Spicy Vegan 24-hour Maple Rye Whiskey & Sriracha BBQ Beef & Beans

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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I have found that great northern beans take a lot longer to get tender than other beans, like black beans or black-eyed peas – so I like to cook them for days.  Literally.  That is not a necessity but long cooking times have their rewards.  My Vegetarian (Vegan) Crock Pot Spicy Barbecue Baked Beans for the Slow Cooker with Bourbon cooked for four days & still were more al dente than my boyfriend would tolerate.  But – he is a finicky eater & likes his things the way he likes them.  I found the beans to be perfect.

This recipe cooked for about 30 hours & I found the beans perfectly cooked.  Another important result of the long cooking time is is gives the beans a chance to absorb that rich brown color we have come to expect for barbecue beans.  Also – your house smells delicious.  You can used canned beans & do this stove-top (using far less of the fluid elements) but I really recommend giving this recipe a shot – using dry beans & cooking the bejesus outta them.

 I added Beyond Meat beefy crumbles to give the dish a more chili-like result and I like how it turned out.   I used beer & whiskey – you can leave these out if they do not appeal to you.  I used this Stubbs spicy BBQ but any brand you prefer will work.

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Spicy Vegan 24-hour Maple Rye Whiskey & Sriracha BBQ Beef & Beans

feeds 10+ as a side dish

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry white beans (soaked in water overnight or quick-soaked)

9 oz vegan beef crumbles

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

3 jalapeno peppers – sliced (seeded to reduce heat) (less to reduce heat)

1/2 cup maple rye whiskey

1/4 cup sriracha (less to reduce heat)

1 12 oz bottle dark beer

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup BBQ sauce

3 TBS Dijon mustard

3/4 cup brown sugar

6 cups of vegetable stock (this might be more or less than you need – depending how long you cook your beans so add it in increments)

3 TBS Worcestershire Sauce (vegan version) – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & cook on high all day.  Leave it on WARM overnight & then crank it up again.  If it gets too thick – add water or veggie stock.  If it is too thin, take the lid off the cooker & let it boil down.

It is really that easy.  If you are using canned beans or do not intend to cook the beans 24+ hours – start with less stock & add incrementally, as you need it.  Easy peasy!

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Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey Banana Almond Bread

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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Bananas & avocados.  Delicious when they are perfect.  Perfectly ripe, that is.  “Perfectly ripe” is a tiny window in time for these fruits.  And perfectly ripe is open to interpretation – especially with bananas.  I like mine with a bit of green on the peel & the inside still very firm.  Others like them at their candy-sweetest – once a few spots begin to appear on the skin.  But, so far, I have never met anyone who prefers them mushy & showing as much as brown on the outside – so – when I spotted a bunch of bananas in this sad & dejected state – I took them & decided to make banana bread.  As long as the fruit inside itself is not brown – no banana is too ripe for banana bread.  I made three versions of banana bread & another sweet bread without bananas so this will be one of four breads I will roll out in the next few days.

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Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Banana Almond Bread

INGREDIENTS

3 ripe bananas

1/3 cup butter – melted

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 TBS Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey (optional)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

pinch cloves

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup chopped almonds (and a few whole ones for decoration)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

If your almonds are whole – put them in a sandwich bag & crush them.  I used the bottom of the Jack Daniels bottle.  Save a few whole ones for decoration.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl.   Then, just basically mix up the ingredients.  Pour into a greased loaf pan, place a few whole almonds on top, if you want, and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.

Voila!

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Boozy & Spicy BBQ Baked Black-Eyed Peas (Beans) – Vegan

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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OK – let’s talk about these beans.  They can be made with black-eyed peas, as I show here, or with white beans or really any kind of beans you prefer.  There are lots of ingredients & none of them are critical – so – if you want to skip one or two go ahead.  Or if you do not feel like wasting beer & whiskey in a pot of beans – don’t.  There is plenty of flavor in these guys so I feel confident you will like them even if you tweak the recipe a bit.

I quick-soaked these which is to say – I covered them with several inches of water and brought it to a boil & left them to soak (off the heat) for about an hour.  Or – you can just soak them overnight.  This makes them cook faster & breaks down the stuff in them that inspired that “beans, beans – good for you heart” gem we all remember.

I cooked these for about 3 hours.  If that sounds interminable – use canned beans and these could be done in an hour but the full two hours will blend the flavors better.

 

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Boozy & Spicy Baked BBQ Black-Eyed Peas (Beans)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry black-eyed peas (of which I used about 4 of the resulting 5 cups of beans post-soak) or 5 cans beans

1/2 green bell pepper – chopped

10 sweet mini peppers (or the other 1/2 of the green bell) – chopped

1 jalapeno – seeded and chopped (optional)

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce

2 TBS red wine vinegar

2 TBS lime juice

1/2 cup soy sauce

1-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – minced (use as much as your heat tolerance allows)

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 agave nectar (or honey – if you are not vegan)

1 TBS ground cumin

1 teaspoon dry thyme

3 TBS Dijon or other spicy mustard

1 bottle dark beer (I Used Guinness but Guinness is not vegan – so if you are vegan – use a vegan dark beer) – optional

1/4 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey (or regular whiskey – if the honey whiskey isn’t vegan)  – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

If using dry beans – quick soak them & then bring them back to a boil & allow to simmer for an hour – while you get the other ingredients prepped.  Before draining the beans – reserve a cup of the bean water.  Measure out 4 cups of beans.  Save the rest for a recipe I will post soon!

Or just open & drain the cans of beans.

I pulsed the mini peppers, garlic & jalapeno in my food processor to mince them but a more coarse chopping is fine.  In a large bowl – combine all the remaining ingredients – except the beans & reserved bean water.

I sprayed a large (9×12?) ceramic baking dish with cooking spray & put the black-eyed peas in there and poured the liquid on top.  I baked it for two hours, stirring occasionally & added some of the reserved bean water to thin it a few times.  You may or may not choose to do this – depending on how much liquid you like in your beans.  I hadn’t boiled my beans for the hour after quick-soaking so they were still a tad more al dente than I like so I baked them another hour.  You may or may not choose to do this.

If using canned beans – all the steps above apply but they will probably be done in one hour – DEFINITELY in two.

Maybe try these with my Vegan Korean BBQ Ribs?

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Jameson Whiskey Spicy Vegan Beef Bourguignon with Gluten-Free Pasta & Broccoli

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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OK – I am officially obsessed with Trader Joe’s Beef-Less Strips.  The other day I made the easiest & most awesome Spicy Vegan Mongolian Beef.

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Last night I made this vegan variation of beef bourguignon & it was amazing!  Beef bourguignon is, basically, a French beef stew.  Many recipes call for cognac.  I didn’t have cognac so I used Jameson whiskey.  Many beef bourguignon recipes require a good 3-4 hours of cooking the meat in the oven.  This was made stove top in thirty minutes & I believe that would hold true even if you used real meat.  It was so Goddamn delicious – I ate it all – by myself!  I served it atop gluten-free spaghetti.

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You could use any pasta you like or mashed potatoes or polenta – whatever.  I also steamed some broccoli & added it to the plate.  It was really quite something & I sincerely hope you try it.  It is SO EASY & so yummy – I promise – you will make it again.

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Jameson Whiskey Spicy Vegan Beef Bourguignon with Gluten-Free Pasta & Broccoli

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

8 oz package Trader Joe’s Beef-less Strips (or other brand or similar portion of real beef – cubed or strips)

10 pearl onions (fresh or frozen)

3 carrots – chopped

5-10 mushrooms – cut in half (or quartered, if they are large)

1 TBS cornstarch (or flour)

olive oil

1/4 cup Jameson whiskey

1 cup red wine (use a decent one so you can drink the rest of the bottle with the meal)

1 cup vegetable stock

1 TBS tomato paste

2 bay leaves

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 tsp (or more – to taste) crushed red pepper (optional)

Fresh thyme

S&P to taste

1/2 lb pasta

Broccoli florets (enough to feed two as a side)

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DIRECTIONS

If using fresh pearl onions – put them in boiling water for 3 minutes & then drain under cold water.  Cut the ends off & peel.  Set aside.  If using frozen ones – jump ahead.

Dredge your meat (real or vegan) in the cornstarch.

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Put a thin layer of olive oil in a large saute pan & heat over high.  Add the meat & sear on all sides.  This will likely take longer if you use real meat.  Don’t worry much about under-cooking real meat as it will continue to cook as you add ingredients.

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Deglaze the pan with the Jameson whiskey (simply by adding it & stirring it in – scraping the bottom of the pan) & then add 1 cup red wine, the vegetable stock, tomato paste, bay leaves, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using).  Heat to a boil then reduce to med-low.  Add S&P to taste.  Ad several sprigs of chopped fresh thyme (leaves only – not stems).

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In another pan, add a glug or two of olive oil & over medium heat, saute the pearl onions, mushrooms & carrots.   Saute, stirring frequently, until they begin to sear or brown a bit (5 minutes or so).  Deglaze the pan with either more Jameson whiskey or wine (or water) and then add the lot to the beef stew pan.

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Continue cooking over medium heat until the carrots are tender.  If the stew is too thick, add some water.  If it is too thin – increase heat & cook until you get the desired consistency.  Lower heat & let it simmer while you cook the pasta & steam the broccoli.  I simply added the broccoli florets to the pasta for the final two minutes.  Remove the bay leaves.

Drain the pasta & broccoli & put some on plates.  Top with the beef bouguignon (and maybe extra thyme as garnish?) & serve with wine.  At least one bottle per person.  🙂

Or slop this stuff down with the remaining Jameson, in which case, the one bottle should be enough for two.  😉

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Grown-up Fireball Whiskey Cupcakes

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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My debut novel is out!  Check it out!  I think it is HILARIOUS!  I hope you will, too!

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These guys are as easy as can be.  You could make them with your favorite “from scratch” cupcake recipe or just buy a box of cake mix.  Same with the frosting.  I had to make a dinner for 12 the other day and, as it was a dual birthday celebration – desserts were a must.  I just didn’t have time to get all fancified with these.  Or even to photograph them properly – so – pardon the bare bones effort here.

If you haven’t tried Fireball whiskey but you like a cocktail & you like to pretend you aren’t really having one – this Fireball is for you.  I cannot stomach any brown liquors or whiskey, in general, but this stuff is candy in a bottle & I promise you will NOT taste whiskey.  At all.  My badass boyfriend Miles is in town for our anniversary (today!) and he has a weakness for this Fireball elixir and I thought I’d experiment with it in cupcakes.  It worked & they were colorful & tasty & reminiscent of those fireball jawbreakers.  Try them!

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Grown-up Fireball Whiskey Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

1 box of white cake mix (and the ingredients – eggs & oil – that the box outlines)

Fireball whiskey

Sprinkles of your choice

Red food coloring

Cupcake liners

For the icing

White frosting

DIRECTIONS

See?  EASY!

Make the cake mix as directed but replace the water required with Fireball whiskey & then add a tablespoon or two of red food coloring.

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Bake as directed.  Cool the cupcakes.

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Add a TBS or two (or more if you like) of Fireball whiskey to the frosting.

Frost & decorate as you like.  Voila!

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Spicy Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken & Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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Ok, well, I haven’t eaten chicken since the late eighties & I have never made fried chicken.  I did make a cauliflower version – my Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese.  I loved it!

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But my chicken-loving boyfriend, Miles, was in town this week & I had promised him for months that I would make him fried chicken on this trip.  So – we went to the amazing Super King and bought 2.5 pounds of chicken for under $4.  I got two breasts & two drumsticks.  After breading & frying, one of those breasts weighed in at 14 ounces!  That is nearly a pound of fried chicken in just one piece.  The drumsticks weighed about 8 ounces after breading & frying.  That amount of chicken could feed 4-6 people.  Crazy.

Anyway, I was somewhat intimidated to make this dish, primarily because Miles is a very picky eater & because I couldn’t try it myself to test its worthiness but – a promise is a promise – so I did it.  And I think it was a huge success!  It came out golden on the outside, moist on the inside & was very crispy.  I was dying to eat it myself but I had my fried cauliflower & Delta dipping sauce with which to console myself and console myself I did.

I included a bottle of Miles’ new favorite sipping whiskey in some photos because the bottle is pretty & because it really was what Miles washed his chicken down with.  That & a Bud Light.

Miles’ contribution to the meal can be seen in the frame with the whiskey – little bowls of the spiciest, pan-fried red potatoes.  They were little bowls because both of us kept sneaking bits out of the pan every time we went near it & pretty much devoured the lot before the chicken was ready to serve.

The Delta dipping sauce is really a spicy Thousand Island dressing but it is delicious & I strongly suggest you try it – even on a salad.  That way – you can maximize the fat intake of a single meal.  🙂  Fuck it.

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Spicy Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken

3 lbs chicken

4 eggs

1/3 cup water

1 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (or other hot sauce)

4 cups flour

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp each of S&P

2 tsp chipotle chili powder (or smoked or regular paprika)

2 tsp garlic powder

Lots of vegetable oil for frying

1 gallon zip lock baggy (not necessary but it makes life easier)

1 quart buttermilk

1 tsp each – salt, pepper & garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

Put the chicken pieces in a container & cover with buttermilk.  Marinate them like that in the fridge for a few hours.

Blend the eggs, hot sauce & water in a deep bowl.

Blend the flour, cayenne, S&P, chili powder & 2 tsp garlic powder in a Ziplock bag or a deep bowl.

When ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the buttermilk & sprinkle with S&P and garlic powder.

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Heat a lot of oil (I used enough that I could completely submerge a breast & drumstick – and cooked the chicken in two shifts) over medium heat.  MEDIUM HEAT.  If you have a kitchen thermometer – the oil should be 350 degrees.  I do not have one.  If you do not have one either – simply put the end of a wooden spoon or chopstick in the oil to test it.  When it reaches 350, little bubbles will creep up the wood.

Put the chicken in the flour mixture & completely coat it.  Then, dunk it in the egg mixture & coat it again & then back into the flour mix.  The crust should be fairy thick.  Then fry those bitches up!

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My pieces took 20-25 minutes to cook but that was because they were Flintstone-style gigantic hunks of chicken.  Normal pieces should cook in 14-18 minutes.  If the chicken seems to be browning faster than the inside is cooking – lower the heat.  Drain on paper towels.

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For the Delta dipping sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 cup vegetable oil

1/8 cup sambal oelek (or other chili sauce)

1/8 cup ketchup

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or another brand)

1 garlic clove – minced

DIRECTIONS

Blend together & chill.

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Brie Quesadilla with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey-Soaked Cherries

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This Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey cherry idea was my boyfriend’s.  He loves my Jack Daniels Whiskey & Honey Glazed Carrots – a lot.  When I ran a few of my quesadilla ingredients by him (one using Coca Cola & another using balsamic vinegar) – he suggested something with this whiskey.  So – essentially – I made the exact recipe but with fresh cherries instead of carrots.  It is outrageous!  I used it in this quesadilla but it would be incredible on anything from salmon to chicken to ice cream.   Crazy yummy!  Maybe just pour it over a wedge of brie & serve it with a crusty bread.  Ymmmmm!

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Brie Quesadilla with Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey-Soaked Cherries

INGREDIENTS

Tortillas

Brie – sliced thin

1 cup fresh cherries – pitted

2 TBS butter

1 TBS brown sugar

3 sprigs of thyme – leaves only

1/4 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey

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DIRECTIONS

Melt one of the tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over high heat.  Add cherries and thyme & stir – sauteing them for 2-3 min.  Remove the cherries to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add the whiskey & let it saute for 30-45 seconds.  Reduce heat & melt the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Add the brown sugar & stir to combine.  Once a glaze begins to form – a minute or two – add the cherries back to the pan & stir to get them coated in glaze.  Cook another minute or two & set aside.

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Then – simply assemble the quesadilla the normal way.  Heat a dry pan.  Place a tortilla in it.  Layer the brie & some of the cherries & fold the tortilla.  I use a put lid to apply pressure & trap the heat.  After a minute or two – flip the quesadilla.  When golden on both sides – unceremoniously shove it in your face and commence to making another!

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