I guess I can’t just relax on vacation. I looked for a cooking class in Fredericksburg for the weekend we would be there and found the Thai Treasures class taught by Carol Seminara and Joe Houde at the Fischer & Wieser’s Das Peach Haus. The class was small, only six people, and a special guest who sat in–Mark Wieser. The Fischer & Wieser Raspberry Chipotle Sauce is one of the well known products that made them very famous ten years ago, however their story goes way back. Mark Wieser set up a small log cabin on their property in 1969 where he sold his family’s jams and jellies on the roadside. His mother told him the log cabin was a waste of money but their jams and jellies are sold all over the world now and they have a large factory in Fredericksburg.
Back to the class–Carol and Joe were delightful. They moved from Los Angeles to Fredericksburg in 2004 and purchased a bed and breakfast, now called “The Cottages at Limestone on Main”. Carol previously worked as a free lance food stylist for the TV and motion picture industry and Joe was a graphic designer for the movies. Each morning, Carol and Joe prepare–from scratch–a gourmet, four-course breakfast and deliver it to the guests on a silver tray. I was fascinated by their story and their bed and breakfast, particularly since the one we were staying at was not so great. It could have used a good cleaning and was kind of depressing.
The class was packed with recipes including Tom Yum Gung (Shrimp and Lemongrass Soup), Grilled Beef Salad, Pad Thai, Thai Green Curry Chicken, and Coconut Sticky Rice with Mangoes. I have cooked some Thai food such as Thai Basil Chicken, Pad Thai, Pad Woon Sen, and Thai Fried Rice, however I really wanted to learn to make good curry. I was pleased to learn they would be making their own green curry paste with fresh ingredients. I have never been fond of the already prepared kind. Carol toasted coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and ground them all, added cilantro leaves, stems, and roots, sea salt, pepper, lemongrass, garlic, scallions, galangal, lime zest, green chiles and fish sauce. This sauce was flavorful, spicy, intense and layered with so many tastes. Combining it with the coconut milk, zucchini, red peppers and chicken resulted in the best Thai curry I’ve ever eaten. I don’t think the restaurants make their own curry paste after I’ve eaten it fresh. I will be making this curry paste soon. I also enjoyed the other dishes and seeing all the fresh ingredients they used. Everything was prepared with attention to all details. I really wanted to stay at their bed and breakfast the last night we were in Fredericksburg and asked them if there was a vacancy. Fortunately there was and we left our other B & B and moved to theirs the next day. This was a wise move because we got to visit with Carol and Joe, see their organic herb and flower gardens, and she even gave me a container of her curry paste to take home. I can’t wait to go back for another visit and another cooking class.