Wednesday, March 17, 2010

blasphemous mac & cheese

Until Leslie had received her diagnosis, I had never thought I would say anything good about anything vegan. Who voluntarily decides not to eat meat? Cheese? Butter?? Nobody with promising cognitive processes, that's who. However, in the past 6 months or so that we have been dealing with her dietary limits, I now have a whole new appreciation for vegan baking. Where else would I find ways to substitute eggs, cheese, butter and everything else Leslie can't have? Granted some rely heavily on soy(poor deluded souls), but those are easily ignored in favor of those who ingeniously have new ingredients for old methods. I recently found the glutenfreegoddess! Some of her recipes are not vegan, but all are gluten free and she explains everything very clearly. Sometimes annoyingly so for those of us that can follow and cook from recipes more intricate than she writes; but as Thomas Keller has yet to come out with a gluten free cookbook I find myself dependant on the kindness of stranger's blogs. I was perusing her lovely recipes when I found The Best Vegan Mac&Cheese Recipe. My first thought was, Blasphemer! There can be no such thing. But then I read her recipe and found myself intrigued despite myself- frozen gluten free, yeast free waffles for bread crumbs? That is genius! Using tahini or almond butter to get that creamy depth that usually only comes from actual butter and cream? Holy cow indeed! I simply had to try this.
I automatically altered the recipe a bit for Leslie, since she can not have yeast. I also altered it for me; or rather the sneering, but charmingly French accented voice in my head that holds no truck with powdered anything when actual onions and garlic are available. Next time I swear, a picture; I will be faster than the mongering hordes.
I also submitted this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

EDIT/UPDATE: Ok, so the gluten free, yeast free waffles I tried with this the first time worked, but Leslie pointed out that they have soy! D'oh! Lesson for me to read the ingredients list as well as the shiny Gluten Free banner on the front. So if you can have soy, Van's is the way to go. Sadly, we are not supposed to have soy (thanks be that it was a small quantity!) Hence, the next time we made this we made our own waffles with Authentic foods baking mix which is an extra step for us, but our waffles worked well too. Instead of eggs we used Enger-G egg replacer for 2 eggs and a 2 Tablespoons applesauce. And you can freeze the leftover waffles for the next time. Or to have actual waffles.

Oh, while I am here, I should also add the last time we made this we used cashew butter, omitted the nutmeg & oregano, replaced the tumeric with cayenne pepper, added 1 tsp of ground mustard (we like mustard&cayenne with our tuna. feel free to comment about our weirdness and/or substitute your own spices) and added tuna and frozen peas for a pretty kickass gluten free, dairy free tuna noodle casserole.
this post is linked on May’s Gluten-Free Lifestyle Carnival
Blasphemous Mac&Cheese

10-12 oz dry pasta, partially pre-cooked. (I like Tinkyada too & used penne, but to each their own.)

6 tablespoons avocado oil (or vegetable oil of your choosing; this was what I had)
4 tablespoons sweet rice flour (aka Mochi- I like Mochinko)
2 1/2 cups plain hemp, rice or nut milk of your choice. (I used hemp)
2 tablespoons tahini (you could also use nut butter of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice (you could also use a vast array of gfree vinegars)
1 teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste)
1 onion, chopped medium
6 garlic cloves, minced (I adore garlic. You, of course, may add your garlic to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons white wine
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (Originally, added for color, but I liked the taste of it as well; it went well with the tahini, I thought)

2-3 gluten free frozen waffles, plain obviously. (unless you have a mad craving for strawberry or something fruity. I have heard of stranger things)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (or, again, whatever is in your cabinet)
spices to taste. I used a bit of dried oregano, what with the tahini and lemon juice.

Ok, so toast the frozen waffles. Yes, really. When done, break them up and put into your food processor; give a few whizzes until they are looking crumbesque. Add in spice(s) and give a quick whizz. Now drizzle in that bit of olive oil,& pulse just til the crumbs are moist and start sticking together a bit. Briefly toast these in a skillet, to get that lovely crunch. Set Aside.

So, pre-cook pasta as follows: bring large pot of salted water (yes it makes a difference) to a roiling boil and cook pasta til just slightly tender, but still firm to bite (al dente for those in ignorance). Drain IMMEDIATELY in colander and rise under COLD water. Set aside. Rice pasta has differing cooking times I have found, so please check the package for their instructions, but it should read very much like the above. Only with minutes.

Pre heat the oven to 350 degreesF

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over med/high heat & add in the onions. Saute for about 10 min, til they are smelling good and starting to soften. Add the garlic, and continue to cook til the onions are nice & golden and the garlic is smelling divine, another 5 min or so. After you added the garlic to the skillet you can start the roux in a medium saucepan. You want the saucepan over medium heat; add in the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil. When oil is hot, whisk in the sweet rice flour. You want a fairly blonde roux for this, so only cook the flour paste for about 10 seconds, then slowly add the in hemp milk, whisking like a dervish to blend the roux into the milk for your silky sauce. When all lumps are gone, up the heat to med/high bringing mixture to a boil(do I really need to say it will thicken as it heats? I so say). Don't let it boil over! As soon as your sauce is bubbling, turn the heat back down to low.
Add in the sauteed onions&garlic, tahini, mustard, lemon juice, & sea salt. Whisk well. I also added a bit of white pepper; do what you will with the pepper situation. Now add in the white wine and the nutmeg. Mix well with whisk. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pour the cooked pasta into a 6 cup baking dish. (I used my small 6c corningware oval, but do as you will. You could also do 6 individual stingy ramekins, but combine the sauce and pasta in a bowl first, then divide.) Pour the sauce over the pasta and gently combine. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with your newly spiced waffle bread crumbs. You could also sprinkle a bit more dried oregano (or spice of choice) along the top for color. (I did)

Bake for about 25 minutes, until all is bubbling and smelling more divine than anything vegan should. Serves four at the goddess's house; 3 at mine. The mongering hordes, you know.

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