Monday, November 18, 2013

Vegan "Shrimp" in a Creamy Sauce, Tomato "Cheese" Salad, Steamed Broccoli

One of the last times I went to the store May Wah in Chinatown in Manhattan, I looked at their board with posted sales.  It's usually the most random and strange veganized items you could imagine - like lamb, duck and shrimp - all vegan mind you!  So the shrimp were on sale and I decided on a whim to purchase them.  Years back, when I was still eating seafood, I had this delicious shrimp in a garlic cream sauce that I remember being out of this world.  I thought that would be a delicious thing to try to mimic. 

Since my husband still eats seafood, I decided I would just tell him that I was making a shrimp dish when he asked.  He thought that sounded good and I kept up the charade that it was "real" shrimp until I served it up.  When I put it in front of him, he looked at it a little strangely and asked me if I was sure it was shrimp.  I couldn't keep a straight face and ended up laughing a little hysterically.  I told him yes it was real shrimp - real vegan shrimp that is.  Way too funny!  He was very suspicious and kind of grossed out and took a tiny bite.  I have to say those things look way realistic and the texture was creepily reminiscent of how I remember shrimp being.  Hubbs thought the texture was similar, but the taste not even close.  I agreed that the taste was a bit strange - kind of sea-weedy.  It's probably not something I would buy again, but it was definitely fun and the sauce was crazy delicious!

Creamy Sauce, Fresh Crispy Broccoli and Yummy Tomato Salad

 Serves 3-4
1/2 package bowtie pasta, cooked until al dente

"Shrimp" in a Creamy Garlic Sauce:
1/2 package vegan "shrimp", thawed & cut in half if desired
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons earth balance
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup unsweetened mimiccream
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Tomato "Cheese" Salad:
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup daiya mozarella-style vegan cheese, chopped into cubes
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Steamed Broccoli:
1 head broccoli, separated into florets, hard outside of stems peeled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and black pepper to taste

1.  Prepare the tomato and cheese salad first.  It comes together very quickly, but definitely is better after marinating for a little while.  In a medium bowl, add the chopped tomato, chopped daiya, a splash of vinegar and olive oil and sea salt and black pepper.  Toss well to coat.  Taste a piece of tomato and add more vinegar and salt if necessary.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate while preparing the rest of the meal.
2.  Bring a medium pot with a bottomful of water and a steamer basket inside, to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, carefully remove the lid and place the prepared broccoli inside.  Cover with the lid and allow to steam from 3-5 minutes, or until broccoli is cooked to your desired texture.  Once the broccoli is cooked, turn off the heat, remove the pot from the stove and place the broccoli in a bowl until closer to the time when dinner will be served.
3.  While the broccoli is steaming, start your sauce for the shrimp.  In a deep saute pan, add the olive oil and earth balance over medium heat.  Once the earth balance has melted, add the minced garlic.  Allow the garlic to slowly cook.  Do not allow it to become crispy or overcook.  It is preferable that the garlic have a slight raw flavor than a crispy, overcooked flavor.
4.  Increase the heat to medium-high and add the white wine - remember, never pour directly from the bottle, like you see Chef's on tv doing it - that is extremely dangerous!  The flame can leap inside the bottle, causing the contents to catch on fire, exploding the glass bottle in your hands.  Always pour the wine into a cup before adding it to the pan.
5.  Allow most of the wine to cook off.  Lower the heat back to medium.  Add the mimiccream, sea salt and black pepper.  Whisk together  and allow to cook for a couple minutes.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings - you may need to add more earth balance to give it a rich, buttery taste.  Add the shrimp into the sauce and keep warm over very low heat.
6.  Finish the broccoli: in a medium saute pan, add the olive oil and allow it to become hot.  Once it is hot, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant and beginning to crisp.  Add the cooked broccoli and sea salt and black pepper.  Toss to coat in the oil and garlic.  Season to taste.
7.  To serve: place a portion of the pasta on the plate and top with the shrimp and sauce.  Place a serving of both the steamed broccoli and the tomato salad and serve.



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