Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Distracted Mac n Cheez

As I mentioned briefly at the end of my last post (and I know that you are hanging, trembling, from my every word, dearest reader), I've recently landed a new job. I love the work, but the commute has thrown my cooking (and reading and running and writing and everything else) schedule into a bit of a tailspin. As I struggle to regain my equilibrium and accustom myself to my new work schedule, I hope you will hang with me as my posts slow down a bit. Not only have I not had as much time to write of late, but I also haven't had as much time and energy to cook meals worthy of blogging about. Experimental cooking and baking require a certain amount of space and time to percolate, to develop, to be born into the world. In other words, to be a food blogger or a novelist, as a famous lady once said, requires a living wage and a room of one's own. I'm only making part of that up. And before I have you thinking that my situation is one of utter scarcity, I should mention that I recently made a really slamming lentil soup with whole wheat biscuits, but neglected to photocopy it before it was all gone--or, really, disappeared down C's voracious and extremely charming gullet. I've already threatened to make it again and blog about it, this time making sure to capture the necessary photographs. One can't blog about a new recipe without also posting pics, can one? Is this yet another instance of an area in my life where I am imposing artificial and unnecessary restrictions? I'm awesome at that.

For today, though, I have something a bit different. As I mentioned, C and I are living a bit in extremis right now. I'm swamped with work and driving, but so is he. In addition to all the usual nervous-making business, he's sickish. This magical combination of circumstances led to him slumping over his laptop all day, mostly suffering silently through lesson plans and job letters. When we got around to discussing what to have for dinner, as we do especially when I'm uninspired, C murmured--somewhat incoherently--about how much his sicky stomach wanted macaroni and cheese. As I've mentioned before, we aren't usually pasta people, but we are human; we can get down with some mac n cheese from time to time. Also, I've posted mac n cheese recipes before, most notably my sister's recipe, but the one I made tonight is a little simpler and a lot lazier. This one isn't bad for an evening when you're short on time and ingredients but long on the desire for comfort food.

Distracted Mac n Cheez

1 pkg (9oz)  whole wheat pasta (I used fusilli--personal preference)
4 T earth balance
1/2 c garbanzo bean flour
1 T dried mustard powder
2 c non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
1 T marjoram
1 T whole black peppercorns
2 t salt
1 block Follow Your Heart cheddar vegan cheese--grated
1 pkg vegan lunch meat, chopped--I used turkey style
1 1/2 c frozen peas

Preheat oven to 350. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Set a timer for 12 minutes, so you don't need to worry about keeping track of time. When the 12 minutes are up and your pasta is delightfully al dente, remove from heat and drain well. Set aside. While the pasta is cooking, make your cheezy sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt margarine. Add garbanzo bean flour and cook 2-3 minutes over medium heat until fragrant and bubbly. Add mustard powder and stir well. Slowly stir in non-dairy milk and bring to a simmer. Add peppercorns, salt, and marjoram, then cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in lunch meat and peas.

Lightly oil a large casserole dish. Add pasta. Grate half of cheese over pasta, add all of sauce, and stir to combine. Top with remaining cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If this was Cafe Gratitude, I would make you utter the following affirmation before I let you eat it: I Am Comforted.