13 October 2009

Our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club Cooks With Wine....a Recipe for Baked Rice with Butternut Squash

Baked Rice with Butternut Squash

We are so glad that you have decided to join us once again for our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. This is a monthly event where 5 ladies nationwide get together to create a delicious meal with a theme in mind. For the month of October we are "COOKING WITH WINE". The Baked Rice with Butternut Squash is very reminiscent of risotto without all the watching and stirring. It was not only flavourful and seasonal but every bit worth trying from the pages of Cooking Light magazine!!!!!

For this months dinner we shared a few bottles of wine virtually as well as creating a delicious menu from the pages of Cooking Light. As an excellent beginning to our incredible menu Shelby brought Cheese Fondue with Apples. Next on the menu was a gooey, cheesy French Onion Soup brought to the table by Helene. Jamie prepared our main dish of Salmon with White Wine Mustard Sauce which was the perfect balance of flavours. As a side dish to pair with the salmon I offered a baked risotto dish, Baked Rice with Butternut Squash as you see above. It was so flavourful and a perfect accompaniment. For dessert Aggie brought the most luscious seasonal Red Wine Pear Crisp with Spiced Streusel. What would you bring to the table? Visit the Cooking Light blog Test Kitchen Secrets and make something delicious from the pages of the magazine to add to our dinner...the more the merrier!!!!.

Autumn is here in full force in Okanagan Wine Country. These crisper, shorter days are a perfect time to watch the grapes ripen in the sun and indulge ourselves in the harvest celebrations. There are three main seasons of wine production in the Okanagan... Spring, Fall and Winter. The third, is the ice wine season which is a relatively new enterprise for our area. The Annual Okanagan Fall Wine Festival is an experience for anyone who loves fabulous wine accompanied by great food and unique events. Who wouldn't love a party that goes on for 10 days!!!! No wonder this event is rated as one of the top 100 events in North America!!!! Most of the tours of the Okanagan wineries are free and include sample tasting of this year's newest vintages. Special events, such as lunches, banquets and formal wine tasting gatherings require prepurchased tickets.

The Okanagan Valley is British Columbia's oldest and main grape-growing region. We lie on the same latitude as northern German and French vineyards but the Okanagan Valley is not all classified as a "cool-climate" growing region. We have distinct microclimates throughout the Valley, from the hot, sandy, desert soils in the southern valley to the cooler vineyard sites in the north, with their deep topsoil and clay. Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir grow in the south, while Pinot blanc, Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer are grown in the mid and northern regions, some left to freeze on the vine for our region's famed Icewines.

The British Columbia wine industry was reborn in the late 1980s when many cool-climate, hybrid grape varieties were uprooted and replaced with vinifera wine grapes which now thrive along Lakes Okanagan, Skaha and Osoyoos and as far north as just above the 50th latitude. As a result of this bold government-subsidized "pull-out program," 90% of the hybrid-grape vineyards in the Okanagan Valley were removed, setting the stage for plantings of vinifera grapes. Less than 10 inches of annual rainfall are typical here since this region falls within the northernmost extension of the Sonora Desert...a desert that shares its influence with both the Okanagan and eastern Washington wine regions.

This month our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club chose the theme COOKING WITH WINE in honour of the season. We all share a love for Cooking Light magazine which has an emphasis on healthy eating and living. Each issue covers light cuisine and includes more than 70 delicious and flavourful recipes. It also explores food and nutrition news as well as fitness, health and beauty.

We would love to share these ideas with you each month by putting together a delicious meal for each other through our Virtual Supper Club. The idea is simple because we all share a common interest in cooking and all things "foodie". This is a team effort where we get together virtually once a month and combine what
Cooking Light readers like best...good food with great company!!!

Ultimately this is what has brought myself Val of More Than Burnt Toast, Helene of
La Cuisine d'Helene, Shelby of The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch, Jamie of Mom's Cooking Club and Aggie of Aggie's Kitchen together to share their love of food, blogging and their commitment to a health conscious lifestyle to create the very 1st ever Virtual Supper Club sponsored by Cooking Light magazine!!!Check out this months menu where we share our ideas for a succulent dinner where everything is made with the nectar of the season.....WINE!!!!

We will also be featured on the Cooking Light blog site as well as sharing their fantastic recipes with you all!!!!!! Although distance prevents us from gathering as a group in each others homes we have enjoyed getting to know one another and have developed a menu from
Cooking Light magazine that is sure to bring smiles when your family and friends share your table this autumnal season. See us on their blog Test Kitchen Secrets!!!

You may also like:

Butternut Squash Risotto
Jamie Oliver - Basic Risotto
Zabar's - Spring Fling Risotto
Simply Recipes - Butternut Squash Risotto
The Leftover Queen - Arancini - Fried Risotto Balls
Aldo Zilli - Top Chef Wild Mushroom Risotto
Daily Unadventures in Living - Zucchini and Lemon Risotto

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  1. Val,
    What a great side dish. It looks so good in that gorgeous bowl. Your area of wine country in Canada sounds so beautiful. Would love to visit there one day. Thanks for "bringing" this rice to our supper.

  2. I love butternut squash and I know this dish would be enjoyed in our home! You are so experienced with wine....and I am such a novice! ;-) Thanks for your contribution to our virtual supper club!

  3. This looks great. I personally miss cooking with wine since it's so expensive here. In my student days in Australia, I used to liberally flavour everything with wine - so much fun and so tasty too!!

  4. Thanks for all the info on Okanagan Wine country. I'd love to make it up there someday to experience the party!

    Your cooking group sounds like a bunch of fun. I cook from Cooking Light often and some of my most favorite recipes come from there. Great looking risotto! And here's me with a butternut squash sitting on the counter....

  5. I love these super clubs, what a beautiful meal you have all put together.

  6. Sometimes I just don't have the time to spend stirring a proper risotto and then I resort back to a oven-baked one...I love the addition of the squash!!

  7. I wish I could actually have a bite of that dish! It sounds wonderful! I love butternut squash! Great recipe pick Val! Thanks for sharing with us!

  8. That must be so nice at this time of the year to visit the Okanagan. What a delicious rice. So nice that you brought it to our Virtual Cooking Club :)

  9. Great choice - we love butternut squash. Love your take: like risotto without all the stirring!

    Your wine country sounds just gorgeous, and filled with so many interesting culinary destinations. Don't be surprised if one day we show up on your doorstep for a foodie tour! ;-)

    - Cooking Light eds

  10. Butternut squash is one of my fav fall foods. This dish has inspired me to pick one up at the market tonight.

  11. I would love to be in the Okanagan in the fall. Sounds glorious.
    A wonderful variety of recipes featuring my favourite ingredient.. wine!

  12. VAll this is a love side dish, look delicious and I love your bowl!!! Nice recipe! gloria

  13. What a fun virtual idea! And your contribution ... Butternut squash and rice ... baked! I need to get more creative like this! Now that the weather is shouting out cold temps, I love turning the oven on again! :-)

  14. How exciting to be featured on Cooking Light's website. I used CL all of the time. Love the butternut squash too. Your wine country sounds like a gorgeous place.

  15. You are going to be on Cooking Light's website?! That's amazing! Congrats you guys.

    This dish look so good!

    And, I want to come to the ice wine harvest.

  16. The rice with butternut squash sounds excellent! How exciting that you are going to be featured on the Cooking Light Website!

  17. What a lovely menu! Everything sounds heavenly, particularly this rice dish. My hesitation to make risotto is always the stirring and monitoring that must go on ... this sounds like a perfect alternative!

  18. Butternut squash is awesome! What a beautiful serving dish too, Valli! Congrats on your feature - that is way too cool (and VERY MUCH deserved)!

  19. Looks like I'm back to blog reading just in time... what a fabulous supper club you had this month. LOVE the butternut squash recipe -- it's so perfect for the weather we've been having.

    And many congrats! You guys totally rock.

  20. Congratulations dear Val! What a fantastic menu and your dish looks specially awesome :D. Wine is a great help in my kitchen too.

    There's no grapes in the vineyards here... harvest time has come and gone.

  21. Great suggestion... I have to try this also..

  22. That wounds fabulous - and I love your blue and white dish :)


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