Showing posts with label Vine and Dine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vine and Dine. Show all posts

Jun 18, 2012

vine and dine + stroganoff-stuffed potatoes


So this is the last post in the Vine and Dine series - unless something happens and it gets resurrected, like Food Network Friday, which is being continued, albeit with a twist, over at Kelly's blog, Three and a Half Vegans. Be sure to check her out and see what she has up her sleeves.

As for V&D, at least for now, Tami's Tempeh Stroganoff-Stuffed Potatoes is the closing cookalong. I am thrilled that she chose to end the series cooking from American Vegan Kitchen. It is only appropriate and, lucky for us, happens to be scrumptious.   

This is another of those recipes from AVK that slipped under my radar. Having not made this recipe yet, I was pleasantly surprised.  I guess it didn't seem like a main dish (although that is the section of the book it is in!) because it is a stuffed potato and we all know potatoes are always a side dish. Tami doesn't conform to expectations, and turned the side-dish potato into a main course.

I added more mushrooms to her recipe (doubled it) and cooked it a bit longer than the recipe calls for, but that is because we love out 'shrooms golden brown and sauteed really well. After baking the potatoes, scooping them out (use an ice cream scooper), mashing them and introducing them to the sauteed tempeh and mushrooms, you re-stuff the potatoes and bake for a few more minutes. 

Combine creamy potatoes, crunchy potato skin, crispy tempeh and mushrooms and this dish is no longer a side thought. If you haven't made this yet, get to it. A refreshing green salad to cut through the richness completes this dish, along with a - no surprise - red wine. David and I chose to indulge in a Cabernet Sauvignon from Arcane cellars. We received this wine as a gift a while back and saved it for this perfect occasion and perfect meal.  

Thanks, Tami, for all the inspiration and cookalongs, not to mention all your fantastic food!




May 14, 2012

vine and dine + blue plate special wheat-meat loaf


Back for another round of Vine and Dine. We are finally cooking something from Tami Noyes' first cookbook, American Vegan Kitchen. This makes me happy. On top of getting to pair wine with AVK (did anyone really need any excuse, though?), the ladies somehow managed to choose a recipe that I had not yet made from the book. Although I had before made a wheat-meat loaf from AVK, Southwestern Wheat-Meat Loaf, this was new territory for me. Just goes to show you that you can love and use a cookbook and still have undiscovered treasures within it. 

This was a delicious and easy recipe to make (once you have the seitan). Homey and comforting. My only addition to Tami's written word was ketchup. I couldn't resist! Sorry, Tami. Even my kids gave me a funny look, but in the end the tomato did ketchup to their taste-buds. (Sorry, again :)

The whole family enjoyed it. This was most likely the first Vine and Dine that the kids loved as well as we did, so double thanks to Vegan Appetite for picking a kid-friendly dish. However, I am not sure that my kids can be called 'kids' much longer; both teens (16 and 15) are officially in college. Community college, tis true, but Mikel is now a full-timer heading to University of Southern California for their film school and Catt is looking to get her Associates by the time she is 17. With these credentials, they are no longer allowed to act like kids and whine about their dine. (I'm on a roll - stop me now!)

Naturally the Blue Plate Special Wheat-Meat Loaf was served up with traditional Mashed Potatoes and Homestyle Gravy. Felt like we were sitting in a diner! Do diners serve Frey wine? 

Speaking about the wine, one Frey was not enough for us, we went all the way from the white to the red. I love red wines (in fact, David and I have decided that we will be staying with reds from here on) and I love Frey vineyards, if for no other reason than that it was the first wine that came to our attention as being vegan, more than a decade ago. Loyalty, you could call it. I am sorry to say that we were not too impressed with their Merlot. And since we weren't that impressed with their Natural White either back a few weeks ago, it might explain why my hubby was reluctant to post a review about that one.

However, he did manage to put something together for this Merlot and here it is below.



We paired the 2009 Frey Vineyards Mendocino Merlot with the American Vegan Kitchen’s Blue Plate Special Meatloaf and this merlot is a velvety complex wine with the nose of cherry, pear and blackberry combined with earthy undertones and a touch of spice.  I thought the wine would go better with spicier fare and partaken with the meatloaf it seemed wanting.  I guess had I added some “Heat” to the loaf, the wine would have been more satisfying but I was happy with our selection, none the less, just not ecstatically so.


     

Apr 9, 2012

vine and dine + gnocchi with basil and roasted shallot cream sauce


Vine and Dine, hosted by Tami Noyes at Vegan Appetite, is Potato Gnocchi with Basil in a Roasted Shallot Cream Sauce, from Spork-Fed

The family loves Gnocchi so we decided to go for it and participate in Tami's cookalong, even though this cookbook is not on my shelf. 

The gnocchi recipe itself is basic, using potatoes and flour. The sauce uses roasted shallots and tons of cashews, which makes the sauce quite thick. You can very successfully reduce the amount of nuts to at least half the amount called for. 

After tasting it, the kids would have liked some tomato sauce added, 'to lighten things up,' as it is stated in the anecdote of the recipe. I agree - next time we make a gnocchi cream sauce, we will add some red sauce as well.

We drank a(nother) white wine with this dish, but I wholeheartedly believe a red would have complemented it much better. I'll let David catch you up on the wine selection. I have been the one choosing the wine for the past few V&D's (only because I have been shopping alone), but I think it is time to get him back out there making the selections. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm quite as choosy about buying the wine as about drinking it.

(David will be posting the wine review this evening).



Feb 28, 2012

vine and dine + cassoulette


The final dish for Tami's Vine and Dine from Bryanna Clark Grogan's fabulous new cookbook, World Vegan Feast, is Cassoulette. This meal is a veganized version of the original French dish, which uses beans along with a variety of fatty meats. Bryanna uses vegan sausage, carrots, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes to achieve an equally complex and flavorful dish. I had no technical problems with the recipe and the flavors were great. Although the ingredients list is a bit long, as Bryanna put it, the recipe is easy to prepare. 

As for the wine, I'll hand it over to David, but I want to insert my two cents first. I did not think our wine added anything to the meal. By itself, it was a nice mellow wine, but with the meal, it was just okay. Unlike the few other times we have paired wine with food, this time it didn't enhance the flavors of the meal. I was beginning to think that wine always added or complemented the meal - until now. With this one, David and I didn't really see eye to eye. Wine disagreement!

The wine I chose to pair with the Cassoulette was the 2010 Orleans Hill California Organic Syrah.  This was a full bodied wine with a little earthiness and just a hint of pepper.  A little on the sweet side, until your pallet adjusts, but it worked quite well with the Cassoulette which enhanced the peppery flavor of the wine. 



Feb 5, 2012

vine and dine + lentil and rapini stew


This selection of Vine and Dine, courtesy of Tami Noyes, is straight out of Bryanna Clark Grogan's new World Vegan Feast cookbook. The selection, Lentil and Rapini Stew with Vegan Sausage, was excellent! David and I both love rapini and this was no exception. This is a simple recipe with really great flavors. I found it needed more broth than just the 2 cups called for in the recipe, but that might have been because my lentils were a little old (I had to use both French and brown varieties) and  they needed a bit longer to cook.

Also, since I love my rapini with tons of garlic, I added a few more cloves to the onions when they were cooking than the four that Bryanna calls for. Since David is not averse to garlic, this works out just fine. 

This is the third recipe I've made from this cookbook and it continues to impress. Great choice, Tami.

Here is David with the wine:


Tonight’s Lentil and Rapini Stew turned out to be hearty fare with bold flavors!  The fact that the wife added 20 cloves of garlic instead of the 4 that were called for may have capitalized Bold but we both love garlic.  We chose an organic La Rocca Vinyards, 2008 Chenin Blanc to pair with the earthy flavor of the lentils and the spiciness of the vegan sausage.  We were surprised by how well the complex structure of the wine, combined with it’s light hint of fruit (it made me think of pears as I savored the first glass) truly enhanced the bold and earthy flavors of the stew.  We don’t usually partake of white wines but, on this occasion, I’m glad we did because it turned out to be a delightful accompaniment for the evening’s meal.



Jul 25, 2011

vine and dine - horseradish crusted tofu

Vine and Dine



This week's Vine and Dine by Tami is being reported from a hotel in Maryland! We are on vacation and made the Vine and Dine last week before we left. As vacations tend to be, our leaving was too hectic to do the write up earlier so, we are now wracking our brains to remember what the meal was like and how the wine complemented it.
We'll do our best.

The cookbook chosen this time was the first Horizon book and the recipe out of that was the Horseradish Crusted Tofu with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. While I believe part of the idea of V&D is to get us to dig out forgotten cookbooks and explore new recipes, this happened to have been one of the only recipes we actually tried and loved. I wonder how many out there who have this book also made this very recipe since it simply sounds great. One thing is for sure, this book doesn't get the attention in our kitchen that it richly deserves. Nice to have dusted it off.

Out of the same cookbook the Spinach with Pine Nuts was recommended; garlic, olive oil, spinach and pine nuts. I'm there. Do not omit the pine nuts from this - it adds so much flavor and texture. You don't even have to add a lot of pine nuts, but don't substitute it since it is so worth it.

The tofu dish we made gluten free. Kate is at least gluten or wheat sensitive, so we subbed Glution Breading Crumbs for the bread crumbs. I also made our own baked tofu by first pressing (Tofu Express) it and then baking it in a chicken-like marinade. My daughter was complaining that tofu tastes like nothing. All this time I thought I had been making tofu well, and then all it takes is a reality check from my eleven-year-old who should be avoiding seitan now. She set me straight and now I am working on getting flavor (more flavor?) into a slab of tofu. I guess I was onto something since she really liked this horseradish tofu - and of course, the recipe from the book didn't hurt either.

As for the V&D itself, the tofu with mashed potatoes, the spinach and the red pepper sauce was phenomenal. Oh, and the wine was darned good as well! I'm going to spoil it for David by saying it first, but it was a delightful screw-top Merlot. But then I'm a sucker for a good red wine anytime. This one made me happy.


Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
This wine was good,
With this tofu.

-- David (or his wife)





Stellar Organics

May 29, 2011

Vine and Dine, herbed ravioli with porcini pesto and tofu ricotta


The second Vine and Dine, hosted by Tami Noyes of American Vegan Kitchen, is from Voluptuous Vegan, by Myra Kornfeld. We missed the first Vine and Dine of May mostly because I didn't realize there were two in a month. 

Voluptuous Vegan was one of the first three cookbooks I bought to help us transition into veganism back in the good ol' days. Over the years this book has been put to the wayside mainly because the recipes are so involved to make. The recipes I made out this book required a great deal of time and dedication. 

No exception with this recipe.

Every three years or so I take out my pasta roller to make some ravioli. Every three years, I again realize why it's been three years since I've made ravioli. 

Tami had great timing with this V&D. It's been three years since my last forage into ravioli-land. After the meal, the pasta roller was safely tucked back into the cabinet, awaiting my future memory-lapse.

The ravioli was delicious. I love porcini mushrooms and the mixture with the tofu ricotta was very good. The pepper salad was a welcome addition and the basil pesto was great as well. My only complaint with the recipe is the amount of prepared ingredients. I used much less of the porcini pesto than I made and we have a lot of red pepper salad still in the fridge. Other wise, a wonderful meal with a ___ wine. What kind of wine? Here is David with the Ho-Down:

That is Mikel's Stitch Hat. Mikel has worn it everyday for the last week. He is a big Stitch fan and has even dubbed his  voice in this YouTube Video. Yes, that is really Mikel!
 I guess David felt like getting in touch with his inner-child.



 This weeks Vine and Dine entrĂ©e of Herbed Ravioli With Porcini Pesto and Tofu “Ricotta” turned out to be a very tasty offering.  Of course, when I heard we were having another pasta dish, I selected another red to pair with the mild richness and pleasant earthiness of the porcini pesto.

My choice, this time around, was an organic La Rocca Zinfandel, estate bottled in 2006.  This wine turned out to be an excellent partner in crime for the herbed ravioli!  The La Rocca Zinfandel is a medium bodied, fruity wine with sweetness so mild that it perfectly complemented the earthy flavors put forth by the herbed ravioli with porcini pesto.

The Chef and I tried a glass about a half-hour before the meal, to establish a baseline from which to judge the complements between the meal and the fermented grape nectar.  The wine by itself is very nice but when paired with the pasta it becomes something more.  Chef and I both agree, the fruity flavor with a slightly spicy undertone (we didn’t really taste much spice but this wine is supposed to be famous for it’s peppery flavor) truly enhanced our enjoyment of the meal.

As you can see, this bottle of wine has a cork, which makes me feel much better about my selection, even though there are more and more vineyards that forgo the tradition of corking.  I give the La Rocca Zinfandel four and a half stars out of five and I look forward to trying this one with a seitan steak or maybe a seitan and vegetable kabob.



May 1, 2011

Vine and Dine, south of the border pizza



I could swear that Tami Noyes' biggest job - next to creating mouthwatering recipes - is to dream up ways to get us bloggers active. On top of her Food Network Friday Challenges to veganize Food TV recipes, now she has come up with Vine and Dine. In these cookalongs we are following one particular vegan recipe and choose a wine to accompany the meal. This is all lovely, except for those not well immersed in wine-lore. We would be among those folks. Luckily I was able to pass the wine baton to my husband who after a little coaxing agreed to take on  the wine part of the challenge. I think I got the better deal.

First the food: This is a recipe from The Vegan Table. Beans on pizza are not a combination most people think of as compatible, and neither did we at first. Fortunately it all worked out. The crust contains cornmeal which keeps in tune with the Tex-Mex theme. The toppings are typical of the theme as well, vegan cheese, jalapeno, beans, salsa and sour cream. Although I wouldn't have beans on my pizza again, it nevertheless made one very interesting meal.

The Wine: My hubby will be covering the write-up of the wine:

When my wife told me we would be doing the Vine and Dine with a Southwest Pizza, I was skeptical. I wasn’t keen on a non-traditional take on a family favorite but I try to keep an open mind, especially when it comes to my favorite chef’s creative interpretations of certain recipes. I was given the task of picking the wine to be paired with this unusual pizza preparation and I immediately started thinking of a red.

I don’t really have much of a nose for wines, I prefer libations with far fewer variations and more of a straight to the point affect, and I should have paid closer attention. I started looking for an organic vegan red and got so wrapped up in checking the label that when I found “Vegan Friendly” and “Organic” on a bottle of Our Daily Red, I overlooked the screw top on the bottle. After getting the bottle of wine home, I was loath to go back out to correct my mistake; we decided to give this selection a chance, although we doubted it had much of one.

I will start by saying that the Southwest Pizza was a pleasant surprise and turned out to be excellent. Pairing wines with food is a very difficult thing to do, given that very few wine pairings actually end up enhancing or complementing the flavors of the dishes they are paired with. I was disappointed in the wine, “Our Daily Red”, in my opinion it is a “Box Wine” in a bottle and it has far too much bitterness for my taste.

After our meal, I was curious to see if anyone out there had a different take on this wine so I did a Web-Search and found this comment: “Our Daily Red is full bodied yet smooth and mild. This easy-drinking red wine blend is comprised of Syrah, Carignan & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. This variety creates a rich ruby color and a relatively mellow flavor with flavors that blend well together rather than compete for attention”. I think there must be something wrong with my selected search engine because I do not think that either “easy-drinking” or “mellow flavor” is an appropriate adjective when describing this wine. I will say that the wine is “Full-Bodied” but given the bitterness of this selection, I’d say the body is in the bottle.