During the week, the mister and I keep pretty busy. Between his schedule and mine, we rarely get to see each other until the weekend. It is always an unexpected joy when we actually get to hang out with one another on a Monday-Friday. Tonight, we had such an occasion, and we knew we would be able to have time together. In preparation for this rare weeknight hangout, I planned to cook one of my all time favorite fall soups, pair it with one of my brand new wines that I bought at Epicurience Virginia!, and play a board game.
During the fall, I love making The Blender Girl’s Vegan Curried Butternut Squash & Quinoa Soup. I have made it for years. It is easy, healthy, uses few ingredients, and leaves leftovers for days. It is a curry that uses curry powder, not coconut milk. While I love Indian food, the curry powder gives more of a creamy and round flavor, rather than an Indian curry dish. It is not spicy, but somewhat sweet from the squash. I add crushed pistachio nuts, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, and cilantro to give the soup more savoy and salty flavors. This soup signifies fall for me. Unfortunately, while it may be mid-October, the weather is not cooperating. It reached 85 degrees today in DC, and our old apartment building already switched the heat on. Our top floor, sun hitting apartment also felt like 85, so cooking a delicious hot soup was not the smartest choice I could have made, but hey! I’m stubborn!
I have paired this dish with many wines in the past, and I cannot recall there being a bad pairing. Because the dish is sweet, savory, and salty, it can be paired with so many wines. Tonight, I decided to pair it with something extremely unique: Horton Vineyard‘s Rojo Xoco. This wine tastes like Hershey’s chocolate and red wine met, fell in love, got married, and had a baby. It tastes like a liquid version of the chocolate covered Bing cherries that you get from Harry & David’s around the holiday time. It is not fortified, so there is no syrupy consistency. It goes down smooth like a silky red wine. When I first tried the wine, I was hesitant to like it. Chocolate and wine are meant to be a pairing, not a mixing. However, don’t knock it until you have tried it. It is quite a delicious, after dinner, sit in front of the tv and grade elementary school math quizzes kind of wine.
So, if it is more of a dessert wine, why am I pairing it with dinner? If this wine were paired with dessert, I fear that it would be overly sweet. When paired with a dish that has both similar and contrasting flavors, I figured it would balance out. I’m glad I listened to my instincts. The wine made dinner taste like a savory, salted caramel. It was like I was eating dessert for dinner, only it was healthy, nutritious, and far less caloric.
In addition to the fabulous company and fabulous meal, the hubby and I played a fabulous game; Viticulture. Based in old world Tuscany, Viticulture is a strategy game where 1-6 players plant, harvest, and make wine. Boardgamegeek.com users gave it great reviews as a board game, even if you know nothing about wine. You place little workers on specific spots around the board, signifying which step of the wine making process you are on. You have cards which tell you what grapes you can plant, what wine orders you must fill, and what visitors come to your winery. This game captures something that hubby loves (board games) with something that I love (wine).
Tonight was a 5 grape kind of night, with the exception of the fact that it our thermostat is reading 85 degrees at 9:20pm. Excluding this minor mishap, it is peaceful nights like these that I cherish…
Now bring on the craziness of tomorrow! ?
Recipe: The Blender Girl
Wine: Horton Vineyard ($16)