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A Taste of California

Savory or sweet, California flavors come home

When you love to travel as much as you love to eat, being a travel writer can be a pretty sweet gig. While I love noshing my way through a smorgasbord of new and exotic flavors on the road, I love bringing those flavors home with me too. There’s nothing more wonderful than making a meal at home that’s steeped in memories of a beautiful vacation.

preparing for our cooking class at Oxnards la Dolce VitaI recently visited La Dolce Vita in Oxnard California and took a cooking class with owner and chef, Michelle Kenney. She hosts one class a month, from 1 pm to 4 pm. Each class is a full menu – appetizer, main course and dessert – as well as wine with each course. I loved that the class was a hand’s on experience, which makes it easier to recreate the meal at home. But I especially love that everything we made, we ate.

Michelle has been in the restaurant business all her life and peppers her classes with colorful stories of her life and businesses. She cooks alongside her students and enjoys the fruits of their labors as well. Her book, La Dolce Vita, is available for sale at the restaurant, but not online – so if you want a copy, pick it up while you’re there.

My La Dolce Vita cooking class

During our visit, we made:

  • Carmelized onion and fig bruchetta - Delightful!Caramelized onion and fig bruschetta for an appetizer
  • Asparagus and goat cheese mini frittatas for the main course
  • Chocolate molten spiced cabernet cakes for dessert

Each dish was simple to make (a big plus) and packed a powerful punch (an even bigger plus). And while I loved the app and main, the dessert stole my heart. After all, who doesn’t love chocolate AND wine – talk about a match made in heaven.

If you can’t get to La Dolce Vita in Oxnard, California, feel free to steal this dessert recipe and make it yourself. Crack open the cabernet, girlfriend, it’s going to be a yummy night!

Chocolate Molten Cabernet Spiced Cakes

  • Chocolate Molten Cabernet Spiced Cakes - Decadent!2 oz. semi-sweet backing chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup butter (use real butter)
  • 1 ½ tsp. Cabernet Sauvignon
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves (optional

Heat chocolate and butter in medium sauce pan (or microwave) until butter is melted. Stir with whisk until chocoloate is completely melted. Stir in wine, vanilla and sugar until well blended. Stir in eggs and yolk. Stir in flour and spices. Pour butter evenly into 4 (6 oz.) buttered custard cups, soufflé dishes or mini bundt pans or 12-14 mini-muffin pans. Place on baking sheet.

Asparagus and goat cheese mini frittata's - divine!Bake in preheated 425F oven 13 to 15 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand for 1 minute. Carefully loosen edges with knife. Invert onto serving plates. Or add berries chopped and stirred into cabernet reduction and then pour on cakes. Or drizzle with cabernet reduction (optional). Sprinkle with confectioner sugar and serve.

Visit Michelle Kenny’s La Dolce Vita online and serve yourself some sweet travel inspiration. Hungry for more delish California? Check out these posts:

Ever visited Oxnard, California? What did you love about it? Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook – and let’s continue the conversation!

To comply with a long list of regulating bodies, possibly even Geneva Conventions and in the interest of transparency, GoGirlfriend’s visit was compensated by the Oxnard Visitor and Convention Bureau. All opinions expressed are those of GoGirlfriend.

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