Healthy or Hungover #6

Nimai Larson

A very American (non-vegan) Memorial Day weekend

All photos by Nimai Larson

PART THREE: DINNER

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I'm so excited to share my concluding recipe for “Why It Sucks to be Vegan”!!! Being vegan hasn't gotten any better since my last post. It especially blows when it's Memorial Day weekend. War is a very uncomfortable situation, so why not celebrate being here (safe) in America by eating some AWESOME (non-vegan) comfort food?!! I'm going to let y'all in on a little secret. I'm totally in love with Cracker Barrel. If you were born and raised above the Mason-Dixon line, maybe you don't know what Cracker Barrel is. I'M SO SORRY. It's Southern comfort heaven. A cozy place to relax and unwind. There's even a fireplace. You can order sweet tea. Everything is bad for you!!! But I love it so much because it feels like home. America is home! So let's celebrate feeling comfortable and relaxed in America with some food that's bad for you but makes you feel great!!! AND American!!!

Cast-Iron Baked Mac'n'Cheese with Zucchini Fritters

I'm sure the Mac'n'Cheese excites you the most, so let's start with that.

  • 2 Cups Elbow Noodles
  • 1 Cup grated Cheddar Cheese (plus more for grating on top)
  • 3/4 Cup grated Gruyere Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Sharp White Cheddar
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  • 4 Green Onion Stalks
  • 1 Large Tomato
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Handfuls Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Tbs Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • A very generous Pat of Butter

Bring a large pot of water, three-quarters full, to a boil. Add the noodles and maintain a low boil for 7 minutes. Drain and rinse.

Preheat oven to 350.

Let's make the cheesy cheesy cheese sauce. I love this sauce because I can pronounce all of the ingredients. Seriously, what's up with Kraft Mac'n'Cheese being filled with all sorts of crap? It probably doesn't even have real cheese in it. That makes it vegan. And totally not my style. Pretty much all of these ingredients I purchased from Whole Foods (more like Whole Paycheck). Whole Foods is my favorite place to be on a Friday night!! Back when I lived in Orlando and was desperate to meet someone worth dating, I would go to Whole Foods to pick up guys. “What's up bulk section cutie? Are you eyeing the dried mango slices or my mangos?” “Hey HaWTie in frozen food. Are you buying that pint of ice cream for yourself? Cuz I would eat a gallon for you.” “Yo manly man in coffee section. Are you hoping to sip Shade Grown Ethiopian Blend or hoping to pound 9 shots of espre$$o with dirt to impress me?” “Listen, wandering handsome produce guy. You can handle my fruits anytime.” I'm not saying my pick up lines work. But I am saying that Whole Foods is a gold-mine for health-conscious BABEZ.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat with the chopped garlic. When the garlic starts to get fragrant, add milk. When milk is heated thoroughly, add all of the cheese and stir until bubbly. Then add spices.

Pour the cheese sauce into the elbow noodles while stirring constantly to aviod lumps. Listen, if you want this to be pro, add corn starch and flour and some other crap that dampens the taste and makes the consistency more of a store-bought vibe. But I like my sauce like this: Not perfect but tastes amazing. Now toss in the chopped green onions and tomatoes. Relocate your entire pot of mac'n'cheese to a buttered cast iron pan. Evenly distribute 3 handfuls of Panko Bread Crumbs on the top. Then to reaLLLLy make this yuMMy, grate some extra cheddar on there, too 🙂 🙂

Let this bake for 20-25 minutes or until a golden crust is formed on top. I could hArDLy wait for this to get outta there! I had to drink another beer, gossip with my roomate, play with the cat, mine F-book for new news, clip my toenails, attempt to gChat with my best friend, get totally ignored, text my mom, google search “dankest milkshake ever”, order some sickkk wigs online, think about how to pronounce “Pho”, change into sweatpants, try to remember lyrics from a shitty song by Anti-Flag, and finally turn up Garth Brooks. The good news is you won't be bored for too long. You gotta make the Zucchini Friters!

  • 2 Zucchinis, peeled shittily
  • 1 Medium Sized Potato
  • 6 Oz Crumbled Feta
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup chopped Red Onion
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Handfuls each of Panko Bread Crumbs, Nutritional Yeast, White Flour
  • 1 Tsp each of Cumin, Cayenne, Black Pepper, Stone Ground Mustard
  • Oil for Frying

This is going to be Fun, Funny, AND Fun!!! These little fritters can impress anyone. Is there a sports game coming up for Memorial Day? Make some fritters! Is there a new episode of Girls on tonight? Make some fritters! Did your friend just get kicked out of their apartment? Make some fritters! Did you just accidentally sleep with your boss?!! Make some fritters! Is it Thursday? Make some fritters! Did you just come down from a tOtaLLy tRiPPy acid trip duuuuuuude?!!?!? Make some fritters! Are you no longer veg@n?! Make some fritters!!!!!!!!!

Peel and cut your potato into small chunks and steam until soft. Peel and cut your zuchinnis.

In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs with the spices and garlic.

Look how beautifully they blend together!! The colors and patterns they form…oops I sound like a total hippie. Mash in your softened potato cubes. When fully mashed, add chopped Zucchini, Red Onion, and Feta. Mix together. Add the handfulls of the binders: Bread Crumbs, Nutritional Yeast, and White Flour. Mix.

Aren't you excited to fry? I once ate an entire meal where ALL of the food was thrown into a FryDaddy. It was the be$t. French fries. Deep fried Snickers bar. Fried Mozzerella sticks. Deep fried cheesecake. Fried Pickles. I wonder what would happen if you cracked an egg into one of those things? I wonder how many funnel cakes I've missed out on since growing up??! Make 2-3 inch patties out of our fritter mixture and place 5 or 6 of them into a heated skillet with a 1/2 inch of oil.

Let the fritters fry for 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Four minutes isn't a lot of time. You could maybe wash 3 dishes. Read one email. Think when the last time was that you did laundry. Or pencil in one eyebrow. So don't space out looking at Americanapparel.org for too long! Place finished fritters on a separate plate and keep 'em frying until you've used all of the fritter mixture. Check the Mac'n'Cheese!

WOW! A well-rounded meal! Dairy in everything, vegetables, carbs, butter, oil….Cracker Barrel would be proud! Now serve this to everyone at your Memorial Day cook out! Make them feel Proud to be an American, Proud to NOT be a Vegan!!

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