As winter closes in, I find myself really craving comfort food. This afternoon, as I walked home through the chilly fog, I got a yen I haven’t had in years. I wanted tuna casserole, that ultimate comfort food, the kind with the crusty broiled top and the simple-but-brilliant filling of macaroni, tuna, and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup all mushed together and seasoned with nothing but parsley, salt and pepper. I don’t eat tuna anymore, and I don’t eat wheat pasta, and I sure as hell don’t eat whatever craziness they put in a can of Campbell’s, so my casserole tonight was a bit of an adventure, but in the end it came out perfectly and filled my tummy with warm, gooey, winter coziness.
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It’s times like these that I am grateful to live in a time and place where I have access to “alternative groceries,” the kinds of things that make tuna casserole possible for a girl like me. I cooked up some gluten-free quinoa-corn elbows, and mixed them with a can of Amy’s Organic Cream of Musroom soup. I boiled some frozen tofu in a marinade modified from a Deborah Madison recipe and shredded it up. Luckily, this was even Sacramento Tofu Company tofu (the best firm tofu I have ever tasted, and organic, to boot!) which has a tanginess that was perfect in its role as “the tuna.” Real parsley, real parmesan, skip the bread crumbs on top, into the oven, and this was a dish to curl up with and stare out the window at the rain-swept streets.
In keeping with my motif of exquisite simplicity, I ate my casserole with some steamed broccoli and a baked sweet potato I stuck in while the oven was heating. And a few aphids, too, of course, but it’s winter – I probably need the protein!