Monday, November 4, 2013
My Favorite Creamy Macaroni and Cheese...
I know I’ve been ridiculously absent since Canadian Thanksgiving and for that I’m sorry. I just haven’t had the cooking spirit lately. My Oma’s somewhat unexpected passing has been hard on me, and the rest of the past month wasn’t much better. A variety of things culminated to leave me feeling uninspired and uninterested in doing much cooking, or blogging. For almost the entire week post-Thanksgiving we ate leftovers. Then we ate simple rice bowls that tasted delicious but aren’t exactly blog-worthy in my opinion. Then the past week we’ve been having something of a pizza extravaganza - of which I meant to take photos but my camera battery is dead and every day I absentmindedly forgot to re-charge it - thanks to my latest cook book purchase of “Vegan Pizza” by Julie Hasson. But now we’re into a new month, and I’m feeling better, re-inspired, and I’ve missed the blogesphere, and so Im going to make a greater effort to be more active this month.
To kick things off I thought I’d share a favorite Mac and Cheese recipe with you. I know there are tons of mac-loving vegans out there, vegan mac is like the holy grail for some, and yet I’ve never been much of a mac lover. Blasphemy I know, but I was never one to eat food from a box, that had a lot to do with my upbringing I suppose. Certainly as a kid I ate macaroni and cheese now and then, and I’m sure I liked it well enough but I never developed that ‘ohmygodgottahaveit!’ love affair with it. After I grew up and moved out I don’t think I ate Macaroni and Cheese at all, except for maybe trying my hand at making a home-made baked mac once or twice. My husband was also not a mac and cheese fan - he didn’t like cheese at all in any form in fact - and so it was not a meal that ever made it onto our radar.
Of course, as happens with so many things, the minute you go vegan all your previous ideas and notions about food go out the window. I like Mac and Cheese much more now, then I ever did growing up, and these days I really love and appreciate creative mac and cheese recipes. While I still wouldn’t consider it anything close to being a favorite food, I do now and then find myself getting a wicked bad craving for it. One such crazy craving hit me out of the blue in mid-October as I was reminiscing about the Toronto Vegetarian Festival - more to come about that in a very belated review post. - and the epic Mac and Cheese Burrito we ate there courtesy of Hot Beans. - More on that to come as well. - My husband and I were so blown away by this absurd concoction that we just knew we’d have to eat it again. Of course Toronto is a far way to travel from Chicago just for a burrito and so I decided to try and recreate this masterpiece at home.
Now, the first step to making any mac and cheese burrito is making mac and cheese. Essentially you can use any mac and cheese recipe you like, but the following recipe is one of my very favorite mac recipes. - Inspired by THIS recipe from Vegan Mischief who also happens to be a Vancouver Vegan - Coconut milk is really the silent star here, as it gives the mac a thick and creamy texture without imparting any coconut flavor. It is hands down my favorite non-dairy milk to use when making macaroni and cheese, and I love the unique combination of spices. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
My Favorite Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
½ Small Yellow Onion minced
1 tbsp Olive oil
4 Garlic Cloves Minced
½ tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4-1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Mild Curry Powder
½ -1 Tbsp Ground Fenugreek
1/4 tsp White Pepper
½ tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Dried Basil
1 Vegan Chicken Flavor Bouillon cube
2 Tbsp White Miso
4 Tbsp Water
1/4 C Nutritional Yeast
2 C Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Tbsp Water
1 Bag Daiya Cheddar Shreds
12-16oz Elbow Macaroni Noodles (Gluten-Free)
Salt and Pepper to taste (Optional)
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander and then return to the pot until your sauce is ready.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add in the minced onion and saute for 3-5 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic and saute another 2 minutes.
- Add Smoked Paprika, Turmeric, Curry, Fenugreek, white pepper, oregano, and basil. Saute another 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile combine the 2 tbsp of Miso with 2 tbsp of water, stir until smooth.
- Also combine the vegan chicken bouillon cube with 2 tbsp of water and mix until smooth.
- Add the Nutritional Yeast and the Coconut milk to the pot with the onions, whisk until combined and smooth. Add in the Bouillon mix, along with the miso mix, and let simmer stirring frequently for five minutes.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and the 1 tbsp of water to make a slurry.
- Add the cornstarch mixture to the Pot, along with the Dijon Mustard, and the Bag of Daiya shreds. Continue to simmer, whisking until all the daiya has melted into the sauce and the sauce has thickened. This could take roughly 5-10 minutes.
- Once the daiya has melted and the sauce has reached a creamy thickness that you like, taste for flavor and if you feel it’s needed you can add ½ -1 tsp of sea salt, along with a bit of fresh cracked black pepper.
- Then add the sauce to your cooked Macaroni and serve as is garnished with a bit of Italian parsley or use it to make an epic mac and cheese burrito - recipe to come tomorrow!
As always, enjoy!
*** Note - I typically always use gluten-free noodles, if you do then the dish is gluten-free. You can also make the dish soy free by using a soy-free miso such as chickpea miso.***