Wines of Washington Cooking Class

If you’re a home cook who enjoys trying new recipes, you might want to attend a cooking class at Publix Apron’s Cooking School if you have one nearby. We’ve been to many of these classes before and this experience was just as enjoyable. We prefer the demonstration-style class rather than a hands-on lesson so we can sit and enjoy the food without any effort. The chefs offer tips and tricks as they show us how to make the various dishes, and a different wine accompanies each course. It’s the best bargain out there for a gourmet meal.

   

Our welcome wine was a Hawks Crest Rose that was a golden rose color and had a light body. It was not a favorite of mine. A toast to our friends, Es and Rick Cohen, for sharing the evening with us.

   

The first course was Grilled Pear and Goat Cheese Bruschetta with Bacon and Honey. I thought the bacon and cheese flavors overwhelmed the pear but overall, the tastes blended well. The topping was melty while the bread was crispy toasted. The chef used a ceramic knife instead of a metal one for the fruit so it wouldn’t discolor when exposed to air. This first course came with a KungFu Girl Reisling that tasted slightly fruity and had a pale-yellow color. It would be good to sip alone or would go great with baked Brie and crackers.

     

 

Next was Seared Salmon Sliders with Tarragon Aioli and Watercress. Using fresh salmon, this dish would require some effort to make and would be just as good without the bread. The aioli added a nice flavor to this tasty and substantial dish. The wine was a 14 Hands Pinot Grigio with a golden color. It paired well with the salmon.

The main dish was Maple-Lacquered Duck Breast with Roasted Apples and Brussel Sprouts. I’d forgotten how much I like duck until I bit into this tender meat. Yum, it was so good. I miss French restaurants with duck and orange or cherry sauce. This paired with a Chateau St. Michelle Merlot in a deep burgundy color and a medium body. I like this brand of wines that we’ve had before.

     

Last was the dessert, a Rainier Cherry Crumble topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Lip-smacking good! This sweet treat was accompanied by a Chateau St. Michelle Red Blend wine.

  

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We came home with the recipes and the glow of good times with friends.

Publix Cooking Class – Noble Vines Winery

This past weekend, we attended a cooking class at Publix Aprons Cooking School. The guest speaker was from Noble Vines Winery, describing the wines that accompanied our meal. These are from the Delicato Family Wines in California. We started out with a welcome aperitif. I liked the Noble Vines 242 Sauvignon Blanc. It wasn’t too fruity and would make a pleasant drink just to sip or perhaps to accompany fish or poultry. Meanwhile, the chefs were busy creating our dishes and demonstrating how to make them.

publix cooking class

Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay was paired with the first course, clams with linguini. While our friends indulged in this dish, I had written ahead to request mushrooms instead of clams. I am not a big shellfish eater except for shrimp. The linguini with mushrooms was delicious and would make a satisfying meal in itself.  We liked the Chardonnay as well. In fact, all the wines tonight were really good.

Next up was pan-roasted duck breast served with mushroom farro and cherry vinaigrette. I’d never had farro before, and I liked this grain that reminded me of barley. The duck was tender. It was paired with Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir. I could have eaten this dish for a meal alone.

duck breast

The main dish was grilled Korean beef short ribs with coconut rice and wok-friend bok choy. Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon was the accompanying wine. The short ribs were done just right, but I’ve had better. Actually, the ones I tasted recently in my blog post about the Epcot Festival of the Arts were much more tender. I prefer short ribs slowly braised or done in a slow cooker so that the meat practically falls off the bone. The rice was okay but the bok choy had more taste.

beef short ribs

We left enough room for the dark chocolate raspberry tart and the Noble Vines 515 Rose wine. What’s not to like about chocolate?

By now, we were more than stuffed and woozy from all the wine. It had been an enjoyable evening with entertainment and an appealing meal experience. The best part is that we got to take the recipes home.

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Publix Cooking Class with Guest Chef

Publix Cooking Class – Guest Chef Timon Ballo

We attended a Publix Aprons Cooking School class last evening featuring guest executive chef Timon Ballo from the Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill with locations in Miami, Las Vegas, and Brooklyn. This popular restaurant features globally-inspired small plates and Spanish-style tapas. The evening’s cooking class was fully booked. We were greeted with a glass of black cherry sangria.

cooking school guest chef

sangria

Next came a Chilled Spanish Ajo Verde Soup that was better than I’d expected. Smoked paprika gave this cold soup a bit of a spicy kick. It would be a good menu choice for the summer. Green grapes and English cucumbers provided the green color, while marcona almonds added a touch of crunch. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc was served with this soup.

ajo verde soup

The second course was Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese and Pistachio Crumble. I could eat this for a meal along with a salad. It was so good. We learned how to clean and trim fresh beets, then coat them with olive oil before wrapping each one in aluminum foil. These are roasted until tender and then peeled. The goat cheese whipped with heavy cream provided a perfect garnish amid a sprinkle of arugula and crushed pistachios. The chefs dribbled honey on top before serving. La Crema Pinot Noir was the wine with this course.

chef working beets

Pan Roasted Salmon with Spring Vegetables was the main entrée. This was wild caught sockeye salmon, with citrus accents and a medley of fresh sautéed spring vegetables. Another delicious dish. Roth Chardonnay was the perfect wine choice here.

salmon

Dessert was a melt-in-your-mouth Buttermilk Panna Cotta with White Port-Soaked Fruit. This was a pudding-like confection with a berry garnish. Sandeman Ruby Port was a sweet accompaniment to end the evening.

panna cotta

If you have a Publix Aprons Cooking School near you, check out their classes. It’s more fun than an expensive meal in a fancy restaurant and much better priced.

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