It’s Winefest here in Central Iowa and last Saturday I conducted a workshop on “How to Grow a Basil Banquet” at the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchens in Des Moines. Attendees got to sniff and taste some 16 different varieties of basil—including lemon, Thai, African blue, variegated, cinnamon, purple, Greek, holy, and sweet—and my colleague Maggie Myers demonstrated three basil dishes, which were paired with wines for the guests to sample and enjoy. The highlight of my weekend was a delightful Friday evening spent with cookbook author, winemaker, cooking class teacher, and PBS television chef Joanne Weir. She was in town to help kick off Winefest Des Moines’ weeklong extravaganza. That’s us, above, taking a break in between my session and hers (“Food + Wine = Divine: Celebrate Wine Country Cooking and Pairing with Joanne Weir”). Check out her most recent book, an all-in-one reference guide called Tequila: A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails and Bites (Ten Speed Press, 2009).