Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vegan Mac n Cheese and Some of the Best Freakin Chocolate Available: Plugging other people's cooking for once

Oy! This month of activity has yet to slow down! Between family events, house hunting (we are THISCLOSE to buying a place!), and the like, it seems like we've barely had a second to relax. Of course, all this buzzing about is for good reason, so I really can't complain. Count one's blessings and other such Pollyanna-isms, right?

Any who, this month Tony and I had to do without our 2 closest buddies in the city. Matt & Meredith run an extremely groovy online shop over at http://www.ex-boyfriendcollection.com/, where you can buy some excellent graphic tees, bags, etc. while supporting local animal causes. They are also the authors of the equally groovy ex-boyfriend blog, which you really ought to be following by now.

Anyway, M&M - in addition to being outstanding drinking buddies - are also phenomenal chefs. Vegan chefs, at that. They can do things with rice milk and leeks that would blow your mind. So as an homage to our departed travelers, we decided to make some vegan mac and cheese using a recipe Matt developed.

Now, some of you might remember my failed previous attempt at this dish, but Matt's recipe is pretty awesome and pretty idiot-proof. All you need are a handful of easy-to-find ingredients, a sturdy pot, and the self restraint to keep from sticking your head directly into the finished dish. If you, like me, have more creme brulee ramekins than most French restaurants, then I suggest spooning out some of the finished M&C, sprinkling each ramekin with toasted breadcrumbs, and then giving it a few minutes under the broiler. You won't even know it's vegan. AND it's a tad better for you than regular blue-box brand M&C, as there are no trans fats, cholesterol, or gluten to muck up your system. I'm not posting the recipe just yet (it is Matt's, after all), but I'll be happy to share it per request.


This month I've also been lucky enough to sample some of the OUT OF THIS WORLD goodness that is the Sweeteeth line of chocolate bars out of Charleston, SC. My older sister introduced the family to the confectioner after she won a contest by inventing a plum & mascarpone truffle, which I never got to try (*grumble, grumble*). The store is planning to open an online shop soon - THANK GOD - so in due time you'll be able to munch on the A’Chocolypse (Candied Ginger) or the Cinnapsis (Cinnamon Apple and Candied Pecans - my personal fav) or the Sea is for Caramel (Salted Caramel - excellent for the taunting of loved ones, such as your brother-in-law).


On a recent trip down to Clemson, Tony and I decided to stop in Raleigh to hang with his cousin. Leslie lives and attends school in the area, no too far from her mom, who joined us for dinner. We went to Mez, where Leslie's boyfriend works, to dine on some high end Mexican cuisine. Tony and Leslie had different versions of fish tacos, while I put the hurt on a chille rellenos filled with roasted veggies, raisins, almonds, and cheese. This was followed by a plate of piping hot churros served with an extremely decadent Mexican hot chocolate, which we took turns drinking.


Finally, I haven't really had a chance to post about them in detail, but I've been tweaking a few home recipes using the goodies sent over by innBrooklyn. The roasted red peppers were sauteed with the onions from the pickled cauliflower and then added to some roasted turkey kielbasa. This was served with a side of vegan M&C and some roasted asparagus and sliced beets. Later in the week, we mixed the cauliflower with some diced tomatoes, added some sugar to tone down the acid in the dish, and then added some roasted garlic. After a few minutes, we had a decent topping for some grilled chicken breasts. Oh yeah...


June is just around the corner and I'm already staring down the barrel of a supersaturated calendar: a retirement party in Pittsburgh, a dual-baby shower (which I volunteered to host in a moment of madness), a trip to Atlantic City to watch Conan O'Brien do his thing, closing on a friggin house already, and joining my buddy Indira as we run the 2010 Baltimore 10-miler.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need a second to catch my breath.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I am super-flattered you mentioned us at all, let alone my mac & cheese! Feel free to post the recipe—I just stole Kraft's and veganized it, anyway!