It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and this would be the case for the work and recipes of well know vegan author, animal rights advocate, chef and restaurateur, Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I have and love her cookbook Veganomicon and make prodigious use of it in my daily cooking and baking. It was published some ten years ago; a ten year anniversary edition is available now. Isa is a prolific author with some ten vegan cookbooks to her name. Her plant powered recipes reflect our attachment to comfort food in the form of soups, bundt cakes, casseroles to name just a few.
So, it is little surprise that when I come across a recipe of Isa’s that I like, but don’t necessarily love, I make an attempt to adapt it to suit my taste and that of my family. In this case, adaptation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Isa’s Recipe: Mac Daddy – Veganomicon, Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Here is what I liked:
Mac & Cheese, Mac & Cheese, Mac & Cheese
Easy to make
Here is what I wasn’t so keen on:
The method of thickening the sauce
The texture and taste of the crumbled tofu
Everything else is dynamite. So why not fiddle around?
1) Cheezy Sauce:
The recipe instruction calls for mixing the flour and broth together, whisking with a fork and then adding to the other ingredients and simmering until the taste of the flour cooks out.
I have never had success working with flour as a thickener.
It is always too pasty, to doughy, too lumpy, whether I make a roux or follow Isa’s recommendation in this recipe.
I learned how to work with cornstarch many years ago when my mom was teaching me how to cook and it never lets me down.
Dilute 1/2 cup of cornstarch with 1/2 cup Veggie Broth reserved from 4 cup measurement.
Stir with a fork until smooth.
Cook garlic as per recipe original recipe and add spices, salt & pepper & veggie broth.
Bring to a boil and whisk in cornstarch, stirring constantly for two minutes or so.
Add nutritional yeast, lemon and mustard (I use Dijon).
2) Tofu Ricotta:
I am not supper keen on the texture and taste of this mixture.
I find it too grainy and too tofu-y tasting.
I wasn’t sure that my grandchildren would like the texture
And after all, what is Mac and Cheese if it does not appeal to the little ones.
So, I felt that a small change up was in order.
Substitute Silken Tofu for the extra firm tofu.
Eliminate the salt, olive oil and lemon juice.
Put tofu in large bowl of food processor.
Whir until smooth.
While food processor is running, using a ladle, add Cheezy Sauce.
Whir until smooth.
Add to cooked pasta along with peas and stir to combine.
Place in casserole dish and let sit for five minutes or so.
There is no topping in the original recipe.
I added some plant based shredded cheese for presentation’s sake.
Some like this melty, gooey addition and some don’t.
It is easy to bake the Mac and Cheese in two separated casseroles.
This is what I do, some with cheese, some without.
Vegan Annie’s Handy Kitchen Tips
If you are a novice in the kitchen and feel unsure, look for a recipe that does click all the boxes.
Or, throw caution to the wind and experiment.
Whatever you decide, make it plant powered all the way.
For the animals, for the planet, for humans.
May all beings be happy and free.