Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kluski Bake: A Warner Tradition

The finished product looks very elegant with a light arugula salad.
Have some crushed red pepper on the side.

When I first moved to Ohio, there were three Warner family classics that I always heard about: Lorna Doone Dessert, Brownie Dessert, and - of course - Kluski Bake. I think you can figure out the idea of the first two desserts - some sort of cloyingly sweet Lorna Doone concoction and then a layered brownie dessert of sorts. And of course, all I ever heard is how much Andy used to LOVE them. I had made it my life's goal to try to reinvent these dishes and three years later, I'm one down - two to go.

Cheddar style Daiya is the best. Follow Your Heart would be my second choice.

I've never had the original dish. And I'm sure someone's grandma got this off a Kluski noodle box at some point and then claimed it as their own -- so I'm not saying this is a Warner ORIGINAL. But I will say, I'm pretty sure I'm the first person to try to veganize it. And who would try? It's pretty much just beef, cheese, and egg noodles. It's like a trifecta of anti-veganism. The trifecta of DOOM!

Fortunately, we live in the modern vegan world where things like Daiya cheese and tofu pasta exists. Without which, I'm pretty sure the dish would be an unmelty, soggy mouthful of soy beef. And my friends, it is quite the opposite.

This pasta is awesome!
The original Kluski Noodle is, of course, an egg noodle. It's sort of thick and puffy - not like your standard pasta noodle. To get around that, I found these great tofu noodles made by Ramp from Whole Foods. They're perfect. If you can't find them or you're from one of those crazy towns that you have to special order all your food form another country just be vegan - you would be okay using regular fettuccine noodles. I know we like to go healthy and use whole wheat - but this dish needs a light and airy base. So, against your better judgment, I'd try to use plain, white noodles. Or not. It's your belly.

The soy beef when it is about done.

Kluski Bake: Veganized
- Makes about 4-6 servings depending on appetites.

- 1 bag soy beef (I used Boca)
- 1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped baby bello mushrooms (the original recipe uses canned, but canned mushrooms are icky)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- optional: a dash of cayenne pepper
- salt & pepper to taste (I used about 1-2 teaspoons of each)
- 1 can unsalted tomato sauce (the smaller ones, I think they're 12-14 oz)
- 1 bag daiya cheese, cheddar flavored (The best! I highly recommend using this brand)
- 1 package of Ramp tofu pasta (or whatever you can find)
- a little oil for the onions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Boil some water and cook the Ramp noodles per package instructions, except a little undercooked. They should be a little al dente. (Also, I like to break up my noodles before boiling a little to make them easier to eat)
  3. Cook the onions in about 1-2 tablespoons heated oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add the mushrooms, and cook about 1-2 minutes. Add the soy beef (straight from the freezer). Add seasoning and cook until heated through. I like to brown mine a little. TASTE IT. It should be flavorful, and maybe slightly saltier than you would normally eat. 
  4. Throw the pasta, soy beef, 1 can of tomato sauce, and most of the cheese into a large casserole dish. Mix it up. Top it off with a layer of left over cheese.
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes, careful not to burn the noodles. They will get hard if over baked. You just wanting the cheese to be melted and the dish should be sticky/saucy. 

It should look sort of dry and underwhelming before you put it in the oven.

And there you have it: the incredibly easy, but oh-so satisfying Kluski Bake - veganized. One of my top 10, all-time favorite vegan dishes.

1 comment:

Corrin Radd said...

I love family recipes like this.

Made it tonight. Super-yummy