New Arrivals

by Casey Griffith

 Mar 22, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Enjoy two new exclusive wines from Napa Valley’s Juslyn Vineyards.

Following the success of McConnell Golf's first exclusive wine offering, two new vintages arrive in March. Juslyn Vineyard’s incredible 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon received 97 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and sold out in six months — and McConnell Golf members will now enjoy the very last of it. Additionally, an exciting 2018 Sauvignon Blanc is available; Juslyn’s first from Sonoma County.

We caught up with Juslyn Vineyard’s Partner and General Manager Stephanie DeMasi for details on the new pours.

Casey Griffith: We’re thrilled to be extending our partnership with Juslyn! Tell me more about the new wines.

Stephanie Demasi: The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is sensational. It’s a true Cabernet Sauvignon off of Spring Mountain. To have a wine shine so bright in its youth is a rare achievement of nature. The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc was sourced from the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. The fruit is exotic and fresh, less mellow than the riper Napa Sauvignon Blanc we are accustomed to producing. The wine is exhilarating and versatile.

CG: As a relatively novice wine drinker, what will I like about the wines?

SD: Both of these wines are incredibly approachable — just pop and pour! They offer a bounty of fruit and great acidity, which allows them to linger on the tongue for some time.

CG: I’m already thinking about my favorite menu items to try these with. Can you offer pairing suggestions?

SD: A mixed grill of white and red meat can take on the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. It can also welcome pesto pasta salad with pecorino and artichokes — break all the rules! I love pairing curry with the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc — super zippy and fresh — or try it with arugula salad and citrus, poached salmon with lemon and roasted potatoes, or a cheese course with dried fruit.

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April Cookie of the Month

by Isaac Spencer

 Mar 01, 2019 at 10:01 PM

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies
Isaac Spencer, Executive Chef, Grande Dunes Members Club

These are cookies that my family and I make when it rains. I know that every family has different things that they like to do when it’s not an optimal time to go outside and play. At my house we bake cookies, watch movies, and enjoy the rainy day. The next time the weather forecast is calling for Spring Showers, make sure these ingredients are in your cabinet and spend an hour or so creating a delicious cookie that is sure to make a Darker Day … a little bit Brighter!

1 Stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature          
½ cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed                           
½ cup White Sugar                                                 
1 large Egg                                                              
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract                                    
½ cup + 3 tablespoons White Flour; leveled          
½ tablespoon Cornstarch                                                          
1/3 Chopped Pecans
¼ cup Oat Flour (blend Old Fashioned Oats in the blender)
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 ½ cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips, plus more for adding to tops of cookies 

Make sure your butter is at room temperature and not melted. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and creamy, at least 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl add the flour and cornstarch. To make oat flour, blend up regular oats in a blender or food processor until they resemble flour. Measure to get ¼ cup and add that in. Add in the baking soda, fine sea salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and old fashioned oats. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Coarsely chop the pecans and add them in. Stir together all ingredients and cover tightly; chill for at least 1 hour. These cookies do not cook well unless chilled. Preheat oven to 375°. Scoop out balls of dough. (If using a food scale, do cookie balls about 1.8 oz. in size). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or baking liner. Place balls of dough (no more than 9 cookies at a time) on the cookie sheet. Return the tray of cookies to the fridge for 10 minutes. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges (even if center looks a little under-done, it cooks more after being pulled out of the oven). These cookies set up and become extremely delicious and chewy if they are slightly under-baked. Err on the side of slightly under-baking these cookies for soft, chewy, and tender cookies! Press some extra chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies and sprinkle sea salt if so desired. Cookies best enjoyed within 2-3 days.
Yield:  20 cookies.

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March Cookie of the Month

by Graham Heaton

 Mar 01, 2019 at 9:46 PM

Marshmallow Toffee Cookies
By Graham Heaton, Sous Chef, Old North State Club

As a parent of little ones, it’s very important that we spend time with them and share our love of our jobs so that they have an appreciation of what we do. When given the chance to recreate memories of my childhood, I get out one of our old family recipes and share with my children the joy of baking. Baking is also a chance to work with our children on simple daily tasks that help when learning and practicing math. The children don’t even realize you are quizzing them on these math questions.


1 cup Margarine 
¾ cup packed Brown Sugar
¾ cup Granulated Sugar
1 large Egg
1 large Egg Yolk
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
¾ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
½ cup Mini Chocolate Chips
¾ cup Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
¾ cup Mini Marshmallows


Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat liners. Mix brown sugar, granulated sugar and margarine, for about 30-45 seconds, or until fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla; mix until well blended. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda until blended (dough will be soft and creamy). Add mix-ins into the dough until every spoonful of dough has some of the delicious mix-ins. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool 1 minute on wire rack. Remove from baking sheets and cool completely.

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February Cookie of the Month

by Lauren Thedieck

 Jan 01, 2019 at 10:24 PM

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies
By Shug Hammond, Line Cook, Providence Country Club

Anything red velvet is my favorite! During the month of February when RED is so prevalent, I think this special dessert will bring something “lovely” to your house... enjoy!

Fun Facts About Shug

  • Length of Service at PCC: Two years
  • Hometown: Plainfield New Jersey
  • Favorite Menu Item: Pan-seared Norwegian salmon, honey Dijon, dill crème fraiche, potato latkes, and shaved asparagus
  • One thing someone might not know about me: I want to try standup comedy
  • One thing I love about my job: I love the freedom to be creative through desserts


1 Egg                                                      
1 ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon Baking Soda                       
½ cup Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract                 
½ cup White Sugar
1 ½ cup White Chocolate Chips             
1 ¼ cup Red Velvet Cake Mix
¾ cup Butter

DIRECTIONS: Using a paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars until smooth and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add in flour, cake mix, and baking soda until a smooth dough is formed. Then, add in chocolate chips. Let dough chill at least 2 hours. Chilling prevents the cookie from spreading too thin while baking. Bake at 325° for 9-11 minutes. Cookies may not seem fully cooked but will firm up when cooled. Yield:  24 cookies


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January Cookie of the Month

by Lauren Thedieck

 Jan 01, 2019 at 10:23 PM

Oatmeal Cranberry Apple Cookies
By Cedric Hendricks, Line Cook, Raleigh Country Club

These cookies remind me of my travels to Atlanta, Georgia. At a hotel where I stayed, these tasty treats were offered as free samples to the guests. I loved them so much I wanted to recreate the recipe and spread the same delight to others. Sometimes it’s the little things we remember the most. I hope that this recipe will make some special memories for you and your family as they have done mine.

Fun Facts About Cedric: 

  • Length of Service at RCC: Three years
  • Hometown: Henderson, NC
  • Favorite Menu Item: Crispy softshell crab on toasted brioche bun with arugula, pancetta, sliced tomato and tarragon caper remoulade
  • One thing someone might not know about me: I like Japanese anime
  • One thing I love about my job: The ability to be creative


1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
2 large Eggs
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
3 cups Quick Oats
¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
1 ½ cups dried Cranberries
1 cup Butter, softened
1 ½ cups small, diced Apples
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Pecans, toasted
½ cup Sugar

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all dry ingredients. Cream the butter and sugars together. Gradually, add eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until incorporated. Fold in oats, cranberries, apples, and pecans. If mixture appears too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water. Form 1-inch balls on a cookie sheet one inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes.


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Ranch to the Table

by Martha-Page Althaus

 Jun 27, 2018 at 1:45 AM

McConnell Golf’s latest step in sourcing high-quality ingredients is sizzling.

Farm-to-table has long been a culinary buzz phrase, and it’s no secret that using fresh, locally grown ingredients produces a superior dish. But securing the best ingredients for McConnell Golf’s chefs goes beyond stocking the kitchen with local produce. Thanks to a recent partnership between McConnell Golf and Meyer Natural Foods, high quality steaks and beef are now appearing o n all club menus.

What makes Meyer Natural Angus products among the best? It’s all traced back to Meyer Ranch, a 40,000-acre expanse in Montana where cattle are humanely raised, fed vegetarian diets of natural grains and grasses, and never given antibiotics or hormones.

“The only thing we concentrate on is natural, organic protein,” says Reid Swanson, vice president, Meyer Natural Foods. “We’re raising cattle without technology, while utilizing the best genetics to grow a superior animal without pushing it. By allowing cattle to grow naturally, customers taste the difference. Our products are juicier, more flavorful, and more tender.”

James Patterson, one of McConnell Golf’s corporate executive chefs, has been serving Meyer Natural Angus at Sedgefield for several years. When McConnell Golf started looking for ways to further improve its culinary offerings across all clubs, Patterson knew where to go.

“We wanted to find a natural product that would embrace the true essence of what we felt a steak should eat like,” he says. “The quality, consistency, flavor, and overall natural story behind Meyer separates it from traditional commodity beef.”

Now, all McConnell chefs have the flexibility to order any cut of product from Meyer they choose — from strip loin to short rib. The meat arrives in club kitchens with traceability back to the ranch.

When Patterson introduced his peers to the new product, he did a side-by-side butchery comparison of Meyer New York strip and commodity New York Strip.

“The chefs saw a huge difference when we did the comparison,” he says. “We placed the two cuts side-by-side to show the difference in moisture, marbling, color, and texture. The Meyer cut is absolutely a step above and beyond any other traditional steak you’d see on a menu.”

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Behind the Vine

by Martha-Page Althaus

 Jun 21, 2018 at 2:10 AM

A closer look at McConnell Golf’s exclusive wines

This past Spring, McConnell Golf began pouring two new wines — a red blend and sauvignon blanc — the fruits of a partnership with Juslyn Vineyards, located in the heart of Napa Valley. We spoke with Stephanie DeMasi, Juslyn Vineyards’ partner/general manager, to get more information on the varietals and where they came from Santé!

MARTHA-PAGE ALTHAUS: Juslyn Vineyards is located in Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain District. What makes this region distinct?

STEPHANIE DEMASI: We’re located in St. Helena, California. Our vineyard was planted in 1998 and harvested in 2000 with just 80 cases that first year. Juslyn’s Spring Mountain Vineyard sits right on and above the fog line, which allows us to avoid much frost, fungus growth, and rapid air and wind movement through the “hourglass” effect of the Napa mountain ranges. We have steep, southwest-facing vineyards, which provide optimal sun exposure, even in cooler vintages.

MPA: Tell us about the winemakers behind these new wines.

SD: Craig MacLean has worked with us for more than 20 years now. Our owners, Perry and Carolyn Butler, moved to California from England in 1982 to work in the tech industry. They would come to Napa on the weekends to relax. In 1997, they quit their jobs in the Bay area and opened Juslyn, which is derived from the names of Carolyn and their daughter, Justine.

MPA: How did the partnership between Juslyn and McConnell Golf form?

SD: I was introduced to McConnell Golf’s Chief Operating Officer, Christian Anastasiadis, through mutual friends Martin and Denise Cody of Cellar Angels. Christian and I talked, and the idea grew from there.

MPA: How did the flavors develop for each wine?

SD: We wanted to offer versatile expressions of wine that would be easy to match and enhance McConnell chefs’ dinner menus. We also wanted the wine to be enjoyed on its own.

MPA: What are the flavor profiles of the 2014 McConnell Red Blend?

SD: It’s a Bordeaux-style blend. On the nose, you’ll detect warm plums, blueberry preserves, and spice cake. It’s fi rm and muscular on the strong, full-bodied palate, with black cherry, cedar, and lavender fl avors, framed by light notes of French oak. It’s a ripe, fruit-forward wine with a nice spice to the finish.

MPA: And the 2017 sauvignon blanc?

SD: This tropical fruit-driven, aromatic wine exhibits flavors of ripe citrus, subtle mineral notes, and has a lively dry finish.

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