the vinegar mix over the cucumbers.  Add water to fill the container to the top.  Seal the container & chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  Try one.  ENJOY!

These should last in your fridge (in a sealed container) for up to one month.  If they get too vinegary – drain the jar & replace the vinegar with fresh water.

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Chicago Veggie Hot Dog Taco on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla

INGREDIENTS

Hot dogs (heated whichever way you like)

Cauliflower tortilla (or a bun) – toasted or not – as you like

Sport peppers (or roasted jalapenos)

Yellow mustard

Sweet relish

Dill pickle spears

White onions – diced

Tomato – diced

Celery Salt

DIRECTIONS

Layer the cauliflower tortilla (or other tortilla or bun) with the hot dog, mustard, dill pickle spear, onions, sweet relish, tomato & celery salt.  Shove it in your face like a competitive eater.  Smile!

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No-Carb No-Pasta Grilled Garden Vegetable Lasagna with Basil Marinara

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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.

Hey!  Have you heard?  I wrote a really funny & dirty novel!  www.BathingBook.com.   Check out the reviews on Amazon!  Why not buy a copy?

vromans front vromans back

 

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Say!  Kids!   Got 18 minutes to kill & you already watched as much porn as you can for the day?  Why not wash your filthy hands & culturize yourselves?  Take a gander at my genius boyfriend’s award-winning short film – Pillow.  Available for the first time online!  Feel free to say you saw it here!  And for those of you unfamiliar with indie films & more accustomed to having things spelled out for them – let me just preface your viewing with this insight:  It isn’t a goose.  It is an angel.

Enjoy!

Wasn’t that AWESOME????

OK – on to food!  This a pretty guiltless creation.  Sure – there is some cheese but there ain’t no pasta – just a shit ton of veggies!  This bad boy has to weigh 15 pounds!  The actual vegetables one uses is just a matter of personal preference – so – if you hate eggplant or mushrooms – leave them out.  Love kale?  Throw some of that shit in there.  Make it your own!

I grilled the eggplant but you could skip that part by just slicing the eggplant far thinner than my 1/2 inch slices.  I also grilled the zucchini.  I grilled these guys because 1) I think they taste better grilled & 2) I was attempting to minimize the water they would release into the lasagna.  If grilling isn’t an option for you or it just sounds like a pain in the ass – simply slice those guys up & toss them with a little salt in a colander in the sink & let them drain a while.  That should dry them out a bit – and, I hear – it lessens any bitterness the eggplant might possess.

I made a simple basil marinara but your favorite jarred sauce will do.  Feel free to add some actual cooked lasagna noodles, if you fancy.  I’m not here to judge.  This is a fairly simple recipe despite the various steps, so do not be intimidated.  And this baby is PACKED with flavor!

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No-Carb No-Pasta Grilled Garden Vegetable Lasagna with Basil Marinara

INGREDIENTS

For the basil marinara

1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil – chopped

1 tsp sugar

10 cherry tomatoes (quartered) – optional

Olive oil

S&P to taste

For the garden vegetable lasagna

5-6 large zucchinis – sliced the long way into faux lasagna noodles

1 eggplant – sliced

5 huge mushrooms (or equivalent) – sliced

10 cherry tomatoes – cut into quarters

1-2 cups fresh spinach

2 cups grated mozzarella (or cheddar mozzarella blend or other mix)

1 large ball fresh mozzarella

Olive oil

Italian dressing for grilling (optional)

Parsley or basil – chopped as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

For the basil marinara

Heat 1 TBS olive oil in a stock or soup pot.  Add the garlic & heat for less than a minute.  Do not be alarmed!  I like huge chunks of garlic.  You can cut yours up more, if you like, just don’t burn it!  Also – those brown bits in there are remnants of the sauteed mushrooms.  Just soze you know.

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Add the canned tomatoes (they sputter in the oil so do not get burned).  Add the basil, cherry tomatoes & the sugar.  Simmer 15 minutes or more.  Add S&P to taste.  Set aside or allow to simmer on low as you prepare the lasagna components.

For the garden vegetable lasagna

I lightly coated the eggplant with a cheap, Italian dressing & grilled them.  I grilled the zucchini naked.  You can do this or opt to slice those guys up & toss them with a little salt in a colander in the sink & let them drain a while.  Either way, set the eggplant & zucchini up & then set aside.

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In a frying pan, heat 1-2 TBS olive oil (less if you can get away with it) & saute the mushrooms until they begin to brown.  Set aside.

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Get a casserole or other dish appropriate for your lasagna & cover the bottom with a thin layer of the basil marinara.  My pan is about 3 inches deep & maybe 6″x9″.  This is not a science.

Then – basically layer all the ingredients (except the fresh mozzarella & the cherry tomatoes) in any order that suits you – as long as the final two layers are sauce & then grated cheese.  Here is my assembly.

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Then – top with the cherry tomatoes.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Take the dish out & top it with sliced fresh mozzarella.

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Bake it for about another ten minutes or until it looks like this.

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Let it rest a good 10-20 minutes before cutting into it so you have some hope of it holding its shape.  I was impatient.  I cut right in because I am a food whore and I have no will power & that’s just how I roll.

If you wait a bit – it might slice up like this.  Might.  You make the call.

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250 Calorie Fancified Hot Dog with Mango Salsa & Horseradish Mustard

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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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This is less of a recipe than it is an idea.  A really good & satisfying idea.  After hiking to the Hollywood sign & back yesterday

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I came home starving.  Like many people, I walk this 6+ mile walk several times a week not because it provides the spectacular reward that is that view from the top (and yesterday wasn’t nearly as pretty as it can be) nor because it gives me a two hour opportunity to reflect & naval gaze nor because it is a great opportunity to experience nature right smack dab in the center of a huge city but because I am a fat fuck & a cranky wench & that hike helps burn away both foils.

So – after huffing & puffing my way through the heat & dust – I returned home – as I typically do – feeling entitled & ready to shove something in my face.  In colder weather – I usually (and by usually I mean like 5 times a week) eat a huge bowl of my Zero Calorie Zero Carb Vegetarian Pho.

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It is getting warmer now, though (it was 100 here two days ago), and soup doesn’t sound so good.  But a nice summery hot dog does!  And, if you eat veggie dogs, a huge one is only about 100 calories & the bun is likely to be about 120.  That is a pretty good deal, calorie-wise, assuming you like veggie dogs.  I posted this beauty last July

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served with Cilantro Jalapeno mustard.

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I could eat that mustard with a spoon!

But this time – I had mango salsa laying around leftover from my glorious Ahi Tuna Tower.

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Mango Salsa

INGREDIENTS

1 ripe mango – chopped

1/2 red onion – minced

2 scallions – minced

1/2 red bell pepper – minced

1 jalapeno (or 2 serranos if you love heat) – minced

S&P to taste

Juice of half a lime

Juice of half a lemon

DIRECTIONS

Mix together.

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I saw the bowl of this beautiful stuff in my fridge & asked myself why I shouldn’t use some to top a hot dog.  I am not a meat eater and even when I was – I loathed the concept of Hawaiian pizza (with ham & pineapple) and some of you may argue that this concoction is in that same ballpark – but I disagree.  The hot dog with my new favorite mustard – horseradish mustard – and this salsa is a most incredible, low calorie lunch delight!  I recommend very highly that you try it!  The salsa would also go very nicely on chicken or seafood so don’t be afraid to make a lot of it!

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Veggie Sausage, Mushroom & Mozzarella Stromboli – or – Leftovers Rolled Pizza

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

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Veggie Sausage, Mushroom & Mozzarella Stromboli

OK – this effort was born of my need to use up the odds & ends I had in my fridge.  I had pizza dough (duh) and homemade arrabiatta (spicy tomato) sauce, mushrooms, onions, one ball of fresh mozzarella, fresh basil & a tomato.  Tired of pizza – I decided to try a rolled pizza – or – a stromboli.  This is what I did with my ingredients….COMPLETELY winging it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

INGREDIENTS

1 package of Gimme Lean veggie ground sausage (http://www.lightlife.com/Vegan-Food-Vegetarian-Diet/Gimme-Lean-Sausage) – though you could use real sausage if you wanted.

6 big mushrooms – sliced

3 TBS olive oil

1 medium brown onion – diced

1 clove (or more) garlic – chopped

1 tomato – chopped

1/2 cup to 1 cup or so of tomato sauce

1 two-inch ball fresh mozzarella – sliced

10 basil leaves – shredded

1/3 – 1/2 prepared Pizza dough recipe (https://delightfuldeliciousdelovelyblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/pizza-dough-5/) – or other dough of your choice

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Saute the onion & garlic for a minute or two.  Add the mushrooms.  When the mushrooms soften – add the sausage.  Saute until the sausage begins to brown a bit.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.

Roll your dough out to about a 12 x 16 rectangle.  This is NOT science.  You can go bigger or smaller.

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Spread the tomato sauce over this leaving a clean barrier at the edges – especially at one end.

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Top this with the mushroom-sausage-onion mixture.

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Add the sliced mozzarella.

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Top with chopped tomatoes & the shredded basil.  Grind some fresh pepper on top.

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Now, start at the end opposite the clean end & begin rolling this sucker up.  Some stuff might leak out the sides or squeeze toward the end.  Just before you get the the clean barrier – wipe away any contents that scooted out & then roll the stromboli on top of the clean end.  Let the weight of it create the pressure needed to seal it.

Take a cooking sheet & either spray it with cooking spray or wipe it with olive oil.  CAREFULLY transfer your stromboli from your work surface to the cooking sheet.  It will look like a beached platypus.

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Brush a little olive oil over the surface of your stromboli then bake this guy in the oven for 30 minutes or so.  Check after 20 minutes – and maybe spin the pan so you get an even browning.  Your oven may be hotter or less hot than mine – so – cooking times are never exact.  Be sure that your oven was to temperature before putting the stromboli in.

Once it looks nicely golden – remove it from the oven & transfer it to a cutting surface.

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Use a serrated knife & carefully slice your stromboli & serve.  This guy could have easily fed four people VERY well, probably more.  You can fill these with just about anything, so, let your imagination take you where it will.

Cheers~