Food Network Friday – Bayou Chicken Pasta

It was my turn to pick FNF this time. I cannot describe the mind numbing fear this induces in me and I understand why Tami tends to delegate the task to others! I spent hours combing the website, rejecting recipe after recipe as too easy, too hard, too similar to something we’ve already done, too reliant on out of season ingredients etc. This time I drew up a shortlist of 5 and asked Matthew to pick one. Emerils’s Bayou Chicken Pasta was the result.

I’ve chosen Emeril dishes before. I’ve never seen his programme but his recipes appeal to me so I was glad to see that Food Network UK have started to show one of them, so I’ve been recording them. I had an extra challenge this FNF – my omni brother was staying with me for a week so it needed to appeal to him too.

I was pleased to find a small pot of Emeril’s essence already mixed in my cupboard which must have been left over from something else. Chicken flavoured seitan would have been the obvious choice but we’d been eating a lot of it so I went for tofu. I could have baked it or dry fried it keep it firm but I actually pressed it and tore it up so some bits were bigger than others. There was nothing scientific about it!

Otherwise, everything was very easy. I toyed with using a home made cashew cream but time was against me so I used a bought soya cream – though less than the recipe calls for. Everything else was vaguely similar but I used more chilli and more essence.

For myself, I could have done without the tomatoes in the dish. I don’t think they added anything and jarred with the other flavours. My brother and Matthew almost fought over the leftovers though, so it went down well there! I enjoyed it a lot and would make it again but I’ll make my own cream next time!



Food Network Friday – Bacon corn muffins with savoury cream cheese frosting

This choice was partly from me and partly Tami. She was casting around for ideas and I suggested a muffin, because it fitted in with her new project and because I don’t bake enough and need prodding.

I’m not confident enough to freewheel when it comes to baking, so I cast around the internet for ideas. I was partly thinking that I’d do some version of the cornbread in Veganomicon, because I know I like it, and I found that someone else had already done it.
I added in some bacon bits and smoked paprika to the dry mix, but something went wrong because the mix was not at all the right texture going into the oven. It was much too firm but I couldn’t add more liquid because the polenta had absorbed the rest and was a lump. I didn’t have any more ingredients so I put them in the oven anyway.

I was quite prepared to throw them away and started to look around for something else to serve with the chilli, but they came out not as badly as I’d feared – not a soft moist muffin, more like a rock cake, but edible with a faint hint of smokiness. I wish I’d stuck with my initial preference and done a version of the corn muffins from Vegan Bakesale, but I live with a corn hater. For the frosting, I used sour cream which I flavoured with chopped green onion ends, hot sauce, agave and a few more bacon bits. It was loose so I just drizzled it on top.

The chilli in the background is from Vegan Diner. I hadn’t made this version before and I liked it. It went from a pile of ingredients to being dished up in about 20 minutes, and was a nice tasty dish to serve up with the rock cakes muffins.