The Wine Club

Wine Club is one of my favorite gatherings: A small group of us get together once a month to drink a different type of wine and eat a delicious spread of food that the host prepares.

With a two-and-a-half year track record, we have run the gamut of grapes. A wine connoisseur I am not, but through the many bottles we’ve consumed, I’ve managed to acquire more than just a good buzz; I now have a stronger opinion of what wines I prefer and which ones work nicely with different foods.

This month we enjoyed Chenin Blanc, a highly acidic wine that pairs well with spicy foods. My friend prepared the most delicious meal of Vietnamese Prawn Sandwiches from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook My Father’s Daughter, along with Whole-Wheat Sesame Noodles. The flavors in this dish are so fresh and a welcome change from what one typically finds between two slices of bread.

Chenin Blanc wines

Vietnamese Prawn Sandwiches with Whole-Wheat Sesame Noodles

Vietnamese Prawn Sandwiches

What You Need

  • 4 large prawns
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated ginger
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup Vegenaise (vegan mayo)
  • Juice of ½ of a lime
  • Siracha sauce to taste
  • 1 baguette cut in half lengthwise
  • ½ English cucumber cut into matchstick slices
  • Handful of fresh cilantro
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves

What To Do

  1. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and stir. Add prawns to bowl.
  2. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator at least one hour, up to 24 hours
  3. Combine the carrots, salt, sugar, and vinegar in small bowl, cover and let sit at least one hour.
  4. In a third small bowl, combine Vegenaise, Siracha and lime juice and let sit in the refrigerator at least one hour.
  5. Preheat the grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
  6. Grill the prawns 2 minutes on per side, or until opaque, remove from heat.
  7. Grill baguette halves on all sides until lightly toasted.
  8. Slather the cut sides with Vegenaise mixture.
  9. Layer the cucumber, pickled carrots and herbs on one side of the baguette.
  10. Cut the prawns on the bias into ½ inch pieces and lay them on top of the vegetables and herbs.
  11. Sandwich with the other piece of baguette, cut into quarters and serve.
  12. Note: If you don’t have access to an indoor or outdoor grill, heat a cast iron pan under the broiler and then broil the prawns in a smoking hot pan – this will give you the charred crust you get from grilling

Whole-Wheat Sesame Noodles

What You Need

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat capellini pasta
  • 2½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons lightly toasted sesame seeds
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • ¼ red bell pepper diced
  • 2 green onions
  • Siracha sauce to taste (optional)

What To Do

  1. Prepare noodles according to instructions.
  2. Once cooked, drain and toss with a small amount of toasted sesame oil to keep moist.
  3. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, vinegar, chili paste, sesame seeds and garlic.
  4. Add noodles, cilantro, red peppers, and onions and toss together.
  5. Add Siracha to taste or serve alongside for guests to add to taste.

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