A Cooking Class, Lots of Wine, and a Lemony Vinegarette Dressing!

A while back I got an email from Travelzoo Local Deals about cooking classes at our local winery, Bernardo Winery. I knew that they offered them at the Cafe Merlot at the winery, and when this deal came about, I wasn’t about to pass it up.  A night out with the girls, cooking, and drinking wine.  Hello?  You can’t beat that. Well, actually, you can!  Not cooking, and being served instead, would have been the best option, since cooking for our families is such a regular occurrence.  But let’s be honest, I think us girls were definitely more focused on the wine.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted with a hefty glass of Champagne. Yes, please!  Who doesn’t want to be greeted with a nice glass of bubbly?  I do!  So, we’re off to a good start.  We were quickly split up into tables of eight.  We were a party of four, and we joined a table with two other couples.  This made for some fun mingling, and the bubbly really came in handy here!


This is where things start to get a little awkward as you’re all trying to find your place and know where you should step up and start chopping, or sit back and drink!  Someone from one of the other parties said that they made “reservations”.  I must be living in a cave, because when she said that, my first thought was that she worked there, and took reservations.  I didn’t know she meant that to “eat”, she made reservations.  Duh!!!   So, I wasn’t relying on her to get fed!  Which meant, I started chopping!   And I found it really interesting when she chimed in and told me how to do something.  I thought, “Okay, step back, girlfriend, I’m Italian and from New York!”  That didn’t mean I wanted to rumble.  It meant, “I like to eat, therefore, I cook!”  

Taking a cooking class is a great way to get inspired and learn something new.  Our menu consisted of Eggplant “Caviar” Brushette, Herb Bean & Artichoke Salad, Vitello Uccello Florentine, Pasta alla Papalina, and Zabaione with Pineapple.   Huh?  Yes, we were making all of this.  But when I learned that the dressing for the salad was a lemon vinegarette, I got really, really excited.  Don’t ask me why.  I mean what’s missing in my life if lemon vinegarette gets me excited?  Really?  We tossed it in a delicious bean salad that had artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, red and yellow peppers, and more.  It was devine!

In addition to many other of the dishes, Dawn stepped up and worked the Veal dish.  OMG!   That’s all I’m saying!  Honestly, I now know why people eat it.  It was so good!  It was stuffed with prosciutto, spinach, and cream cheese and topped with a brothy sauce.  Oh, yeah, baby!

The next day, despite the headache I had from all of that wine, I couldn’t get the thought of the delicious dressing out of my head.  I needed it in my life, again!  Luckily, I had everything on hand to make this dressing and a yummy salad!  

Cafe Merlot Lemon Vinegarette Dressing
Yields 1
A Lemony Vinegarette
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
124 calories
27 g
0 g
1 g
2 g
0 g
191 g
1376 g
19 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 124
Calories from Fat 10
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1376mg
Total Carbohydrates 27g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 19g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1/4 c. lemon juice
  2. 1/3 c. white vinegar (rice)
  3. 1 tbsp. basil, chopped or 1 tsp. dried basil, crushed
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. thyme, chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
  5. 1 tbsp. honey
  6. 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  7. 1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
  8. 1/2 tsp. salt
  9. 1 small garlic clove, minced
  10. 1/8 tsp. pepper
  1. Mix ingredients in blender
  2. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  1. This makes about 1 cup of dressing.
For the salad, you can use anything you have, but for mine, I added grape tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, and kalamata olives.  I tossed my veggies in the dressing first and let them sit for a little while in the fridge. Then I laid them over a bed of fresh spinach and drizzled some dressing over the whole thing!  It was fresh and crispy!  Just what the doctor ordered after a few too many glasses of vino the night before!   







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2 Responses to “A Cooking Class, Lots of Wine, and a Lemony Vinegarette Dressing!”

  1. Keri says:

    It was fun! Loved the dressing too, although after all that wine I was craving a burger more than salad the next day!



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