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.