Monday, January 21, 2008

Three-Day Weekend

I'd like to thank Martin Luther King, Jr. for the current three-day weekend. And for all that civil rights stuff. That stuff rocks. We've still got work to do, though.

I think we should work it out so I have a three-day weekend following Giftmas every year so I have time to break in my new cookbooks. For instance, my friend Sarah sent me The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and I made the Traditional Macaroni and Cheez last night. I also made the Frittata di zucchine e pinoli al forno (baked zucchini and pine nut frittata?) from BioVegan.

I have to be honest: I don't love nutritional yeast. I know it's good for me and I think it tastes OK, but I don't want to marry it. When I'm using it without a recipe, I always add just enough to add texture, but no flavor. When I was making this, all I could smell was olive oil and nutritional yeast. It didn't smell like macaroni and cheese to me at all. Then my brother came downstairs and asked "Who's making macaroni and cheese?" It took me a second to realize the correct answer was "Me."

The recipe says "The sauce should continue to bubble as you add the milk; if it doesn't, you are adding the milk too quickly." My sauce bubbled very rarely and spent quite a bit of time looking like cheez dough, not cheez sauce. It wasn't until I added about half the milk that it started to loosen up. And I certainly didn't have to heat it longer to thicken it up. If anything, adding the hot macaroni helped get the sauce off my whisk.

When it was all done, the consistency was near perfect and the taste was pretty good too, but I certainly haven't found my go-to mac 'n cheese yet. There's another recipe in the same book that uses slightly less nutritional yeast that I think I'll try next. There's also the Mac Daddy in Veganomicon, one the same Sarah sent me, and a multitude from the Internet. It seems like everyone wants to recommend the best vegan macaroni and cheese EVAR, making it even harder to figure out which one actually deserves that title.

I was intrigued by this frittata because unlike most recipes, it used a mix of flours for its "eggy" base instead of tofu. I think I need to mess with the cook time a bit more, but it's really tasty. I'm going to try it again for sure. I don't know Italian, so thanks to my friend Shawn for the translation.

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