Monday, September 25, 2017

Mac N Faux Cheezy

I made a mac 'n cheese that made VL say "I feel like I don't have any allergies." High praise.

For those who have "followed" this blog, you know I flirt with vegan recipes because they've come up with tasty dairy-free solutions, but in reality, we are much more paleoish because we eat meat and low to no grain. Anyways, my son--bless his lekkle heart-- is not allergic to dairy! So he can partake of that American childrearing staple of mac n'cheese. My daughter--bless her big heart-- is allergic to dairy--and no, it is not lactose intolerant people; there was projectile vomit involved and you think, I would have figured out the difference in the last 20 years, m'kay?--is always forlorn when she sees him partaking. And after almost 20 years of mostly dairy-free existence, I harbor a lot of dairy skepticism. So I resolved to come up with a solution. At Sprouts the other day, I picked up Ancient Roots shell pasta-corn & quinoa-that came in a small box; we don't normally eat a lot of corn because me and the girl do not digest it well, even "organic" corn, hard to say if it's because of GMO or lingering glyphosate or the lack of nixtamalization.

Anyways, I totally winged this one on the fly. I was inspired by reading this review of this taco stand in TJ that uses eggs to emulsify the salsa into a silky texture. It's basically a cashew faux "cheeze" + carbonara mashup. It is not vegan.

Mac N Faux Cheezy

  • 1/2 cup of soaked raw cashews (soaked for 2 hrs then drained & rinsed well, can be done the day before and stored refrigerated or frozen)
  • Um then I filled the pyrex cup it was in with water (and nuts still in there) to about 1/2 c or more mark
  • 2 generous tsp of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp+ of garlic powder
  • sprinkle+ onion powder
  • sea salt
  • Generous splashes of avocado oil (can also use olive oil/lard/bacon fat)
  • 2 eggs

  • GF pasta
Blend sauce ingredients until it is super duper smooth. I think I let it run for 2-3 min but not enough for it to warm in the vitamix. The eggs help with making the particulate mouth feel of the cashews be more silky and emulsified (i.e. won't separate). Taste it and season more as needed.

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and reserve some of the starchy water. Throw the drained pasta back into the pot and turn it on low heat. Then pour the sauce in and let it thicken while stirring, but try not to scramble the eggs. Use the pasta water to thin if it's too thick. (If I was more prepared, I would have used the pasta water to make the sauce in the first place.)

I topped my serving with a whisper of ground ghost pepper. I'm going to be sad when that runs out.

This made just enough for 4 bowls of mac. Next time I am doubling bc we barely had enough for VL's lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Soaked and Brined Black Beans

It's been a long time
I shouldn't have left you
Without a dope read to munch to...

I've been busy procreating, ukulele'ing, moving, homeschooling (briefly), volunteering, childraising, PTO'ing, adulting, and mom'ing for the last couple of years and this blog has taken a back burner. I've got almost 10 or so recipes sitting in my draft folder but they are still gathering virtual dust. Sigh.


I was struggling for a savory bean side dish for a communal burrito potluck for our annual campout. When/if I make beans, I go to animal fat for the flavor boost. Since our Holistic Moms chapter had Muslim families participating, I needed something halal so my go to lard and (Buddhist) duck fat were not going to make the cut. (And I didn't have time to run to the local halal butcher...)

Then I remembered...

Beans, beans the magic fruit, the more you eat....

Kombu which would give me a savory/umami boost as well as help breakdown the indigestibles (toot-source) like oligosaccharides and phytic acid. I am not even going there with the soak-no soak debate. I know what my gut feels like. Which my family has now dubbed mom bombs. Soaking is just better for me.

Along the way, I discovered brining for beans and of course, I am a big pressure cooker proponent. Because: from phrozen to Phở in under an hour is too damn easy. I upgraded to a Kuhn Duromatic 12 qt when I birthed the big little because that's a lot more people to feed and I was tired of having to make two batches of phở with the 6 qt because the bones take up half the pot. I still keep my 6 qt Fissler because I inherited it from my 

bà ngoại | grandmother and it's handy for grains, side dishes, and small quantities.
I pre-date the Instant Pot so I don't have a review or a rave, but believe me I am eyeballing it. I only have to babysit the pressure cooker for less than an hour at most, but the prospect of set & forget it is very tempting because I am very forgetful...)

Anyhow, I cobbled together a recipe from various ideas with Cuban inspiration. And it was like sooooooo good. 
I got rave reviews and recipe requests from folks, so... here's the recipe, Samrana! 
( I made 2.5 lbs for 30+ people including littles which left me with maybe 1/4 of a pot leftover, this is a reduced quantity). 

Some ingredient notes: my kid doesn't like the tannic-ity of olive oil, so I mixed it with avocado oil. I used a little fresh garlic that I had on hand, but mainly I rely on powdered or dried/minced garlic because I have issues with digesting fresh garlic unless it is cooked AF. I wanna say I got the kombu powder from Frontier, but I think they don't carry it any longer. You can substitute dried kombu instead or omit it. Um, I eyeball quantities, so adjust to taste!

We were camping there was no way to pretty stage beans.

1 lb beans (I used organic black turtle beans)
3 tbs of sea salt
4 qts water

Soak 8 hrs to 24 hours. Drain beans.


EV olive oil + avocado oil
1 organic sweet onion, chopped
1 tsp organic garlic powder
1 tsp kombu powder or 4 inch strip of dried kombu
dash of Red Boat fish sauce
2 bay leaves
2 qts water
chopped cilantro to garnish

Splash a super generous amount of oil in the pressure cooker. Sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. Add kombu powder, fish sauce, cumin and bay leaves and sauté briefly until aromatic. Toss in the beans. Cover with water, lid it, and bring to a boil. Cook at pressure for 4 minutes for soaked black beans (all other beans consult this chart for cooking time). Turn off the stove. Let it depressurize naturally, approx 10 minutes. Taste, add salt or other seasonings as needed. Top with chopped cilantro.


Really, that is it. I love my pressure cooker

I have NO idea how long this takes in an Instant Pot. I know that it would take 3-4 hours in a VitaClay and that is why hands down, my pressure cooker is my go to because I suffer from the inability to meal plan.

[Full disclosure: I am now an Amazon Associate. Yes, I assimilated. All kidding aside, all my labor is unremunerated. Both as a mom and as cook. Don't get me wrong, I like getting paid in gratitude and sticky kisses from the littles, but it would also be nice to be compensated even a pittance for the fraction of the work I do IRL. I've made enough to buy coffee from individual affiliate links so it really is a bit ridiculous. And alot of the links I have are not remunerated, like Frontier or articles, blogs, etc. So for what it is worth, for less than the price of a cup of coffee, you can support my labor which is vastly undervalued!]