A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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Cooking with Mike Colameco

February 1st, 2013

Chef Mike Colameco taught a cooking class last night at the Viking showroom in NYC. This class is part of a series sponsored by the 92nd Street Y. Last night’s focus was on One Pot Winter Dinners.

Chef Mike Colameco

Mike started his career as a chef in the ’70’s, and his first job was at The Four Seasons restaurant in NYC. Currently he is hosting “Mike Colameco’s Real Food”  on PBS, “Food Talk” on WOR Radio, and is the author of “Mike Colameco’s Food Lover’s Guide to New York City”. He certainly has a few years of cooking under his belt, but that’s not why he is such a good teacher. He has the perfect temperament with such a warm conversational manner. He intentionally does not hand out recipes because he prefers that the class focuses on technique. He wants everybody to understand how to make substitutions based on what is available at the market, and not follow a fixed recipe.

There were about 40 students in class, and it was a demonstration rather than a hands-on class. At first I thought that this would not be very effective, but in hindsight I think you can learn more. In a hands-on class you are too busy peeling carrots and focusing on just one aspect of the meal, rather than seeing the big picture. I thoroughly enjoyed the class; and learned a few things.

He prepared two dishes last night. The first was lentils with root vegetables and merguez sausage.  Merguez is a spicy sausage that can be found at Pino’s Prime Meats on Sullivan Street and occasionally at the Union Square Farmers market.The lentil dish included celeriac, carrots, onions and turnips. So simple. Start by sauteing the onions for a few minutes and then add the root vegetables. After 5 minutes or so he added lentils and water (use twice as much water as lentils). Cover and cook for 35 minutes. After the first 25 minutes, add the sausage on top of the vegetables to steam (sauteing the sausage would add more flavor, but that’s one more pot). When almost finished add chopped parsley on  top. The dish was both healthy and hearty, and got a big kick of spice from the sausage.

Hearty Lentil Dish

 

The second dish was cod over a bed of steamed vegetables. You could substitute any white flaky fish like halibut or hake. The key is to saute some vegetables like onions and bok choy.You can substitute other watery vegetables like Napa cabbage. Add garlic, ginger, and soy sauce to give the dish an Asian flair. For the last 10 minutes of steaming, add the fish on top of the vegetables (the cooking time of the fish will vary depending on the thickness). Add chopped cilantro just before serving.

The class last night was fun. Everyone enjoying drinking wine and sampling the tasty two dishes. I certainly recommend these classes with Mike; and I will take another class in a couple of months. There are 5 more classes this Spring, held the last Thursday of the month. Here is a link to the class schedule.

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