FOOD: Get in the kitchen and play with your food |

FOOD: Get in the kitchen and play with your food

Lee Mathis
Free Press Food Columnist
Lee Mathis
Staff Photo |

I cannot tell you how many people, both men and woman, who tell me that they just can’t cook. Now these are not dummies, but, in my opinion, people who have just developed a phobia about cooking.

Folks, it ain’t magic! But as many of us have phobias (don’t even ask about my opinion of needles!) and it is my theory that with practice and patience, we can all get through, maybe not master, but at least get through our fears and phobias. (I cannot tell you how many surgeries I have had in the last 16 years, but if I can get through needles, you can get through cooking!)

Whether it is in the Grand Valley (there are many cooking classes offered through Western Colorado Community College at night!); on the internet (Google cooking for beginners on YouTube.); on television on The Food Network or The Cooking Channel (even “The Chew” on ABC has some great and easy recipes); or even just by trial and error, I really do feel that everyone can learn how to cook. Maybe not Le Cordon Bleu- or The Culinary Institute of America-style, but at least passable!

I think that the main ingredient in learning to cook is patience. Yeah, you are going to make mistakes. I remember the first time that I took a new wine cheesecake into culinary school and it looked so bad that the chef instructors did not even want to try it. Did I give up? No way. I went back and did it again and again and finally nailed it. It was the beginning of our whole line of vineyard cheesecakes. By the by, it was the Blackberry/Cabernet, which is now our #1 seller in the vineyard series!

You have to forget your mistakes. Now don’t get me wrong, you do want to write everything down that you did. That way, you try and not make the same mistakes over and over. Cooking is one of the few times when you are encouraged to play with your food, so take advantage of that!

Email me if you have any questions or just want some easy recipes to try! Keep an eye on our Facebook and Pinterest pages as we post many recipes there.


This week’s comes from our friends at Learning How to Cook and has a lot of tips, instructions and recipes. Likewise, this week’s recipe also comes from the site — a nice and easy beef teriyaki dish.

Lee is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. He can be reached via email at, on the web at, or by calling 970-256-4688. Also, find him on the web by searching Facebook, Pinterest or by visiting Twitter (@decadenceGJ).


1/2 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup sugar

2 T. mirin or sake

2 tsp. ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1 pinch red chile flakes

2 T. vegetable oil, divided

2 1bs. sirloin steak or top blade steak, divided

2 tsp. sesame seeds (white), toasted

2 scallions, sliced thin

Whisk together the soy, sugar, mirin, ginger juice, garlic, cornstarch and chile in a small bowl and set aside.

Trim the meat and slice it 1/4-inch thick, pat dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper.

In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat and brown half of the meat, about 5 minutes, transfer to a bowl.

Repeat with remaining oil and meat. Transfer the browned meat to the bowl.

Briefly whisk the soy sauce mixture to recombine, then add to the saute pan and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Return the meat with the accumulated juice to the skillet and toss to warm through.

Sprinkle the steak with sesame seeds and scallions before serving.

Pair it with steamed jasmine rice.

Recipe courtesy:

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