July 4th, 2011

spices, ginger, baking, cooking

Amazing mac 'n' "cheese" with no nooch or tofu!

I'm not a big fan of nutritional yeast or tofu, so I was thrilled to find this pasta casserole recipe in VegNews. It's creamy and savory and orangey-yellow (yay carotene) and delicious. My omni husband, who thinks vegan food is bland and boring, tasted it and said, "Wow, that has serious flavor! I'm impressed!" Well, yes, the recipe calls for onion and shallot and garlic and mustard and cayenne. It would be kind of hard for that to be bland.

What follows is my adaptation; the original recipe is here.

1) Cook half a pound of elbow pasta until it's al dente. Rinse with cool water to prevent overcooking. Drain thoroughly.

2) Chop 3 smallish heads and stems of broccoli (or an equivalent quantity of green beans, or bell pepper, or whatever else you think belongs in a casserole). Leave the vegetables raw; they'll cook while the casserole is baking.

3) Heat oven to 350F.

4) Roughly chop 1 large carrot, half a yellow or white onion, 2 shallots, and 5 small Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 cups of potato); place in pot with .5 cup raw cashews, cover with 3 cups water, bring to boil, simmer covered 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the water.

5) In food processor, whir cooked vegetables, cashews, .5 cup margarine, 1 tsp salt (omit if using salted margarine), .5 tsp minced garlic, .5 tsp Dijon mustard, juice from 1 lemon, and seasonings (the recipe suggests cayenne and paprika; I used black pepper, sage, and nutmeg) with as much of the vegetable-boiling water as needed to make a very smooth, fairly liquid sauce.

5.5) Do not eat all the sauce with a spoon, no matter how tempted you are.

6) Put pasta, raw veg, and sauce in 9" x 12" pan. Mix well.

6.5) Optional: wash and dry the processor, turn four slices of stale bread and a couple of Tbsp of Earth Balance into breadcrumbs, and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta. Or use pre-made bread crumbs, or don't bother.

7) Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 to 15 minutes more until sauce is bubbling, veg is no longer raw, and the breadcrumbs (if you used them) are browned.

Makes six moderate or four hearty servings.

If you use non-soy margarine, it's soy-free. According to the comments on the original recipe, those with nut allergies can skip the cashews in step 4 and add tahini in step 5 instead, though I'm not sure how much tahini. I'm sure it could be made with rice pasta or whole wheat pasta. Experiment! It's a very flexible recipe.

Grilled Pineapple with Coconut (and rum! yum!)

I have a few more recipes from yesterday here, but the hits from yesterday were soy ice cream and fruit pops and, recipe below, the grilled pineapple with coconut. Grilled fruit and alcohol? Yes, please!

Ingredients

* 4-5 slices fresh pineapple (we ended up using a whole pineapple!)
* 2 tbsp. dark rum
* 2 tbsp. agave nectar
* 1 tsp lemon juice

Method

1. In a bowl, whisk together rum, agave, and lemon juice until well blended. Toss pineapple in until well coated, and allow to marinate for about an hour in the refrigerator.

2. Fire up the grill on medium heat and place down some aluminum foil.

3. Coat the pineapple with coconut on both sides, then place them on the grill, flipping once. Each side should be grilled about 8 minutes or until coconut is well toasted.

No pictures because they were GONE within 15 seconds, but I assure you, they looked and tasted incredible! :)