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.

Vine and Dine – Mushroom Bouillabaisse








The second recipe we chose from Horizons for Vine and Dine was the Mushroom Bouillabaisse. Apart from the wine matching aspect, one of the reasons we started this challenge was to choose recipes we hadn’t made and probably wouldn’t pick out otherwise. The bouillabaisse is an excellent example – I’d ignored it every time I’d picked the book up but without any real reason as I like all the ingredients in it.

The picture in the book doesn’t look too much like the recipe because it clearly has green peppers in it. I decided to stick with the recipe but I did use the optional bulb of fennel rather than the seeds. I like the aniseedy flavour it brings but don’t often find ways to use it.

This was a very straightforward recipe to make yet it looked and tasted impressive like something I’d been slaving over all afternoon. The smells around the house while it was cooking took me back to a trip to Nice many years ago – I could almost imagine I was strolling around the Nice harbour rather then sitting in my kitchen on a rather miserable rainy day. We tend to eat so many dishes which are packed full of spices that it was a really nice change of pace to eat something that relied on the natural flavours of the herbs and vegetables.

Here’s Matthew’s verdict on the wine:

Mushroom bouillabaisse. Even though in North Staffordshire we can’t get anything more interesting than portobellos and chestnut mushrooms, the challenge was still to match rich meatiness, the aniseedy fennel, roast tomato, herbs, all very Mediterranean flavours. So we chose to go for something from the South of France. Unfortunately your failing sommelier went for a Lirac Remy Ferbras 2007. This wine was nasty. Southern Rhone style it might have been, but the flavours were lazy and flaccid. A bit more research today shows that even the evil Tesco have recently had other vintages of this wine on discount, so nobody thinks it’s much good. Anyway, if you want to try this delicious recipe with something suitable, I’d go for something from Languedoc-Roussillon or south west France, say Vintage Roots Minervois Old Vine Grenache Chateâu Maris if you are feeling like splashing out twenty one quid, or the somewhat cheaper AOC Cotes du Roussillion Cuvée André Mercier. However at least there was some wine redemption later in the meal with the utterly superb St. Stephen’s Crown, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos, which we’d got from our local Morrisons, vegan unverified, but sublime with our favourite spiced chocolate pudding cake from American Vegan Kitchen.

Don’t forget to check Vegan Appetite to see who else joined in with the challenge and what they thought.