Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chef Brad, a Prince among Men

Thanks Chef Brad for this great recipe!
I was reading a blog recap of the recent Vida Vegan Con, and they showed many pictures of the food, and one thing seemed to stand out. Chef Brad's mac & cheese. I read several different blogs where this mac and cheese got a mention. I'm always eager to try a new to me vegan mac & cheese recipe. The sauce is made with plant milk and nutritional yeast, and i tend to prefer cashew based cheese sauces, but I kept an open mind, and boy am I glad I did. I did use a box of lite culinary coconut milk instead of hemp milk, and I used rice flour instead of regular flour. I also did not use the coconut oil to make a roux, I just whisked a little of the coconut milk and flour to make a slurry, (flurry?), and added it to the milk and nutritional yeast simmering on the stove top. It still turned out nice and thick and creamy. I was leery of the Dijon, Sriracha combo. I love both of those ingredients, but combining them in a mac & cheese sauce just seemed curious to say the least. I'm so glad I didn't cave into that fear! The Dijon and Sriracha combine perfectly to add a tang and depth of flavor (check me out!) that I am still shocked by. When I make a nutritional yeast based cheese sauce, I almost always add a pinch of vegan cheese to make it richer and cheesier. I always feel like it needs that extra help. I honestly did not feel this sauce needed anything. It was perfect, and hands down my favorite mac & cheese I've had as a vegan. I can't speak for the original recipe with hemp milk, but coconut milk adds a thickness, and a fattiness that I think is lacking in some vegan food. I was concerned that the mac would taste too coconut-y, but it really didn't. The nutritional yeast, and other seasonings were the star of the show. The original recipe doesn't mention how much pasta to cook, so I guessed. I used roughly 10 oz. of spinach rotini (all I had) and it worked out great. It was the perfect sauce to past ratio, and I just checked the leftovers, and they have ample sauce. I like to have saucy leftovers. The culinary coconut milk box is just shy of two cups, so I added maybe an extra 1/4 cup water. I love it when I try new recipes and fall in love! I would definitely serve this delicious mac & cheese to non vegans. It's so rich and satisfying I can't imagine anyone having a problem with it. To me, this dish is proof that vegan food can be rich and satisfying without all the bells and whistles. (Expensive superfoods, faux meats and cheeses, and even nuts.) Vegan food for the win!

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