Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mac & Cheese

Okay. I know that when Chrystina & I started this blog, we were going to keep the recipes simple & cheap.  This one's not the cheapest (Daiya is a major component), but it's croosh.  Seriously, try this.

1 1/2-2 c almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice), unsweetened (make sure it says unsweetened on it. Plain and unsweetened are two entirely different things)
1 bag Daiya, cheddar flavor
1 tsp mustard powder
3/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
2 tsp white miso
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp margarine
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 lb package of macaroni (or pasta of your choice)
 S&P to taste

This is a pretty standard mac and cheese recipe.  Starts with a bechamel and then you melt the cheese into it.

Put a pot of water on to boil.  You want to cook the pasta until it's just about done, but not quite.  It will finish cooking in the sauce.

In a saucepan, melt your margarine.  Add the cornstarch and whisk.  This is called a roux, and it's the base of the bechamel.  After your roux has cooked for a minute or two, add the almond milk.  Whisk while you are adding it to ensure you don't get any lumps in your sauce.  You also want to add your miso, the spices and the nutritonal yeast at this point.  Allow your sauce to cook for a few minutes so it has a chance to thicken (that's why you made the roux--it's a thickener).  Once your sauce is lookin' good, add the Daiya.  Again, you're still whisking while you do this to ensure there are no clumps.

Your pasta should be par-cooked by now.  Drain it and add it to the pan with the sauce.  If you like baked mac & cheese, this would be the time to add some more almond milk, stir everything around, pour it into a greased 9x9 pan, add some seasoned breadcrumbs to the top (I'd go with a mixture of panko, nutritonal yeast, garlic powder and melted margarine) and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  If you like your mac & cheese right off the stove, let it cook for 1-2 more minutes (to finish cooking the pasta) and then you're good to go.  I like to add a few handfuls of frozen peas and a pinch of salt to mine during the last few minutes of cooking.  Et voila, mac & cheese that actually tastes like mac & cheese, not nutritional yeast & cheese

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I wanted this blog to focus more on the savory, but a majority of my vegan culinary background is in baking. So here is my award-winning* chocolate chip cookie recipe.  It's pretty traditional because I come from the school of "if it ain't broken, don't fix it."

2 1/2 c All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 c Brown or Turbinado Sugar
1 c (2 sticks) Margarine
2 Tbsp Ground Flax
6 Tbsp Hot Water
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Baking Soda
12 oz (1 bag) Chocolate Chips

Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Make sure to scrape the bowl down often to ensure that the whole mixture is being mixed evenly.  This is important! Don't skip this step!

Once your margarine and sugar have turned a lighter shade of pale, you can add your vanilla and "fleggs" (flax eggs). To make your "fleggs," mix the hot water & ground flax until it's slightly goopy and resembles the texture of a beaten egg.  Anyway, add those to your creamed mixture & turn the mixer back on, scrape down the bowl, yadda yadda.  Your dough may break (this means it's going to look separated) but don't worry!

Add the flour in half-cup portions (I do this so it doesn't fly everywhere).  Scrape the bowl down often. Add the baking soda.  Scrape it down again. And one more time for good measure. Once everything is evenly incorporated, add the chocolate chips and mix again until just combined.

Your oven should be preheated at 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  I use an ice cream disher for my cookies to ensure that they're all about the same size.  For bakery-size cookies (the big M.F.ers), bake for 10-12 minutes.  For normal sized cookies (about 1 Tbsp of dough), bake 8-10 minutes.

~bakery secret~
Shape your cookies before you bake them!  Flatten them into little discs and they'll cook more evenly.

*These cookies have never actually won an award. But I think they could.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Southern Style Smoky Greens

This might be my favorite way to eat greens.  It's almost a complete meal--smoked tempeh gives it a wonderful smoky flavor and ton of extra protein, the kale and collards are "superfoods," garlic and onions are full of antioxidants.  The recipe can even be made Engine 2 friendly if you use a cast iron pan (thus eliminating the need for oil).  While simple, this recipe can be a little bit time-consuming because of how long the onions need to be cooked. But don't let that deter you!  I promise your time and effort is well worth it.

Southern Style Smoky Greens
1 bunch kale, chopped finely, stems removed (I used frozen)
1 bunch collards, chopped finely, stems removed (I used frozen)
2 white onions, sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic
1 8oz package of smoked tempeh, crumbled/chopped finely
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp veg oil
3-4 Tbsp water

 In a saucepan on medium heat, cook the onions in the oil.  You want to cook them until they begin to brown and release liquid.  Stir every minute or so to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.  After about 15-20 minutes, they should be where you want them--lightly browned and very soft.  Deglaze the pan with the soy sauce and some water.

Tempeh and garlic
 Once the onions are nice and golden, add the tempeh and the garlic to the pan.  Cook for 5ish minutes, or until the tempeh has started to brown a little bit.  At this point, add your greens.  Dump them on top of the tempeh / onion / garlic mixture and stir everything around a little.  If you're using fresh greens, add a little bit of water so they cook down faster.  If you've chopped your greens finely enough, they should only need a few minutes to cook. 

If you like your greens a little spicier, add 1 tsp crushed red pepper, or 1 Tbsp hot sauce.