I’ve been really enjoying reading and commenting on other people’s VeganMoFo blogs! I love connecting with new people about vegan food, and I’m getting inspired to try things that are outside of my usual repertoire.
For instance: mac’n’cheeze.
I came across this post on Dorm Room Kitchen last night, thanks to Mo’s stellar VeganMoFo Roundup post featuring posts from Day 2 that remind Mo of Texas. I’ve never even been to Texas, except for a few hours on a layover en route to Portland, OR, so I will take Mo’s word for it that mac’n’cheese is a Texan delicacy. What really made me want to try it was that I had about exactly ¾ cup of cheddar Daiya hanging out in my fridge, having recently been experimenting with the cheezy-onion bread from Gumboots and Cats, and while I’m not really a big fan of Daiya, I’ve used it often enough to know that it goes bad fast. So I needed to do something with it, and lo, this recipe called for exactly ¾ cup!
I pretty nearly followed the recipe to the letter, knowing that mac’n’cheese is pretty easy to tweak at the end. I used regular Silk Original soy milk instead of unsweetened almond milk, since that’s what I had. The recipe doesn’t specify how much macaroni to use, but I decided to use about half the package, which was about 4-5 cups of cooked whole wheat macaroni. I also only had half a lemon, so I squeezed that sucker as hard as I could possibly muster, but it definitely would have been better with more lemon juice.
The good news: It tasted exactly like I remember Kraft mac’n’cheese. If you like Kraft mac’n’cheese, do exactly what that recipe says.
The bad news: I can’t stand Kraft mac’n’cheese! I didn’t like it when I was a kid and I don’t like it now either! Bleh!
Not to be outdone, however, I used some magic to make this dish tasty to me. I added another tablespoon of nutritional yeast, a little more soymilk, and garlic and onion powder in abundance. I stirred it for a bit, gave it a taste, and thought, “You know, this could actually be pretty good, and less Krafty, if it were a little sweeter.” I debated whether to accomplish that with sugar or agave nectar, and ended up going with the agave nectar. I drizzled just a little on, not wanting to turn this into a mac’n’cheeze dessert. That was a pretty good idea.
When you’re cooking this, think about whether you prefer your mac’n’cheeze soft and tender, or if you like it to have that crispy brown thing going on. If you’re a soft-and-tender kind of mac’n’cheezer, you’ll want to keep stirring periodically, and err on the side of adding more liquid (soy milk, or whatever plant milk you prefer). If you’re a crisp’n’browner, once you’ve got all your flavors just how you like them, step away from the pot for a while. If you’re antsy like me, clean up your kitchen, organize your spice cabinet, go check your Facebook or something. Your mac’n’cheeze will start browning once you stop stirring. Be careful not to let it burn, of course…but don’t be too careful, because if you’re stirring it, it’s not sitting still long enough to brown!
I didn’t take any photos, but if you go check out the original recipe on Dorm Room Kitchen, you can get a nifty visual provided by a real mac’n’cheeze aficionado.
If you’re interested in learning more about why I don’t eat dairy cheese, here is some information from Vegan Outreach, and please feel free to talk to me more about it!