Happy Monday! I have a really special treat for you today. My dear friend, Emily Jane Powers, offered to do a guest blog post, and she shared a doozy of a recipe! Before I get to her unique take on vegan mac n’ cheese, I thought I’d take a bit of a trip down memory lane and share the story of our friendship.
Emily and I became friends the old fashioned way. We saw each other around campus at DePaul when we were undergrads, and she thought I looked like I might listen to good music. She offered to give me one of her CDs, and also wanted to know if I would ever be interested in playing music together. I was in a band at the time (Portions for Foxes, represent!), and she was playing her solo stuff around town. As soon as I heard her music, I became her fan, and shortly thereafter, I was lucky enough to also became her friend. We started hanging out, and eventually started playing shows together, along with two other bands that were friends of ours. We created a beautiful community, built on music-appreciating, belly-laughing, hard-drinking, and other superlatives of youth. We sang songs like we meant it (and we really did mean it).
Some of my most magical nights in Chicago were spent at a bar called Lily’s where Emily played every Thursday. Her groupies (our community) danced along to her music, which would inevitably become a future archive of our lives. “Just close your eyes and fall back in the night….Cause this is the first and last night of our lives.” [She sang, and we sang, and we did].
Almost nine years later, our lives look very different. Our musical community has parted ways geographically, and those of us who stay in touch are smaller in number than the original gang. Emily teaches math in Chicago, and her most recent musical project is being one half of the band Snooze. I am grateful that, if anything, our friendship has actually strengthened across distance. We still call, email, and visit, and have, in the past couple years, bonded over our love of vegan food (we’re getting closer to the recipe, I promise!).
I’m delighted that I actually get to see her this weekend at the wedding of another dear friend (also a foundational member of our musical community, and an all around remarkable woman), Meagan. At the risk of sounding cliché, every time I get together with these gals, it just sort of feels like home.
There are few things in life that can be a vehicle for expressing love like music can, but I think food is one of them. Emily’s recipe for sweet potato pasta radiates with warmth and comfort, and I can’t wait to try it!
Sweet Potato Pasta (or, an EJP take on Vegan Mac)
2 c. sweet potato (chopped into tiny pieces)
1/2 c. raw cashews
1/4 c. raw pine nuts
1 tb. fresh lemon juice
1 tb. olive oil
1/4-1/3 c. water
salt & pepper to taste
12 oz. pasta (sub brown rice pasta, for GF version)
Do all at the same time: soak nuts for 10 min, boil the sweet potatoes till tender (about 10 minutes, but depends on what size you cut them) and get pasta cooking. Once nuts and sweet potatoes are done, combine them in a food processor with lemon juice, olive oil, and water along with the salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, adding more water as needed. Combine sauce with cooked pasta, adding your favorite veggies. I also added some more salt & pepper at the end, with a bit of more lemon juice. Then, eat with a loved one and clean up after yourself.
I’m submitting this recipe to Healthy Vegan Friday!
Do you have friends that feel like home?