Friday, August 13, 2010

Food Network Friday - Rachel Ray's Reuben Mac and Cheese

Welcome to another Food Network Friday! Oh and today is lucky Friday the 13th! Me and my food fanatic buddies tackled a recipe from Rachel Ray this week. This week's recipe was chosen by the one and only Liz from Cooking the Vegan Books. Liz is a huge Rachel Ray fan so she selected her Reuben Mac and Cheese for this week's challenge. See what everyone else came up with at Tami Noyes' blog Vegan Appetite.

This recipe was truly a challenge for me on many levels. First off, I am not a huge fan of saurkraut, almost to the point of being a hater. Hate is a strong word and one that I always tell the younsters they should not use. So I should probably take my own advice. Let's just put it in my not so favorite file. Because I took creative license with this recipe, I cut the saurkraut down to just 1/2 cup. This allowed a bit of the flavor to come through without offending me. I will go step by step through my process. I am going by memory, since I left my notes elsewhere. I will update the recipe if I find errors later on.

The first challenge was to come up with a tasty substitution for corned beef. It would have been far too easy to just use seitan. But I wanted to go outside of the box a bit on this component. Here is what transpired. On day one I took two large portobello mushrooms, cleaned out the fins, sliced them very thinly and laid them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. I made a corned "beefy" marinade (recipe to be posted later) and poured over the mushrooms. The sheet was covered with another cookie sheet to keep wayward flies from dining on the delectible morsels. This was placed outside for 8 hours to semi-sun dry. Hey, there has to be some advantage to 110 degree weather!!! I say semi-sun dried because they were still a bit moist. You don't want them to totally dry out. The mushrooms can be used immediately or stored in the fridge for 2 days. The mushrooms are the most time consuming part, but most of that is inactive drying time. The mushrooms make this dish, so I promise when I can find where I wrote down the ingredients, I will post the recipe and prep pictures, pinky promise. They rock. I think they would be extra special on a reuben sandwich where they can be more of the star.

Once the mushrooms are ready, the rest comes together fairly quickly. I'm doing this from memory, so here goes:

Portobello Reuben Mac n Cheeze

1/2 pound ziti or corkscrew pasta
2 slices toasted rye bread, ground into bread crumbs (see note)
1/4 cup loosely packed parsley, corsely chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon corn starch
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 1/2 cups Daiya Italian Blend cheeze, divided
1 recipe Corned "Beefy" Portobellos
1/2 cup saurkraut
1/3 cup vegan 1000 island dressing (I used a test recipe from Carla Kelly)

Set up your mis en place (get everything out and ready to go). This will go quickly once you get started.

First cook pasta according to package directions to al dente.

While pasta is cooking, prepare the topping. In a food processor grind dried rye slices, chopped parsley and smoked paprika.

Mix soy milk and cornstarch together in cold medium sized sauce pan. Heat over medium heat stirring frequently until thickened, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in mustard. Add 1 1/4 cup Daiya and stir until it starts to get melty.

By this time the pasta should be done. Drain pasta and return to pan. Stir in sauce, mushrooms, kraut and 1000 island dressing.

Pour into lightly oiled 8 x 8 pyrex pan. Spread bread crumb mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle eavenly with remaining Daiya. Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes until top looks a little bubbly. Do not leave under broiler too long, lest you have a pyrex explosion. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Dish out and eat up!

**Update** This dish is getting mixed reviews. Fred didn't like it at all. He actually said that he ususally likes most of my experiments and that I rarely bomb, but this one might just be one of those bombs (or something close to that). I'm on the fence, but I have to agree 100% that this is not one of my favorite creations. Maybe it's just me, but I think the combo of ingredients with the pasta just doesn't work really well. I've had much better Mac and Cheese. But who knows you may think it's awesome. I DO think the mushrooms and 1001 Island Dressing would rock on a regular reuben-esque type sandwich. I will experiment with that in a later post.

OK kids, here is you PSA for the day. Try to avoid cooking when exhausted. Also try to avoid moving too many things off of the counter at once. If you do not heed this warning, this could happen to you and your kitchen. It is a sad moment when almost an entire recipe of 1001 Island dressing meets its untimely demise this way. I have to admit. I thought this was hilarious, but I'm glad Fred wasn't home to witness this. He never reads my blog, so my secret is safe!


Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

I can't get over your mushroom technique on this. So clever!

Lori said...

This looks absolutely amazing! I'll be waiting for your marinade recipe so I can make this. It looks like it would be very delicious! You cracked me up about the spilled dressing. I've had things like that happen, too. The only thing I can do is laugh. :)

tine said...

I don't care if it didn't come out perfect, this is too much fun! I've gotta try this for myself. And I will ESPECIALLY be trying to make mounds and mounds of those mushrooms for various reuben experiments, hooray!