Friday, 7 October 2011

Vegan MoFo - Homesick

As you know, I'm American, and I live in Edinburgh.  I love Edinburgh, I love living here, and I have no intention of ever leaving.  But I haven't been back to the US since 2008, and I haven't been back to Texas since 2006.  I have friends, family, and cats that I haven't seen in 5 or more years.  Overall, I don't like Texas, and I never want to live there again, but sometimes I get homesick.  I miss my friends, I miss my family, I REALLY miss my cat, and I miss the food.

This afternoon I was reheating my lunch when I realised that I'd bought one of those new fridge packs of baked beans (which really are quite genius) and forgot about it after eating one serving.  It says to use within 5 days, and it's been 7.  But I smelled them and they seemed fine, so I brought them home.

So, what does the one have to do with the other?  When I first started experimenting with veganism, my friend Joy let me borrow a copy of How It All Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard.  Being a shitty vegetarian (I pretty much just replaced meats with mock meats and still didn't eat any veg), I gravitated towards the recipes that most closely resembled my regular diet.  I think the Bean and Cheese Casserole was the first recipe I made from that book.

It turned out that my mom really liked it.  I mean, what's not to like - beans, potatoes, and cheese layered in a casserole.  But my mom liked it enough to request it multiple times and even make it herself (though with hot dogs and dairy cheese, completely defeating the purpose) when she visited family in New York.  I haven't made this recipe in years.  I honestly can't even remember the last time I made it.  But it always reminds me of my mom.  So, tonight, I'll be using up my beans and potatoes in this casserole, and maybe I'll call my mom.

Since this recipe was first written (over 10 years ago!), we've come on leaps and bounds in vegan cheese.  You can now get vegan cheese that melts, which I'm sure would make this recipe even better.  I'll be using smoked cheddar Sheese tonight, but those of you in the US could use Teese or Daiya, and it would probably be amazing.

BTW, this recipe is already online and has been for ages (here), but the direct link is a bit dodgy.  I'd cut and paste, but the formatting is all jacked up.  And I think I can maybe make the directions make a little more sense, so I'll just rewrite that bit.

Bean and Cheese Casserole
How It All Vegan


5-6 small potatoes, sliced
1 can baked beans
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp pepper
2 c grated vegan cheese


Boil or steam the potatoes until soft enough to pierce with a fork.  While the potatoes are cooking, mix the beans, mustard, and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C and lightly grease a casserole dish.  Place half the potatoes in the bottom of the casserole, then layer half the bean mixture, half the cheese, then another layer of each, topping with cheese.  Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes.

For those far away from home, what recipes remind you of home?


  1. Aaawww - homesickness is a funny thing, isn't it? Most of the time, I don't think it's even actually about a geographical place, but more of a longing for another time/set of circumstances/cast of characters IN that place. Autumn is my very favorite season, but (and?) also the one that makes me feel most nostalgic for some Platonic notion of "home", in the sense of walking in the crunchy leaves, picking apples and baking things with them, smelling woodsmoke for the first time in months...perverse, innit? I've had a cold this week, and have been feeling pretty homesick for my mom, but I can't call her anymore, which is still sadly surreal. As it happens, though, I have all the necessaries for this recipe, is exactly the sort of thing my kids like, and might be just what the doctor ordered tonight. So thanks for the inspiration! (And apologies for the magnum opus; I guess this just struck a chord with me today!)

  2. I'd be sad if I had to leave my cats behind as well, that must really be difficult. I hope you get to go back in the near future.

    I like the idea of bean & cheeze casserole, it sounds perfect for a wintery evening.