Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Daiya: Another Grate Dinner

Dinner has been really excellent lately. Part of this is because the Safeway, a mere stone's throw away from my house, now carries DAIYA! Finally.

With Daiya within arms reach I can make macaroni and cheese EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK! Except, I don't have to because one batch generally lasts a whole week.

Is anyone still reading?

BEHOLD: The Green Tongue version of Spicy Mac! You know dinner was thrown together when it is served with canned green beans, but you know what? It was a week night.

If you have the urge to make this, let me tell you, you will not be disappointed and you will have THE WHOLE evening to do with what you wish. Plus, you'll have food for a week. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Things you will need:

  • Pasta - I prefer medium shells because they are like little buckets that hold the spicy cheesy goodness. Not unlike a savory Gusher
  • 1 small onion - chopped
  • 3-99 cloves of garlic - chopped or minced
  • 1 16 oz package of firm tofu
  • 1 tube of Soyrizo
  • 1 package of Daiya (I used Mozzarella because that is what I had, but Pepperjack would be GREAT!)
  • 3-4 TBS Spicy Mustard. I used this and I highly recommend it. 
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Bread Crumbs (optional, but fantastic!)
  • Olive oil (just a teeny tiny bit)
What you will do:
  • Boil your pasta according to the package directions
  • Press your tofu
  • Heat your cast iron skillet (or whatever) and begin to fry your Soyrizo. As the sides become crispy, use a spatula to flatten the Soyrizo into a patty. Continue to fry and break it up as it gets crispier. If it starts to stick, add veggie broth (or Jalapeno juice if you have it!) a teaspoon at a time. Eventually you want your Soyrizo to resemble burger crumbles.
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees OR turn your broiler on and let the oven warm up. You don't HAVE to bake this delightful meal. I let mine sit in the oven on the bottom rack with the broiler on high for about 10 minutes and it was perfect!
  • Chop your onion and mince your garlic while the Soyrizo cooks. It'll probably take about 10 minutes for it to be good and crumbly.
  • At this point your tofu should be pretty well-drained. Take your tofu and crumble it into a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add the Soyrizo crumbles (if they are cool!) to the tofu crumbles and gently mix.
  • In a saucepan, heat a little bit of olive oil and add your onion. Let the onions cook for a few minutes, until they start to sweat (ew!) and become translucent. Add your garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of your vegetable broth and let it heat up---it doesn't have to be boiling, just warmish.
  • Add 1/2 the Daiya and stir as it begins to melt. Continue to add your broth until you have a nice, smooth cheese sauce. You know, like the cheese that comes out of those nacho cheese dispensers at the movies. (What do you call cheese that isn't yours? NACHO CHEESE!) I used the whole package of Daiya because I used the whole package of pasta, but you can play it by ear. 
  • Add your 3-4 TBS of mustard and stir to incorporate
  • Adjust to taste!
How to assemble:
  • Hopefully you remembered to remove your pasta noodles and they are sitting in a strainer in your sink. Take your noodles and dump them into a 13x9 casserole dish.
  • Take your Soyrizo and tofu mixture and add to the noodles. Using your hands (because it is easier and kind of fun) mix the soyrizo/tofu into the noodles until it is pretty evenly incorporated throughout. 
  • Pour your cheese on top of all of that and mix it in. You can use a spoon for this part.
  • Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil on the bread crumbs
You can either bake your spicy mac or you can do the broiler method. Like I said, my mac and cheese sat in the hot oven for about 10-12 minutes. After that I moved it to the middle rack for about 2 minutes to let the top get crispy. the end result was a crispy crust atop a creamy ocean of deliciousness. If you opt to bake your spicy mac: cover and bake for about 20-25 minutes in the 375 degree oven. The cheese will solidify a little more and it will still be AWESOME.

The dish itself looks a little rough, but that is part of the charm! Well, that and the canned green beans. I will probably dream about this Spicy Mac for months.

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