The Best Vegan Mac & Cheese
I love mac and cheese (who doesn't?), and I really missed it when I became vegan in 2005. I found so many of the vegan cheeses to be stomach-turning at that time. To this day, I am very picky with vegan cheese. My friend, Sheena, gave me a recipe using nutritional yeast that I've been using for years, and there are similar recipes all over the Internet. Not only that, but my kitties seem to really enjoy having a little nutritional yeast sprinkled on their kibble.
Recently, I discovered Daiya cheese. It tastes great, and is especially good for pizzas. Our local vegan pizza shop, Allentown Pizza, uses it. The only problems are that it's expensive, and it still retains its shape even when it is melted.
When my friend, Derek, told me he had found a new vegan mac & cheese recipe that doesn't use nutritional yeast or soy/alternative milk, I was skeptical. However, after he made it for me, it quickly became one of my favorite dishes of all time. Seriously, it's so yummy!
There is a little bite to this dish, due to the cayenne, pepper, garlic, and shallots. It's creamy and comforting like traditional mac & cheese but it is still so different.
Here's what you'll need:
Estimated Cook Time: 50 minutes
First, take eight ounces of macaroni, cook until al dente, drain and rinse cold. While that is cooking, in a saucepan, boil and simmer for 15 minutes the following ingredients:
I always like to add some green to my pasta dishes, for a pop of color and because vegetables are so yummy. Broccoli or peas work best in this. I just take 1-2 cups of frozen peas and mix them in with the sauce and pasta, and trust that it will cook perfectly in the oven. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top of the whole casserole, if you'd like, and you can add a little cayenne seasoning on top for color. Do not add too many bread crumbs, though, because it will soak up moisture and make it dry.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and ta-da! you have the best vegan mac & cheese in the world. Enjoy!
When I was in high school, I wanted to be a journalist. A music journalist, specifically, for Rolling Stone. I wanted to see Tori Amos perform and write about how utterly perfect her performances were and defend Billy Corgan's nasally voice. It wasn't long after that when I realized that Rolling Stone was flawed. By the early-2000's, it had lost whatever cool I had seen in it previously. It was mainstream and corporate, and boring. I didn't want to read articles about Mandy Moore and see every woman in a porno pose.
Not only that, but I realized how difficult it was to write about something as cerebral as music. Music reviews so often felt redundant. They never gave me a true idea of what a band sounds like, or if I would enjoy an album. How can music be translated? It's an entirely different language without Latin roots.
Lemuria In 2005, Lemuria showed up on my doorstep. Literally. They were touring New England, and posted on MySpace that they needed a place to stay. I had friends in common with them, and was impressed by their performance that summer at Kitchen Distribution, an old factory turned artists space in Buffalo, so I invited them to my shitty apartment in Burlington, Vermont. Consequently, Alex and I fell into, and out of love. I developed friendships with each member. We have been friends over break ups, death, and disease, celebrating love and accomplishment, and vegan baked goods. Over the past eight years, their music has consistently progressed and matured.
Get Better was so highly anticipated by everyone who knew them through their relentless touring, split albums, and EPs. It was their first full length, and chronicled many of the feelings hovering around Alex and Sheena during that time. Long distance relationships, and the loss of a father brought me to tears listening to it. Pebble was a progression into more unique song structure. It distanced them further from being pigeonholed as another poppy punk band.
Enter: The Distance is So Big. With a grand title, it doesn't let you down. In fact, the introductory "Michael and Stephen Moon" sets listeners up for one of the most awe-inducing songs on the album, "Brilliant Dancer." Sheena's vocals are just incredible. Her flirtatious bouncing soprano nestles perfectly into Alex's deep and steady vocals.
I have always loved sad songs that sound happy. These songs are upbeat and completely relateable for anyone who has been in a failed relationship. In "Bluffing Statistics," Kerns writes, "I could never be happy with you, if you could never be happy without me," painting the picture of a diseased, dependent relationship with a partner whose insatiable desire to be everything to the other person is smothering and ultimately devastating.
The Fest 2013 There are so many standout tracks. "Oahu, Hawaii"'s crescendos, decrescendos, and use of strings is genius. "Scienceless" coordinates drums and guitars perfectly, and is one of those songs that has power without screaming. "Paint the Youth" has a similar quiet strength and restraint that seems rarely seen these days. "Congratulations Sex" is catchy and is sure to be a sing-along favorite. The record ends strong with "Ruby," one of my favorite tracks, penned by Sheena. In it, she writes of a stagnant relationship, and wonders who is to blame.
This is one of the best albums of the year, in my biased opinion. At the same time, I cannot wait to see what else is in store for them. Here's a link to their video for "Scienceless." They will be filming their new music video this upcoming weekend in Los Angeles. They will be playing a few shows in the Northeast in December then touring Australia and Asia in January.
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