Thanksgiving Wine Sale and Tofu Curry

This is the first Thanksgiving in 20 or more years that I haven't cooked the dinner, which is a bit sad for a foodie like me. I delight in going through my recipes and perusing Farmer's Markets to create the menu. But, traveling to see family is more important than anything else, so I'll be happy to be the dishwasher! As a kind of substitute, this weekend I'm baking Argentinian Stew in a big sugar pumpkin for a party of eight and making fresh herb bread. I'll post the photos and recipes on the blog. If it's sunny, I'll use my solar oven! I baked half an acorn squash and a spaghetti squash last week on a day with thin cirrus clouds. The temperature never rose over 200 degrees, but the squash was done after about 4 hours of cooking. In case you're interested, I bought my solar oven from www.sunoven.com and if any of the doomsday predictions come true--ie no more petroleum or I lose my job and they turn off the utillites--I'll still be cooking!
This lentil, rice and tofu combination makes a nice healthy meal with protein and fiber rich lentils. The lentil rice recipe makes a good side dish at Thanksgiving. Prepare the tofu curry for your vegetarian guests, though the turkey lovers will like this, too. The mild complex spices will perk up plain turkey and will go well with sweet cranberry sauce. Pair this tofu curry recipe with the 2007 Melrose Pinot Gris for white wine lovers, pair the recipe with the 2006 Eberle Côtes-du-Rôbles for red wine drinkers. Serves 4.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. nutmeg
6 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 13 oz. can coconut milk
1/2 lime
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cake of medium or firm tofu
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Thai fish sauce
Cook the ginger, garlic, turmeric and cumin in the oil in a wide, deep saute pan for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Add the nutmeg, peanut butter, chili, lime juice, coconut milk, sugar, salt, and fish sauce and stir well until peanut butter has warmed up and mixed in with the rest of the ingredients. Add the tofu and simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
1/2 cup dry lentils
2 cups rice
4 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. butter
pinch saffron
1 tsp. ground clove
1 tsp. turmeric
Wash lentils and put into rice cooker or pot with a lid, along with the broth, rice, butter and spices. Heat on medium until it boils, then cover tightly and turn the heat to low. Simmer 1/2 hour. Fluff with a fork before serving.
This week's Online Grapevine wine discount special is either a 4 or 12 bottle wine sale with two Rhone blends, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Gris. These are perfect for Thanksgiving because the whites are crisp and dry to balance out the richness of gravy, dressing and butter. The Rhone blends will match well with Thanksgiving spices of cinnamon and clove and flavors of cranberry and sweet potato. The "Thunder" is 55% Grenache, 29% Mourvedre, and 16% Syrah. The Côtes-du-Rôbles is 47% Syrah, 29% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache, 4% Viognier.

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