Food Network Friday – Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

This was an interesting pick by Vegan Aide. The recipe is so simple that it relies on the flavour of the shrimp and there didn’t seem much room to play with it. I’m sure that others will have picked less obvious substitutions for the shrimp but I couldn’t really see past tofu. Actually, that’s not quite true. I did think of using oyster mushrooms but couldn’t get hold of any. Tofu it was then. But how to cook and flavour it?

There’s a recipe for “crab” mashed potatoes in the second Horizons book. I know that crab and shrimp are completely different things but since it’s 25 years since I ate either I wasn’t going to let a small detail like that bother me. Using this recipe for tofu gave me a different cooking method too. The tofu is cubed finely and tossed with diced onion, green pepper, tomato, garlic, Old Bay, white wine and olive oil. I also added some kelp powder for extra fishiness and chilli flakes from the Tyler recipe. It’s then baked for about 10 minutes and you’re left with firm cubes of tofu in a lovely juicy liquid.

I cooked linguini and then tossed it with all the tofu mixture, chopped parsley and dill, lemon juice and a bit of margarine.

I suspect that this is nothing like shrimp. I’ve had vegan shrimp in chinese restaurants and although it always looks great it tends to be a bit rubbery. That certainly wasn’t the case here, with lovely juicy tofu and a salty herby buttery sauce. I really enjoyed it and thanks VA for the great pick. Can’t wait to see what the others do on Tami’s website.

Food Network Friday – Reuben Meatball Sliders

It was Kelly’s turn to choose Food Network Friday although if I hadn’t have known I might have suspected Tami had chosen, or even me in my sleep, because our love for sauerkraut and Reubens is unparalleled.

The selected dish gave us plenty to go at. The main challenge was how to make the meatballs. I decided to adapt the Black-Eyed Pea and Tempeh Meatballs from Appetite for Reduction. I made them as written but I changed the flavourings and used more paprika, caraway and dried dill, and used dill pickle juice instead of the vinegar. I also used rye bread for the crumbs. I baked them the day before, and, going against the ethos of the book, fried them before eating.

We don’t get slider buns here and on Friday night after work I had no plans to start making them, so I used sub rolls. I picked up a lovely bag of fresh sauerkraut from a new Polish shop that’s opened near work beside the San Jose solar companies. For the thousand island dressing, I used the Reuben sauce from American vegan Kitchen, but I went heavier on the ketchup. I heated the sauerkraut and added the sauce like the original recipe. I didn’t substitute the cheese in the meatballs so I added a thin layer of Vegusto melty to the subs when I grilled (broiled) them.

The real revelation of this dish was the sauerkraut. Served warm, with the rich creamy but tangy sauce, it provided a perfect bed for the slightly bitter meatballs.

We’d make this one again. Thanks for the great pick, Kelly!

And, I used up the left over meatballs in a version of the glorious goulash from Robin Robertson’s Vegetarian meat and Potatoes. They fell apart a bit in that but were a delicious change from the plain tempeh I normally use in that recipe.