Do you ever go “off the grid”? I’m not talking about that time you thought you couldn’t find your phone but it turned out it was because you were talking on it. No. Going “off the grid” involves existing and going about your life without your cell phone, your iPad, any form of email access (PDA’s? Are those still things?) which is crazy because how will people know you exist if you’re not updating on Facebook?
But most importantly, I’m pretty sure you have to tell people you’re going “off the grid” for it to be real. You don’t have to air quote it but it would definitely be more legit supported by an eyebrow raise. (It’s like sticking your nose up at someone but it’s your eyebrows so it’s okay!)
Well, I’m telling you right now, I’m writing this post from “off the grid” [eyebrow raise] and now it’s real. It’s not that bad, really. I’m writing on real paper with a pen that I didn’t even have to steal. Turns out going “off the grid” [eyebrow raise] involves a fair amount of planning. I had to check my email one last time (thanks for the heads up on summer Teva’s, Eddie Bauer!), make sure no one had text messaged me in the time it took to check my email (thanks for the follow up text, Eddie Bauer!), set my status on Facebook (“summer Teva time!!@#%!”), put on a watch, and find a pen in an apartment where I can’t even find my bedroom floor. Going “off the grid” [eyebrow raise] is really hard!
But you know what they say, pain is just cell reception leaving the body. And it’s kind of nice. My brain is even emptier than normal (I’m dead behind these eyes!) and all that extra room up there has allowed me to clean up the space, push around a few ideas, focus really hard on my ice coffee.
In the midst of all this, I started kicking around an idea for an Updated Vegan Mac and Cheese Redux version 2.0, The Return of the Vegan Mac and Cheese. I’m not married to the name but it’s catchy.
My first stab at Vegan Mac and Cheese went down last summer and it was good but not great. And because no one’s ever heard of Alexander the Great’s cousin, Bartholomew the Not Life Changing, I decided to remedy that.
So here it is. Vegan Mac and Cheese the Great, razzle dazzled (I’d never use the phrase “razzle dazzled” on the grid) with some serious upgrades.
First off, I took out the pistachios because apparently when I’m “off the grid” [eyebrow raise] I’m suddenly aware that I am not “made of money.” [Eyebrows.] Also they’re pretty superfulous in the grand scheme of Vegan Mac and Cheese things. Instead, the texture gets a boost of creaminess in the form of lite silken tofu. Small amounts of both Veganaise (Gwyny loves it!!) and vegan buttery spread go a long way adding an extra bit of richness.
I also used some Shiritaki Miracle Noodles because they’re the coolest shit ever and I’ve had a bag lingering in my vegetable crisper for months and it’s making the rotten green bell pepper feel threatened for my lack of attention. Use them too and you’ll have a filling bowl of cheesy noodles with only 23g carbs (15 net carbs) and 163 calories. Hot damn! Don’t worry, though, I also tested the cheese sauce on some real noodles (59g carbs/53g net [egads] and 333 calories) and it’s downright stupid good on the ziti I found in the cupboard.
So that’s the gist of it really. Clarity’s some serious shit, huh? (I can’t wait to tear that last sentence out and tape it to my face because people need to know what I’m thinking at all times. Off the grid my ass!)
VEGAN MACARONI AND CHEESE
makes 8 big old servings, with ziti: 200g or 1½ cups or so
- 1 large sweet potato (580g for Nutrition Fact sake)
- 1⅛ cups (50g) nutritional yeast
- 91g silken tofu
- ½ cup (4oz) almond milk
- 1½ tablespoons veganaise
- ½ tablespoon vegan buttery spread or margarine
- 2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon barley miso paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- some pepper
- some shirataki noodles (8 bags – 1 per sauce serving – for a shit ton of noodles) or 16oz of your favorite noodles, cooked
so many air quotes and brackets and parentheses, I can’t even tell what’s real anymore…
Set your oven to 400 degrees. Pierce your sweet potato a few times with a fork. Bake for an hour or so. Let it cool until it’s handleable without be burningable. Peel of the skin, cut into chunks, and puree in a food processor. Start adding the remaining ingredients, a bit at a time, until you get to the consistency and taste you like. It’s done when you say it’s done.
Combine the sauce with your cooked noodles in a big pan and heat over low heat on the stove until everything is happily combined and warm. Serve!