As I previously mentioned, my theme for VeganMofo is “Important People and TImes.” I asked family members and my closest friends this question:
“What’s a favorite food of yours that takes you back to another time in your life? And what does it take you back to/remind you of?”
I got a lot of wonderful responses, some easier than others but I’m excited about every single one of them!
I thought I would start with my all time favorite meal from growing up. Whenever my mom would ask what I wanted for dinner for any occasion my response was always “Baked macaroni and cheese with cornbread and beets!” And it always had to have all three! It was always a favorite, I mean who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?! Recently I was explaining this meal to a friend and I realized how it was kind of random that beets ended up on the plate. I don’t remember having beets with anything else ever growing up but since I was younger, I’ve always claimed that I love them. It wasn’t until I was doing my VeganMofo research that I realize where the whole meal stemmed from. My mom’s first response to the favorite food memory question was “Well the infamous mac and cheese with beets and cornbread. A staple when I was growing up.” (I’m sure I knew this before but must have forgotten throughout my life, however, I wont forget again, I guarantee it.) So it wasn’t just a random meal that got thrown together by my mom once and stuck with me. I had to go a little further back and ask my Nini about where it came from.
Anyway, the meal is perfect. When I had it growing up it wasn’t vegan and since had to find an alternative so I did. It’s not 100%, and I didn’t expect it to be, but believe me, I can down a couple servings in one sitting and then some for dessert. Corn bread is corn bread, always delicious and not difficult to veganize. The beets were always just from a can and, for this meal, that’s how they will remain. The best part of the plate is always after the juice from the beets runs and dyes part of the mac and cheese and cornbread and you take a bite with the “mac and cheese, cornbread, beet juice” combo. Ok, I’m hungry… here’s the recipes.
For the macaroni and cheese:
-1 1/2 cups of plain soy milk
-1 cup of water
-1/3 cup of tamari or soy sauce
-1 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
-1 tablespoon paprika
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 tablespoon salt
-1/4 of a block of firm (not silken) tofu
-1 cup of canola or vegetable oil
-1 1/2 lbs of pasta of your choice, preferably macaroni
-1 dollop of mustard
-Panko bread crumbs (the best part)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Make pasta according to box.
3. Put all ingredients, besides pasta breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning, in a blender to make sauce.
4. Drain pasta and mix with cheese sauce in a large baking dish.
5. Add breadcrumbs and then Italian seasoning on top.
6. Bake until browned, about 15 minutes.
This makes a TON so recalculate ingredients based on your needs. Half would be plenty for two!
For the cornbread:
I don’t have a favorite cornbread recipe. Tonight I used Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal which has a recipe for cornbread on the side that I veganized:
-1 C Bob’s Red Mill Medium Grind Cornmeal
-1 C whole wheat pastry flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tbsp baking powder
-Egg replacer for 1 egg
-1 C almond milk
-1/4 C earth balance butter
-1 tbsp sugar (optional – I didn’t use)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Sift together all dry ingredients except cornmeal; whisk in cornmeal.
3. Add egg replacer, almond milk, and earth balance.
4. Best until smooth, about one minute.
5. Bake in greased 8 in square pan for 20-25 minutes.
For the beets:
-Close your eyes and pick a can off the shelf.
1. Warm in microwave or on stove.