Category Archives: Friends

CK Mondavi + Risotto

Since meeting Robin last year, I’ve really gotten into wine. And by “really gotten into wine” I mean I actually pick something other than a Riesling when given the option! Robin’s super knowledgeable and has taught me a lot about different types, the way they’re made, how different regions affect taste, etc.

So when I was recently given the opportunity to try four different kinds of CK Mondavi wines, I jumped on it! And I invited Robin over for a personal tasting.

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Before I share more about the types of wine we tried, I have to mention a few special facts about CK Mondavi. CK Mondavi is the only American made/grown win in the “supermarket wine under $10” category, AND it’s sold nationwide in every US state. If you’re “really into wine” like me, this is the perfect time to try CK Mondavi wines because a percentage of each bottle sold between May-August is donated to Intrepid Fallen Heroes (up to $50,000), an organization that supports the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families.

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Robin and I had the pleasure of trying the following CK Mondavi wines: Blonde Five, Chardonnay, Scarlet Five, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Our thoughts…

Blonde Five – very fruity with a sweet aftertaste. This was Robin’s favorite out of the four we tried. We thought it would pair well with white meat, fish, and summer vegetables.

Chardonnay – a little oaky with a mix of fruity and citrus flavors. We both liked this one and thought it was fairly refreshing. This wine would pair well with a heartier meal – pasta and a creamy cheese sauce perhaps.

Scarlet Five – a full-bodied and well-balanced wine with hints of cherry and plum. Surprisingly, this one was my favorite. I loved the bold flavor and aftertaste. This wine is special as it based on five red varieties – Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. Personally, I think this would go with any food pairing!

Cabernet Sauvignon – slightly more full-bodied, oaky, with hints of lemon. Again, this wine was also refreshing but a little bolder than the Blonde Five. This would pair well with some chicken/seafood and creamy pasta.

Overall, we were fans of all the wines and agreed that we could see ourselves buying a bottle…or two…in the future.

Not only did I try the wine, but I cooked with it as well! I made what is quickly becoming mine and Vishnu’s favorite homemade meal – risotto. It’s rich, creamy, and delicious. And when you use a good wine, it increases the flavor so much!

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A quick tip for cooking with wine – pick something you like to drink. I’m not a pro by any means, but that always works for me.

This particular risotto was made with the Chardonnay, shitake mushrooms, and basil walnut pesto. I honestly could’ve eaten the entire batch myself! It would pair perfectly with a side salad and a glass of wine for the perfect summer meal. You could also serve it with baked chicken/fish for some extra protein.

One more tip – remember to be patient when making risotto. This is a dish that can’t be rushed. When the recipe says to allow all the liquid to absorb before adding more, make sure the liquid is absorbed! Just trust me on that!

Shitake and Basil Walnut Pesto Risotto
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
10 ounces of shitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
2/3 cup Chardonnay (or wine of choice)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2/3 cup basil walnut pesto
½ cup parmesan cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and allow to melt. Add shallots and mushrooms and cook until shallots are translucent (about 5 minutes).

In a separate saucepan, heat broth over medium heat.

Add rice to shallot and mushroom mixture and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add wine and allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes until wine is absorbed. Keep your eye on the rice and stir frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/3 cup broth to rice mixture and stir until broth is absorbed (don’t stop stirring!). Repeat until all the broth has been incorporated and absorbed. Turn the heat down to low. Fold pesto and parmesan cheese into the rice mixture. Adjust seasonings as needed. Enjoy!

Basil Walnut Pesto
*Note: this pesto will be a little thicker than usual because it is being added to the risotto.

1 cup basil leaves
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
juice of one lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Add basil leaves, walnuts, and parmesan cheese to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add lemon juice and olive oil and process until the mixture is creamy in appearance. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

If this doesn’t make your mouth water, I’m not sure what will!

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I hope you enjoy lots of wine and delicious homemade meals (made with wine!) this summer.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Less Than 48 Hours in Atlanta

Vishnu and I made a quick trip to Atlanta this weekend.  And by quick I mean it was less than 48 hours.  But I’ll take what I can get!

We drove to Atlanta on Friday.  The 11 hour drive actually flew by as we were doing some prep work for Roshni and Samir’s wedding!  We got to Vishnu’s parent’s house at 8 pm.  After eating dinner, we sat and talked/watched TV for a bit before heading up to bed.

Our friend Anil’s wedding was Saturday morning, so we got up, got ready, and got going!  The wedding and reception were both so much fun.  The whole day felt like a college reunion of sorts.  Lots of eating, dancing, laughing!

On Sunday it was a little hard to rise and shine…my legs and feet were killing me!  Dancing in ~4 inch heels for hours makes for a rough next morning!  Regardless, we wanted to spend as much time with Vishnu’s parents and brother as we could so we sucked it up and got up pretty early.  Then before we knew it, it was time to head to the airport.

I’m not going to lie – this trip made me really homesick.  As much as I love living in Miami, there is nothing like home!  Thank goodness I’m going back in a short 2.5 weeks!

Now for some pics from the weekend…

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Wedding Weekend on Amelia Island

Annnnnd we’re back from wedding event #3 of the year!  As expected, it was an absolute blast.  The weekend was one big college reunion!  While it was great catching up with people we haven’t seen in years, I (and I think Vishnu would agree) am entirely exhausted!  Totally worth it though!

My plan for this post was to share some pictures from the weekend, but let’s just say someone changed a setting on the camera that caused 95% of the pictures to come out a little blurry.  And let’s just say that someone is me. Oops!  Lesson learned.

Anyways, here are a few decent shots we were able to get.

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How fun is this setting?!

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Most of these pictures are from the first event of the weekend (the garba).  Not sure why we didn’t take more pictures at the wedding itself.  I think both Vishnu and I are still getting used to our SLR.  I, for one, was afraid I was going to drop it or lose it.  And to be honest, we didn’t even bring our camera to the reception (the last two pics were clearly taken with an iPhone).  When Vishnu asked me if we should or not, I said no because I knew we would both want to dance.  It’s a little hard to boogey with that thing hanging around your neck!

I promise we’ll take better pictures at the next wedding we go to…which is only a little over a month away!

And finally, congratulations Naveen and Shaylee!  Everything about this weekend was beautiful, and we feel so blessed to have been a part of it!