I'm a dingbat. I have been excited for weeks over tonight- a cooking class at the Vom Fass store in Des Moines. But not just any cooking class, this one is presented by my friend and fellow-foodie Wini Moranville. If you live in Des Moines you probably know Wini. For many years she was the Datebook Diner- the restaurant critic whose official photo was basically a paper plate and a hat with some eyes peering out. Very hilarious. You can tell we're talking sense of humor here. She is also a celebrated cookbook author, with the publication of Chez Bonne Femme in 2011. She blogs and has a website, www.chezbonnefemme.com, and since she has nothing else to do (giggle giggle) she also hosts Great Food every Friday on Des Moines' only local morning show, Great Day on KCWI Channel 23. Heck I am exhausted just writing all that!
Long story short, Wini and I became friends through Facebook, as many people do these days, and shared many conversations online and in blogger groups. It wasn't until I read that she was hosting a cooking class at the local Vom Fass store that I thought we'd finally get to meet in person. I can't understand how Des Moines managed to have a Vom Fass store for over a YEAR and I didn't know? I've been driving to Minneapolis for this!! However..... I heard about it too late. Class is full. Darn. One day I get an email from her asking if I'd like to come as her guest- with all the happy dancing and jumping around singing and having my own little happy party, brain dead ME forgot to verify THE TIME. Had the date alright, but my mind was fixed on 7 pm. You know where I'm going, right? It was not 7 pm. It was 5:30. Ugh. STUPID ME !!!! Not all is lost. I've made it in time for the dessert course, pictures of the group and a little chat time with Wini and the other folks from the class.
I learned several lessons this evening. 1- Wini is awesome! She is very kind, personable and very caring about people. 2- Always double check and then extra-verify date and time. 3- Summer Stone Fruit Clafouti is DIVINE, especially with boozy whipped cream. 4- Cerises Rouge Brandy packs quite a warming punch!
So what did I miss? The first three courses!!!! Bummer! Wini started off with her recipe, Caprice Salad, using heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and Vom Fass' Cru Cravenco Olive Oil and Champagne White Wine Vinegar. (No.......I'm not giving out the recipes- you need to BUY THE BOOK) I'm sure it was absolutely amazing, as it's prime time in Iowa for amazing heirloom tomatoes, and that incredible olive oil - just yum.
The second course was Silky and Light Potato Soup. I'm especially saddened at missing this one. I have a newfound love for soups, especially potato, and with leeks and heavy cream and fresh herbs... let's just say tears are forming because I missed out. Thank goodness I have the cookbook! The next course was a fresh and light pasta dish- Market Day Tagliatelle with Goat Cheese. Pasta with goat cheese. More fresh herbs. And goat cheese. Dry white wine. And goat cheese. You might think I like goat cheese or something.
I WAS able to try the dessert course, and so so so glad I was. Wini's Summer Stone Fruit Clafouti with a boozy whipped cream was just so decadent. So perfect, yet eggy and light. Big slices of fresh juicy peach and halves of sweet dark red cherries, oh my gosh......just........oh my gosh!!! I also got to sample Vom Fass' Cerises Rouge brandy. Wow. I'm cheating a little, reading from their brochure: made from French Guigne cherries with a touch of sugar to emphasize the intense cherry notes. Intense is spot on. It really warms the mouth and I can only imagine that with a piece of dark bittersweet chocolate, sitting on my comfy couch with a blanket, a pile of animals on my lap, sipping while the snow blows outside. Even without the brandy, I am definitely making this clafouti this weekend.
As the class came to an end and we finally got a chance to chat, "talking shop" so to speaking- blogging, using Facebook efficiently, the Datebook Diner days. Wini signed my book and I came home to sit down for a good long read. You can count on some French cooking going on here. I'll share lots and lots of pictures, but if you want the recipes, please get a copy of her cookbook. You won't regret it!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."