CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Last fall, Lisa McCracken, marketing director of Charleston Town Center Mall, approached Macy's with an idea for cooking classes.
Macy's climbed on board and the two entities began a partnership with Leonard Bailey, executive chef and director of culinary arts at Mountain State University in Beckley, to present the classes periodically throughout the year.
On Saturday, Bailey is returning to Town Center with his second master cooking show. This time it's a healthy-themed demonstration celebrating heart month.
Bailey will prepare a fresh asparagus, bell pepper and pecan salad with balsamic reduction vinaigrette; light eggplant cannelloni (grilled eggplant slices replace pasta shells); and pan-seared salmon, paired with red cabbage, braised in a savory broth.
Audience members will be given copies of the recipes and served a sampling of each dish as it is finished on stage, in addition to having the opportunity to interact with Bailey. He takes comments and questions and clarifies any cooking steps that might be confusing as he works.
The first 50 seated attendees will receive an official AHA Red Dress Pin, a Macy's 20 percent-off coupon good Saturday and Feb. 8 (some restrictions apply), and a free copy of the American Heart Association's "Healthy Heart" cookbook.
All class guests who make a Macy's housewares purchase on Saturday before the cooking class will automatically be entered into a drawing for a Belgique 12-inch skillet. Drawing will immediately follow the show.
Registration isn't required for the class. It's free, open to the public and held in the courtyard in front of Macy's on the mall's ground floor, beginning at 1 p.m. The session runs about 1 1/2 hours.
I don't have to name the major holiday that's celebrated in February (hint: It has nothing to do with early U.S. presidents). Being in a heart-healthy frame of mind, do we have to ignore blissful encounters with chocolate, probably the nation's best loved and most used Feb. 14 ingredient? Quick answer: No!
Today's chocolate recipe isn't from the show, but it sweetly reflects the healthy stance of Saturday's event.
Reach Judy Grigoraci at ...@suddenlink.net.
Double Chocolate Brownies
Makes 16 pieces.
1/4 cup Smart Balance buttery spread or 50/50 butter-Smart Balance blend stick, melted