Our weekend classes started in 1984 in my little weekend stone cottage which I called Santa Fe East. I had so many of my friends who wanted to come out to our week long classes in Santa Fe, but could not find the time, so I started giving these traditional New Mexican full participation classes back then.
After buying the house, which had a lot of personality reminiscent of New Mexico and Mexico, it had 3 foot thick stone walls built by a survivor of the Titanic in 1923. I gutted 4 rooms and made them into a Mexican looking kitchen with a Saltillo tile floor and Talavera tile counter tops and installed a professional Garland gas range. The classes were great fun and attracted a wonderful group of people including some rather famous people.
When I made the tough decision to leave NYC and Woodstock, NY back in 1993, I decided to build a hotel based cooking school in Albuquerque and moved my Santa Fe School to Albuquerque, where I have been ever since.
I no longer teach in a hotel location--instead, we have smaller classes in my Corrales kitchen which also has Saltillo tiles and a Garland range. The classes have always been a great deal of fun and I continue to enjoy sharing as many tips, techniques and history as I can in the 3 session weekend school. We have sessions planned for April 26-28 which just last week, I placed on a half price special, also classes set for May 24-26 and August 9-11 and will probably schedule September and November sessions. I hope you can come this year! In both the weekend and the week long class, attendees receive a copy of my comprehensive "Southwestern Kitchen" cookbook, an apron and a diploma.
I also have 1 week long class set for July 15 - 19. The week long classes include famous Mexican dishes such as Moles, Chiles en Nogado, Tres Leches cake and much, much more.
In both classes, I always enjoy sharing the history of corn, which culinary historians claim that if it were not for corn--our world population would be much smaller. Corn, which was discovered and initially cultivated in Old Mexico; will grow most anywhere there is sunlight. Corn, which is often maligned, is very healthy and has a huge and very interesting history which I will save for class.
However, I thought you might enjoy having a couple of Blue Corn recipes. We just got the latest crop of smoked blue corn flour and blue corn pancake mix in last week. In celebration of that, I am placing the blue corn on a 20% off special. (Our blue corn is smoked with pinon wood and is more finely ground than any of which I am familiar, making for much more flavorful dishes.) Try the blue corn pancake mix with blue berries topped with a blue berry compote or fruited yogurt and honey. We also have Blue Corn Muffin mix.
Both of these recipes are made in both the weekend and the week long class.
BLUE CORN PARFAIT BREAD
The best blue cornmeal is smoked in adobe ovens and then lava-wheel ground to a fine flour consistency. With the popularity of blue corn, a lot of blue corn on the market is “filled,” or blended with white or yellow corn and is coarsely ground. For the best flavor, buy our pure blue cornmeal, if it is available. The moist quality of this bread has long made it a favorite with campers and picnickers.
Yield: 9-12 servings
1 cup blue corn flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoons salt
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 cups cooked or canned whole-kernel corn, drained
¼ pound Monterey Jack cheese or Cheddar cheese, or a combination of the two, sliced ¼ inch thick
¼ cup sliced jalapeno chiles, either pickled or fresh
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch round or square cake pan. Mix the dry ingredients together and make a well in the center. Add eggs, butter and sour cream and blend thoroughly. Fold in corn kernels.
2. Pour almost half the batter into the prepared pan. Cover with the sliced cheese and chiles. Pour the remaining batter over cheese and chiles and smooth to cover the filling. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes our clean. Serve warm.
CHILES RELLENOS de QUESO
The traditional chile relleno becomes very special with this blue corn crust, which I created years ago. They can be served as a main dish or as a vegetable dish. The beauty of this recipe is that they can be fried ahead of time and held in a warm oven. They can also be served cut in bite sized portions as an appetizer on a puddle of red chile sauce.
Yield: 4-6 servings
12 large, mild green chiles, parched & peeled with stems on, or you can use three, 8-oz. cans of
whole green chiles
8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 12 long, narrow strips
Vegetable oil for frying
Red Chile Sauce or salsa as desired, optional
- Insert cheese strips into chiles, using the small slit that was cut for steaming (or cut a small slit just below the stem.) Make sure that the cheese strips do not burst the chiles or overfill them. After stuffing them, drain chiles thoroughly between paper towels to ensure that the batter will coat them well.
- Preheat 3 to 4 inches of oil to 375 F in a deep heavy skillet, large saucepan, or deep-fat fryer. Dip the stuffed chiles in the batter. Place in hot oil and fry until golden. Tongs work best to hold and turn them. Drain well on paper towels. Serve piping hot with chile sauce.
BLUE CORMEAL CRUST:
Crisp and crunchy. I like this batter best when made with blue cornmeal.
Yield: enough batter for 12 chiles
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup blue corn flour
1 cup milk
- Prepare the batter at least an four ahead of time to create a mellow, thick batter. In a medium-size bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cornmeal. Blend the milk and eggs, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. If necessary, add a little more milk to achieve a smooth batter that will adhere to the chiles.