Eat Me: Hot Foods for Cold Rides

Originally posted on March 7, 2018 at 1:31 am

Words and photo by Dave Joachim

The “race” was three laps on an obscure knob of land outside Philly, the course a barely cut path through the woods, over downed trees, wet leaves, soft dirt, off-camber hillsides, rocks, mud and steep climbs. It was cold and rainy, and we were on singlespeeds. It was ridiculous — and ridiculously awesome. To the casual observer, the after-party — standing around in the cold rain near a big tree — would seem utterly stupid. But beer, whiskey and weed made it magical. Hot food and friends also helped.

When you’re cold and shivering, hot food immediately flips your mood. I brought hot mulled cider in one bottle cage and hot mac and cheese in the other. To keep your goods hot, use the modern version of the good ol’ thermos: vacuum-insulated water bottles that fit in bike bottle cages (Kleen Kanteen 16-ounce bottles work well). To keep the metal bottles from rattling on rides, I use soft plastic cages. Sure, you could put boxed mac and cheese in your hot bottle, but it’s sooo much better to make it yourself. Brown up some sausage or peppers and mix those in. Or top everything with buttered panko breadcrumbs and bake it. Or make vegan mac and cheese. Hell, you could use a mix of half cheese sauce, half vegan sauce. Either way, hot food on a cold ride makes the suffering hurt so good.

Mac and Cheese
4 to 6 servings

8 ounces elbow or other small pasta
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ounces shredded or sliced yellow cheese (try a mix of cheddar and American)

Cook pasta according to box directions. Drain, but do not rinse. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook out the raw flour taste, three minutes. Whisk in milk all at once, whisking until smooth. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, whisking now and then to keep bottom from burning. Simmer until thick, three to four minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese just until melted. Remove from heat and stir in drained pasta to combine.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

8 ounces elbow or other small pasta
3/4 cup raw cashews
1-1/2 cups chopped peeled butternut squash (frozen works)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1-1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1-1/2 cups nondairy milk
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1-1/2 tablespoons white miso
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Cook pasta according to box directions. Drain, but do not rinse. Set aside in large bowl.

Combine cashews, squash, garlic and vinegar in a medium pot. Add enough water to cover the ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until everything is soft, about 15 minutes. Drain.

Transfer solids to a blender and let cool slightly. Blend* until smooth, gradually adding milk. When smooth, blend in remaining ingredients until completely incorporated. Pour over reserved pasta and stir to combine.

*Grab a dish towel and use it to hold the top of the blender down while blending. Steam from too-hot food can cause the lid to explode off of the blender if you’re not careful.

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