Recently in Cooking Seminars & Classes Category

Spice Up Your Summer Nights!

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Ramekins Culinary School in Sonoma
From butchery to Mexican tamales, plan a culinary getaway to Sonoma Wine Country and spend your summer evenings learning new tricks, tips, and culinary techniques. With the addition of TASTE, a complimentary wine tasting event complete with tasty bites and good company, guests are invited to relax, unwind, and enjoy the warm nights.

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Summer Tamales with Agustín Gaytá
June 1, 6:30-9:30p.m., $100

Using the techniques and ingredients of his childhood, Chef Gaytá demonstrates how to prepare Mexico's oldest dish, the tamale. Students are encouraged to master the basics, then add their own concepts and experiment with a variety of flavors. From savory to succulent, dishes include Tamales de Mariscos (Shrimp and Scallops with Butternut Squash Wrapped in Swiss Chard and Served with Habañero Salsa) and Tameles Dulces de Coco (Sweet Coconut with Vanilla Cream Sauce). Register for Class!

Favorite Flavor?

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flavorbar.jpgby Michaela Jarvis

You may not serve grapes dipped in lime juice and salt at your next dinner party, but it's still fascinating to see what kind of flavor such a combination produces. Like cooking deconstructed, the Calibrating Your Palate demonstration at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, lets you taste for yourself how different flavors affect each other: how acid can bring out earthy tones in a food; how salt can bring out sweetness. After just 15 minutes watching the demonstration at the Flavor Bar, you'll begin to taste and season like a chef.

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Time To Stop Beating Around the Bûche

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By Deirdre Bourdet

Growing up in California, I always thought a yule log was the crackling fire you tuned your televisions to while you opened your Christmas gifts.  I was stunned to learn that the yule log is not only a real cake consumed by many Americans, but the Christmas Eve dessert for families in France.

In contrast to the rest of the traditional Réveillon menu for December 24th--oysters, foie gras, truffles, and roast capon--the Bûche de Noël is a humble little creature.  Thin genoise cake, usually chocolate, is rolled around a flavored cream-based filling and then frosted and decorated with meringue mushrooms to look like a felled log in the forest.  Although some French seem to prize an ultra-realistic log, and others opt for a more cartoonish look, everyone's goal is clearly to make the cake look like a moldering piece of wood.

Mushroom Hunting in Mendocino

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By Deirdre Bourdet

If, like me, you missed this year's Wine and Mushroom Festival in Mendocino (November 5-14th) don't delay your shroom-hunting expedition until next November.  Many other opportunities to stalk the wild mushroom await you in the coming months! 

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg maintain an unbelievable variety of flora on their grounds.  In addition to the meticulous formal gardens, dense pine forest, fern-covered canyons, camellias, magnolias, heathers, and flowered coastal bluffs on the Pacific Ocean, there are wild mushrooms galore.  Every wintry Monday afternoon through January 31, 2011, the Gardens' staff mycologists lead off-trail Mushroom Walks through the funghi's favorite growing areas, and instruct participants about mushroom myths, biology, and identification.  Tours run every Monday from 1:30pm to 3pm through January 31, 2011, and are free with admission to the gardens ($10 per adult, discounted rates available for seniors, Mendocino County residents, and kids). Come prepared for wet weather and messy tromping through the wilds.  18220 North Highway One, Fort Bragg, 707.964.4352x16.

Take a Gourmet Retreat

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casaLanaGourmetRetreats.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - What better way to experience the essence of wine country cuisine than with a gourmet retreat? If you are an avid home cook or food enthusiast, then take your cooking to the next level with a culinary vacation in Napa Valley.

At Gourmet Retreats, located in Calistoga, CA at CasaLana B&B, sign up for hands-on cooking classes taught in a professionally equipped kitchen. To ensure personalized attention and one-on-one attention, classes are limited to only 9 participants. They include printed recipe handouts and a generous sampling or meal of the food prepared served with wine/beverage. All kitchen equipment is, of course, provided as well.

Gourmet Retreats offers Culinary Vacations, Boot Camp, One-Day Wine Country Classes, and Gourmet Weekend Retreats as well. Choose from a variety of class lengths ranging from as little as 5 hours to 5 days.

View sample Itineraries for a Culinary Vacation



Chef Heaven

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Learn to cook amid the bounty of Wine Country

By Mandy Behbehani

As Seen in Napa Sonoma Magazine

"I was 32 when I started cooking," Julia Child famously said. "Up until then, I just ate."

For those of you who want to go from consumer to chef, the secret may be cooking classes. And where better to learn than in Wine Country, a confluence of fresh produce, innovative cooking, and stunning scenery.

Classes run the gamut from a four-hour hands-on Mediterranean dinner with noted San Francisco chef and TV personality Joanne Weir, to a one-day getaway culinary tour with three of your best girlfriends. And don't worry: Typical students are not pros but range from home chefs who know their way around an herb-encrusted pork loin to rookies who can barely skin a potato. And there are classes for kids, too.

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Pigs & Pinot: The Perfect Pairing

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***Find 2010 info HERE. Event is March 19-20, 2010!***

HEALDSBURG, CA - Don't miss this year's Fourth Annual Celebration of Pigs & Pinot 2009 event, March 20-21, 2009 at Hotel Healdsburg. The weekend will include a series of intimate dining and educational events hosted by renowned Chef Palmer.

Tickets can be purchased directly online and there are several lodging packages available at Hotel Healdsburg which include access to all Pigs & Pinot events, including exclusive access to the Gala Dinner. But space is limited; so make sure you make advance reservations now!

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