Sunday, August 09, 2009

Wine & Food, Food & Wine

I always have plans of posting more often than I do, but something always seems to get in the way. Then I end up with long posts that I'm not sure anyone ever reads to the end. In any event, here we go!

First of all, my friend Michelle was in town from Calgary! Her visit coincided with Fielding Winery's wine club members get together, so we spent our Saturday afternoon snacking, drinking and catching up.

It was pouring rain all morning, but by the time we were on our way, the sun came out. It ended up being a gorgeous day. We had a great weekend & I was so pre-occupied with everything, I never did take pictures of any of the food we made. So you'll have to settle for a few other tidbits.

First off, I've found the most delicious chip-type snack.

Riceworks are Dorito-like in shape and thickness, with a delicious taste and a terrific crunch. There are half a dozen or so different flavours so far I like the sweet chili the best.

The Sweet Chili is even vegan friendly! Not all of the flavours are, so, as always, be sure to read the label.

Remember those amazing wild blueberries?

Jim was back up north to finish the job he started and he came home with some more! We ate a lot just as is, but I did use some for our Sunday breakfast.

I loves me some blueberry pancakes - with maple syrup of course.

These were so yummy and just bursting with blueberries.

I've mentioned before that the LCBO puts out this amazing magazine called Food and Drink. It's published 6 times a year and is complementary at LCBO stores across Ontario. This year's summer issue had some focus on outdoor living & entertaining and they also included a trio of meatless grilling recipes that I may try in the future. One recipe, in a section called "Fit To Be Thai", I did make. The recipe, Grilled Vegetable Peanut Noodles, is vegetarian and with one small substitute, it becomes vegan.

I chose these noodles. The recipe called for Chinese noodles or linguini but I opted for rice noodles since this was supposed to be a Thai-inspired dish and these looked to be about linguini size. I quite often have trouble with rice noodles. They always seem so sticky and hard to work with after they've been softened. Maybe I'm cooking them too long? Maybe I should rinse them to remove some of the excess starch? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I love the taste of these noodles, but they usually end up in a tangled mess.

Unfortunately, I only have this picture of my bowl topped with the garnishes. I should have mixed it around so you could see more of what's underneath. The main components are visible, noodles, snow peas, red pepper, tofu. This turned out to be really good! It was a terrific meal-in-a-bowl and after both of us eating HUGE portions for dinner, there was still enough left over for lunches and then some. It heated up in the microwave pretty well. I'll include the recipe at the end of this post since it's not yet available on-line.

Remember these sausages? We ate two off the grill so I still had two left over and they were just screaming to be added to a pasta dish of some sort. I was craving sausage and peppers, so a quick little search via Google gave me this recipe. It was so easy! I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and cut the amount of red pepper flakes in half just in case it would be too spicy for me.

Man, oh man was this good!! I could have easily used all of the red pepper flakes and will the next time I make this. Jim said it was a little too sweet for him, but that's easy enough to rectify. The Marsala gave the sauce such a delicious flavour. Very nice indeed.

We had a nice salad on the side of mixed greens and bocconcini with a balsamic vinaigrette. It was a light & lively contrast to the richness of the pasta.

To complement all of it, we opened this delicious California Zinfandel that came in through Vintages.

This was a terrific wine to have with this pasta. With it's little bit of spice & berry flavours, it made our meal all that more enjoyable.

Did you make it all the way to the end of this post? Great! Thanks for hanging in and reading the whole thing. Now here's that recipe I promised for the Thai noodle dish above.


¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup natural smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp. honey (I used agave syrup)
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. grated ginger
1 tbsp. grated garlic
1 tsp. Asian chili sauce

1 pkg. Extra-firm tofu, cut into ½-inch thick slices
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 Asian eggplant, halved lengthwise (I used a zucchini)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 red pepper, halved, seeded
1 pkg. Dried Chinese noodles, 12 oz. (375g), or linguini
8 oz. (250 g) snow pea pods, stem end trimmed, halved on the bias
¼ cup sesame oil
¾ cup thinly sliced green onions
¼ cup coriander leaves (cilantro)
¼ cup chopped salted peanuts

1. Combine soy sauce, peanut butter, honey (or agave syrup), vinegar, ginger, garlic and chilli sauce in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Reserve.

2. Blot tofu with paper towels and brush with soy sauce. Brush cut side of eggplant with oil and season with salt.

3. Heat grill to medium-high. Grill tofu, eggplant and red pepper for about 4 minutes a side or until tofu is browned, eggplant is tender and red pepper is softened with charred skin. Place pepper in a paper bag to sweat for 5 minutes or until skin has loosened. Peel away charred skin and cut peppers into strips. Cut tofu into 2-inch-ling thin slices and cut eggplant on the bias. Reserve.

4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add noodles and cook according to package directions. When noodles are about 1 minute short of their cooking time add snow pea pods and cook 1 minute or until tender and bright green. Drain and toss noodles and snow peas with sesame oil.

5. When ready to serve, toss noodles with reserved dressing, tofu and vegetables. Place on a serving platter and sprinkle with onions, coriander and peanuts.

Serves 6


Catherine said...

Rice noodles do tend to clump up for me, too. I've tried rinsing mine in cold water after cooking or soaking, and that seems to help a little!

I've always wondered if cutting/breaking the noodles in half before cooking would help with the tangling, too?

Anonymous said...

I seriously think blueberries were made precisley to be turned into pancakes. Gorgeous!
And this noodle dish sounds So tasty! I adore peanut noodles!

Hannah said...

Sigh, such beautiful blueberries... I'm seriously craving pancakes now! Maybe I'll have to try making some with my wild raspberries instead. :)

urban vegan said...

Yummy, yummy, YUMMY!