Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Taking on the V-con Pt.8 - Mac Daddy and a Vcon mini-review

I'm a little late to the party. But I was invited (ok, I totally begged to be invited) by Rikki Cupcake of Seitanic Vegan Heathen to join her and two of her awesome friends, Courtney and Katie, to take on Veganomicon. What does this mean? It means a whole lot of yummy. It also means that each week we will be making a recipe from Veganomicon and posting our results and witty commentaries on our blogs.

Let's go back to 2006 for a moment. I was then looking to change my diet and lifestyle. I had grown more than a little leery of the meat producing monster of an industry. It is no secret that the animals are pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive in unhealthy, awful living conditions long enough to get to slaughter. Add to that the fact that they are also pumped full of growth hormones to make them grow unnaturally large in a short amount of time (with hormones that may very well cause breast cancer). As a breast cancer survivor, I am always researching ways to prevent a reoccurance or other health issues. So I started searching the internet to find out more about vegan cooking.

In my quest to cut down and eventually eliminate meat from my diet, I stumbled across this interesting and colorful forum the Post Punk Kitchen. While the PPK may not have completely transformed my life, it certainly transformed my kitchen! Well maybe it has transformed my life a little too. Shortly after I started lurking on the forum, Isa Chandra Moskowictz author of Veganomicon invited me to be one of her testers. The love affair with Vcon had begun. The recipes in this book range from simple to fancy pants and everything in between. Isa is a magical godess with flavors, textures and spices. Even if you aren't vegan or even vegetarian these recipes are awesome. As I was testing many of my unsuspecting omnivorous friends ended up being taste testers. They will tell you that her recipes are top notch for any occasion.

This week's recipe is for Mac Daddy. I tested a shit-ton of recipes for this book and somehow missed this one during testing, so I was pretty excited to try something new. This is a take on baked mac and cheese. I hesitate to even say that, because it will set up unrealistic expectations. I think it is more of a creamy, lemony, macaroni casserole. I used elbow macaroni made with Jeruselum Artichoke flour. The texture was perfect for this dish. It was pretty easy to pull together. You can cook the pasta while making up the cheezy sauce. Realistically you could probably get this ready for baking in about 15 minutes. It took me longer because I happened to be on the phone with my MIL. The reason I mention this is because it was such an easy recipe I could make it while discussing hot air ballooning and several medical procedures. So if you are not a whiz in the kitchen, this recipe is for you. I chose to make a version with kale. I had some to use up and I loves me some greens.

I liked this dish very much, but it wasn't true passionate love that I have for some other dishes. That whole unrealistic expectations thing got the best of me. The texture is so so so good. It is creamy, inviting, and filling. But I personally felt it was a bit heavy on the lemon flavor. This can easily be remedied by reducing or eliminating the amount of lemon added when mixing in the pasta. That is the only criticism I have and it's not so much a criticism as a personal preference I suppose. Because this is so easy and makes a hearty amount, I would def recommend trying it yourself. It's a great dish for potlucks or feeding a big, hungry crowd. Great for weeknight too! Next time I make it I will reduce the amount of lemon. I'm also going to add some fire roasted diced tomatoes because that's how I roll.

I'm so excited to be part of the Taking on the V-con gang. Thanks for letting me play!!!

This must be mac and cheese month because this months Food Network Friday Challenge is a remake of Rachel Ray's Reuben Mac n Cheese. So check back in next Friday, August 13th for more carby goodness!


sara said...

i'm excited to read your veganomicon reviews. it's so giant, there are still lots of interesting-sounding recipes in it that i haven't gotten around to trying yet.

i agree about the mac n cheese...it's not like dairy mac n cheese, it is its own thing...which isn't bad!

Veg-In-Training said...

It is a huge book! There are so many good recipes in it. I use it often as a reference. It is one of the books I recommend for people who are just starting to cook vegan foods because it has a little bit of everything. It's also good for veteran vegans because the recipes are so awesome and well tested.

Rikki Cupcake said...

yay! you did it!! i am making mine tonight, and i am overly excited about it after seeing how good yours looks. yumtastic!!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

I loved the tofu in MacDaddy. It gave such a cool texture.

Just so you know, you've got until Friday the 13th for Food Network Friday, if it's any help to have a breather.

Veg-In-Training said...

Thats great Tami. I have a full plate on Thursday this week. I have a great idea for FNF! I'm kind of anxious to see how it comes out.

Rikki Cupcake said...

oh yeah you can snag the little icon for our v-con thing on my posts for it, make it all official and whatnot.

Courtney said...

I'm happy your a part of our little cooking and reviewing project! It's always better when there are more people to compare recipes to.
I'll update the graphic and email it to everyone for next week!