Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Curried Potato Soup

This is a "kicked-up" version of Potato Soup using curry powder and Victory's Headwaters Cheddar Dip as the cheese ingredient.  Victory Brewing Company collaborates with Key Ingredient Market to craft specialty cheese spreads using Victory Beers.

Curried Potato Soup

  • 12 oz. Bacon
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 2 lbs. Potatoes, diced
  • 6 C. Chicken Stock
  • 2/3 C. Butter
  • 3/4 C. Flour
  • 4 C. Milk
  • 2 tsp. Curry Powder
  • 1 C. Ham, cubed
  • 1 C. Sour Cream
  • 1 6.5 oz. Victory Headwaters Cheddar Dip
Render the bacon in a pot with a little butter.  Once crispy, remove the bacon onto a plate with paper towels to soak up the drippings.

In the same pot, add a little more butter and the onions, salt and pepper and curry powder to taste. Cook the onions until tender (about 5 mins.).

Next, add the the remaining butter and flour and stir to create a roux (about 10 mins.).

Now add the chicken stock, milk and potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender (about 20 mins.)  Be sure to keep it on a low boil.

Finally, add the cooked bacon, ham, sour cream and the cheddar dip.  Heat through until warm and the cheese is completely melted into the soup.

Serve with a Chardonnay that has a touch of oak.  The Penfold's Koonunga Hill Chardonnay works well.  Any leftover soup can be frozen in an air tight container.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Recipe for Hearty Irish Stew

Recipe for Hearty Irish Stew

2 cup diagonally sliced carrots
2 cup diagonally sliced parsnips
2 cup sliced onions
1.5 lbs small white potatoes,
each cut into quarters
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 lbs boneless lamb stew meat
1 1/2 cup beef broth
4 c. plus 3 Tbsp. cold water
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350° F. In heavy 6-quart Dutch oven, spread half of vegetables; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and half of thyme. Top with meat, then remaining vegetables. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and remaining thyme. Add broth and 4 cups water. Cover and cook in oven 2 1/2 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.

Transfer meat and vegetables to bowl; cover and keep warm. In cup, blend flour with remaining water; stir into hot liquid in Dutch oven. Heat to boiling on top of range; boil 1 minute. Skim off fat. Return meat and vegetables to Dutch oven.

Enjoy with North Carolina's Own The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout

Available at
Main Street Produce
100 East North Main Street
Littleton, North Carolina 27850


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Wines & Beers

As Turkey Day approaches, most people are thinking of what size turkey to buy, how many people will it serve, what side dishes to make and where to seat old Uncle Luke.  But I'm not like most people.  Yes, I do consider the same things, but I consider them in the context of what wines and beers I'll be serving.

Since turkey is the guest of honor, not old Uncle Luke, turkey is the first consideration when thinking about wines and beers.  However, there are so many different side dishes, and no two are made the same.  You have to consider the tartness of cranberry sauces, the creaminess of creamed onions, the various savory flavors in stuffing.  Not to forget the sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes, all being smothered in someone's version of gravy.

Simply put, this is not a "one size fits all" meal.  A white and a red should be on the table.  If serving beer also, an IPA and a dark beer such as a Porter should be available.  The main thing is to make sure they are nicely balanced and flexible enough to handle many flavors.

The Natura Chardonnay from the Casablanca Valley in Chile is a good choice for a white wine.  Unlike many Chardonnays, this one does not have any oak influence, just pure fruit flavor.

For a red, a nice California Zinfandel has the right touch of spice and fruitiness.  Specifically, the Girasole Zinfandel from Mendocino County.

For a few beer choices, I would recommend Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA or the Port City Monumental IPA.  IPA's have a crisp flavor profile with some citrusy notes.  A couple of Porters to mention are the Highland's Oatmeal Porter and the Avery New World Porter.  Porters have a nice, malty flavor profile with hints of coffee and sometimes chocolate.

If you have any questions, please visit me on my Facebook page,

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Don't forget the dessert!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Observations: My Special Purpose

Now that it's been almost a full year of making and selling wine and beer jellies, I thought I'd take some time to reflect and begin planning for the holiday season.  In doing this, I was reminded of a short clip from the movie, The Jerk.  Right before Steve Martin is about to leave the nest and go in search of his "special purpose", his adoptive father makes sure he understands one thing.  That is, the difference between shit and Shinola.  Once Steve Martin sees the difference, his father told him he would be fine.

My take on that is this.  Know the basics of what you are doing, keep it simple, don't try to complicate things, and definitely understand the difference between shit and Shinola.  That said, here are some things I've observed over the past few months.

There are only a few of what I'll call "stand alone" wine or beer jellies that have an appeal to people who taste them.  I think I went overboard when I started and made too many choices, which had the opposite effect of what I envisioned.  Our best "stand alone" jellies now are the Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout, FullSteam Carver Sweet Potato Lager, Highlands Oatmeal Porter, Dante Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cortija Rioja jellies.

Next, I see that any jelly that has an element of heat or spice out-sells the others by a wide margin.  The Natty Greene's Old Towne Brown/Chipolte, Pinot Grig-Inferno and Broadbent Vinho Verde/Piri Piri jellies are winners!

Any jelly that I've added fruit to enhance a certain flavor profile of the wine or beer has also done very well.  That can be seen in our Natty Greene's Wildflower Wit/Strawberry, Big Boss HighRoller IPA/Three Fruits Marmalade and our Victory Storm King Stout/Fig Jam.

I am very please with my latest creation, the Craggie Antebellum Jelly.  It is brewed with molasses, ginger and spruce tips.  I believe this one will be another "stand alone" winner.

So, let's start thinking about the holidays and what you're going to get for your wine and beer lovers on your shopping list.  One thing I have seen over the past few months is how many people have commented on what a great gift idea this is.  Another is how creative our customers have been in their uses of our jellies in their kitchens.  There are so many applications of these jellies as glazes on meats, sweetening agents in viniagrettes and many other ways.

Cheers to the upcoming holiday season!  You can find us on-line at You can also "like" us on Facebook,


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wine Scents

If you were riding with me cruising around the Internet, you would most likely feel like a passenger in a car driven by Stevie Wonder.  No offense to Stevie Wonder, but I don't think I would want to be riding shotgun with him at the wheel.  Suffice it to say, I'm like one of those people with the bumper sticker, "I stop at yard sales" or "I brake for squirrels".  Simply put, when something catches my attention, I go there.  This practice often takes me off course into unknown territories.  However, sometimes it takes me to sites or blogs that I am familiar with the subject matter, and that brings me to today's topic.

I found a site promoting a "kit" that helps one learn more about the vast aromas inherent in particular wines.
Interesting, I thought as I clicked through all the pages on the site.  The kit is very comprehensive as it guides the user around all the aromas that can or should be prevalent in certain wines.  Here is the link to their site

Please don't read too much into this.  I think this is a wonderful tool to help people gain a better understanding of everything the wine world has to offer.  The concern I have is that it might be too complicated for the everyday consumer of wine.  In fact, this is a tool I used back in my days as a full-time wine consultant.  It was my job, and my responsibility, to be educated on all this.  The average consumer doesn't share this burden.  Notice I called it a "burden".  Yeah, it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it!

Anyway, I could go on forever about this, but I want to make one simple point.  There are only two ways of describing a wine, and this applies to all wines, whether a consumer, amateur or professional.  Those are, "I like it" or "I don't like it".  Enjoying wine is a very subjective experience.  One should not feel compelled to "like" a wine simply because someone else does.  Moreover, when in the presence of one of those "geeky-know it alls", you shouldn't feel ashamed or inadequate just because you can't smell the "stewed strawberry and earthy, forest floor" aromas that the geek is proudly smelling.  Again, either you like it, or you don't.  It is that simple.  If the geek happens to ask you if you are "picking up" the same aromas, just tell him that you never had your nose pressed against a forest floor, and you're not sure what he is talking about.

Enjoy wine, but enjoy the ones YOU like, explore the wine world at your leisure, and reduce your thoughts about wine to the two ways I mentioned.  You like it, or you don't, period...!!!


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Fermented Gourmet: A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Work Today

The Fermented Gourmet: A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Work Today: "As a product of the '80s, I am a big fan of Cheers. So, hopefully you'll remember some Normisms. These aren't to be confused wit..."

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Work Today

As a product of the '80s, I am a big fan of Cheers.  So, hopefully you'll remember some Normisms.  These aren't to be confused with Clavinisms, Sammyisms, Coachisms or Woodyisms.  However, one Normism I remember quite well is his response when asked what he wanted as he headed for his barstool.  He said, "Well, I'll need something to do before my second beer, so how about a first beer?"  This is the sort of thing that goes through my mind on a regular basis.  So let me connect the dots as to how I arrived at this.

As most of you know, or hopefully know, I am working on a cookbook to demonstrate the many uses of our wine and beer jellies.  So, naturally I am always thinking about it when engaged in otherwise mindless activity, such as driving.   Most of the work on my book is complete, and I just have to tidy it up and work the kinks out of a few recipes.  Well, working the kinks out of recipes requires time in the kitchen, not behind the wheel.   Therefore, I was in the perfect position to "think" about what I still needed to do.  I don't know about you, but when I think, there is no linear process or straight line to my resulting conclusions.  My process resembles more of a road map with streets and highways curving and bending in all sorts of directions before arriving at a particular destination.  Insert Charlie Sheen joke here regarding my brain.

Anyway, my thoughts actually turned into a completely new idea.  A new concept for a different book, which would be my second book.  The problem remains though, I am still not finished my first book.  So, finally, and hopefully, you can see how I ended up thinking about Norm and Cheers this morning.  I need something to do before my second book, so I guess I'll have to finish my first book. 

Since I am capable of multi-tasking, I do have the ability to still "think" about my second book AND finish my first book.  I am actually considering using an open forum with user-generated content in addition to my own.  Moreover, due to the fact that my new concept will recognize the "subjectivity" of food,  I want to engage artists from other genres.  I am one who definitely believes that cooking IS a form of art.    Therefore, I will be very interested in the thoughts of my fellow "artists" for my second book.   For the moment though, I think I'll just finish my first book.