Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mexican Fiesta!

last night's class was Celebrate Mexican with Chef Maria Amalia Garza.
i love Maria's classes.
she is so calm, attentive... and so full of knowledge.

the class was one of the quietest that i had seen in ages, Maria definitely has a calming vibe, reassuring. Everyone looked so confident in the kitchen as Maria was floating around.

i decided to take pictures of raw ingredients that were explained to the class as it started.
there is a definite depth of flavour in Mexican food - everything is roasted, toasted and let to ripen to its fullest potential. mole sauces cook for hours, and that doesn't even take into account the pampering that goes into smoking and drying the chilies...

here is the cascabel chile

the name means "rattle" and refers to the shape of the chile as well as the sound the seeds make when a dried chile is shaken. it is usually deep red to brownish in color and is grown in Mexico. you can purchase them through Chilly Chiles.

the platanos, or plantain

Maria was saying that it is always best to buy these at the desired stage of ripeness as the ripening process is quite long... if you buy a green plantain and need it for dessert, you might need to wait a month! don't be scared to buy the black plantain, that is how they should be for sweets, as long as the skin is still intact, you are good to go!

and last but not least: tomatillos

i was surprised at how many people had never cooked with these. they have always been so attractive to me in their protective little husks... if you are curious about cooking with them, now is the time to try: they are in abundance in the markets.


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