Monday, October 02, 2006

Mexican Cooking Class #2

I'm taking a 5-week Mexican cooking class at the Princeton Adult School. Our teachers Lucila from Oaxaca and Rogelio from Puebla are assisted by Anna, who basically translates for them and estimates their non-measurements for us amateurs who need them. First class involved making hand-pressed tortillas from masa and learning a variety of salsas. One salsa verde that Lucila pounded in the mortar and pestle kicked our asses -- the seeds must really get pulverized that way, far more than by blender.
This week Lucila had the salsas all ready for us to dress a variety of antojitos (Mexican snacks). Pictured left are flautas con papas (potatoes) y cilantro, taught to us by Rogelio. Mash potatoes with cilantro, salt, and pepper. Roll in a tortilla, tie shut with a strip of corn husk and deep-fry until golden. Dressed with crema, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and queso fresco -- so good! Rogelio also showed us how to make pork tacos with enchilada sauce -- slice thin, marinate first in water and vinegar, then in the enchilada sauce overnight, cook it up, chop into small pieces, fill your taco with pork, onions, cilantro -- simple and perfect.

Lucila's two dishes were sopes (smaller thicker corn tortillas with a lip) covered with refried beans and shredded chicken -- baked a few minutes then topped with the requisite crema, queso and lettuce; and quesadillas de Oaxaca (pictured above). These were unlike any quesadillas I've ever had. They were more like empanadas. The dough used masa mixed with a bit of wheat flour. She made 2 fillings: shredded beef or shredded chicken cooked with diced potatoes, tomatoes, onion, garlic and cilantro. She put the filling and queso oaxaquena (a string cheese) into the dough, then deep-fried. To serve, Lucila sliced open the quesadilla and stuffed with queso fresco and lettuce -- oh my god, so good...

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