by Kathryn Johnson
LA VETA — Last Thursday, the La Veta Public Library, together with Lance Freeman and Cheryl Bailey, sponsored a cooking demonstration at the Next Door Deli.
Nearly two dozen people gathered at the Deli on Francisco St. to learn about cooking from Head Chef Lance. The evening started with participants mingling while enjoying wine, cheese and conversation, chiefly revolving around food. Cheryl and Lance introduced themselves and dove right into the night’s tutorial–pan roasting. Pan roasting is the best way to cook a piece of protein, leaving your meat of choice flavorful and with the best texture. The techniques used in pan roasting are searing, flipping, roasting, and butter basting. While neither Lance nor Cheryl recommend using huge quantities of butter for every meal, the use of clarified butter (made from melted butter skimmed and separated from the milk fats that sink to the bottom) really makes the proteins sing.
Lance prepared a Coffee Rubbed Rib Eye, Pork Tenderloin with apples and Dijon mustard, Chicken Saltimboca, Seared Salmon, and a Schnitzel style Chicken Breast. Each protein was cooked entirely in a single sauté pan, making the prospect of preparing a tasty meal at home easier–less dishes at the end of the night! Some of the dishes, like the rib eye and the salmon, needs finishing off in the oven, so an oven safe sauté pan (cast iron, for example) is necessary. Lance went over the preparation methods while Cheryl chimed in with helpful tips. The kitchen, packed with people taking notes and getting a close up view of techniques, felt like a dinner party. The smells from the various spices and proteins were intoxicating and everyone had a smile on their face.
Linda, one of the participants, especially liked the pork dish saying, “It looked easy! And I really liked the cream sauce.” Another chef wannabe was heard saying about the seared rib eye, “Now I know why to let it rest!” During the tasting part of the night everyone made comments on the flavor, which dish was their favorite, and discussed which dish they would try at home. Bethany, from La Veta Public Library, said that this series of adult programming is a “win-win for the community. La Veta is paradise and we love showing what the town has to offer.”
The Next Door Deli offers many gourmet items to add to you pantry as well as ready-to-heat meals to take home for a tasty dinner. The deli, at 107 West Francisco Street in La Veta, is open Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday from 10-6. For questions, contact them at 719.742.3540 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The La Veta Public Library continues its adult programming, highlighting businesses and events that benefit locals, through May. For more information on events, visit their website at www.lavetalibrary.org or call them at 719-742-3572 .
Fabio Wichert Silva.