Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eat, Drink, Cook: Tips for cultivating a seasonal kitchen

Michele Mukatis returns for another cooking class Saturday at Ranch Foods Direct. Classes start at 9:30 a.m. and cost $35 each. Consider treating yourself to a couple of hours spent in a small group setting mulling the intricacies of incorporating fresh, seasonal, affordable ingredients into your kitchen routine.

Last month, Michele brandished wild tendrils of garlic scapes and clusters of tender salad turnips while discussing the pleasures of cooking with seasonal vegetables and whisked up simple vinaigrettes with ideas on how to tweak the flavors to suit individual tastes.

Michele is a “certified holistic health and gardening counselor” and runs her own business, Cultivate Health.

Her common sense approach to cooking emphasizes two main points: experiment, based on your own preferences and what’s on hand; and eat in a way that works with your unique physiology and lifestyle.

Michele teaches a variety of cooking and gardening classes around town and also works at Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado, where one interesting new pilot program sponsors CSAs for low-income households. In the initial launch, six families are splitting three CSA shares during the growing season.

“In my business, I work with people who want to experience personal health, planetary health, edible landscaping, and education on growing, cooking and preserving your own food,” she says.

Michele also coordinates the Peak to Plains Alliance, a unique collaboration of farm and food related businesses that celebrate and promote the region’s agricultural heritage. “The group uses its combined strength to leverage marketing, but also fosters community around food resources and having fun in southeastern Colorado,” she says.

Call her at (719) 231-6265 to sign up for a class or to get more info. Additional cooking classes are scheduled in August, September and October.