Boozeday, Beans, & Gingerbread

Instead of celebrating on the usual Winesday this week, my girlfriends and I celebrated on Tuesday (Boozeday)…which is always lovely, but when Winesday comes early in the week, it throws me off for the rest of the week…and now it really is Winesday, and I have nothing else to look forward to this week. Oh, except for Christmas. I suppose that’s exciting.

The Wine

  • Layer Cake 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon California. Normally, we choose a white wine or a spunky red wine for dinner, but this wine was chosen by Michelle’s boyfriend as a gift for us. He said it reminded him of us because of the name-Layer Cake. The combination of “Layer Cake” and wine speaks volumes to us, and this wine had a range of flavors to listen to. It’s a very soft Cabernet that has subtle notes of blackberry, cherries, and cedar. It’s very complex, and has a fresh, lingering finish that isn’t heavy and doesn’t have an oak taste the way some Cabernets do. It comes from vineyards near Mt. St. Helena, which adds to its slightly earthy taste, and it would be lovely with a dark chocolate or dark berry dessert. We had it with gnocchi and gingerbread instead. Oops.

The Entrée 

  • Gnocchi with White Beans, a recipe adapted from We’ve enjoyed this meal before, but it never gets old. It’s very hearty and comforting, but it’s loaded with healthy ingredients. We always go back for seconds!

Stuff You’ll Need

Serves 5-6

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pkg (16 oz) potato gnocchi
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) fresh spinach
  • 1 15 oz can of white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5 oz can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 3 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
  • A large wok or skillet

How to Do It

  1. In a large wok or skillet, heat the olive oil, and saute the garlic for 1 minute. Add the gnocchi, and cook for 5-6 minutes or until they begin to brown.
  2. Add the beans, tomatoes, and pepper, and continue to cook until heated through. Add the spinach, and cook until the spinach has wilted.
  3. Sprinkle the mixture with cheeses, and cover the pan. Remove from heat, and let stand 3-4 minutes, or until the cheeses have melted.

Tip: Draining and rinsing canned beans is super easy if you use a colander. I used to try to drain and rinse them in the can until I figured out how much easier it was to put them in a colander. They can be drained, rinsed, and held for your recipe all in the same bowl.

Extra tip: The original recipe states to throw the spinach into the pan earlier than the beans and tomatoes. Spinach cooks very quickly if the pan is heated enough so there is no need to throw it in early. It takes longer to heat the tomatoes and beans, and the spinach can remain slightly crisp if you add it to the pan last.

The Dessert

  • Gingerbread cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I was in the Christmas mood when I was planning a dessert for this Winesday (Boozeday), and I loved the recipe when I used it last year for gingerbread. I would have made a change to the frosting by adding orange zest or extract if I had realized how delicious the combination of orange and gingerbread is, but I’ll save that for next time.

Comment on these yummies

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: