I was thrilled to discover that this year my dad became vegan. I’m not myself, but it means that the holiday cooking we traditionally do together gets a whole new set of interesting culinary characters. My dad came prepared for the holidays this year with two new cookbooks and a lot of energy (surely from his new healthful diet… or maybe just his lack of teaching duties while on vacation. Either way!). Every day is full of delicious delicious things!
The books were Plum! and The China Study Cookbook. The first is a great one from a restaurant in the NW. As skeptical as I always am of foods that pretend to be other foods… And at this point I offer apologies to anyone who likes tofuky, but… no. Just, no. With all the whole realms of delicious and *already* vegan or vegetarian cuisines out there like whole swaths of Indian cuisines (or Italian, Mexican, I can keep going) I just never saw the need for false foods. Things that pretend to be other things almost always seem to be missing something. Despite this, when we made “mac’n’yease” I was really impressed. It was pretty incredible. And not just incredible for a vegan mac’n’cheese, but all on its own was really stupendous. All in all we made one or two things every day. Full of lots of soups and grilled things, and all sorts of interesting creamy oil and tofu things. I have to say the vegan basil “ricotta” melts and tastes incredibly on pesto pizza. But that’s another story.
The proportions for this recipe are very inexact. It’s meant to be that way! It’s very flexible. So add more of whatever you like best and less of anything else. The real secret is in the choice of ingredients creating a lovely blend of flavors and textures!
a quarter pack of noodles, cooked (about a quarter pound). Whichever kind. It works great with rice noodles if you’re avoiding gluten, otherwise a light whole wheat noodle adds a great flavor, or whatever noodles/pasta you have lying around.
Chives (~6), chopped
carrot(s) (1-2), shredded
red bell pepper(s) (~1), diced
cabbage (1/2), chopped
sesame seeds (~3/4 c), toasted
chopped peanuts (~1/2 c).
Sauce: anything a bit salty, a bit tart, plus a bit spicy. To match the flavors the China Study Cookbook suggests something like
a spoon of sambal oelek (hot peppers, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, lime zest, a bit of vinegar: buy it in an asian grocery or check out the book and blend the delicious fresh herbs into a tasty, tasty spicy paste). You can substitute another spicy paste if this is unavailable, but add a little more lime if you do. Add to a base of:
soy sauce, with
a little tahini paste (1 spoon),
a dash of vinegar,
ginger finely grated (about an inch cubed), and
a squeeze of lime juice (say, most of the juice from half a lime). I suggest extra lime zest if you have some fresh limes handy. But then, I do love that sour flavor!
Fun fact! Sesame seeds are strangely super sources of several basic minerals (P, Mg, Zn, Fe… hint: 100g is almost 3/4 a cup)! And tasty!
Mix in sauce, toss everything together, add a little fresh ground pepper, enjoy!
Chill within an hour of preparing, or leave near an ice pack if taking to a picnic. Yum yum!