For this round of Vine and Dine, we’re exploring the Candle Cafe Cookbook. Whenever this book comes up in online conversation, it always goes straight to the Seitan Piccata. Interestingly, neither Liz or I had tried it before, so it made the top of our list. For the sides we had the Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Greens. The mashed potatoes were incredible, of course! I subbed swiss chard and spinach for the collards and kale in the greens, and they were also good and garlicky. Throw in the lemony, capery, garlicky piccata sauce, and the wine matching for this one is one heck of a gamble. Big, big, big flavors! This one was a real challenge.
Kim and Fred tackled this one, too. As you’ll see, all of us were challenged by this one. If anybody out there has any suggestions on what you’d drink with this, I’m sure we’d all have to hear them! Kim, potato’ed out? Do I even know you?
About that piccata, it was very good. That said, I think it might be a little over-hyped. Or maybe it’s made a little differently at the restaurant. We really liked it, but didn’t love it. If you make this, you might want to add the flour with the vegetables and let it cook a bit before adding the wine and broth. It’s less clumpy that way. I went ahead and followed the directions, but the sauce could have been a wee bit smoother.
All in all, this was a very good meal. It was both upscale and comforting, at the same time. Probably thanks to those mashed potatoes. By the way, this wine is confirmed to be vegan, straight from the winemaker. Thank you, Corvidae and Owen Roe! They consistently offer artistically made wines that are artistically made and very expressive of the varietals and the Pacific Northwest. These wineries (Corvidae is a lower cost offshoot) have long been among my favorites. Selfishly, I almost want to keep them to myself. But hey, wine is all about sharing with friends, right?
Wow, this one was a tough one. The piccata’s lemons and capers are really hard to match up with wine. Lemon has the citrus acidity and bite going for it and capers are, well, capers. This one maybe shoulda woulda had a margerita or something to match it, but being the good sports we are we decided we’re going to make a go of something. I remember Tami saying to me “Jim, figure this out or no piccata for you”.
She didn’t say that, this piece needed drama.
So *BOOM* (more drama) I had an idea. When I looked at the wine cooler, where the options are I went with Corvidae’s Crowe, 2009, a blend of 48% Sauvignon Blanc, 19% Chenin Blanc, 18% Riesling, 13% Pinot Gris, and 2% Muscat. All Columbia Valley fruit, Pac NW. Owen Roe (can’t miss winery) second label.
So it was a really nice white. It has green grass and light peach notes, the acids played well off the fats (oils) in the dish, but it was not big enough to handle the dish. Would have been great on its own. Was ok with the meal. We had the second glass after.
That said, you should read up on real crows. These birds are smart. Their brain-to-body ratio is only slightly less than humans, they communicate with each other, certain ones build tools, they recognize themselves and their enemies and somehow let each other know about it.
Humans live in this crazy self-involved mirror bubble where we tell ourselves tons of stuff is either just like us or that we totally rule it, like God, aliens, animals, other people, oil and gas reserves, the environment in general, etc. Humans do what they want, damn the consequences.
So before you do that with your Seitan Piccata on a prematurely warm early summer evening, make some margeritas and have ‘em with dinner, or a red that can somehow negotiate capers and lemons, a question that may be even greater than those posed earlier herein. And when you are done, feel free to contemplate each these important issues we collectively face with a kick ass bottle of Corvidae’s Crowe.
Until next time!