Sunday, October 26, 2008

à la casserole

Women on-the-go need sustenance. Since I take lunch to work most days of the week, I decided to make this lovely fall the Fall of the Casserole.

I started last week with a Broccoli Casserole, adapting the recipe
from The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook.

This recipe looks like it could be straight from my childhood, except that my mother was not a granola-crunching hippie. Sure, as a busy lady my mom never eschewed convenience ingredients such as frozen chopped broccoli and Minute Rice. But where this recipe calls for mashed tofu and nutritional yeast, my mom would have dumped in cheese and egg.

I hope my blender is not scarred by the memory of blending tofu and nutritional yeast with potato, carrot and onion pre-cooked in vegetable broth. The "lady in red" usually sees only frozen fruit, bananas, yogurt and juice for smoothies and the occasional margarita or my famous blue cocktail (but that's another post altogether).

Never having combined nutritional yeast and tofu before, I was considerably surprised when the mixture turned out to resemble processed cheese and egg--the foundation for any good WCW (Working-Class White) casserole. My mom, God love her, once made us a casserole out of crushed saltine crackers and government cheese. If you know what government cheese is, I'm sorry.

Et Voilà! Looks like cheddar-broccoli casserole. Tastes like something else. We (that's the royal we, not the spousal we) devoured it, congratulating ourselves on our occasional healthy hippie tendencies.

Then, to make up for the tofu-nutritional yeast episode I made a good old-fashioned taco casserole, inspired by the Ortega taco shell box ("Another great family recipe from Ortega!").

Of course, mine used taco-flavored faux beef crumbles and lots more vegetables than Ortega calls for. It was delicious.