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Posts Tagged ‘dairy-free’

Hang onto your fishnets, misfits–it’s time for another installment of “Ask Bad Mama Genny!”  And today’s episode is likely to pull at the heartstrings of all you sweet-toothed yet lactarded gals and fellas out there.  Read on for Michelle’s query:

Caramel! I miss it as a lactard, have you found any suitable alternatives; or even better, a way to make the real thing?
Thanks a million!
Michelle

Caramel is a tough one, misfits.

Hey, hey, hey, come back here!   I didn’t say it was “impossible,” misfits!  I said it was “a tough one,” okay?  Thereby causing you to realize the enormity of the task I have undertaken and increasing my glory tenfold when you watch me do it BECAUSE OH HELLZ YES I DID DO IT.

So as we’ve discussed in the past, I am lactose-intolerant.  This does not mean that I no longer live like A Rock Star.   Not living like A Rock Star is totally not an option for me.  Therefore I need caramel.  Everybody knows that rock stars and caramel go together like gin and tonic water which IS REALLY FUCKING WELL.

Me=Rock Star.

Stop laughing.

In any case, Your Bad Mama Genny does not possess the inner fortitude to give up things like ice cream and cream soups and caramel.  Simple as that.

But, uh, let’s be frank here: I also LITERALLY do not possess the inner fortitude to eat them.  So I find ways around it.  Coconut ice cream.  Almond milk.  Hallucinogenic substances.  You know, the usual.  I tweak my recipes until they’re just as satisfying as the original, and YOU, yes, YOU reap the benefits.

So let’s talk caramel–technically speaking, caramel can just be, well, caramel, as in caramelized sugar.  Sugar plus heat equals caramel.  But right now you’re all, Oh, Bad Mama Genny, that is SO NOT what Michelle meant.  And I so know you’re right.  What Michelle meant is that gooey, creamy stuff you could eat out of a jar with a spoon–that stuff you drizzle on ice cream, over cakes, or all over yourselves for a bizarre photo shoot that will probably surface in Sweden someday.

I canz handle that challenge, my wittle misfittles.

So onto the dang quesadillas! (Please tell me you got that reference.)

I mean, the dang caramel!

Dairy-Free, Vegan Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar or evaporated cane juice
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (seriously, misfits, vanilla bean paste is my MSG–use it, and use it liberally)
2 T. vegan Earth Balance spread–or butter, if you can tolerate it (I can) and don’t have a problem with dairy on principle
1 dash sea salt
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons cold water

Directions:
Put sugars and Earth Balance in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Meanwhile, set the coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat to get steamy.  Now cook the sugars and butter, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until it’s smooth and melty and sugars have dissolved (about 5 minutes).  Now toss in the vanilla bean paste or extract and stir quickly to incorporate–be careful, the mixture may froth up at this point.  Now slowly add the steaming coconut milk while stirring.  When it’s incorporated, mix the cornstarch with the cold water in a small bowl.  Add it to the caramel mixture while stirring, and let the mixture bubble until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Then transfer it to a jar or airtight container and OM NOM NOM NOM NOM start over again.

Enjoy, Michelle!

And for all of you lactarded misfits looking for a lil’ more non-dairy love, check out a few other recipes I’ve posted for your nomming pleasure:

Dairy-free, Soy-free, Vegan Macaroni & Cheese

Dairy-free Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Swedish Meatballs with Dairy-free “Sour Cream” and Mushroom Sauce

(Remember, misfits, you can submit your own question for your Bad Mama Genny to answer by clicking right here.)

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There’s pretentious food, and experimental food, and food you make to show off…but Macaroni and Cheese is none of these.  I think I’d call it nostalgic, comforting face-stuffing food.  You know what I’m talking about–food that takes you back, makes you feel young and low-maintenance again.  Like peanut butter and jelly, for instance.  Hot dogs and chips.  A pile of pierogies (okay…maybe that one has less universal appeal).  Yes, Macaroni and Cheese takes its place among all these most American (minus the pierogies) of food icons.  Unfortunately, vegans and lactards and all manner of non-cheese-eaters are frequently left with poor substitutes.  DAMN SHAME.

What happens to a person who is denied comfort food?  Sure, for a while you scrape by…but I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.  Sometimes you needses your feel good foods.

Yesterday was one of those times.

After working from dawn’s buttcrack until 9 PM, your BMG wanted a shower, a manicure, some food, a tall beer, a therapy session, a massage, a helicopter ride over some volcanos, a bigger backyard, a personal assistant to deal with my family for me, a new wardrobe, shoes that didn’t hurt, some orphans like Angelina’s, and why not, a motherfucking pony, too.

But, hey, I was willing to settle for food.

It was a “blue box” moment if I’d ever seen one.  I frantically began slapping together food, much to the dismay of the Boy, who felt that my nonsensical ranting was probably incompatible with boiling water and santoku knives.  He promptly steered me to the shower, and ten minutes later, I emerged ready to handle big girl tools again.

This recipe is cheap and easy, just like you like me.  Fact is, most dairy-free mac and cheese recipes tell you to make your own cheese using cashews and agar flakes and all other manner of ridiculous processes that I’ll admit to having done but hey listen let’s save that shit for days when we aren’t feeling homicidal, shall we?  Still other recipes instruct you to use a storebought soy cheese that’s packed full of preservatives, soy, and even milk-based products, which, again, I’ll admit to having done, but OH HELLZ BELLZ sometimes you don’t want that compromise.  So sweet, great, awesomesauce, this is not one of those recipes.  If you can boil water, you can do this.  And I’m not saying that to make you feel better about your cooking skills, like a lot of food people do….I really mean it.  Yeah, no problem.  You’re welcome.

Thank God we develop irrational attachments to our food.  Now I don’t have to go to therapy, take a helicopter trip, adopt orphans, or find that goddamned pony.  I can just fill up a bowl, grab a spoon, and eat those feelings away! Mmm, refreshing!

**Want another low-effort wonder of a meal while you’re at it?  Check my Vegan Spinach Lentil Soup.**

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
Makes 4-6 Servings

Go Get:
1/2 cup flour
1 cup nutritional yeast
3/4-1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder (not onion salt)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (not garlic salt)
2 1/2 cups almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
12 oz. fun pasta (you can use a whole pound, but it’ll be less “saucy”)

Go Do:
Cook your pasta in salted water until it’s al dente, then drain. In your large pasta pot, whisk together all remaining ingredients (told you this would be easy). Turn the heat onto medium and whisk constantly to keep things smooth. When you have a thick sauce, toss the pasta back in, and use a large wooden spoon to fold it all together. When the pasta’s thoroughly coated and the sauce is the as thick as you like it, take the pot off the heat, and you’re done!  I like to serve this with Southern greens and a stiff drink, but feel free to experiment.

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It struck me this week that I use food to mark time.  Take this exchange between The Boy and me, for instance:

BMG: “When did we mail that package to my family…was it before or after the beef stew?”
TB: “Hmm…don’t know about the beef stew…but it was after the Greek Pizza…and before the latkes…”

After a bit more of the same, we both became COMPLETELY AND INEXPLICABLY ravenous.

Ten minutes later, as I contemplatively chewed my High-Fiber Steel-Cut Oats with Extra Flax (ahaha, just kidding, it was a pot sticker), I thought about what that means, this condition whereby people mark the events of their lives by what they ate for dinner that night.   I realized that it’s really not just the final product that imprints itself on our minds and memories–it’s how we got there.

For example, I remember with alarming accuracy the sploosh that my last goat cheese pizza made when it hit the kitchen floor, even though I shouldn’t have been making dinner at all since I’d had an awful day at work but I was just trying to make things nice for us I WAS JUST TRYING TO MAKE THINGS NICE SO SHOOT ME FOR TRYING TO MAKE THINGS NICE.  I don’t remember how the pizza tasted because I don’t eat food that’s touched the floor because I have standards and people with standards don’t–okay, that was a fun game of pretend, anyhoo, the pizza was still pretty good.

Food is pretty consistent for me–it winds itself throughout my day as a kind of soundtrack.   Defrosting, marinating, chopping, steeping, wrapping…these are the activities that pepper my day at least as often as checking email, mending fishnets, engaging in primal screaming, and sending harassing and objectifying text messages to The Boy.

So really, it’s never just Beef Stew night…it’s more like Beef Stew day.  Which means two things about the cooking you do:

One, it had damn well better be fun (we always have fun when we cook, don’t we, misfits?)

And two, the emotional risk and reward have gone way up.  That pizza damaged my ego far more than if I had poorly reheated a can of…whatever comes in cans.  Right now all I can come up with is corned beef hash.  That comes in cans, right?  But if feels like it shouldn’t.

Well, anyway, you get what I’m saying.  So the joy that comes from a phenomenal success–well, that’s heightened as well.  So as exaggerated as it may sound, the life of one who cooks is full of highs and lows, isn’t it?  The lows often looking something like your Bad Mama Genny kneeling on the floor sobbing over a pizza puddle with her mouth full, intermittently screeching, “IT HASN’T BEEN TEN SECONDS YET!  IT HASN’T BEEN TEN SECONDS!”

So how about a recipe for Dairy-Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes?  Comforting food for those times when you need comfort.  Like when you’re a cheesy mess throwing a temper tantrum on the kitchen floor.  Just, uh, maybe let someone else handle the sharp knives and open flames, ‘kay?

Dairy-Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Makes 2-3 generous servings

Go Gather:
4 large potatoes
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup almond milk (or soy, or rice, or moo…whatever works for you)
2 T. dairy-free spread of your choice, or butter (despite being a lactard, I can tolerate butter.  When you can tolerate butter, you should go for it)
2-3 teaspoons olive oil

Go Do:
Wash the potatoes and cut into small chunks (I don’t peel mine-I usually leave the skin in for flavor and nutrition). Put them in a saucepot with enough water to cover them by an inch, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Let them boil until they’re tender; remove from heat, drain, and cover.

Add the minced garlic, “milk,” and “butter” to the hot potato cubes. Use a large spoon or potato masher to smash the potatoes and incorporate the other ingredients. When it’s at the desired level of chunkiness (my desired level of chunkiness is CHUNKY), determine whether or not you’d like extra milk, and add salt and pepper to taste. When you’ve done this, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the potatoes and gently whip it in.

Now wipe away those tears, take a spoon to those potatoes, and get trashed.  You’ve earned it.

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