2: Recreate a meal from your childhood.
MoFo is officially off and running, I am enjoying reading about and seeing everyone's breakfasts. From the routine everyday stuff to the fancy fun stuff, it is all wonderful!
When I think about childhood meals, there is one that always stands out. Tuna Glug. This was a microwave casserole that my mum used to make fairly frequently, and that we used to love. It has been a long time since Tuna Glug has been made by anyone in our family, even the omnivores, but it comes up every now and then in conversation, normally with a fond chuckle because it seems pretty funny now.
Tuna Glug originated from a recipe that was a layered tuna casserole, which of course did not have glug in the title. However it always turned out very gluggy, but in a satisfying kind of way. My mum made lots of other things when we were growing up that I can remember, but when MoFo asked us to recreate a childhood meal, there was no other contender.
So, how to glug? In it's original form the casserole involved cooking rice in the microwave, and then adding layers of tinned tuna, condensed cream of mushroom soup (from a can), creamed corn or corn kernels, peas, tomato slices and cheese. So you can see that most of this is already vegan, just a couple of layers that need tweaking. Sometimes after cooking the rice my mum just mixed everything except the tomato and the cheese together and put it on top as a single layer.
I fancied it up a little by baking it in the oven rather than cooking it all in the microwave. Here is what I did! I assembled this in an 8x8 inch casserole dish.
Layer 1: Brown rice. I had 2 cups of frozen long-grain brown rice in the freezer, so I reheated it and used it for the bottom layer.
Layer 2: Semi-mashed chickpeas. Instead of tuna I used a 400g tin of chickpeas, coarsely mashed. I debated a few different options, and also considered maybe adding some dulse flakes to the chickpeas, but in the end I just went with a simple option. We don't have vegan tinned tuna here, however after tasting some Toona in my recent US trip, I have no problems with never trying it again.
Layer 3: Cream of Mushroom Soup from Vegan Casseroles by Julie Hasson. I have never seen vegan condensed mushroom soup here, so I made a double batch from the recipe in Vegan Casseroles, and I used about 3/4 of it for my layer (so 1.5 batches)
Layer 4: Creamed corn. I used a mid-sized tin of creamed corn here. The thing I most remember loving about this recipe was the way the creamed corn smooshed into everything!
Layer 5: Peas. I defrosted frozen peas, about one cups worth, and sprinkled them on top.
Layer 6: Sliced roma tomato.
Layer 7: Cheese. I used about half a small packet of Daiya cheddar cheese shreds that I have had idling in my freezer for the last year. Mum normally put the cheese on in a much thicker layer, however given that vegan cheese is far more expensive than the grated cheese of my youth, I was a bit more modest.
Layer 8: Panko crumbs. I deviated from the original version by adding these, but because I was going to be baking it I wanted to add a bit of crunch. Just a light dusting.
Then I baked it in the oven at 190 degrees Celcius for about half an hour, and gave it a few minutes under the grill (broiler for my US friends) to really make the top golden and melty and crunchy.
The result was pretty tasty! There were a few differences. Using pre-cooked brown rice instead of microwaving white rice meant it didn't quite live up to optimum 'glug' factor, but that was OK. The chickpeas got a little lost in it, I might use 2 cans if I was doing it again for a thicker layer, and maybe not mash them quite as much. The homemade mushroom soup had a much stronger and better flavour (and was also darker) than the wishy washy stuff from a tin. The creamed corn/pea/tomato/cheese section was EXACTLY how I remembered it. I actually think this was always the best part, so could almost just make that as a casserole on its own. ;) If I made this again I would definitely use a large tin of the creamed corn, rather than a medium one.
Overall, I enjoyed it and my parents enjoyed it. I have always thought about making a veganised version of it for fun, so I am glad MoFo finally gave me the push to finally do it!
It's not pretty, but it is tasty! Served here with some steamed broccoli.
Cute Kitty Photo of the Post: Month of Gizmo
For day two of my month of Gizmo, here she is helping supervise my work on the computer. It actually looks like I was in Blogger at the time. Maybe she is still watching over me as I type this.