I come sliding in the door “Kramer” style, 30 minutes late to a cooking class that I painstakingly planned to attend. I carefully reviewed the bus routes, schedules and city map, only to arrive at the wrong address. I promptly took a taxi to the correct address. Class in session, led by Chef Christina Dimacali of Clean Your Plate Personal Chef Service and Cooking Instruction. Her classroom inviting. In the contemporary Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia, the first thing I noticed, was her popcorn strung Christmas tree and a leopard print accent chair. I rested easy knowing that I was in the hands of a culinary artist with flair. Well organized, cheery and about the business of cooking, I knew this would be a great class. There were two couples, Lisa, my assigned cooking partner, and me. Chef Christina led the intimate group into a seafood cooking bliss. We prepared crab cakes, shrimp scampi, blackened tilapia, miso salmon, fennel apple slaw, and red pepper cracked wheat. The Chef covered many things including how to purchase seafood, communicate with your fish monger, handle, season, prepare and serve seafood. If you were an astute student, you would have also picked up on the knife handling tips and other kitchen mastery skills she shared. Everything was divine. Exotic ingredients like miso to the most tried and true spices were used to flavor our raw filets. The “je ne sais quoi” ingredient that we each brought to the table, however, was the joy of cooking. Our collective inspiration in attending a cooking class is to learn how to best prepare delicious and wonderful food that we can share with those we love. Lisa was there to learn a new seafood dish for her family’s celebration of the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”. This intrigued me, the number of faith, seven, and the symbol of life and prosperity, fish. A commemoration of Spirit and material, God on Earth, Jesus the Christ. There is no greater love!
With my newly acquired recipes and insight on fish in the Christmas season, I will prepare the lemony crab cakes – Northeastern shoreline style, miso glazed salmon, fennel apple slaw and red pepper cracked wheat paired with Sauvignon Blanc by Sunday Bay in honor of the Beloved, the greatest love I know.
Eat, drink and be merry!
Very truly yours,
P.S. For cooking classes with Chef Christina visit her website CYPlate.com