Sunday, November 14, 2010

Three For One

After my last post, I've decided that I need to start a search. A search for a vegan who likes eggplant. Because as of now, I am completely convinced that no such thing exists; it's all a vast plot perpetrated by some eggplant-industrial complex to replace the potato as the most popular vegetable or destroy the world trying.

Anyways, you may have noticed that I took a couple of days off. Having to shovel snow will do that do a person. That or having a very late Friday night followed by a Saturday that was full of surprises (and not shoveling snow). Apologies for not being little more timely with the updates; I've used my Mulligan(s) and it won't happen again.

On Friday, the Wife and I had plans that involved going to a friend's house for gathering. I didn't have a heck of a lot of time between work and when we needed to be there, so I went for something tried and true (and pretty darned simple), mac and cheese. Due to a couple requests for the kinda-recipe, or semi-recipe, or whatever you'd like to call it, here goes.

Wait, before I get going with that, I need to have a(nother) quick digression about secret ingredients. Yes, this recipe contains one, but I feel I need to impart a little secret ingredient wisdom.

Secret ingredients are mystical things that are used to make the food your eating even more awesome. Everyone who spends any time in the kitchen should have at least three secret ingredients that they use. However, no two people are allowed to have the same secret ingredients. If this happens, by my reckoning, those two must throw down and have a cook-off on the spot with whatever ingredients are available on hand. The winner is decided based on crowd response. Two cooks enter; one cook leaves.

Okay, so in real life, I just may have watched a Mad Max movie over the weekend. Yay, I've managed to invent post-apocalyptic cooking.

What is a secret ingredient, you may ask? Simple. It's an ingredient that you should always try to put into whatever your making unless you can think of a good reason not to.

Back to the main part of this sorta story, here's the recipe.

First Half:

1/2 pound macaroni, prepared as instructed on the package

Okay, I meant the first half of the name.

The Cheese:

1 package Diaya cheese
2 spoonfuls Veganaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
Nutritional Yeast
Plain Soy Milk or Veggie Broth

Before you get going here, start warming up the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the Diaya, Veganaise, and garlic in a sauce pan and warm it up. Diaya in this form is a bit of a pain in the ass to work with because it just kinda turns into a sludgy ball, so this is where the Nutritional Yeast and Soy Milk/Broth come in. Start slowly adding the two in equal proportions until things have thinned out a little bit. Don't let it thin out too much, or you'll end up with liquid gross.

Once you've got your sauce to a consistency that looks relatively appetizing, dump the cooked macaroni into the same saucepan and mix it all up. When you're done, put it in a pan, mine fit in a 9" x 9" pan. If you've got some bread crumbs, sprinkle 'em on top -- the same goes for paprika -- and bake for 30 minutes. If you're obsessive like me, you'll want to turn on the little light in the oven because you'll be checking in on things every 43 seconds or so.

If you're running right over to your friend's house remember to 1) bring extra hot pads so you don't burn anything in your car, and 2) look up the directions before you leave your house because it's hard to do so with your GPS while holding the mac and cheese with those extra hot pads.

Oh yeah, the other rule about secret ingredients: while it's okay to tell people that you're using 'em, it's never okay to say what specifically the secret ingredient is.

So that was Friday. Now on to Saturday. Well, let's not talk about Saturday.

This evening, I decided I wanted something a little spicy. I'd come across a recipe for a Thai-Style Butternut Squash Soup that was pretty close to what I was looking for. With a few minor alterations, I thought it would fit the bill nicely.

The Wife's reaction: Wow, this is pretty good. It's quite spicy. I wouldn't think that squash and Thai-style spices would go well together, but they really do. The peanuts (freshly roasted, I might add) are also great. If you served it with some bread or something, it would be great appetizer at a restaurant.


  1. Thanks for the recipe! Can you PM me that secret ingredient?

    Kidding. Sort of.

  2. Made this for the kids tonight. Liam shoved it in his mouth by the fistsfull and Anna declared it to be the best mac 'n' cheese she's ever had. I'm foreseeing a new standard.