Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 6: Vegan Cheese is Real (rainbowy) Cheese

Hi, it’s Fluffy the Vegan Unicorn here,

I hope you’ve enjoyed our posts up to now. I hope you realized how important some of the topics are for discussion and to be aware of as we continue towards making a better world for ourselves and animals. I know some of it can be hard to learn about and hear/read, but I feel it is very necessary to address before we can have a magic rainbow unicorn party across the land and seas.

The remainder of this week’s theme posts will be more lighthearted and less serious. Tomorrow I will go back a bit to the initial few days’ sentiments, freeing ourselves of guilt and shame over food and our bodies, and share my vegan dessert food pyramid. On Sunday I will be sharing a unicorn worthy salad, in case that’s more your speed. Unicorns like to make everyone’s different tastes happy.

Today is keeping with MoFo’s Daily theme, Vegan Cheese is Real Cheese. Just because the cheese is dairy free doesn’t make it any less real. Who is to say what cheese really is, anyways? The FDA? USDA? Some kind of patent office? I don’t know, but they fail us all the time.

Last night I inspired Laura with my magic energy to create for me a creamy vegan mac and cheese sauce made of rainbows. While the recipe will still be tweaked a bit further after this post is shared, it is at least, edible and quite a beauty.

The recipe starts by making cashew cream and boiling cauliflower and onions and blending in some other seasonings and nondairy milk. Then you separate the sauces into 5 portions and add color!

This recipe uses all natural powders such as beet for red, turmeric for yellow and orange, and butterfly pea tea powder for blue. Most of these are easy to find, except the butterfly pea tea powder. It also uses fresh spinach blended into the sauce for the green. Laura considered using spirulina but she and I don’t like the taste of it, so she opted for doing the spinach instead.

What even is butterfly pea tea powder? Butterfly pea tea powder comes from Thailand where a type of gorgeous blue flower grows. They make it into tea powder. It is caffeine free and does not have much of a taste. Laura bought it on Amazon because the other websites she found it on were out of the US and charged a lot of taxes and such. Make sure you get the powder and not the dried leaves, although I suppose if you have a good food processor or spice grinder you could make it yourself. A little ends up going a long way, so don’t worry if you see the package and think it is small.

Anyways, without further ado, may I present you my magical rainbow vegan mac and cheese:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into pieces, stem and leaves removed
  • 1 small onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water overnight
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp potato starch
  • 1 tablespoon white miso or chickpea miso
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups unsweetened plain nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the red sauce:

  • 1/2 tablespoon beet powder

For the yellow/orange sauce:

  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder

For the green sauce:

  • A handful of baby spinach

For the blue sauce:

  • A little less than 1/2 tablespoon butterfly pea tea powder

For the purple sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon beet powder and 1 tsp butterfly pea tea powder

 

  • 1 lb elbow pasta, gluten-free if necessary

Directions:

  1. Boil cauliflower and onion in water for 10 minutes or until soft.
  2. Blend cashews and water in a blender until smooth.
  3. When the cauliflower and onions are as soft as my unicorn mane, drain them, rinse under cold water, and add to the blender along with the cashew cream.
  4. Add all ingredients up to the nondairy milk. You may need to slowly add the milk instead of putting it all at once to prevent an ugly overflow mess in your blender. Blend until creamy and smooth.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Now for the magic part. Separate the sauce into 5 equal portions as best as you can, leaving one portion in the blender.
  7. Blend the spinach into the sauce that’s in the blender until it becomes a light, natural shade of green.
  8. Stir in the powders to each individual portion one by one until they become vibrant and brightly beautiful.
  9. When the pasta is cooked, grease a casserole or lasagna dish and pour the pasta inside.
  10. Spread out each color of the rainbow in stripes in order of the handy acronym ROY G BIV (except we are not doing the orange and indigo). To make it easier, you may want to start by placing a stripe of the red to the far left first, and then doing the purple to the far right so you know how much space you have for the other colors in between. It would make us all sad if your rainbow was missing colors.
  11. Cook the pasta in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  12. When serving, try to get a taste of all the colors. Just don’t swirl them too much or they become a muddy, poopy, un-unicorn ugly, gross color.
  13. Enjoy this savory rainbow of vegan cheezy goodness!

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Vegan MoFo Post #2: Childhood Favorites: sharing a recipe from my zine!

Hey all,

Welcome again to Vegan MoFo 2015!

Today’s prompt is to recreate a meal from my childhood. I’ve actually already done that multiple times, and wrote about the stories behind them, in my zine that accompanies this blog!

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You can buy it from my Etsy shop here. Please keep in mind, that I wrote these recipes earlier in the year, before I went gluten free, so almost all of the recipes are made with gluten, many are not very easily adaptable either. I can no longer eat most of them either. Such sadness.

But, if you can eat gluten, here is one of a few recipes I will be highlighting from the zine this month!

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Vegan Sausage Macaroni Skillet:

This used to be our favorite meal in our family, until my mom became allergic to milk. For awhile my mom would make it for us on special occasions, or if she couldn’t eat. Since going vegan, I remade it! It came out just as good, and healthier of course. My mom still couldn’t eat it because she can’t have soy. And now I can’t either until I find a good gluten free substitute for the Gimme Lean. Maybe that’s next on my recipe agenda…

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Gimme Lean Sausage style
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp vegan white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
  • 1/4 cup plain almond milk or other non dairy milk of choice
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • Oil, as needed

Directions:

  1. Break Gimme Lean up into pieces, and fry in a pan with a bit of oil until browned and a bit shiny. It should become firmer than it was before it was cooked.
  2. In a large skillet over high heat, add some oil and saute onions and peppers until they are shiny and start to become translucent. Add the sausage at this point.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, uncooked macaroni (I promise it’ll be cooked when done), sugar, salt, and pepper.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vegan sour cream and almond milk.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

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Have fun!

Baked Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese Bun Sliders–I am sharing the recipe!

I have so much I want to say about what went into creating this recipe. I have broken them up into sections so that if you do not want to read a ton of text before you get to the recipe, but some of my ideas and advice may be of interest to you, you will be more apt to read the pertinent ones.

My Inspiration

First of all, this was an attempt to recreate and veganize this recipe that I was originally alerted to on Pinterest. I had been saving it for a long time, waiting for the right moment in time to do it, and I decided the other day to try.

Nutrition Information

I was recently doing poorly with my B-12 intake food-wise (I take a vegan B complex vitamin but typically also try to get enough from nutritional yeast added to my food as well. As vegans the food we eat does not naturally have this essential vitamin in it, so it is crucial that we take a supplement and/or eat fortified foods in order to be able to do the awesome work we vegans do for our health, animals, the environment, etc. Not doing so can cause many health issues, such as Anemia.) and my nutrient tracking showed me I needed to improve on that (I use sparkpeople.com to track my food and other health/wellness/goal related things). So I decided to make this, because I knew it’d have a lot of nutritional yeast in it, and it definitely does. It helps me meet that goal exceedingly well!

I also did not want to further bread with flour and breadcrumbs and then deep fry the mac and cheese buns for my recipe. If you want to, go ahead! But I feel this fits with more with what I wanted and that step is unnecessary. It is still sinfully delicious (albeit maybe a bit less crispy and might not stay together as well).

The calories (if that concerns you) can vary a lot. I definitely don’t recommend attempting to fry the mac and cheese buns if you are concerned about them. I used a calculator to determine and tweak the amount of servings and such, but it will vary a lot most likely for everyone depending on how big you choose to make the burgers, the mac and cheese buns, etc. The way I made it, though, It comes out to be approximately 465 calories.

Making it gluten free

It has the potential to be gluten free if you use certain substitutions. I think a whole grain gluten free elbow pasta would work fantastically, as I think it might lend itself to being a bit more thick and sticky which will be pretty helpful in the long run for getting the buns to stay together more. Use a gluten free flour instead of the whole wheat pastry flour that I used. I think the rest of the ingredients I used should be gluten free, but please make sure you check further with people more knowledgeable than I am about gluten free ingredients if making it for yourself or others who have sensitivities or allergies.

This recipe is really kid friendly (not just because of the taste!)

I had a lot of fun making this recipe, not just to create conceptually, but also to prepare. When I was setting up the mac and cheese buns, and making the burgers, I felt like a kid again. It is ooey and gooey in certain parts, you can use your hands a lot to touch slimy and fun textures, can make some funny noises, and get dirty. When I was a kid, these were all qualities that made me interested in helping my mom with cooking, as well as the characteristics of a task that made me want to do it (my earliest “culinary” experience involved me making “mud cookies,” putting them in my outdoors “oven” and then proceeding to convince my younger brother they were actually edible…) so you may really want to have your kids help at certain parts of the preparation! I would recommend having them help you especially while making the mac and cheese and laying it out in the pan, and also making the burger mix! Unless they’re much older, I would say that setting up the mac and cheese buns after they have set and need to be shaped into the buns will be much safer, and less frustrating and wasteful if an adult does that part. It takes a bit of finagling, craftiness, dexterity, and a lot of patience to do that part.

Some other helpful tips:

Do not make this at the last minute. You will need to make the macaroni and cheese at least the night before so it sits for awhile and sets really well in order for the buns to stay together. I probably let it sit in the fridge for more than 24 hours though.

Adjust the burger servings to the amount of buns you make. This may require making the burgers bigger or reducing the ingredients, or just plan to have lots of leftover burgers!

Making them into the buns requires a bit of patience and skill, don’t get frustrated, it will still taste just as delicious with falling apart buns or even just as a side to the burgers with some ketchup on it.

My non-vegan brother was a bit thrown off by the taste of the Mac ‘N Cheese. If this is something you want to make for someone who is not vegan, and is unfamiliar with vegan cheesy tastes, it may not go over so well. I thought it was delicious because I love vegan Mac ‘N Cheese, and I haven’t had real cheese in ages.

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The recipe!!!!

(Makes anywhere from 5-10 complete burgers, depending on how large you want to make the veggie burger piece, you will have leftovers. I made 18 veggie burgers for a small slider size and it worked really well. I recommend saving the leftovers, maybe even freezing them for later, and putting them in other types of buns, or doing this again! Or you could just half the recipe for the burgers…)

Ingredients:

For the Mac ‘N Cheese (it’s great as a stand-a-lone or typical baked Mac ‘N Cheese if you want to eat it by itself and not make it into the buns!)

  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute gluten free flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
  • 2 slices Daiya cheddar cheese (what I used) or 1/4 cup Daiya cheddar shreds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 box elbow macaroni (you can substitute it with gluten free or whole wheat elbows if desired)

For the Burger sliders:

  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unflavored veggie-based protein powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke (if you can’t find a gluten free brand, maybe use extra smoked paprika and use gluten free tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup or chili sauce (the kind that’s sort of like ketchup, I used it and think it tastes a bit better than ketchup)
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or regular if not available…I buy my smoked paprika at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp salt-free italian herb blend
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Salt, to taste (optional…I try to cook with no added salt lately)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat (or gluten free) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (can omit if necessary)

Directions:

For the Mac ‘N Cheese buns:

  1. Prepare the elbow macaroni according to the directions on the package. Note: I would suggest you don’t drain it immediately, and let it sit a bit to get a bit stickier, but don’t wait horribly long. You can definitely start the cheese sauce while you are cooking the pasta, and then let it sit until you are almost done with the sauce.
  2. Prepare the cheese sauce by pouring the almond milk into a large sauce pan.
  3. Place the margarine  into the pan, and turn the heat to medium.
  4. Stir somewhat frequently until the margarine is melted, and the almond milk is hot but not fully boiling.
  5. Add in the flour, and stir with a whisk until smooth.
  6. Stir the nutritional yeast until combined.
  7. Add the cheese, stir until melted.
  8. Continue to stir if possible, and fold in the salt, onion powder, paprika, turmeric, and mustard.
  9. Pour the drained elbow macaroni into the sauce, mix until every bit of pasta is completely covered.
  10. Spray a large casserole dish or baking sheet (it needs to have sides, though…) with a small amount of oil.
  11. Place the mac and cheese on top. If you are working with kids (see my note about kid friendliness up top) I would say it would be really  fun to use your bare (clean) hands. But if you do not like making funny squishy noises and getting your hands really messy, then take a piece of plastic wrap that covers the pan completely, and squish down, making it as compact as you can.
  12. Place in the fridge to set, at least 6 hours, preferably overnight or longer.
  13. When set, preferably after you have cooked the burgers (see below for instructions), preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  14. There are several ways to make the bun shape. I used a drinking glass. But you could also use a biscuit cutter, or a ramekin, or whatever else you think may work like that.
  15. In my case with the drinking glass, I pressed the opening lip into the mac and cheese, wiggled it in a circular motion a bit, and pulled up. It might (and did for me) get stuck inside the glass (that is actually a good thing for the final product, I believe!) What I did to correct this is to take a knife and un-wedge the pasta circle by sliding the knife around the edge between the glass lip. Work slowly and carefully, and be ready to place it down onto another baking sheet sprayed with a small amount of oil before you get it unstuck.
  16. Repeat until you are out of Mac ‘N Cheese to make into buns. Or you can save some of it to eat on it’s own, along with the potential mangled reject mac buns which are very likely to end up existing.
  17. Place in the oven until crispy. This takes about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your buns and also your oven.

For the slider burgers:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil along with the chopped veggies until soft, somewhere around 5 minutes in a large frying pan. Let sit for a bit to cool before placing into a food processor. Do not discard the pan as it will be used for cooking the burgers.
  2. In the food processor, blend the beans along with the condiments, spices (except for mustard seeds), and protein powder until they are no longer resembling whole beans, and the other ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  3. Add in the veggies, blend until combined, but not to the point where they are complete mush.
  4. Take out the mixture and place in a large bowl.
  5. Add the bread crumbs and brown rice, and combine with a spoon or (better yet) use your hands to mix it really well.
  6. Add the mustard seeds and follow the same procedure as the last step, making sure they’re spread evenly throughout.
  7. Spray the frying pan with a lot of oil so it is heavily coated. Heat on medium.
  8. Place the burgers into the pan carefully, in batches if necessary.
  9. Heat each side about 3 minutes, or until completely cooked and lightly browned.

To assemble the whole burger:

  1. Take one Mac ‘N Cheese bun, place the smooth side up.
  2. Place the burger on that side.
  3. Add any desired condiments, it tastes delicious with just some chili sauce or ketchup on top, and some salad on the side.
  4. Carefully place the other bun on top,  smooth side down. You may want to use a toothpick in the middle to help it stick together.
  5. It’s going to be a bit difficult to eat the whole way through in tact, but definitely take a few bites out of the Mac ‘N Cheese Bun burger before it falls apart!
  6. Eat, enjoy, and have fun!

 

 

 

 

Foodie (Photo) Friday is here (and almost over, haha!)

This week I only made about 3 big meals and had leftovers the rest of the week (except for breakfasts which was mostly french toast and other un-exciting stuff).

First, I made the Indian Buffet Trio (Saag Aloo, Chana Masala, and Vegetable Biryani) from the Chloe’s Kitchen cookbook.

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It was really good, all of it but I especially love the Saag Aloo that’s made with cashew cream (which came out awesome in itself!). I think I may have slightly messed up the Chana Masala by being forgetful. I really like the biryani, the raisins make it really good and I normally will not touch them ever…so that was a nice surprise.

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I give this a 4 good bananas, 1 bad rating

I also made jackfruit for the first time! I made a bbq pulled pork style crock pot thing from the newly released cookbook by Natalie Slater, entitled Bake and Destroy. The dish is called “Cannibal Corpse Crock-Pot” which I think is pretty hilarious. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of just the pulled jackfruit, but I did take a picture of it when I made another entree from the cookbook called simply “BBQ Salad.” It’s kale, red beans, onions, garlic, the jackfruit, brown rice, and vegan ranch dressing.

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I rate the salad 4 good bananas, 1 bad, but the Cannibal Corpse Crock-Pot by itself would probably get a 3 good banana rating

The jackfruit itself is quite surprising. I had it alone in a sandwich to get a good idea of how it is by itself. It’s texture is not as “meaty” as people have been saying, in fact pineapple may have more of a meaty texture than jackfruit. Though, it does give a good shredded pork appearance. It’s also quite tangy and sour. Personally, I don’t think using a ketchup based BBQ type sauce was the best idea to pair it with, just because I have problems with acid reflux, and so it was a bit too acidic all combined. I might try it with a more typical type of BBQ sauce some other time and see how it goes. I do have another can I want to try and experiment with!

In the salad though, it was much better. All the flavors combine and it is just really yummy! I particularly like the ranch because it’s thick and mixes well with all the other flavors. It’s also the first recipe that I cooked the kale properly with (I usually make it raw because I can never cook it so it’s hot enough).

Finally, I was really craving a good delicious vegan Mac and Cheese but I was skeptical that I could find a good recipe for it. I hate most of the kinds I’ve tried so far, especially at some local restaurants where it’s popular (I won’t name names haha). I found a more cashew based recipe from Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick Goudreau and it was sooooooo amazing. I didn’t bake it but I bet it would be amazing baked. It gets even better as it’s reheated in leftovers.

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This definitely gets a perfect rating! I’m so picky with vegan Mac and Cheese and this one’s worth it!

I hope you all enjoyed this edition of Food Porn Friday! These pictures should give you something to drool over until next week! Or perhaps I’ll have the time to create a new recipe or blog about something else before Friday! We’ll see, I’ve been busy with the start of the school semester and am still adjusting to being back.