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Mushrooming Interest

Part of a series on healthful cooking, class will explore uses of tasty fungi. One of the classes on healthful cooking will explore varied uses of tasty fungi.


How healthy and versatile is the mushroom?

Susan Peterson, co-owner of Mushrooms, Etc. in Camarillo, knows the answer. And she will provide some tasty insight Monday in a cooking class at the Camarillo Health Care District office.

The mushroom-laden lunch menu for the day will include marinated mushroom appetizers, a mushroom-and-spinach salad, portabella pasta and a strawberry sorbet with fluffy meringue mushrooms.

Lunch and the class will run from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 3639 E. Las Posas Road, Suite 117. The cost is $10 for Camarillo and Somis residents, $12 for anyone else. Reservations are required by calling 388-1952, Ext. 117.

Mushrooms, Etc. is one of a series of food providers and restaurants conducting classes on healthful food preparation through the Health Care District.

The monthly programs began late last year, shortly after the health organization bought the Googie's restaurant site in a nearby building and turned it into a demonstration kitchen. Caterers, the American Heart Assn. and folks from Camarillo's Verona Trattoria have been among the presenters.

"They come in, show people how the food is prepared and serve it," said Cheryl Camlott, community outreach and education coordinator. "We encourage them to always show how to change ingredients to make the [recipe] more healthy. If it usually takes cream, substitute low-fat milk, if it's usually eggs, make it Egg Beaters--whatever it takes to modify."

Among the other programs on the food calendar will be a series of "Healthy Winter Cuisine" classes, meeting on four successive Thursdays beginning Feb. 5. Registered dietitian Laura Cooper Fuld will focus on entrees and side dishes during the first class, with subsequent classes centered on low-fat appetizers, vegetables, soups, baked goods and healthy modification of students' favorite recipes.

The cost is $12 for Somis and Camarillo residents, and $14 for others per class; $40 for Somis and Camarillo residents, $45 for others for the entire workshop.


Cafe Provencal is normally closed on Sundays. But with Valentine's Day falling on a Saturday this year, the romantic French eatery will keep its kitchen whirring throughout the weekend.

To accommodate an anticipated overflow of loving couples (and a fair number of pairs who would just as soon avoid the crowds on Valentine's Day evening), the restaurant will offer a special four-course Valentine's menu from Friday the 13th through Sunday.

"It's going to be a long, romantic weekend," said Florence Bonet, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Serge.

For the first course, dubbed "Ile des Plaisirs" (Pleasure Island), Cafe Provencal will serve asparagus in a veloute sauce. That will be followed by a "Premiers Desirs" (First Desire) seafood salad. For the entree, "Parfait Amour" (Perfect Love), there will be a choice of fish in a sorrel sauce or tournedos in a bearnaise sauce.

The meal will conclude with a surprise "Valentino Dessert."

Dinner will be served from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday. The cost is $35 per person (tax and tip not included). Cafe Provencal is at 2310 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. For reservations, call 496-7121.

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