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updated: 2/14/2012 2:31 PM

French recipes without fear in 'Bonne Femme Cookbook'

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  • Wini Moranville cookbook author

    Wini Moranville cookbook author

  • "bluestem, the cookbook"

    "bluestem, the cookbook"

  • Meg and Colby Garrelts

    Meg and Colby Garrelts

  • "The Bonne Femme Cookbook"

    "The Bonne Femme Cookbook"


So Valentine's Day came and went without Filet with Cherry and Red Wine Sauce on the table for my loved ones. I meant to make it, but the day got away from me, which really is a crime because that lusciously romantic French dish doesn't take any more time to prepare than it takes to get the pizza delivery guy to my house.

That's right, that recipe with its tender beef and rich cherry glaze comes together in about 30 minutes, as do many of the recipes in "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple Splendid Food that French Women Cook Every Day."

Author Wini Moranville, a restaurant reviewer for The Des Moines Register and wine columnist for Relish magazine, shares techniques and speedy preparation in her new book that prove it is possible to cook and dine like the French whether you're in Paris or Palatine.

Moranville hits her goal -- in her words "to interpret today's casual French home cooking" in ways that "will translate fluently to the American table" -- with dishes like Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup, Chicken Tres Rapide with Artichoke Hearts and Tagliatelle with Bacon and Gruyere. Between the 250 mouthwatering recipes are insightful stories from her culinary travels as well as helpful tips for things like braising, using parsley and planning a dinner party menu.

You can meet Moranville and purchase a signed copy of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook" (Harvard Common Press, $24.95) at 2 p.m. Feb. 25, at The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka. (847) 446-8880,

Wine with friends: Teddy's Liquors will pour a variety of Argentine and Chilean wines at a Saturday evening fundraiser for Clearbrook.

From 6:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at Stonegate Conference and Banquet Center, 2401 W. Higgins Road, Hoffman Estates, you can be among the 350 guests enjoying 60-some south-of-the-border wines and Latin-fusion fare all while supporting Clearbrook, Illinois' largest organization dedicated to working with people with disabilities. Wines sampled throughout the evening will be available for purchase at $6 to $40 a bottle.

Tickets cost $100 a person and include live entertainment and dancing and a Latin lounge where staff will pour pisco sours and conduct a beer tasting. Raffle tickets for the chance to win a vacation for two to Puerto Vallarta cost $20; seven for $100.

Visit to purchase tickets in advance.

Homeward bound: Top shelf pasty chef Megan Garrelts returns home to Naperville Saturday to sign copies of the cookbook she created with chef/husband Colby Garrelts.

The couple, who met while working at Chicago's Tru and worked in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, run bluestem restaurant, a critically acclaimed farm-focused eatery in Kansas City, Mo.

In "bluestem: the cookbook" (Andrews McMeel, $45), they share more than 100 recipes and showcase Midwestern ingredients and artisanal producers.

Meet the Garrelts from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at Anderson's Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville. (630) 355-2665 or

• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at or follow her on Twitter @PankeysPlate.

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