Adapted from The Toronto Star
When I completed Level II of my Prud’homme Beer training a few years ago I was certified a Beer Specialist, which is a pretty useful designation if you know what to do with it.
My investment in beer education paid me back many times over with writing jobs and opportunities to educate clients about beer. It gave me a measure of credibility when I started RunTOBeer. Most importantly it taught me a whole lot about what’s happening in Ontario’s industry and connected me in a way online training could never do.
But Level III (certified Beer Sommelier) always sat just out of reach, somewhat teasingly. I didn’t register for Prud’homme planning NOT to finish all three levels, but the final course (at the time – a fourth level has since been added) placed plenty of weight on food and beer pairings, with a particular focus on cheese.
As a vegan, that complicated things for me. The beer world still generally dismisses plant-based diets, even though vegan cuisine is evolving quickly with plenty of experimentation producing outstanding results. Much like beer itself, increasingly focused on flavour and innovation, vegan cuisine is now far more appealing to a broader audience.
Vegan cheese is not only much more widely available, but flavours and textures have improved dramatically. If cheese is going to be my biggest obstacle to completing Prud’homme, it’s no longer insurmountable.
So I’ve registered to start Level III in October.
Now, with that on the horizon, it’s time to re-commit to blogging with a greater focus on beer and food pairings.
I’m starting with vermicelli salad because it’s been my favourite recipe lately. It’s so simple to make, uses easy-to-obtain ingredients and requires almost no clean-up. It’s brilliant as a meal for one or as a starter before the main course.
I paired it with Nickel Brook‘s outstanding Raspberry Über Berliner Weisse, the fruity tartness of which sits nicely with salad’s sweet chili sauce. The beer’s light, effervescent body is a very nice companion to the freshness of the vegetables.
About 15 minutes.
Stage 1 – Dry vermicelli noodles. Just cover with hot water and wait for them to get soft.
1 handful dry, thin rice noodles (vermicelli)
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup smoked tofu
1 handful chopped green beans
1/4 cup grated carrot
Sweet chili sauce, to taste
8 – 10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, sliced
Fresh mint leaves
Smoked tofu, tomoatoes, fresh mint, green beans, grated carrots and avocado.
- Place uncooked vermicelli noodles into a large, heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir occasionally, until soft.
- In a non-stick pan (I use a wok), heat Stage 2 ingredients (oil, green beans and smoked tofu) until the beans begin to brown.
- Strain vermicelli noodles and add to a large salad bowl. Add green beans and smoked tofu.
- Stir in Stage 3‘s grated carrot and enough sweet chili sauce to achieve your desired flavour.
- Top with Stage 4 ingredients (halved tomatoes, avocado, fresh mint leaves
- Serve with Nickel Brook Brewery’s Raspberry Über Berliner style Weisse.