Today we are going to Muse about whats cook’n. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.
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Hey! Whats cooking?
When you are in a different place for a couple of months, say like Mexico, what to do? Time on your hands . . .what to do? Well, . . . get cook’n. That what we did.
Yes siree, in San Miguel de Allende we went to cooking school, two of them in fact. It was a lot of fun.
The first school, La Cocina Cooking School was taught by Chef Kristen Rudolph. For many years she owned and ran El Buen Cafe. It is now run by her son-in-law I believe. The school is around the corner from the cafe.
Kris conducts culinary tours in Mexico, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Vienna/Budapest. If you are ever interested in traveling and taking cooking classes while doing so, you should check out her website, delicious expeditions.com. It is really interesting.
Jeanette and I and two women we did not know made up our class. Kris walked us through the preparation of an entire Mexican meal. Her kitchen was small and intimate and the setting was casual.
First we made guacamole. I have my recipe and was pleased to see it was almost identical to the one we used in the class.
Next was the main course Mole Poblano. This is a rich sauce made with chilies, onions, garlic, sesame seeds, almonds, peanuts, raisins, tomatoes, cloves, cinnamon, chocolate, sugar, tortilla and probably some things I have forgotten. It is served over meat or poultry. As you can imagine it takes a while. We started it at the beginning of the class and it cooked through the entire three hours.
Next we made Chiles Rellenos de Queso (Poblano Chiles stuffed with cheese) The main task with this dish is removing the skin of the chiles without tearing the flesh. Basically the chile is held in a flame and the entire skin is blackened and blistered. The chilies are then placed in a plastic bag or a bowl with a lid and left to sweat for about 20 minutes. At this point the skin will peel off when you rub it. Once the skin is removed the chile is carefully opened lengthwise and the seeds and the veins are removed. They are the principal source of the “hotness”. The chile is then stuffed with cheese and baked until the cheese is melted. In our class it was served with a topping to tomato purée.
We also learned about nopales, or Prickly Pear Cactus paddles. I have seen them in our local produce market but never knew what to do with them. Now I do. We made a Roasted Cactus Salad.
Our last dish was Pastel de Tres Leches (Three Milk Cake).
And then we ate dinner!
The recipes for these can be found in one or the other of three cookbooks Kris Rudolf has authored: Recipes and Secrets from El Buen Cafe, Mexican Light and Savoring San Miguel.
Several weeks later, we took a second class when some visiting friends, Brad and Shirley, came down from Florida and stayed with us a week. The four of us had a private class at the Marilau Mexican Ancestry Cooking School. You can check out the school on Mexican-cooking-school.com.
We worked in a small kitchen around a central table. There were pots and cooking vessels everywhere.
You can see some of them hanging on the walls. In the upper left is a mirror that allowed us to see what Marilau was doing on the stove. In the plastic pitcher on the table was a drink called “aqua de Jamaica” pronounced “hom A kah”. It is made by soaking hibiscus flowers in water and is common in Mexico. It can be quite bitter but with enough sweetener I thought it was very refreshing. Jeanette had a bad reaction to it, however.
Our class covered Sopa de tortilla which we call tortilla soup or Aztec soup and nopalitos guisados (stewed prickly pear cactus paddles). Cactus is a very common vegetable in Mexico and apparently a high quality food. Stewed it was similar to cooked green beans.
The main course was Pollo en Chile Ancho y Nuez (Chicken in a sauce made with ancho chile and pecans).
So what did we learn from these classes? Well, first we had fun and learned to experiment with some things we were not familiar with, some things we might have been a bit afraid of.
And now we know a bit about a Poblano chile
and a bit about an ancho chile, which is really a dried poblano chile
a bit about a guajillos chile
If you go in our local grocery store you know this is valuable knowledge.
more to come
Fine Art America, a Pixel.com company
Pixel.com is now offering YOGA MATS with reproductions of my artwork. If you want to check it out, here are the steps:
1. Click on the link below.
2. Click on one of the galleries to open up the page of images.
3. Click on an image you like. It will open up a side bar with a number of options.
4. Click on “LIFESTYLE”. It will open up a menu of products. If the mat is available for the image you chose, it will be at the bottom of the list.
5. Click on “YOGA MAT” and it will open up a sizing slide so you can adjust the image.
My work is available as traditional prints on canvas, paper or metal, but it also available on greeting cards, phone covers, tote bags, shower curtains, t-shirts and more. It makes for some very personalized gifts. Below is the link to the site. When you click on an image in the site, a menu of products will appear. I hope you like it.
CLICK ON: thomas-tribby.pixels.com
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