Winter Winesday

I apologize for the delay in this week’s Winesday post-I had technicial difficulties so it had to be delayed! Enjoy!


Another week, another Winesday. Except that this is the week of my birth, so I will actually be celebrating this week’s Winesday on Thirstday, but I’ll be happy to update you on another (almost) vegan-friendly Winesday plan. I’ll introduce you to one of my favorite go-to wines, talk about a delightful risotto dish, and revisit one of my most irresistible desserts so far. So enjoy, and eat, drink, and be merry! And don’t forget that my birthday is tomorrow.

The Wine

  • Cupcake Red Velvet. This is a versatile and fabulous wine, but you have to enjoy red wine to love it. It’s initially dry when you take your first sips, but it leaves an irresistibly sweet, chocolatey finish with several dark berry notes. Kind of like a red velvet cake…weird, right? It’s not at all what you’d expect from Cupcake Vineyards and certainly not what you’d expect with a title like “Red Velvet”, but it’s perfect for enjoying with rich chocolate desserts. Like I said before though, if you’re not fond of red wines, you may not be fond of this. The sweet finish is wonderful, but you have to endure a more bold, dry taste first.

The Entrée

  • Butternut Squash Risotto. Who doesn’t love butternut squash meals when it’s cold outside? Late fall and winter seem to be the perfect time to enjoy this vegetable because it’s in-season, and it’s so fulfilling. This dish was warm and comforting without being heavy, and it’s made of (mostly) healthy ingredients.

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes 4 servings

  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine-1/2 cup for the meal, 1/2 cup to sip on while you’re cooking
  • 1 10 oz pkg frozen butternut squash puree, thawed (1 1/2 cups). You can also use fresh if you feel like doing the work to get it.
  • 2 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped or 2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (omit if you’re trying to make it vegan, or replace with vegan-friendly parmesan shreds)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Medium & large saucepan with covers

How to Do It

  1. Heat the vegetable broth in a medium sauce pan until hot but not boiling. Reduce heat to low, and cover to keep warm.
  2. In large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook until softened but not browned, around 6 to 8 minutes. Add the rice, and cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine (not the one you’re drinking of course), and simmer for two minutes, stirring constantly until absorbed.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of the hot broth. Simmer the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the broth is absorbed. Continue to add the broth 1/2 cup at a time, and allow each addition to absorb into the rice before adding more broth, approximately 30 minutes.
  4. When all the vegetable broth has been incorporated and the rice is tender, mix in the squash, sage, most of the cheese, and the salt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into serving bowls, and top with remaining cheese.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens excerpt from Ellie Krieger, “Comfort Food Fix”.

The Dessert

  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares that I could not stop eating. These go wonderfully with a meal that isn’t heavy because they’re so rich, so a light grain dish or salad are just perfect. You’ll never be able to eat just one…unless you don’t like peanut butter and chocolate, in which case, what’s wrong with you?

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