Opposites Attract

By Lisa ArmsWhen it comes to matching wine and food, there are many pairing guidelines that can help you decide which wine to sip.  The most important guideline of course is, "If you like it together, it's right together".   I find our 2011 LaCrescent just right with so many different dishes, but I particularly love it with hot, spicy foods - like this Ma Po with Pork and Tofu.  This recipe, shared with me many years ago by a friend who had recently emigrated from China, was her family's version of the Szechuan classic Ma Po Tofu.  Our semi-dry LaCrescent, with it's fruity notes of apricot, light sweetness and cleansing acidity make it a fantastic match for  this fiery dish.

Ma Po Tofu with Pork


1 lb firm tofu, cut into small cubes 1 lb ground pork peanut oil 6 scallions, sliced 8 dried shiitake mushrooms 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (optional) 1/2 cup canned, peeled tomatoes, chopped 1 cup beef broth Red chili sauce or Sriracha 1 tsp. cornstarch 3 Tbsp Sesame oil Cilantro, fresh, chopped Salt and pepper (Szechuan peppercorns have a great flavor)


Boil 2 cups of water, soak dried mushrooms in hot water until soft (about 15 minutes). Chop softened mushrooms.  Strain and save the soaking water.

Heat about 3 Tbsp of peanut oil in a large skillet.  Add scallions and the ground pork.  Saute until pork is no longer raw.  Add dried and fresh sliced mushrooms and sauté until soft.  Add tomatoes and sauté.   Add mushroom soaking water and beef broth and simmer for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch with few tablespoons of hot broth from the pot.  Pour cornstarch mixture into pot and stir to thicken.  Add tofu and stir gently.  Season with chili sauce or Sriracha, sesame oil, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir gently and simmer until liquid is reduced.

Serve over white rice.  Garnish with fresh cilantro, scallions and a drizzle of sesame oil.   ~Lisa