I have a love for Alton Brown. He’s smart, he’s funny, he thinks science is cool, and on his show (“Good Eats” on Food Network) he actually ends up doing a lot of stuff that is vegetarian. Or easily adaptable. I have one of his earlier books, “I’m Just Here For the Food”, and it is not so vegetarian friendly. Yes, there are vegetable recipes, and sides recipes, but there are magnets of the parts of a cow, sheep, chicken, and pig in the book’s appendices.
I really only have this book still because I like Alton. I have only ever made one thing from it. And that is his shrimp scampi. Of course, without shrimp. He has a footnote on the recipe saying that “of all things”, firm tofu makes a good substitute for shrimp in that recipe. Thanks for throwing us vegetarians a bone, Alton. Or…a tofu container? Carrot top? What’s the vegetarian equivalent of a bone?
No bones in here, just veggies, pasta, and tofu. I doubled the sauce ingredients, just to cover the pasta enough.
Alton’s Scampi v2.0
4 cloves garlic
4 Tbsp chopped parsley
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 container of water packed firm or extra firm tofu
4 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp butter
Juice of 1 lemon
Cook tofu in a dry pan, on medium-high heat. Cook on one side, moving as little as possible, until golden brown. Flip, and do the other side.
Chop up the garlic and parsley as finely as possible, until almost pastelike.
Reduce to medium low, add oil to the pan when the tofu is done.
Add tomatoes, cook for about a minute
Add garlic and parsely mix, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
After this, we tossed with angel hair pasta and spiralized zucchini, and served.
This is really good, easy, and pretty light way to dress up pasta. And its especially good if you like garlic. We visited my parents recently and my dad was helping me cook, and I asked “it’s normal that however much garlic a recipe calls for, I automatically double it, right?”. His response? “Yes.” I like that answer.
Now, I’ve made Alton’s recipe before, but this time I thought, if tofu is a good substitute for shrimp in scampi, why not elsewhere? Why not something like coconut shrimp?
So I looked again, and this time I found a Rachel Ray recipe that didn’t require me buying anything out of the ordinary. And so tonight, we had Coconut Tofu.
Heat oil to 350 degrees.
Put tofu on its side, and cut down the middle. You should have two blocks that are the same shape as the original block, just half as tall. Cut each block into three long strips. Then you can cut each strip into 4 pieces. Pat down the tofu, just to take off some of the water.
Mix breadcrumbs, salt, and cayenne.
Mix coconut throughout breadcrumb mixture.
As you are ready to fry, roll the tofu in the egg whites (I just used a splash from a container of all egg whites), then cover with breadcrumb-coconut coating, pressing it on firmly to each side.
Fry until GBD*
Coconut shrimp makes me think of Red Lobster, which only makes me think about cheddar biscuits, so they were obligatory here. The recipe was ridiculously easy, and came from Pinterest. I used parsley instead of oregano, and salted butter and garlic powder instead of garlic salt. Added snap peas sauteed in garlic as well to add some green.
This tofu was surprisingly light. This was my first time using a deep fryer, and I thought it would feel heavy and unhealthy, and it really didn’t. Of course, this is still a bit of an “evil twin” to the scampi recipe, but the biscuits are actually heavier than the tofu. To keep it light, I made a quick dipping sauce. I would have just used Sweet Thai Chili sauce, but I didn’t have any, so I improvised, and it came out very similar, except in consistency, this was not as sticky. We went to a wedding in Louisiana once, and visited the Tabasco factory. I brought home Sweet Tabasco sauce, exclusive to the factory. I thought it’d come to the stores at some point, but nothing so far. But this reminded me a lot of that.
You Will: Mix it all together.
This was the perfect topping for the tofu. I preferred the thinner sauce, it added to the lightness, while still adding a lot of flavor.
Simon was awake for this one! If he skips his afternoon nap, he is usually in bed before dinnertime. But he took a two hour nap this afternoon, so he had three solid food meals today. He is actually ingesting very little right now, so it isn’t too important how many times he sits down for meals.
He had a great time! He loves snap peas, its so funny to hear him crunching on them. The texture is similar to celery, which he also loves. Tofu has appeared for him a few times now, and not much of it gets to his mouth. I think he likes the way it feels in his hands, and he prefers to smoosh it around.
I’m going to take the ending here to apologize for the crappy picture thus far. I’m working on it, but we end up eating so late now that I have no natural light. I’m working on the graininess and lack of lighting. Hopefully it will improve soon, because its driving me crazy!
With that, I hope that the lure (haha) of Tofu Shrimp is calling you! Stay tuned, I hope to continue to update this often, it has been nice to be on here more this week!
*Golden Brown and Delicious. Sorry, couldn’t let an opportunity for an Alton-ism go unused.