My parents and I recently went on a trip to New Mexico to discover the culture of the food, people and ranch life. Grandma (my Mom) and I managed to escape a day to the Santa Fe School of Cooking located in the Plaza.
Rocky Durham was our chef extraodinaire for the day. He made the class fun and informative. Some of the tips I learned:
- Sopalpillas is like bread. It can be used to wipe chile off your plate or for a dessert by adding honey. Many people stuff sopalpillas with vegetables and meat.
- Romance of the Wild West is beans and bread
- Zucchini is the Italian word for squash (Did you know that?)
- Chiles Rellanos is a chile filled
- Bay Leaf: Light in on fire then put it in the sauce for more flavor
- New Mexico has an exquisite wine region
- The more you knead dough, the more gluten that develops
- Don’t use a wine you wouldn’t drink. There is no such thing as cooking wine.
- Green chiles become red
- Green chiles are not ripe; red chiles are ripe
- Clean your coffee grinder with salt
- When making gravy, add dry to wet ingredients NOT wet to dry ingredeints to prevent lumps
- When a recipe calls for water, STOP and think, liquid. Then determine what liquid you can add for more flavor
He used lots and lots of chilies and spices. The vegetables were purchased at the local farmer’s market. He encourage us all to visit the local farmer’s market when visiting a new town. Here you will discover more about the community’s people and food.
Rocky demonstrated a Traditional New Mexican meal which included Carne Adovada, Flour Tortillas, Chiles Rellenos, Frijoles Refritos, Calabacitas, and my favorite: Sopaipillas.
I couldn’t wait to dig in!
My favorited (at least so far) New Mexican dessert: Sopapillas! These are served at the end of the meal at many New Mexican restaurants. They say you should break open the sopapillas and put some honey on them. I say break open and fill with honey. Eat and enjoy as the honey runs down your fingers. Don’t worry about the stickiness…that’s what they make soap and water for! Enjoy!
You will find these chili ristras hanging in many homes in New Mexico. They last up to six months depending on the humidity.
If you ever get the opportunity to explore New Mexico, I encourage you to sign up for a cooking class, visit the local farmer’s market, enjoy the friendly people with their simple easy going lifestyle and the cuisine that will definately clean out your sinuses.