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Kristina Manning
The view from my glass
The view from my glass


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Malbec World Day

Today is Malbec World Day and after searching my wine stash for a Malbec, I was surprised that I didn’t have a single bottle of Malbec. All I found was a Meritage from California, that included Malbec grapes in the blend and several Bordeaux blends from France that also included Malbec grapes. With no Malbecs to celebrate with, I had to go out at lunch and pick up a couple of bottles, one for drinking today and the other for my wine stash.

Argentina produces 70% of the world’s Malbec grapes and the hilly northwest region of Mendoza is perfect for growing Malbec grapes. I love a good Malbec from this region so today, I am drinking a 2010 Manos Negras Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina.


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Brioche with Prosciutto, Gruyère and Egg 

With Easter fast approaching, this recipe is sure to be a hit at your Easter Brunch with buttery bread, slabs of melted cheese, prosciutto, and finished with an egg on top. Serve it with a bright, berry-scented sparkling rosé or crisp white, such as, our March Premier Series Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2012.



Six 1-inch-thick slices of brioche
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus softened butter, for brushing
6 ounces frisée, torn into bite-size pieces (3 cups)
1/4 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
6 large eggs
1/2 pound Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
12 thin slices of prosciutto (6 ounces)

1. Preheat the broiler. Brush both sides of the brioche slices with softened butter and arrange in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Broil the brioche 8 inches from the heat, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes total. Leave the broiler on.

2. In a medium bowl, toss the frisée with the parsley, scallions, lemon juice and olive oil. Season the salad with salt and pepper.

3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in each of 2 large nonstick skillets. Crack 3 eggs into each skillet and cook sunny side up over moderate heat, until the whites are firm and the yolks runny, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and season with salt and pepper.

4. Top the brioche with the Gruyère, covering as much of the toasts as possible with the cheese. Broil 8 inches from the heat for about 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Transfer the cheesy brioche toasts to plates. Top with the frisée salad, prosciutto and fried eggs and serve at once.

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Eating way to many Girl Scout cookies!
Girl Scout Cookies and Craft Beer Pairings

If you’re like us, you can’t pass on buying a box (or ten) of Girl Scout Cookies on your way out of the store. While relaxing with one of your beers club brews, here are some pairings to help polish off some of those Girl Scout Cookies in the kitchen.
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20th Anniversary Beer Naming Contest!

As part of our 20 Year Anniversary celebration this year, we’re having 3 beers brewed exclusively for our members and we thought it would be fun to let you name them. If the name you submitted is used for any of the three beers, we’ll hook you up with a 6-month membership to the club that beer will be featured in. Contest will end on Monday April 7, 2014 at 2pm. 

To enter and learn more about the beers, visit!
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Rotini with Chicken, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

Reminiscent of a pasta salad, this spring recipe coats rotini and colorful vegetables with a basil-flecked balsamic vinaigrette.


8 ounces uncooked rotini (corkscrew pasta)
Cooking spray
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (1-inch) slices asparagus
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled goat cheese


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken and asparagus to pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in pasta, basil, vinegar, and oil. Arrange 2 cups pasta mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

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Easy Grilled Maple Dijon Salmon with Bacon

This mouthwatering salmon recipe features crisp bacon, savory dijon, and sweet maple that is grilled to perfection and is perfect for your busy week nights!


1 1/2 pounds fresh salmon filet, skin-on (about 1-inch thick)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the fish with the olive oil.

Whisk together the dijon and maple syrup. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the salmon, then spread the entire top with the dijon mixture. Place the salmon on the grill, skin-side down. Grill for 12 to 14 minutes, or until fish is flakey and opaque. Remove and crumble bacon on top. Slice salmon into pieces and it should easily come away from the skin. Serve immediately.

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Crockpot BBQ Beer Pulled Pork Tacos with Crispy Onion Straws and Mango Salsa

Crockpot BBQ Beer Pulled Pork Tacos with Crispy Onion Straws and Mango Salsa are fresh and full of flavor! With just minutes of prep time, this recipe is an ideal weeknight dinner!


1 (3.5-pound) pork shoulder roast (mine was bone-in)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 ounces of beer
32 ounces of barbecue sauce + additional for drizzling
12 small flour or corn tortillas
4-6 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese
1 batch of crispy onion straws

Mango Salsa
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 jalapeño, finely diced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
the juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Optional but yields the best result: heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Sear the pork on every side (about 2-3 minutes per side) until golden brown before adding to the crockpot.

Add pork to crockpot with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add beer and 24 ounces of barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours, tossing once or twice if desired. After 8 hours, shred pork with forks or kitchen tongs and add remaining barbecue sauce. Toss pork to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to absorb everything. Remove bone (if bone-in) before serving.

I made the mango salsa about 2 hours before serving and the crispy onion straws about 1 hour before. To assemble tacos, place pork in the center of the tortilla and top with a drizzle of barbecue sauce if desired. Add on cheddar, then onion straws and then a big spoonful of mango salsa. Eat up!

Mango Salsa
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to mix. Can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, is best when sits for a few hours so the flavors marry.

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Ballymaloe Irish Stew

St. Patrick's Day is known for its green beer and Corned Beef and Cabbage but we decided to share another Irish classic, Irish Stew. Most households in Ireland will have their own version of this Irish staple but this particular version comes from "The Julia Child of Ireland", Darina Allen, Ireland's most famous chef and her Ballymaloe Irish Stew will become an instant favorite! Sláinte!

Serves 4-6

8 medium or 12 baby carrots
8 medium or 12 baby onions
8 -12 potatoes, or more if you like
salt and freshly ground pepper
1½-1¾ pints stock (lamb stock if possible) or water
1 sprig of thyme
1 tablesp. roux, optional – see recipe
1 tablesp. freshly chopped parsley
1 tablesp. freshly chopped chives

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/regulo 4.

2. Cut the chops in half and trim off some of the excess fat. Set aside. Render down the fat on a gentle heat in a heavy pan (discard the rendered down pieces).

3. Peel the onions and scrape or thinly peel the carrots (if they are young you could leave some of the green stalk on the onion and carrot). Cut the carrots into large chunks, or if they are small leave them whole. If the onions are large, cut them into quarters through the root, if they are small they are best left whole.

4. Toss the meat in the hot fat on the pan until it is slightly brown. Transfer the meat into a casserole, then quickly toss the onions and carrots in the fat. Build the meat, carrots and onions up in layers in the casserole, carefully season each layer with freshly ground pepper and salt. De-glaze the pan with lamb stock and pour into the casserole. Peel the potatoes and lay them on top of the casserole, so they will steam while the stew cooks. Season the potatoes. Add a sprig of thyme, bring to the boil on top of the stove, cover with a butter wrapper or paper lid and the lid of the saucepan. Transfer to a moderate oven or allow to simmer on top of the stove until the stew is cooked, 1-1½ hours approx, depending on whether the stew is being made with lamb or hogget.

5. When the stew is cooked, pour off the cooking liquid, de-grease and reheat in another saucepan. Slightly thicken by whisking in a little roux if you like. Check seasoning, then add chopped parsley and chives. Pour over the meat and vegetables. Bring the stew back up to boiling point and serve from the pot or in a large pottery dish.

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