DDD #30 – Spicy Vegan Chicken Fried Cauliflower with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy & Delta Dipping Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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

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

 

 

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I am reposting an updated version of my original post for these dished from July 30, 2013.  Originally, this was posted as vegetarian recipes.  I updated them to be vegan & there is a video on my channel to accompany it.  Click the image below to watch & see how easy this stuff is to make.


From July 30, 2013:

In my hunt for other recipes meant to provide a cauliflower version of fried chicken, I ran into THIS post about Popeye’s Fried Chicken.  Here is a picture from that site:

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I have never eaten at Popeye’s or any other fried chicken joint (except KFC & Dinah’s here in Glendale) and I haven’t tasted ANY fried chicken in over 25 years – but my boyfriend Miles eats it all the time.  In fact, he eats it weekly now that the famous Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken opened a few blocks away from him in downtown Little Rock.  Miles is always sending me (at my request) pictures of the food he eats & I find myself looking at fried chicken so much – I have developed an undeniable craving for it.  And – that blogger that spoke of an incredible meal at Popeye’s didn’t help.  And that Delta sauce?  I liked the sound of it & a few clicks here & there revealed that Popeye’s discontinued it.  In fact, there seems to be quite a bit of hand-wringing going on about the now-unavailable Delta Sauce and that piqued my curiosity.  Fortunately, the blogger who loved the Delta sauce posted a copycat recipe for it & I could not resist.  So – I made it & I include that recipe here.  It is like a spicy Thousand Island dressing & it is INCREDIBLE on my – wait for it – Southern Fried Cauliflower!

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Doesn’t that look just like a fried chicken plate?  I was so Goddamn happy with myself yesterday – you have no idea.  If you make any of my zillions of cauliflower recipes – I have to say – it should be THIS one!  So easy & so delicious!  And if, like me, you don’t eat meat but the reasons for that do not include any distaste for meat products – this might really satisfy any existing fried chicken craving you might be in denial about.

That plate above includes the recipe for Vegan Buffalo Mac & Pepper Jack Cheese  – served traditionally or as cupcakes!

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It also includes some smashed baked potatoes & a vegan white gravy.

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This is quite a decadent meal & the perfect fix on those days when the hole in your heart is bigger than your ass & you just don’t give a fuck.  You wanna eat & you wanna eat something bad.  This is as Paula Deen as I am likely to get but even with this dish – the fried chicken is really cauliflower & there is no bacon (or other meat) fat in any of it (excepting egg & milk) & the potatoes were made with a minimum of butter & WATER – because I’d run out of milk.  So – seriously – AT LEAST try the southern fried cauliflower & Delta dipping sauce.  I am certain you will enjoy!

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Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese (All Vegan)

(This feeds about two (very well) so increase the recipes if you are feeding more.  The mac & cheese recipe feeds at least 4.)

INGREDIENTS

For the Southern Fried Cauliflower

(depending on the size of your cauliflower – you may need more or less of the other ingredients – so maybe have extra on hand)

1 head cauliflower

2 eggs worth of egg replacer (optional)

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce

2 cups flour

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp each of S&P

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

1 tsp garlic powder

Lots of vegetable oil for frying

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

For the Delta dipping sauce

1/4 cup vegan 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 vegan Worcestershire sauce

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

1 garlic clove – minced

For the smashed baked potatoes

2 large potatoes

olive oil

2 TBS vegan butter

S&P

For the white gravy

2 TBS vegan butter

1 large shallot – minced

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1/2 tsp dry sage

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

For the Vegan Buffalo Mac & Cheese (or Mac & Cheese Cupcakes)

See HERE

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DIRECTIONS

For the Delta dipping sauce

Whisk the ingredients together & chill.

For the Smashed Baked Potatoes

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Rub olive oil on the potatoes & sprinkle with salt.  Bake them – DIRECTLY on the oven rack – for about 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven & allow to cool a bit.  Peel the potatoes (I left bits of skin & browned spots for some color) & mash them up with the butter & some salt & pepper and as much milk or water (I used water as I was out of milk) as you need to get to a texture you like.  I used an old school hand masher & left them chunky & on the drier side.  I smashed them a bit more at the end with an immersion blender.  You do it however you like.

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For the white gravy

Heat the butter in a sauce pan & add the bouillon cube & the shallots.  Cook a minute or two until the shallots soften & the bouillon cube is dissolved.  Add the flour, sage & salt and pepper & stir constantly for about 2 minutes.  It should be quite dry.  Add the milk 1/2 cup at a time & allow it to thicken.  Continue until all the milk is incorporated and heat until the gravy is at your desired thickness.  Add milk if it is too thick.

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For the Southern Fried Cauliflower

In a bowl – whisk together the egg replacer, water & hot sauce.  I think you can omit the egg replacer with no real effect on the recipe.

In a zip lock bag or in a deep bowl – blend the flour with the rest of the dry ingredients.

Cut the cauliflower into the largest “drummettes” possible so they resemble chicken thighs & a few wings.  I sprayed my cauliflower with water so the flour mix would stick.

Put the cauliflower in the flour mix & toss to coat.  Dunk into the egg mix until covered & then back into the flour.  Coat again with the flour.

I do not have a thermometer to measure oil temp but I think 350 is the correct temperature for frying.  I just let it get hot, put one drummette in there & once that started bubbling pretty rapidly – I added a few more pieces

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Turn a few times & fry until they are a golden brown all over.  Drain on a paper towel.  Repeat until all the cauliflower is cooked.  Now – just divvy up the goodness & fill up that whole in your heart with some old school home cooking!

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Fennel, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale & White Bean Gratin (Vegan or Not)

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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 get Farm Fresh To You deliveries every other week.  You are allowed to customize the deliveries but, sometimes, I forget and the result is that I end up with an infinity of leafy greens.  This week: two kinds of lettuce, Swiss chard & kale.  And fennel.  And more.  But thatsalotta greens!  Plus, I already had fennel from the last delivery & about 5 pounds of spinach.  So – I decided to make something that would use as many of the greens as possible – this dish.  The greens you use can vary but you need a lot of whatever you select because they reduce dramatically.

I used real Parmesan in this (because I had it) but vegan Parm – or even another vegan cheese (like mozzarella or cheddar) would work.  I used almond milk but I think a thicker milk might have been better.

NOTE – Also – you might want to add some cheese to the veggie mix.  I didn’t because I was trying to keep this dish on the light side.

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Fennel, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale & White Bean Gratin (Vegan or Not)

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

5 TBS vegan butter

2 small bulbs fennel – chopped

1 onion (I used 1 brown & 1/2 red onion) – diced

4 or more garlic cloves (I used 4 cloves & 2 stalks of green garlic) – chopped

1 bunch Swiss chard – ribs removed & chopped

1 bunch kale – ribs removed & chopped

2-4 cups spinach

2 TBS fresh thyme

3 TBS flour

1 cup Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) – optional – for adding to the veggies – see NOTE above

1 1/2 cup vegan milk (I used almond milk but a thicker milk might be better – or half & half, if you are not vegan)

2 14 oz cans white beans – drained & rinsed

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used Panko)

1 cup Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) – or other cheese (mozzarella or cheddar) for topping

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt TWO of the five TBS of butter in a large stock pot.  Add the fennel and onion & saute until soft.  Add thyme & combine.  Add the garlic & stir for a minute.  Add the greens – in stages – adding more as each bit wilts.

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Add the flour & milk & bring to a boil.  Reduce to low & simmer as it thickens a bit.  Add the beans & season with S&P.  If you are adding cheese to the veggies – do that now & stir to combine.

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Meanwhile – melt the remaining 3 TBS butter & toss with the breadcrumbs and 1 cup of cheese.

Treat a 9 x 13 casserole pan with cooking spray or oil & put the veggie mix in.  Top with the breadcrumb mix.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until breadcrumbs turn golden.

Let rest 10 minutes & serve.

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CHEF’D – White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms

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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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There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.  And – while the meals were tasty, they were pretty labor-intensive – some taking an hour to prepare.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Additionally, so far, I have found their recipes fresh & interesting but fast & easy to prepare.  Great for date night!  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & posted about the burger HERE – and the tacos in another post HERE.  I also posted about the Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese HERE and the Tofu Parmigiana HERE.  They can be seen below, respectively.
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OK – so this is my third post about my box of three meals that I ordered from Chef’d in my second delivery from them.  It is their White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms and Arugula Salad with Lemon Mint Vinaigrette.  Arugula salad is my favorite thing ever & I am also a huge fan of lemon & mint – but – I had this box delivered Saturday & did not get to this recipe until Thursday.  As a result – through no fault of Chef’d – my arugula had passed its edible period.
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I considered using the wilted arugula on the pizza but it was too far gone.   Sad.  I love arugula!  But – I just didn’t get to it on time.  MY fault!
But everything else was still fresh.  The recipe called for (and provided) real milk.  While I am still not totally off cheese or butter (vegan butter is so far ahead of vegan cheese – so far) – I am trying really hard to be entirely off eggs & milk – so I just substituted almond milk & vegan butter.  Made no difference – as in – was just as good.  I did use the real cheese, though.
My experiences with the Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza & the Tofu Parmigiana were that I found that they probably were not enough to realistically feed two American adults – for dinner.  That was not the case with this pizza.  I had accidentally used one of the pizza dough balls provided by Chef’d for my two pizzas on a separate pizza altogether – so I used my own (peppered) homemade crust when I made this.  Also – I only made  half pizza (using half the ingredients) and I was STUFFED!  So – I think this pizza actually might satisfy two adults.  Here is the nutritional info:
white pizza
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At 2480 calories (including, I assume, the salad that I did not even make) – this is a hearty meal!  And it was DELICIOUS!  Again – I found the Chef’d recipe to be less labor intensive than other companies that I have tried – less labor intensive BY A LOT – and the result more satisfying.  I only ate half of the half recipe I made.  Rich & filling & yummy! And easy.  The white sauce came together quickly.
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Mushrooms & broccoli cooked up fast & easy & the pizza assembled without incident.  I did add crushed red pepper but I add that to almost all things not served in a glass.  That peppery crust you see is my own homemade crust.  But – the result was a pizza with lots of flavors & textures.  While I have found all of the dishes I have tried from Chef’d to be easy to make & really tasty to eat – this one is the current champion of full-blown decadence.  So – if one night – you eat this entire decadent meal – maybe the next night – you compensate with the far lighter tofu parmigiana?
Whether eating light is your concern or getting a rich & wintery meal into your pie hole is your goal – I think Chef’d has you covered.  And I don’t eat meat – so I can’t even get into sampling what those dishes offer.  But I recommend these Chef’d meals with complete enthusiasm.  Even for the most novice chef – and especially for novice vegetarians.  Lots of folks who want to cut more meat out of their diet fear only salads in their futures & Chef’d can quickly dispel those fears – and leave almost everybody feeling more empowered in the most important room in their homes – the kitchen!
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Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Fresh Corn, Chicken, Brown Rice & Gorgonzola (Vegan or Vegetarian) with White Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette

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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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So – I made an eggplant curry the other day & it came out sorta bitter & yucky and, despite trying to sakvage it, I failed.  But, I had already made some brown rice to go with it & it needed a home.

I get deliveries from Farm Fresh to You and this week’s box had three ears of corn in it.  I typically avoid corn because the vast majority of it is GMO – but this corn came from a local farm – so I deemed it safe.

I recently bought myself some ORGANIC strawberries & spinach – and I stress organic because of information like this (from HERE):

The following “Dirty Dozen Plus” had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic versions – or to grow them organically yourself:

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas (imported)
  • Potatoes

Plus these which may contain organophosphate insecticides, which EWG characterizes as “highly toxic” and of special concern:

  • Hot peppers
  • Blueberries (domestic)

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Armed with these things, some leftover gorgonzola crumbles & some Beyond Meat chicken strips – I made this salad.   Then I shoved a bunch of it into a mason jar & brought it to work for lunch!  PS – any “hair” you might think you see in the salad is just corn silk.  Whew!

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I made the dressing from those two ingredients, Dijon & some S&P.  If you cannot find white balsamic – white wine vinegar will do.

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White Balsamic & Dijon Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS
3 TBS white balsamic vinegar

2 TBS olive oil

2 TBS Dijon

S&P

DIRECTIONS

Shake that shit up in a jar.

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Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Fresh Corn, Chicken, Brown Rice & Gorgonzola (Vegan or Vegetarian) 

Serves 2 as a main course

INGREDIENTS (flexible according to your tastes)

1/2 lb raw, organic spinach – chopped

1 cup organic strawberries – sliced

9 oz vegan chicken – thawed

1 ear fresh corn – kernels cut off

2 cups cooked brown rice

Gorgonzola crumbles (or vegan alternative or other cheese of choice like feta or goat) – optional

Cilantro – chopped – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Treat a pan with cooking spray or oil & sear the chicken strips.  Set aside.

Then basically, just toss everything together & then toss with the dressing.

Easy & gorgeous.

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Vegan Tuscan Two White Bean Soup with Turnip Greens for the Slow Cooker

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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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OK – another easy & delicious one.  Makes a boat load so get ready to freeze some.  I made this by basically throwing every bit of produce I had in my house into a crock pot & going to work.  And – as I love to do – returned many hours later to a home that smelled like somebody that loved me had been here cooking for me all day.  The ingredients are flexible so do not worry if you are missing a few or want to add others.

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Vegan Tuscan Two White Bean Soup with Turnip Greens for the Slow Cooker

Makes a shitload so use a large slow cooker

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry large lima beans (or other white bean – but these get so creamy – I really suggest them)

1 cup dry cannellini or great northern beans (or other white bean)

1 large onion – diced

1 bunch turnip greens – chopped

1 red bell pepper – seeded & chopped

4 carrots – sliced

4 celery stalks – chopped

4 sprigs fresh oregano

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 cup parsley – chopped

1/4 cup basil – chopped

4 bay leaves

2 tsp dry sage

2 tsp dry thyme

12 cups vegetable stock

S&P

Garnish – more parsley or basil or grated Parmesan (vegan or otherwise)

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & cook on high for 8 hours.  Alternatively – you can wait until it is about 30 minutes from being done before you add the fresh basil, parsley & the chopped turnip greens.  This will allow them to keep their color & flavor a bit more.

Garnish & slurp it up!

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Vegan Mega Lemon and Garlic Chicken and White Beans with Mint-Basil Pesto for the Slow Cooker

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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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OK, kids – it’s another easy slow cooker meal.  I added a little fresh Mint-Basil Pesto – but you need not.  I used a fuckton of garlic & a shitload of lemon – but you can tone these down, if you prefer.  I used the always awesome Beyond Meat – of which (full disclosure) – I am not officially a SuperFan!  Check it out HERE – but you can use real chicken, if that’s your bag.  I served it over pasta but rice would work, too, or this could be served as a sort of white chili.  It is all up to you!  Isn’t that nice?

Mint-Basil Pesto

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh basil

1/2 to 1 cup fresh mint leaves (depending on your passion for mint)

1/4 cup almonds (or walnuts or cashews)

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

Olive oil (Use just as much as you need to get the pesto to the consistency you like. I used very little – maybe 1/8 cup – but you might like your pesto thinner.)

1 TBS lemon juice

S&P

DIRECTIONS

Puree all in a food processor.  Season with S&P.

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Vegan Mega Lemon and Garlic Chicken and White Beans for the Slow Cooker

Serves 6-8 with rice or pasta

INGREDIENTS

2 cups dry white beans (or canned)

9 oz vegan chicken – thawed & shredded

1 onion – sliced or chopped

20 cloves of garlic – smashed

zest of one lemon

juice of two lemons

5 cups vegetable stock

1 TBS crushed red pepper (or less – to taste)

S&P

Cornstarch

Garnish – Mint-Basil Pesto (recipe above), lemon wedges, fresh basil, cooked pasta or cooked rice.

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DIRECTIONS

Do not put the lemon halves in your slow cooker – like you see above.  I think this added a touch of bitterness.

Put everything except the cornstarch into a slow cooker & leave it on high for 6 hours.  If it is too thin – add 1 2 TBS cornstarch to 1/4 cup water & whisk together.  Add to the slow cooker – on high – and it should thicken nicely.  If it is too thick – add a bit of water.  Season with S&P.

Or..

Stove-top – just use canned beans & cook until the onions are tender & the flavors meld – maybe 45 minutes.

Serve with rice or pasta or on its own.  Top with the pesto & garnish as you desire.

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Spicy Vegan Pakistani Chicken & White Bean Stew — for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

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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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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 as easy as putting everything into a slow cooker & leaving for 5 hours.  The only prep I engaged in was soaking the beans overnight but that is not really necessary.  I think even dry beans would be tender after 5 hours.  Or – you could use canned beans & be absolutely sure they will be tender when you are ready to eat.

I love, love, LOVE lemongrass & I used tons in this – both fresh stalks & a pre-made paste in a tube – and I tasted none of it in this finished product so – if you can’t find lemongrass of any kind – just blow it off.  I used a tube of lemongrass paste (made by Gourmet Garden & found in the produce section.  They also make parsley & garlic etc in tubes) and 2 stalks of fresh lemongrass – though they were – admittedly – on their last legs.  But, again, lemongrass was not a noticeable flavor in the finished product.  Despite the lack of lemongrass flavors – this stew was hearty & delicious!

I used Beyond Meat vegan chicken because it is my favorite – but you can use any meat (faux or not) that you prefer.

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Spicy Vegan Pakistani Chicken & White Bean Stew — for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

Serves 6 easily with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan chicken

2 cups white beans (dry or canned for slow cooker – but use canned for stove top)

3 cups water or stock

1 10 oz can Rotel or roasted tomatoes

1 13 oz can lite coconut milk

2 potatoes – cubed

1 onion – diced

6 oz frozen okra (optional)

12 oz frozen lima beans

2 stalks of lemongrass – smashed a bit with a roller &  chopped into large hunks (so you can easily avoid eating it) – (optional)

5 TBS lemongrass paste – (optional)

Juice of half a lemon

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1/4 cup chili paste or sriracha (or to taste)

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Corn starch

Garnish – cooked rice, cilantro, diced red or green jalapenos

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DIRECTIONS

Slow cooker – Put everything (except the cilantro) into a slow cooker & cook on high for 5-6 hours.  If it is too thin  – whisk 2 TBS corn starch into some water & stir it in.  If it gets too thick – add water or stock.  Stir in the cilantro.

Stove top – Same as above but you probably won’t need any water because you are using canned beans.  Heat it to boil & simmer until the potatoes are cooked – maybe 30 minutes – depending on how big your potato cubes are.  If it gets too thick – thin with some water.   If it is too thin  – whisk 2 TBS corn starch into some water & stir it in. When the vegetables are tender & it is heated through – stir in the cilantro.

Serve with rice & garnishes of your desire.

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Vegan Lemon, Salted Caper and White Bean Pasta

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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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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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vromans back

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My friends Jackie O & Dennis gave me a little package of food delicacies for my birthday.  Among them was this jar (above & apologies for the focus) of salted capers (packed in salt rather than vinegar).  I had never seen these before & had to research them a bit.  As it turns out, the capers at the supermarket are packed in vinegar – making vinegar the overpowering flavor.  These guys in salt are reported to taste fresher & almost floral.  You need to soak them for at least 15 minutes to get that extra salt out but the longer you soak them – the less flavor they will ultimately have – so, I would not recommend soaking them more than an hour.  If you are using capers in vinegar – I’d recommend soaking those a bit, too, just to wash away some of the intensity of the vinegar.

I feel like a broken record but this dish really is easy & the flavors are light & delicate.  I used these fresh (non-vegan) noodles that I got at the Asian market but any pasta will do.

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Vegan Lemon, Salted Caper and White Bean Pasta

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta – cooked & drained & tossed in a bit of olive oil

1 (15 oz) can of white beans – drained & rinsed

1 large lemon – juiced & zested (for about 1/4 cup juice & several TBS zest)

3+ garlic cloves – minced

Salted (or other capers) – quantity is up to you & your taste for these guys – I used about 1/4 cup – soaked in water for 15-60 minutes

2 TBS olive oil

S&P

Parsley – chopped

Lemon wedges as garnish (optional)

Grated cheese (or vegan alternative) as garnish – (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta & toss with olive oil.  Drain & rinse the beans.

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic & stir for one minute.  Add the beans & lemon juice & zest and capers.

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Add the pasta & toss to incorporate everything.   Season with S&P & warm through.

Serve it up & drizzle with a good quality olive oil & garnish with parsley and maybe lemon wedges or grated cheese.  Lots of fresh cracked pepper is good, too!

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Vegan 15 Bean Soup with Arugula and White Truffle Oil for the Slow Cooker

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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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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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vromans back

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First – two cool things about LA: the vintage cars that lined Wilcox the other day – evidently there for a period scene in a film and the gorgeous sunrise in that un-retouched or enhanced image above.

Now for yet another insanely easy vegan recipe for a slow cooker.  Even a child could pull this off.  I added arugula because I had it & it was beginning to wilt but it was no match for 5 hours in a slow cooker and basically disintegrated so – if you want to add arugula, stir it into your soup just before serving.

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Vegan 15 Bean Soup with Arugula and White Truffle Oil for the Slow Cooker

INGREDIENTS

20 ounces of mixed beans (throw out the gross ham flavor packet)

10 cups vegetable stock

juice of 1 lemon

1 onion – diced

5 carrots – sliced

5 celery stalks – chopped

2 red potatoes – cubed

3 garlic cloves – minced

Arugula (optional) – as a last minute add in (CHOP IT – or else you will have long strands of red hot wilted arugula hitting you in the chin)

Parsley – chopped as garnish

White truffle oil to drizzle (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Put all that shit (except the arugula, parsley & truffle oil) into a 6 QT slow cooker & set on high for 5 hours.

Garnish as you like.

See?  EASY!

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Roasted Pumpkin Lasagna with Red Chard and Fried Sage Bechamel (with Homemade Pumpkin Puree)

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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 recipe requires a few steps but all are pretty easy & the result is an impressive crowd pleaser.  I roasted a couple of pumpkins myself but you could use canned pumpkin with little change in the result.  The only real difference is that canned pumpkin doesn’t come with seeds & I am going to post a roasted pumpkin seed recipe next & they are SO FRIGGING YUMMY – you will definitely be missing out if you do not try them.

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Roasted Pumpkin Lasagna with Red Chard and Fried Sage Bechamel (with Homemade Pumpkin Puree)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 – 1 lb lasagna noodles (I used about 10-12 noodles)

3 cups pumpkin puree (recipe for homemade is below)

16 oz ricotta cheese

1 bunch red chard (or rainbow or green chard or kale) – thick ribs cut out

1-2 TBS crushed red pepper (optional)

1+ cups grated Parmesan

1+ cups grated mozzarella

S&P

for the bechamel

4 cups milk (I used almond milk)

7 TBS butter

6 TBS flour

1 large bunch of fresh sage

Pinch of nutmeg

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the lasagna noodles for about half the time recommended for them to be al dente and – being sure to reserve the boiling water – scoop them out & run cold water over them in a colander.  Maybe toss with a touch of olive oil to be sure they don’t get sticky.

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Plunge the greens you are using into the hot water & let them sit 2-3 minutes.  Drain & chop them & set aside.

Melt 1 TBS of the butter in a small saute pan & fry the sage leaves for about 1 minute of med-high heat.  Do not brown it.  Drain the sage on a paper towel & set aside.

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Melt the remaining 6 TBS butter in the same pan in which you fried the sage (to take advantage of all the lovely sage flavor) & then transfer it into a stock pot large enough to hold 5 cups of milk.

Set the heat at med-low & whisk in the flour.  Keep whisking until the mixture smells nutty & takes on the color of light sand – about 6-7 minutes.

Meanwhile – in another pot – warm the milk but do not boil it.  Add the milk to the flour & butter roux – one cup at a time – and whisk until smooth & thick.  Reserve a few sage leaves for garnish & then crumble the rest into the bechamel.  Bring to a boil – whisking the entire time.  In 5-10 minutes – remove from heat, add some S&P and the nutmeg & set aside.

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To make assembly easier – I blended the ricotta & pumpkin puree in my food processor.  This isn’t necessary but ricotta tends to be thick & hard to spread so blending it with the puree makes spreading easier & assures an even distribution.

Treat a small lasagna pan with cooking spray & assemble the lasagna.  Put 1/4 of the sage bechamel in the bottom of the pan & top with a layer of noodles.  Layer 1/2 of the ricotta & pumpkin & top with 1/2 of the greens & a sprinkling of crushed red pepper.  Add another 1/4 of the bechamel & another layer of noodles.  Top this with the other 1/2 of the pumpkin/ricotta and the other 1/2 of the greens.  Add more crushed red pepper – if you like – and maybe some S&P.  Add another 1/4 of the bechamel & another layer of noodles.  Top with the rest of the bechamel & spread the Parmesan & mozzarella on top.  Garnish with a few sage leaves.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling & beginning to brown.  Let the lasagna rest about ten minutes & then start hacking into it & shoving it into your pie hole.  Mmmmmm!  Autumn!

Oh!  And in the interest of full disclosure – the pictures I used here of the lasagna on a plate is really TWO pieces of lasagna stacked on top of each other.  You can do this when you serve it – if the deeper lasagna appeals to you visually.

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Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Puree

INGREDIENTS

Fresh pumpkin (I used two small pie pumpkins & got about 4 cups of puree from them)

Water

S&P

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the tops off & then pumpkins in half (or quarter them, if your pumpkin is large), seed them (keeping the seeds for roasting!  I will post a recipe for that next) & roast for about 40-50 minutes or until the skin is soft & the meat is fork tender.

Let them cool a bit & then scoop out the meat & puree in a food processor or blender.  I added about 1 cup of water to mine to thin it enough to blend.  Add a bit of S&P.

This puree is REALLY good for dogs & can be a miracle cure for doggy diarrhea if you add some to their food.  Just FYI.

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Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto (No Carb – No Pasta)

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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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vromans back

Did you happen to miss my appearance on Nicole Richie’s show –#CandidlyNicole @VH1? No worries! Here it is! I show up HERE after the break – about 16 minutes in!
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AND – if you missed my hour-long Oh, Mary! Show appearance this week – well – you are in LUCK! Here are all four segments! LOTSA dirty talk! Many laughs!

Here you go!

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-01/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-02/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-03/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-04/

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OK – in all fairness – this recipe has a lot of steps.  Without a food processor – it might be too much of a pain in the ass to attempt.  If you have a food processor & an afternoon to kill – this might be a fun project.  It is pretty delicious – though not particularly healthy – despite the no-carb noodles made from cauliflower.  This could be made vegan by subbing out the animal products with vegan alternatives but I will leave that to the motivated vegans out there.  I don’t think I have to say “or vegan alternative” after every egg, butter or cheese ingredient for the vegans to work it out.

I used leftover arugula & pistachio pesto that I still had from my Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata.

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You can make this or any other pesto – or use a store-bought one.

Arugula Pistachio Pesto

This makes enough for at least a pound or two of pasta but it keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS

6 oz fresh arugula

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/4 cup pistachios (or other nuts)

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

I used 1/4 cup olive oil & 1/4 cup of water to thin the pesto.  1/2 cup of oil just seems crazy to me – but you can go all oil if you want to.

Blend into a pesto in a food processor – starting with just the 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Drizzle more (or water) in as it purees until you get the consistency you like.  Set aside.

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I made a homemade bechamel but you could use a store-bought alfredo & get much the same results.

I used chopped mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts – but any mix of sauteed vegetable would work.

I used this pink Himalayan salt that I have become obsessed with but any salt will do.  And I used the Dash Onion & Herb seasoning but any Italian seasoning (or mix of onion & garlic powders) would be fine.

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I used cauliflower “noodles” in this but real lasagna noodles work, too.

No-Carb Lasagna Noodles

INGREDIENTS

1 large head cauliflower – riced (about 10 cups)

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 TBS seasoning (see above)

1 TBS oregano

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

I used a silicone cooking mat treated with cooking spray but greased parchment paper should work, too.  Know that this stuff STICKS  – even to the greased silicone mat – so – slather your cooking shit up.

Take the cauliflower & grate it up with the grater blade of a food processor – or with a manual grater – or get to chopping by hand until it has a rice-like look.

You can zap this in the microwave in 2 minute increments – stirring in between – until it softens but I loathe nuking things.  I submerged the cauliflower in boiling water for about 5 minutes & then drained it in a colander under cold running water.

Once it is cool, in small batches, twist the cauliflower up in a kitchen town & wring as much moisture out of it as you can.

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Then simply mix it up in a large bowl with the other ingredients & press it onto your well-greased cooking sheet (see images above).  Bake it for about 45 minutes or until it begins to brown & is cooked pretty dry.  Set aside & allow it to cool.

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Garlicky Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms & Leeks

I made the mushrooms & leeks first & then decided to add Brussels sprouts so my photos might show a different cooking sequence but it can be done as I will outline now.

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

2 leeks – white sections only – chopped small

1/2 lb mushrooms – diced

1 lb Brussels sprouts – chopped or sliced fine

1 tsp each S&P

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped

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DIRECTIONS

It is important to cut the leeks & mushrooms & Brussels sprouts small so they do not stay too chunky & impede clean slicing of the lasagna.

I chopped the mushrooms & leeks & ran the Brussels sprouts through the slicer of my food processor.

Heat 2 (or so) TBS olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat & saute the Brussels sprouts until they begin to brown a bit.  Add /4 water & steam them soft.  Once the water is absorbed or evaporated – add the leeks & mushrooms & saute until tender – maybe 5 minutes.  Stir in the S&P & the minced garlic and the parsley.  Saute another minute & remove from heat.  Set aside.

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Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel

INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond (or other) milk

3 TBS butter

3 TBS flour

2 garlic cloves – minced

8-10 oz goat cheese – room temp

2 TBS chives (or other herb) – minced (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a soup pan over med-high heat.  Add the flour & garlic & whisk constantly until it thickens, begins to brown & becomes aromatic – maybe 2 minutes.

Add the milk in 1/4 cup increments & whisk it in until it incorporates & thickens before adding more milk.  This should take maybe 5 minutes.

Add the goat cheese & chives & whisk until the goat cheese melts.  Set aside.

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Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower “noodles” (recipe above) or real (cooked) lasagna noodles

1 cup pesto (recipe above) – or any pesto you prefer

Garlicky mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts (recipe above) – or any cooked veggie mix you prefer

2-3 cups grated cheese (I used mozzarella)

Several hunks of fresh (packed in water) mozzarella (optional)

Parsley – chopped (as garnish)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

My photos show this lasagna cooked once & photographed & then reheated for a new photo session – hence the paler & more golden cheesy tops.

Prep your ingredients.  Cut the cauliflower “noodles” into three equal portions – or however you can to get some layer-able “noodles.”  Never fear if they break apart & stick a lot.  Patch the pieces in & nobody will ever know the difference.

Assemble the lasagna.  I started with a layer of bechamel (whisk it smooth if a skin has formed while it waited).  Then I added the layers in this order:

1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

1/2 of the pesto

1/2 of the veggies

1/3 of the bechamel

another 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the other 1/2 of the pesto

the other 1/2 of the veggies

another 1/3 of the bechamel

Grated cheese – in an amount that looks good to you – I used about 1/2 – 3/4 cup

the final 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the rest of the bechamel

More grated cheese & some fresh mozzarella – if you are using it

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 Bake that son-of-a-bitch fr 25-45 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bubbly & looks the color you want it to look – whether JUST starting to brown at the edges – or a bit golden all over.
Let it rest for 10 minutes or so.  Garnish with chopped parsley & eat it up!!!!

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Zucchini Squash Blossom White Pizza with Goat Cheese and Ricotta and Mozzarella

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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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Untitled

vromans back

My favorite place on Earth, Super King, carries unusual & seasonal produce & now is the season for zucchini blossoms.  I LOVE ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS!  Almost irrationally.   They have a flavor so subtle as no almost be indiscernible & easily overwhelmed.  They are most frequently served stuffed, breaded & fried but that is just so unhealthy – I can bring myself to do it anymore.

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So – I made this pizza – because I had leftover, homemade dough & just felt like pizza.  Does anyone ever NOT feel like pizza?  I blended the goat cheese with an equal part ricotta in an effort to add subtle flavor but nothing so strong it overwhelmed the zucchini blossoms.  This is a very delicately flavored & mild pizza.  Pretty to look at & yummy to eat.

I also used the last bit I had of this shitty grated cheese.  A fresh mozzarella is infinitely more desirable.  PLEASE use some of that instead.

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Zucchini Squash Blossom White Pizza with Goat Cheese and Ricotta and Mozzarella

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I make THIS in my bread machine & use it over several days)

Zucchini blossoms

Goat cheese

Ricotta cheese

FRESH mozzarella cheese

Chives and/or micro greens as garnish

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450-475.

The amount of cheese you want it up to you but I mixed equal parts goat & ricotta & then added a bit of S&P to that.

Carefully, snip out the pistol with scissors or by pinching with your fingers.  The pistol is the nubby thing growing out of the center of the flowers.  Pinch off the stems.  Don’t worry if they tear.

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Now – just assemble your pizza.  I have really come to love parchment paper.  Nothing really sticks to it & it is nice to photograph, as well.  Anyway – get your pizza pan out & spray it with cooking spray or line it with parchment.

Roll the dough out & put it on the cooking sheet.  Then – assemble.  I started with my bullshit grated mozzarella.  You should use fresh stuff (the sort sold in water), if you can.  I added some blossoms, randomly, & dolloped the whole thing with the ricotta/goat cheese blend.  I cooked it about 12 minutes but you cook it until it looks done to your liking.

Garnish with snipped chives or micro greens & maybe more S&P.  Mmmmmmmmmm!!!!

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Roasted Zucchini and Potato White Pizza with Gorgonzola and Mixed Herbs

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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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Untitled

vromans back

I have REALLY been underachieving here lately & these pictures of this pizza are no improvement – but – the pizza was yummy so I am posting it anyway.

I decided to make use of my bursting herb garden here & use some of the fragrant herbs there.  See my scallions there – regrown from the cut off ends?  Impressed?  You can do it, to!  Just put the white, rooted end in a glass of water & watch the tops regrow!  Then – stick’m in some dirt.  VERY satisfying!

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Anyway – pizza never really feels like a recipe exactly.  It feels like a suggestion.  So – here is the combination I am suggesting today.   Also – the quantities are up to you  – as in – how much Gorgonzola & herbs.  It is very much a matter of personal taste.

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Roasted Zucchini and Potato White Pizza with Gorgonzola and Mixed Herbs

INGREDIENTS

Your favorite pizza dough (I make THIS in my bread machine)

1 zucchini – cut into thin rounds

1 potato

Gorgonzola cheese – crumbled

Parmesan cheese – grated

Fresh chopped herbs (I used a mix of lemon thyme, thyme, rosemary, oregano & parsley)

Olive oil

1 head of garlic (optional)

Salt (I am currently infatuated with pink Himalayan salt)

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 DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the zucchini rounds with some olive oil & salt & spread on a cooking sheet in a single layer.

Peel the potato & rub it with olive oil & wrap it in foil.

If using the garlic – cut the top of the head, drizzle with olive oil & wrap in foil.

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 Roast the zucchini for about 20 minutes or until it is softened & just starting to color.  Drain on paper towels.

Bake the potato (and the garlic – if you are using it) for about 45 minutes & then let it cool enough to handle.  Slice the potato into thin rounds.  It is OK if the potato is not completely cooked through.  The baking was just to soften it a bit.  If using the garlic – squeeze the soft cloves out & mash a bit.

Raise the oven temperature to 475.

Roll the dough out, place it on a greased pizza pan or on parchment paper on a cooking sheet & assemble the pizza.  I did not add the roasted garlic but – if you are using it – smear it on the dough.  I drizzled olive oil & some salt on the dough & then topped it with circles of potato & zucchini.  Add the cheeses & herbs.

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Bake for about 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted & the crust is cooked to your liking.

Eat it up!  🙂

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Vegan White Chicken Chili (Chowder)

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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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www.BathingBook.com

OK – first of all – I have to admit I am home.  Alone.  A LOT.  And sometimes a gal has to amuse herself any way she can.  A few months ago – I found this HILARIOUS thong on Ebay:

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They come from China & cost about $5 including shipping.  I sent one to the badass, Miles Miller & one to my stepdad – anonymously.  I wonder if they can even figure out what it is.  I bet my stepdad is using it as a headband while he does cardio at the gym.  I will never know but still I laughed & laughed!

I crack myself up!

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Now – onto this chili.  I have never had real white chicken chili.  I gave up chicken 25 years ago or so – so I had no idea what to expect with this stuff.  Having made it the other day – I can tell you this is just a glorified & very thick chowder.  I love chowder – so that is cool – but come on.  It is not a very summery meal – that’s all I am saying.  But it sure tasted good & is REALLY EASY!   I made this vegetarian but it can easily be vegan – or – if you are a sissy – you can put dead birds in it.  I recommend the faux chicken.  It is cruelty-free & you can confidently engage in staring matches with chickens without flinching from the weight of your guilt.

I used real cream cheese but they make a vegan one – so don’t get your panties in a bunch.  If you are vegan – use the vegan version.  Wasn’t that easy?  🙂

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Vegan White Chicken Chili (Chowder)

Serves a lot – like – 6?

INGREDIENTS

1/2 – 1 lb faux chicken (depending on how dense you like it) – chopped into cubes

5 (15 oz) cans white beans

1 onion – diced

4 celery stalks – diced

2 ears corn – kernels cut from the cob

1-2 TBS olive oil

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 cup vegetable stock (or more – depending on how thick you want the chili)

4 oz can diced green chiles (hotness of your desire – double it for more flavor) – I used HOT

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp (or to taste) cayenne pepper

8 oz cream cheese (or vegan alternative)

S&P to taste

Potential garnishes: Lime wedges, chopped fresh jalapenos, chopped cilantro, avocado, grated jack cheese (or, you got it!  Vegan alternative)

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DIRECTIONS

If you want a creamier base for the chili – puree two of the five cans of beans.  Drain first for thicker chili – or not if you like it more chowdery.  Set the puree aside.  If you want thick chili, add the stock in small increments (when that time comes) or not at all.  Depending on the consistency you want – you can use lots of stock or none at all.  Drain the beans for thick chili, do not if you want a chowder.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over med-high heat.  Add the onions, celery & faux chicken.  If you use real chicken – cut it small & brown it.

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Once the vegetables are soft & the chicken begins to brown a bit add the garlic FOR THIRTY SECONDS.  Garlic burns fast & you do not want burnt garlic.

Add 1/2 of the cup of stock (or less – if you want a very thick chili), chiles & spices & bring to a boil then lower to a simmer.

Add the cream cheese, corn, whole beans (drained & rinsed for thick chili – or with the water for a chowder) & the pureed beans.  DO NOT FREAK OUT when the cream cheese starts to look curdled.

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That looks fucking nasty but, trust, the cheese WILL melt & become creamy.  In twenty minutes of so – it should all come together nicely.  If it is too thick, add more stock.  If it is too thin, raise the heat & cook it down.

Season with S&P & garnish as you please.  MMMMM!   Now get on Ebay & buy your man some hilarious panties!

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Saffron Risotto with Asparagus & Fava Beans, Ziplock Omelettes, Pasta with Watercress & Lemon Cream and Disturbing Pedicures

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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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YUP!  I wrote a very funny novel!  I hope you will read it!  www.BathingBook.com

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OK.  First of all, let me say that I like risotto.  A lot.  But I am finding that, when I make it, it tastes pretty much the same no matter what I use as the highlight ingredients.  That can be disappointing.  Also – there is an art to cooking it just right & to not presenting some waterlogged, mushy rice mess.  The risotto I made last night disappointed me primarily because the saffron color & flavor both somehow got lost.  That was certainly not the case with my Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower.

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That pasta dish was exactly as delicious as it is stunning to see.  But my risotto – not so much.  I’m not saying it didn’t taste good.  It did.  But it has no big wow factor.  So – I am going to use this blog to post a few different items I’ve made that, while I recommend them, I didn’t feel they merited their own post.

But first – let me tell you about a recent experience I had at the nail salon.  This week, my friend Laura is in town from Boston.  She suggested that she & I (and her 12 year old daughter) all go for pedicures & maybe some lunch.  Sounded good to me so I picked them up & brought them to my local, strip mall nail salon.  When I go on my own, I just sit in the regular chairs & eschew the massage chairs because 1) they add $4 to the tab & 2) I think massage chairs are pretty lame.  But, Laura & her daughter were already planted in them & Laura insisted that I join them for the experience.  As I crawled into my chair, Laura said, “Hey!  This chair is pinching my butt!”  I made some lame joke about being desperate & lonely enough to welcome a little grab ass from an electronic chair & plopped myself down.  Now, I don’t know if there is a default setting on the chairs or if the staff sets them a certain way or if you just get it the way the last resident left it but my chair was on full assault mode.  The remote control for it was more complicated than trying to set a VCR to record a TV show & so, as I fumbled, I was victim to the existing settings.  The settings included words like “flap” & “knock” & “knead.”  Flap?  What the fuck is flapping?  I knew what knocking was because it was actively happening to me.  I felt like I was at Super King in the sorry position of standing in front of an especially impatient (and rude) woman with a mustache, black socks & Jesus boots prodding me from behind, angling to cut me in line at the cheese case.  I was in the middle of trying to express something or other to Laura when the chair commenced its “lower body” massage.  I froze mid-word, clamped my mouth shut & my eyes widened in surprise & horror.  Laura looked back at me & knew exactly what had just begun with my chair.  “Right?” she asked rhetorically, her eyes as wide as mine.  And she laughed.  The butt pinching she had mentioned was no butt pinching at all.  It was more like there was a little person under the chair wearing a boxing glove – who was using that boxing glove to massage our taints.  The glove rolled around, providing pressure from front to back & back to front again.  It was very disconcerting and, quite frankly, a shocking violation.  Who thinks they are going to get a vulva massage at a low end nail salon?  Not me.  Was this some sort of “happy ending” house of prostitution?  Did this require a bigger tip?  Ugh!  And if you think sleeping in a cheap motel on a bed with sheets of questionable sanitation is gross – just think of the places that boxing glove has been!

“OMG!  How do I turn it off?!”  I was panicking.

Laura was laughing and, sotto voce, asked, “What do you think…” and she subtly gestured over her shoulder where her 12-year-old daughter sat placidly in her chair.  Oh jeez!  Was that chair molesting her daughter, too?  These chairs had succeeded in freaking out a jaded 48-year-old & a mother of two.  What damage was that third one doing to the psyche of Laura’s innocent middle-schooler?  Methinks – in retrospect – that her chair must have been set differently because, if she was getting the full “lower body” treatment (vagina massage!  Let’s call a spade a spade here) – she gave no indication & I have a really hard time believing anybody could field the initial goosing & not have THIS reaction:

So – after much fumbling, I managed to get the pelvic exam part of the massage to stop.  But in my panic, I apparently upped the “knocking” part & couldn’t turn that off.  I tried to ask Laura but I was getting punched so hard, my speaking voice got all choppy – like I was Katherine Hepburn in the final grip of Parkinson’s.  “La-a-aur-a?  H-how do-o-oo you-ou t-t-u-uh-urn th-is-is o-o-offf?”  While I was speaking, I looked down at myself & noticed that my boobs & every other loose bit on my frame (and there are lots of bits looser than I would like) were being jostled around like a bowl of Jello.  I looked at Laura, a woman gifted in the breast department, and saw her body also looked like it was being wrestled by one of those old-fashioned fat loss jiggle machines.

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By the way – I am old enough to have belonged to a gym in Boston (Gloria Stevens) that actually HAD those things AND the stupid roller machines.

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Jesus.  Had I known what this chair would get up to – I might have worn a corset or some other support device.   A full body Spanx.  Something.  A wet suit.

As Laura and I jiggled & giggled & poked randomly at the remotes to no avail – ah, yes!  Cue the creepy male proprietor.  Here he comes to position himself before the display of waggling female appendages.  He not only stood there taking it all in – he also engaged us in conversation & passed his phone between us – sharing his remarkable weight loss photos.  This effectively kept us from being able to focus on our remotes & end the shaking that would eventually take a harder toll on our boobs than gravity.  “Oh, yes!  I see!” we said, politely enthusiastic.

“Exercise & eating!  I eat a lot of cheese!” he declared.

Good for you, buddy.  Now take your “before & after” photos & your prominent moles with three-inch whiskers dangling from them & get outta here!  I need to adjust my bra straps!

Eventually, we were able to get the chairs to settle down & we got down to the business of the pedicures.  Here is a photo of Laura & me – exhibiting the post-rough-sex glow we had – courtesy of those perverted chairs with anger issues.

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Notice the Bat phone in the background?  Look at this thing.

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Maybe Fu Manchu there was more than just a thinned down, lusty boob man.  Maybe he was a superhero & this was his special superhero phone?  They also had this throwback-looking thing.

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Maybe that was his teleporter.  I have no way of knowing.  What I do know is that I got glittery, red toenails meant to draw your eye from my increasingly problematic bunions.

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Are feet copacetic in a food blog?  Likely not – and for that – I apologize.

I also know that when we went to lunch – I opted not to take any chances on this place –

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– because I still felt violated by the massage chair & was in no shape to roll the dice on the “anal beer” these guys seem so proud of.  Even if it is served ice cold.

That really is an unfortunate breakdown of a perfectly decent word, no?

Alright – now that I’ve gotten that off my chest – I can share a few underwhelming recipes!  YAY!

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I grilled shrimp for this but you can lose them if you want to.

Saffron Risotto with Grilled Shrimp, Asparagus & Fava Beans

INGREDIENTS

Shrimp (optional)

2 cups Arborio (risotto) rice

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

4 cups stock (I make 5 just in case the risotto needs overcooking)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1 large shallot (or small onion)

Asparagus

Saffron (3 TBS of the liquid or a generous pinch of saffron threads steeped in 3 TBS hot water)

1 (16 oz) can fava beans (or white beans of any kind)

4 cloves garlic – minced (or to taste)

olive oil

S&P

1/2 lemon

Basil or parsley as garnish (I happened to have red basil)

DIRECTIONS

Put the shrimp (if using) in a Ziplock bag or a bowl & squeeze the 1/2 lemon over them.  Add a glug or two of olive oil & some S&P and maybe a minced garlic clove or two.  Blend well.  Set aside.

Drain the fava beans & puree in a food processor.  Set aside.