Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vine and Dine - Candle Cafe - Seitan Picatta with White Wine and Caper Sauce

Welcome to another edition of Vine and Dine where Phat Freddie and I attempt to pair vegan wines with fabulous vegan recipes from different cook books. This challenge is actually brought to you by the bright mind of Tamasin Noyes from Vegan Appetite. She so kindly invited us to participate along with Liz and Matthew of Cooking the Vegan Books. Vegan Aide of Weekly Vegan Menu and her honey David have joined the ranks. I'm so excited we have so many participating. It's exciting finding more vegan wines to choose from!

This week's adventure in food comes from the Candle Cafe Cookbook by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza. For those of you who may not know, Candle Cafe is a very famous vegan restaurant in New York. This book gives away some of their famous recipes for the home cook to recreate.

I've had this book for a very long time. I've only made a couple of things from it since I bought it a few years ago and I have to say, I've liked everything I've made so far. The Seitan Piccata with White Wine and Caper Sauce (pg. 119) is no exception. This challenge also included the Sauteed Mixed Greens (pg 147). We decided to forgo the garlic mashed potatoes this time. I was potato-ed out from the last Food Network Friday. I made a huge batch of potatoes and we ate them all last week. I opted to make a simple batch of quinoa with crushed garlic cloves instead.

This was a nice, quick, easy and truly impressive dish. I used my own beefy seitan recipe. I had a couple of thick cutlets in the freezer that I thawed out for the occasion. I sliced them in half lengthwise. I dredged them in the whole wheat flour. I used the left over flour to thicken the sauce rather than using AP. I was excited to be able to use onions and parsley from the garden and lemons from Ty and Ry's tree. For once I read the recipe ahead of time, so the meal was timed well. I started the quinoa before I started the main event. I thought of using the wine Fred picked for the sauce, but then thought better of it. I had a partial bottle of white in the fridge, so I was able to reserve his selection for drinking! I love the combination of the piquant capers, white wine and tart lemon, so I knew this dish would work for me. What I didn't expect was how quick and easy it was to make. I'd make this anytime; for a quick weeknight meal or to impress guests.

I don't know what the heck happened with our greens. They were crazy bitter. I used a combo of purple kale and collard greens. I didn't have the optional bacon bits, so I added just a sprinkle of liquid smoke. The first bite gave me bitter beer face, but they were salvageable with the yummy picatta sauce. I am a huge potato lover, so it was surprising even to me that I chose not to make them tonight. I was so happy I opted for the quinoa. It a perfect complement. It was over 100 here today, so we wanted a bit lighter side dish and this did the trick. We both really like this dish. Two thumbs up.


Kim's dinner tonight was one of my favorites but my wine selection faltered, I had wanted Kim to meet the guy at Total Wines that helps me the most but he was not on shift. Number two expert stepped up and in less than two minutes lost us when he said the weather in Napa does not affect the vineyards and wines very much.......(What the F*&^ dude) so we helped ourselves. What I did notice, as he tried to help Kim, he was product pushing rather than helping find what we were looking for, wrong move with me buddy!  

Another problem we had was, we spent so much time making sure our wine was vegan I did not make sure it would compliment our meal, shoot!. We did find a "Sterling" Sauvignon Blanc, (2009) which is a very nice summer wine, bright with what they say is honeydew, lemon and lime zest but with our dinner came across as having more of a grapefruit characteristic. Although it didn't work with this dinner, at $11.99 for the bottle, it didn't break the bank either. I think it would be great as a spritzer by the pool, not as a dinner wine.

According to Barnivore, all of Sterling's white wines are vegan, SCORE! I have, over the years, had a few glasses of Sterling because it is reliable and good. This was before I knew what veganism was, so there you go. Kim's dinner had lemon in it and maybe that is why our wine was too bright on the tongue. I am trying to find a correlation of sorts between vegan wine lists on line and what is actually available at the store, all I can say is I am always looking and we'll see.


  1. Matthew hated picking wine for this one because lemon is sooo hard to match!

  2. This is the hardest match so far! All in all, it sounds like you did well.

    I've been 'lifting' wine lists from vegan restaurants online, but you're right, nothing really matches up with what is at the store.

    Product pushers are never good. Especially when they want to sell you up....

  3. The dish looks great. I live in NYC but have never been to Candle, but I do have their cookbook! Piccata sauce is pretty wonderful, isnt' it?

  4. This was a tough match for wine. Funny thing about the product pusher, he was actually selling us down. When we walked around the store, we saw many displays of the wine. I think they had an overstock and needed to get rid of some.

    @foodfeud - I would love to go there some day! I adore piccata sauce!!!