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Wine

Books About Wine to Feast on This Thanksgiving and Beyond

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You can keep your cranberries and candied yams. Everyone knows that turkey—and Uncle Bob’s stories—go best with a nice glass of wine. While everyone else is busy dressing their turkeys and mashing their potatoes, I’ll be on the hunt for the best wine to bring to the Thanksgiving Day table. While searching for some new ideas, I stumbled upon The Winerist where I found an article on the Top Six Wines to Serve for Thanksgiving and I was pleasantly surprised. The Winerist recommends keeping it simple and serving a sparkling wine before the meal and at least one red and one white wine during dinner. I’m all about starting things off with a celebratory note, so I’ll be adding a…

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Barnes & Noble Kitchen: Bookseller’s Perfect Pairing of Books and Food is Our New Favorite Thing

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What goes better with a good book than food (other than a little wine)? Barnes & Noble Kitchen is answering the call of the new wave literati and pairing its bookstores with a variety of food choices for book-loving foodies in four major U.S. cities. This week, the retail chain opened up the fourth Barnes & Noble Kitchen in Plano, Texas. – Like its predecessors, this one comes with a full-service bar, and restaurant serving American cuisine like grilled salmon, salads and hamburgers. Unlike the Starbucks Café in traditional Barnes & Noble’s bookstores, the ‘Kitchens’ are fairly upscale and serve a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. In an interview with Dallas News, Chef Robbie Nowlin said they’re working to expand…

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California Celebrity Vineyards Book Suggests Fine Wines Brought to You by the Stars

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Visiting local vineyards is always a relaxing getaway, especially in the summer when the sun is shining and you’re looking to venture outside. But what if you could tour the sprawling vineyards of some of your favorite celebrities? There’s an easy way to catch a sneak peek of celeb wine country, and this edition was written exclusively for the Golden State. Nick Wise and Linda Sunshine’s California Celebrity Vineyards: From Napa to Los Olivos in Search of Great Wines (The Overlook Press, June 15, 2016) provides an amazing selection from the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Kurt Russell, Mario Andretti, Yao Ming and Lillian Disney. Whether you’ve started your foray into wine because of family traditions, the sheer challenge or simply the science behind…

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Dear Reader Contest Grand Prize Winner

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I personally call the winners of the Write a Dear Reader Contest every year. After I say, “Hello, this is Suzanne Beecher. Your entry in this year’s Write a Dear Reader Contest was a winner. Congratulations!” most of time folks are tongue-tied, reprocessing what I just told them, but not Debbie Perloff, this year’s First Place Winner. “I hate to write,” were the first words out of Debbie’s mouth and she continued, “Even writing a postcard is a chore for me. I am so excited. When I finally decided to enter the contest, I sat down, started writing, and 45 minutes later I was finished. I was so inspired by your writing Suzanne, and also reading the entry of last…

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Spend your Labor Day Grilling Like a Champion

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Just in time for Labor Day (but let’s face it, we’re going to be grilling deep into the fall, if not into winter itself) comes Grilling Like a Champion (Schiffer Publishing, June, 2014), a comprehensive guide for how to grill, what to grill, and the best way to grill it from editor Rudolf  Jaegar. For 15 years, Jaegar has been informing and entertaining the barbeque world online. Now, he’s gathered all of his most indispensible information on the grilling arts in the pages of one book. Are you a beginner? No problem. Jaegar spends the first chapters of the book reviewing different grilling methods, types of grills, fuels for grilling and smoking, and all the accessories you’ll need to fire…

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Grilling means meat! Or does it?

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When authors Karen Schulz and Maren Jahnke  set out to create their new cookbook, Vegetarian Grilling: 60 Recipes for a Meatless Summer, they write that they received varied reactions from family and friends: “from compassionate, taunting laughter (from the men) to complete enthusiasm because the monotony of grilling was about to come to an end (from the women).” They write that the latter reaction was the inspiration for the book. While we would never laugh at anyone making a contribution to the world of grilling (after all, we are all about the grilling, in whatever form it takes) we must admit to a twinge of momentary hesitation. We are quite sure that somewhere far, far back in our lineage, there…

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It’s true: Life is better with bacon

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For the Fourth of July, we here at Casa de Grill Daddy did something special. Thanks to the cookbook featured in our Independence Day column (The Nolan Ryan Beef and Barbecue Cookbook), we grilled hot dogs wrapped in bacon slices. We also prepared hamburgers infused with bacon bits, cheddar cheese, and Montreal seasoning. The result was a delicious display of skyrocketing flavor that was a huge hit with our July 4th party guests. The unqualified success of those two dishes led us to wonder: what else can bacon, that most sinfully delicious of culinary treats, do for us and our fellow grilling devotees? We found the answer in Bacon 24/7 by Theresa Gilliam, a comprehensive volume dedicated to all things…

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As American as baseball, the Fourth of July and burgers on the grill

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Along with millions of our fellow Americans across the length and breadth of this great nation, Grill Daddy celebrates his Fourth of July by tuning in to a baseball game on the radio and throwing some meat on the grill. But this year, he’s doing it with Nolan Ryan, Hall of Fame pitcher, cattle rancher, and author of The Nolan Ryan Beef & Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes From a Texas Kitchen. Ryan, of course, is the former flame-throwing hurler who spent his illustrious career pitching for the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers. In this book, he rounds up his favorite recipes for cooking beef—lots of beef—over the open flame of the backyard grill. “In deciding to…

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Melissa Cookston, the winningest woman in BBQ, shares her secret

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“Traditionally,” writes Melissa Cookston, “the home kitchen has been women’s domain, while the grill has been male territory. Maybe it’s the caveman effect—big pieces of meat and fire bringing out the chest thumping.” Millions of years of evolution, however, haven’t stopped Cookston from being among the best at what she does—calling upon her Mississippi Delta roots to create mouth-watering morsels at the grill and smoker, a practice dominated by men. In fact, Cookston is the winningest woman in the  barbecue contest circuit, having capped off her career with a 2012 Grand Prize at the Kingsford Invitational, a contest of champions at which she also won first place in four out of five categories. It’s that background that has led to…

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No-hassle recipes from The Big-Flavor Grill will set your mouth ablaze with delight

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Big, bold, kicked-up flavors and less work in the kitchen and at the grill makes The Big-Flavor Grill: No Marinade, No Hassle Recipes (Ten Speed Press) a real winner. These are just a few of mouth-watering benefits you’ll enjoy from the best-selling team of Chef Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, executive editor of Cook’s Illustrated. Unlike most grilling cookbooks, The Big-Flavor Grill contains no marinades, which means you don’t have to prepare your meats and seafood hours ahead of time. The book concentrates on spice rubs that coat foods just before they go over the coals with marinade-like ingredients—including citrus, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, ginger, basil, and fresh chilies—that result in savory, complex dishes that are fun and incredibly easy…

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Grillin’ & Chillin’ sweet heat and cool drinks for your Memorial Day

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What’s Memorial Day weekend without a barbecue? To get your summer off right, we’re introducing our latest food column—Grillin’ & Chillin’ with Grill Daddy and The Big Chill. Grill Daddy is a pro with tongs who has been cooking up summertime feasts for family and friends for more than 20 years. The Big Chill is our libations expert. An international wine importer and expert by day, by night he helps friends, such as you, get their chill on—big time. To give you great ideas for summer eating Grill Daddy will be perusing the hottest cookbooks for the tastiest recipes. And since no meal is complete without a beverage to complement the flavors, we’ve turned to The Big Chill for his…

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A quick guide to a kick-ass book club

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Book clubs have a bad reputation among people who like to read, mocked for being a nice excuse to sit with your friends and drink wine, but certainly not an opportunity to talk about books with fellow bibliophiles. At least, this is what I thought before I joined one. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and now, more than four years later, my book club meetings are my favorite monthly activity. Much of this, I’ll admit, has to do with the lovely women in my club who—I’m sorry—I can’t share with you. Beyond that, though, there are some factors that have contributed to my club’s success as a genuine space to talk about great books. Here are a few tips.…

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