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It feels a little bit like Downtown Disney. Or Beverly Hills. Either way, walking through Promenade Temecula’s outdoor mall, music in the air, stunning shops, and amazing finds is one of my favorite things about spring.
Today, Temecula Grapevine was invited to Williams-Sonoma for the “Fresh and Easy” experience was a rare treat on a bright, soCal morning. Our agenda was simple. Start with a Nespresso coffee courtesy of our hosts, venture out to the Farmers Market for a little recipe inspiration, and return with our guide, Culinary Demonstration Chef, Monica Rigali, to watch a demonstration designed for fresh, easy family cooking.
A hint of spring on the breeze, wispy clouds, and a group of some of Southwest Riverside’s most interesting bloggers on hand–Promenade Temecula showed off what makes the Farmers’ Market in Temecula so fresh, and special. The Hazelnut Nespresso was amazing. Nutty, smoke, and rich bean flavors in a fast-brewed cup. Heavenly. Monica Rigala took the crowd through the outdoor market, giving a lesson in shopping fresh, 101.
Our hosts, Promenade Temecula’s Kym Espinosa, graciously welcomed us, sharing the natural fit between Promenade Temecula’s Wednesday Farmers’ Market and Williams Sonoma. “We can do business with our local farmers right in our own backyard,” Espinosa said. “And this is our opportunity to pick out farmers, Williams-Sonoma and Promenade style.”
Rigali, a student of Italian culinary skills, explained her joy of cooking from the freshest ingredients, and being able to shop for the perfect thing, day to day. “There’s no substitute for fresh.” Rigali stated as she demonstrated how to properly chop basil without bruising it (did not know), to how to peel garlic (which I did). “What’s for dinner is always such a tough question. But you can start with diced onions, a clove of garlic, saute over olive oil and a little butter, and cook just about anything.”
The menu of the day was fresh shrimp, served over artisan Williams-Sonoma spaghetti, in a fresh tomato, basil, and Kalamata olive sauce. And with seasonal veggies on hand, packed in ripe bunches, aromatic strawberries, tomatoes, to pungent garlic, ginger, and onions, the Farmers’ Market had everything on the shopping list to create a quick, easy Italian pasta, complete with home-made sauce, roasted asparagus, and fresh crusty bread. All purchased just outside Macy’s at the smaller, outdoor shopping center.
“For less than twenty dollars we’re able to go through, pick the ripest, freshest ingredients for a mid-week meal,” Rigali said. Demonstrating at Williams Sonoma’s cooking theater, Rigali showcased Williams Sonoma’s plethora of culinary implements, such as the rapid boil pot, stainless steel saute pan, knife skills, all the while creating to-die-for aromas for the hungry audience.
The trek through the open air market drew delighted attention of the crowd to everything from garlic shredders to tasting fresh oranges and tomatoes from local vendors. ‘You never know what you’ll find here,” Rigali said. “Menus can be altered slightly, depending on what looks the best.” After a full walk through, Rigali found what she needed. Four fresh basil plants, bounteous ripe tomatoes, asparagus, shallots, garlic, and artisan bread.
“Cooking is both art and science.” Rigali said, as she demonstrated how to crush and chop fresh garlic the traditional Italian way.
“I teach at basic levels, and then if you have more advanced questions, ask away!” Rigali continued to show how to create a quick and easy pasta sauce, cook shrimp to an opaque pink, de-glaze the stainless steel pan, and add in a touch of heat with just the right amount of red pepper.
Williams Sonoma’s Sunday cooking classes are free, but often sell out, space wise. “The classes have grown in popularity, and have long been a favorite since the store opened in 2009.” Rigali said.
Now, they are branching out their standing room only Sunday cooking class by offering the “Kitchen Concierge” program.
“Kitchen Concierge allows us to come to your kitchen for an at-home demonstration.” Rigali said. “Classes will be for 10 or more people, and demonstrations will last anywhere from 1-2 hours. We will be on hand to promote our products, and truly show what you can do in your own space.” These Kitchen Concierge events can be booked well in advance, and in the same vein as other at-home parties, the host or hostess is offered 10% off Williams-Sonoma products for sale after the demonstrations.
If interested in having an at home Kitchen Concierge, call or visit the Promenade Temecula location.
Williams-Sonoma is located: 40820 Winchester Road
For more information, visit online: http://www.promenadetemecula.com/store/2138803734
Or call: 951-296-0061