Vine and Dine: Candle Cafe Cookbook

For this go-around, we tackled the Curried Coconut Beggars’ Purses from the Candle Cafe Cookbook. This dish was way out of comfort zone. As in, let me count the ways. Number 1: phyllo dough. It’s never been my friend. So much so that in testing for Vegan Brunch when a recipe called for phyllo dough, I determined that it was really puff pastry. Every time I looked at the recipe board, I read ‘puff pastry’. And I was wrong. That’s how strong my avoidance can be. Number 2: coconut milk. The only ways that I have ever not hated coconut have been as coconut bacon or in ice cream. It’s got to be heavily disguised. Number 3: curry. Maybe I like it, maybe I don’t. I can’t say that I have ever had a ‘real’ curry dish so it’s a great mystery. Number 4: what in the world should I serve with this?

I walked into this with all these points in mind. What I didn’t expect was to love this dish as much as I did. The depth of flavor of the purse was amazing. All the fresh herbs were ideal, as was the spice blend. Lucky me, I have Thai basil growing so I used that for the basil. I made a half recipe and got 4 purses out of it. Phyllo dough still isn’t my friend. That stuff aggravates me. The coconut milk virtually disappeared. I never would have known it was there! For the curry powder, I used half hot and half regular. Probably all hot would have been terrific, but my hot has less complexity than the normal one. For the sides, I ended up with saffron rice and roasted brussel sprouts. The rice really worked and what’s not to love about brussel sprouts?

You might remember we did the picatta as the first recipe from this cookbook. It was a fine recipe, but not one of my favorites for the Vine and Dine series. On the other hand, this recipe is a sensational one and just might top my list. Those comfort zones just aren’t what they are cracked up to be.

Don’t forget to check out how Liz and Matthew made out over at Cooking the Vegan Books. Kim and Fred are also joining in but won’t get it posted until later this week. (I’ll update then.) Food Network Friday is coming up, too, if you’d like to join in the fun!

To top it all off, the wine choice really made this dish. The wonderful people at the vineyard got back to us immediately with the fantastic news that this wine is indeed animal-free! It’s also readily available, so get some!


Here’s Jim to tell you more.

“I know nothing……”, Sgt. Schultz.

How badass were Hogan and his heroes to run a resistance ring out of Stalag 13, right under the noses of Col. Klink and Sgt. Schultz?

Welp, the Germans are getting even these days. Right under our noses in the good old US of A, yay flag, save the world, etc. a number of absolutely kick ass German Wines are in our stores and under our noses and we don’t even know it.

I really really love rieslings, a wonderful cold-climate white grape that depending upon level of sweetness (categorized from less to more as kabinett, spatlese or auslese) really match well with Asian dishes and fatty dishes (because of their inherent spicy nature and acidity). It’s kinda weird, the colder climates get the better their whites and the hotter climates rock the reds, like Chile, South Africa and Kalifornia. But when you’re drinking ’em, whites work better when its 90 degrees, like today in the bayou of Ohio, and reds work better in the winter. I’m sure if we were in Germany I would think differently, but I’m not. I live in the Fascist Republic of Ohio and must were my helmet, avoid looking conceal-carry dimwits in the eye, and double shade the front windows before I open anything but Bud Light under public scrutiny, whilst pickup trucks held together by Palin 2012 stickers rumble past with nary a muffler attached. For real. Any wonder why my retirement goal is Vermont? But I digress…

Fun fact: for a while in the 70’s some silly winemakers were adding antifreeze to their wines to make ’em sweet, and their collective rep took a tumble. Not the best marketing strategy. They never really recovered, and so still are generally very reasonably priced. Some of the biggest names, and longest established winemakers (often historically rivaling Bordeaux and Burgundy’s established families) , like Donnhoff, Muller Cator, Dr. Pauly Bergweiler and Leitz are an absolute steal when you look at some of the lousy wines that sell for the same price points ($30.00 to $50.00 a bottle). And the lower end whites that are available in the $15.00 range are often twice as fine as their price point counterparts. They tend to be low alcohol, so you can drink a lot of them at once. I like that part. And the sweeter ones give my other wine love, Sauternes, a run for their money.

So that said, we picked a Studert-Prum 2008 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett from the Mosel region. Look up the Mosel, its really pretty there, and their steep slopes are way cool. Grapepicker dudes and dudettes sometimes have to get lowered over the sides of the vineyard slopes tied from above by ropes. And interestingly enough, many of the big name winemakers source from the same vineyards, so you might see a Dr. Pauly B. Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Wehlener Sonnenuhr being the vineyard. That’s cool too. If you can bag a few different winemakers’ versions from the same vineyard, maybe over a couple of years, and have some people over who also wear helmets and avoid drinking Bud Light, you have the makings of a party.

So this wine had a nice kabinett effervescent tingle to it, which really caressed the richness of the dish and the curry, ginger and garlic flavors. It slid around the flavors of the dish, and by its opposite nature, acidity and lime and tart apple it amplified the dishes profile. The nose matched the flavor profile, which is always a wonderful sign. It was an uncomplicated riesling, but even at $15.00 or so it didn’t taste Blue Nun cheap. What the hell is a Blue Nun anyway? Besides confusing. Anyway, home run, thanks and I hope little ninja monkeys come to you as you sleep and dust your house for you. Jim.

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  1. Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    I am looking forward to trying this dish! The wine sounds lovely too! Jim and the kitties are beyond adorable. Kitties and wine, what a combination.

  2. Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    That looks super good.

  3. Posted July 13, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never worked with phylo dough for the same reasons. Isn’t it funny how us cooks/chefs/enthusiasts have ingredient fears? Mine used to be yeast and agar-agar. Phylo is still on the list.

  4. Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    So nice that the wine you like has no animal by-products used in the making of it. I’m not a fan of reislings but have a few friends that are.
    Phyllo is a a pain to work with and I think I made that dish years ago…yours looks great! If you like picatta, you must try the one from Veganomican…it is sooooo gooood! I always get compliments when I make that recipe. You can use firm tofu instead of seitan too.

  5. Posted July 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    That Veganomican recipe is fantastic! I remember when I made it, I had a crazy spider leggy picture due to the green beans.

  6. Posted July 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Both your descriptions sound great. I hadn’t read Jim’s comments until today because it requires the ability to think; he is quite hilarious and there is a need for clear thinking to pick up on all of the funny points. Palin stickers and Bud Light certainly do belong in the same thought bubble…lol….

    Anyhoo, do you have the next recipe in mind, yet? Since David and I missed the last two V&D’s, we’d like to make the next one before we take off on vacation.

  7. Posted July 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Vegan Aide, we’re working on the next choice tonight actually! In the running are: Horizons 1, Hearty Vegan, Caribbean Vegan and one other I can’t remember. I’ll post it as soon as we narrow it down. Off to see your version!

    And yes, Jim can be pretty funny. So much of that is true in our neck of the woods.

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