Cooking for Happy Hour

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Happy Hour: A time of day known the world over for relaxing just before dinner with small bites and small pours. To create your own happy hour at home for family and friends, try a bite-sized menu that pairs light, flavorful dishes with food-friendly wines, such as Mirassou Winery’s new red blend, Sunset Red. This Pinot Noir-based red blend features fresh, dark fruit flavors of black cherry and blackberry with notes of caramel and brown sugar. To explore more wine pairing options, visit

Sunset Sliders
Yield: 8 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 6 to 8 minutes
1 lbs. lean ground beef (preferably grass fed)
1/2 cup finely chopped baby portabella mushrooms
1/4 cup minced shallots or red onion
1/4 cup Mirassou Sunset Red
1 tbs. minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded aged Gouda cheese
8 brioche, ciabatta, or other small slider rolls
8 thin Roma tomato slices
4 strips cooked cherry wood or apple wood smoked bacon, broken in quarters
5 to 6 baby arugula leaves
Using your hands, mix beef, mushrooms, shallots, wine, rosemary, Dijon, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Shape into 8 very flat patties.
Grill, broil or pan fry for 3 minutes. Turn and top with cheese; cook for 2 minutes more. Serve on lightly toasted rolls with tomato, bacon and arugula.
Recipe Tip: Dress arugula with a bit of olive oil and balsamic for extra flavor.

Cherry Bread Pudding
altYield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Stand time: 2 to 8 hours
Cook time: 30 to 35 minutes
3 1/3 cups half and half
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
4 eggs
8 cups (1-inch cubes) Challah or other sweet, eggy bread, lightly toasted
1 can (15 oz.) pitted sweet cherries, well drained
3 to 4 tablespoons coarse sugar
Whisk together half and half, sugar, extracts and eggs until well mixed. Place in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and add bread cubes. Stir lightly and push cubes down to coat completely with mixture; cover and refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 325°F and lightly butter 8 to 10 small (about 1 cup) ramekins.
Fold cherries into bread mixture and spoon into ramekins; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

Sweet Potato Fries with Spiced Aioli
altYield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Spice Mix:
2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. curry
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
3 to 4 cloves garlic
2 egg yolks
2 tbs. fresh
lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 lbs. sweet potatoes
2 lbs. yams
Vegetable oil for frying
1 tsp. sea salt
Stir together all spice mix ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. Drop garlic cloves into a blender or food processor with the motor running. Add egg yolks and lemon juice and process briefly. Add oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture becomes thick and creamy. Stir in 2 tsp. of spice mix and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To prepare fries, peel potatoes and cut into long 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick strips; place in a large bowl of ice water to keep from browning. Remove a handful at a time and pat very dry between paper towels.
Drop into 1 inch of hot oil (oil is hot enough when a few drops of water added start to pop) and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Drain well on paper towels and repeat with remaining potatoes. (Keep warm in a 300°F oven.) Place in a large bowl and toss with remaining sea salt and spice mixture. Serve immediately with aioli. 

Source: Mirassou Wine

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