“What’s this yummy concoction?” Matt said after taking a bite.
Aha! It’s mac-un-chz! And it’s delicious.
Eating veg-strong can be invigorating; I do feel spunkier relying on plant-based foods. But, at least for this on-again, off-again sort-of -vegan, it hasn’t always been flavorful or fun.
Even though my parents accommodated childhood vegetarian explorations, and adult forays into raw and dairy-free, I come from meat-eating people, some who worked the land, reverently hunting wild game, and slaughtering and eating animals they raised with care.
My relatives are also gracious and curious world travelers who value and emphasize eating what’s served and trying new things. I internalized these values and abide by them as much as I can endeavoring, like my hero Peace Pilgrim, to savor and appreciate any edible shared by a host as the gift that it is.
At home, though, vegetables and fruit rule the roost. And this time around, partly in honor of Prince (whose 1984 Purple Rain Tour remains the best show my teenaged self ever saw!) and largely in an effort to practice ahimsa, I’m giving mostly vegan another go.
[Click here for an interview I did with Breeze Harper of Sistah Vegan. Breezie offers her take on compassion, race and the environment.]
It’s working out well for this body, budget and mind so far. (Everyone’s different. Do what suits you!) For now, that means plant-based plus a few eggs a week (from my local CSA) and yogurt at breakfast. Once in awhile, butter comes into play for almond cake.
As for many Americans, macaroni and cheese is my comfort food. I’ve eaten it any which way–with fancy white cheeses, plain old orange cheese (what my family called “rat cheese,” because sometimes it baited the rat traps…what can I say? I grew up in a D.C. row house), fluorescent from a box, organic from a box, scooped from the steam table, unwrapped on the tray table, fresh, frozen as a main dish or a side.
Well, readers and friends, I present a plant-based macaroni and cheese that Matt said was “the best I’ve ever had.” And, having lived with me for lotsa years, he’s eaten lotsa macaroni and cheese and attempts at mac-un-chz.
Mac-un-Chz (aka Yummy Concoction) adapted from clean food dirty girl
- Soak 1/2 cup raw cashews in water to cover. Set aside.
- In a small covered saucepan, simmer for 20 minutes in 2 cups of water : one peeled and chunked russet potato, 2 carrots, one small onion, 2 cloves garlic.
- Meanwhile, start cooking macaroni or other noodles of your choice.
- After 20 minutes, place cooked vegetables and cooking liquid in a blender, along with the drained cashews and about 1/2 cup nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add water if needed but be conservative.
- Return sauce to pan. Add powdered turmeric (I used at least one Tablespoon), a dash of ground sage, a dash of dried basil and dried parsley, 1/4 teaspoon good quality horseradish, fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste.
- When macaroni is cooked, drain. Place back in its pan and douse with olive oil (optional). Top with the sauce, stirring to combine. Enjoy!
I have a regular ol’ blender. No high power needed.
The concoction thickens and turns creamier when you let it sit with the lid on, stove heat off, for 5-10 minutes.
Served here with diced fresh tomatoes marinated in lemon juice and olive oil with a tiny bit of sugar, salt and pepper. They’re what I had on hand. Mac-un-Chz would also be delicious with a side of tender steamed broccoli garnished with lemon or a fresh green salad.
The concoction reheated superbly in the microwave.