As temperatures begin to drop and #leafyboots becomes a trending hashtag, our thoughts turn to cozy nights in with friends and family. Fall is the perfect time to host a dinner party. It's the culinary sweet spot nestled quietly between busy summer days and the falalala-frenzy of the holiday season.
The theme of this dinner party is wine!! It's a guaranteed winner. Or dare I say, wine-ner? Sorry, I went ahead and said it and now I'm blushing like a Zinfandel. Let me make amends by sharing an easy (it really is simple and quick to prepare!) and unique menu (there's a hint of wine in every course!) perfect for a casual dinner party.
But first, let me ask you this...
Do you switch out your summer white for a winter red with the changing of the clocks? You really don't have to! There's room for both a crisp Pinot Grigio and an aromatic Cabernet Sauvignon this fall and right through the winter!
Wine is wonderful to drink, but do you cook with it? I don't mean simply adding a splash to a sauce or a marinade. Wine can be added to every course! And it's pretty dazzling. So while you prepare this delicious party menu, sip some wine, but save some for these wine-infused recipes to follow. Here's the menu:
Greet your guests with a warm smile and a winey welcome cocktail! Try this Woodbridge Winter White Cranberry Sangria (Take note, this punch would be perfect during the holiday season, too!)
Serve some assorted cheeses to enjoy while guests sip their sangria. A cheese tray is one of my favourite appies. It's easy to assemble and I've never met a person who doesn't enjoy a wedge of Applewood Smoked Cheddar with their wine.
Toss mixed greens with shaved Parmesan for a no fuss, fresh, and tasty salad. Serve with this delicious vinaigrette. Mind you, it's made with white wine, so I'm calling it a vino-grette!
Tip: The dressing separates quickly, so shake well and often if serving on the side.
This main course sounds odd, but try this red wine spaghetti and you'll soon be adding it to your "faves list." I spotted the recipe in my Facebook feed and I immediately wanted to feed it to myself. The sweetness of the wine gives the noodles a unique layer of flavour. Add the salty Parmesan and, wow! The alcohol burns off so it's safe to serve the left-overs to the kids (if there are any!) Admittedly, the noodles look like worms. However, these are some mighty delicious worms. Get the Red Wine Spaghetti recipe here and watch the video below to see how to make it!
I kept the recipe as is, but added a cup of chopped toasted walnuts for some next level flavour and crunch!
Confession...the thought of draining the extra "wine water" made me sad. It seemed wasteful to pour wine down the drain on purpose. I planned to strain the liquid into a bowl and to save to add to a soup. However, the noodles absorbed almost all of the liquid (hence the amazing flavour!) so there was actually nothing to drain.
Serve your favourite fresh bread on the side and make this Cabernet Sauvignon Garlic Butter! (It's a party, so carbs don't count.)
These Cabernet Dark Chocolate Brownies served with homemade banana “ice cream" will do the trick. The decadence of the brownies is off-set by the healthy fruit-only ice cream. I soaked my cherries in Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon over night. I could make a joke here, but I won't. That would be in poor taste. And this post is all about GREAT taste! And wine soaked cherries?? T-A-S-T-Y!
Admittedly, I'm a horrible baker. If you tasted the cookies I baked for my last cookie exchange or witnessed the gluten-free cookies I made that melted into one colossal cookie, this will come as no surprise. The "rules" of baking are a drag. I prefer to eyeball measurements and make substitutions. Apparently, that doesn't fly with baked goods. Though you might choose to eat the fake gourds in the bowl over my not-so-great-looking brownies, I assure you they taste delicious! The wine soaked tart cherries (I used frozen since fresh are out of season and they worked great!) are an amazing addition to chocolatey brownies.
Side Note: When the weather gets cooler, I'm making this Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon Hot Chocolate. Ooh, mental note, a perfect thermos drink for parents to sip on rinkside while outdoors.
Visit the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi website to find more wine related tips and recipes!
When you get there, you'll likely land on the image below.
I added a few notes :)
Bonus Tip: If you live in the GTA and have access to Grocery Gateway delivery, you can have Woodbridge chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and White Zinfandel delivered. Don't ask how I know. I just do.
Fall means the dark days of winter are on their way. But there's no need to whine about it. Let's wine about it instead! Yay, fall!