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Be Sure to Get in on our Oaxaca Tour

By Jane Butel  March 26, 2024

Our very special Culinary Tour to Oaxaca is coming soon!  Be sure you get in on the great fun and  amazingly delicious culinary treats.  We will have three cooking classes where we learn to create the sumptuous flavors that spell Oaxaca.

Personally, I have loved Oaxaca since I was a child and my Uncle was in charge of a huge program in cooperation with the Mexican government.  While there, they chose to live in Oaxaca for several years. As a child and young teen, I had the good fortune to visit them frequently and I fell in love with Oaxaca's magic.

Oaxaca has been a cultural center for millenia.  From pre-historic times when Monte Alban was built to the Spanish love for it and now Oaxaca has been named  a world heritage site.

Known for it's clear bright colors in a myriad of art forms, such as weaving, wood articles, pottery and art works--Oaxaca is a great place to visit.

Known as the birthplace of corn and squash and a wide range of culinary delights--moles and distinctive yummy dishes of many types abound.

Our tour group is small, never over 15.  We have wonderful English speaking people we work with.  From the moment you arrive, you will be picked up by one of our special drivers and whisked to our little hotel in Centro Oaxaca.  

The first evening, we will have a Get Acquainted dinner, followed by a special, full participation cooking class the following morning ending with a delicious lunch we will have prepared and a Mescal tasting.  The afternoon is free for your very own discoveries.

The next day, you will be awe-struck at the pre-historic Monte Alban, an ancient mountaintop village featuring a number of unique features such as a pre-Roman aqueduct, an architectural wonder where the sunlight is controlled and a teaching area where surgical procedures were taught.

This will be followed by a lunch of local specialties and a tour of villages where the colorfully painted wooden articles are made and sold.

The next day, we will have another cooking class where we will learn to make Oaxacan specialties as well as viewing how chocolate is processed. 

On Saturday, you will just love the "corn  village" which is just beautiful.  We will have another market tour and learn how to cook specialties from the region followed by a class on weaving.  All of their sheeps wool yarn is hand carded, dyed with natural substances and woven into beautiful rugs, wall hangings and the like.

Sunday is a free day to explore the many shops and wonders of Oaxaca.   You may register online or by calling me at 505-243-2622.

Next week, we are kicking off spring with our first Barbecue cooking class on Thursday evening, April 4 at 5 PM.  Also, this month, we are featuring a week long cooking class.  This class has been rated as the "Best in the US"  for a non-vocational cooking class by "Bon Appetit" magazine and Gayot.com.  It is April 15-19 and kicked off with a wine reception and dinner at a local restaurant featuring regional specialties.  Our first weekend class is May 17-19

Here's a couple of recipes you may enjoy for an Easter Brunch.


This rich, moist dough is just perfect for any favorite cinnamon roll you might like to make. You can make traditional cinnamon rolls like the recipe directs with the caramel and pecans on the bottom or you can make a ring by keeping the dough uncut until you have joined the long roll of stuffed dough together into a ring. Then transfer the ring of dough to a very well greased baking sheet that is big enough to allow the ring to be round. Make slashes ¾ of the way deep into the stuffed dough and then pull each cut section and fan it out, making an attractive ring of cinnamon rolls.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Temperature: 375 F

Baking Time: 25 to 30 minutes

1 package or 1 scant Tablespoon active dry yeast

¼ cup warm water

¾ cup warmed milk (30 seconds in a microwave oven)

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 ½ cups to 5 cups all purpose flour, stirring the flour to fluff, then spooning into a dry measuring cup

Caramel Pecan Filling:

½ cup melted butter, divided

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed, divided

¾ cup pecan halves, divided

2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and about half of the flour. Mix using a dough hook until a soft dough results. Continue to add flour about ½ cup at a time until a firm dough results. Place on lightly floured board and knead to develop the gluten. When well kneaded, the dough should be firm and satiny and a small pinch of dough when pulled apart result in strings.

2. Place the mixing bowl over dough and let rise until doubled. When dough has doubled, roll into a rectangle about 15 by 9 inches. Spread with ¼ cup of the melted butter allowing about a 1 inch margin with no butter on the far side of the longest side, placing the remaining butter in the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2 inch pan. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the dough. placing the remaining sugar evenly sprinkled across the butter. Place half the pecans over the dough and the remaining half over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon. Roll the dough lengthwise and seal together by pinching the long edge tightly. Cut into 15 to 16 slices and place on top of the butter sugar mixture.

3. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place and allow to double in bulk, then place in a preheated oven to bake until lightly golden. Immediately turn out of pan onto a platter and scoop out the remaining caramel over the top of the rolls. Enjoy the finger licking fun!


Stratas are a truly great choice for a brunch, because you create this dish the night before, making the time before the brunch much more relaxed. You can change the ingredients to suit your palate and what you have on hand!

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: 45 to 55 minutes

1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 cup chopped sweet onion, such as a Vidalia or Maui (1, medium large)

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup chopped green chile (1, 4 ounce can) or 2 parched, peeled green chiles

1 cup chopped ham

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt, divided

Several grinds black pepper

Several grates nutmeg (about ½ teaspoon)

8 cups cubed firm bread such as Italian or French

2 cups grated Swiss cheese (about 6 oz.)

1 cup coarsely grated Romano cheese or Parmesan Romano mix

2 ¾ cup milk

9 eggs

1 teaspoon dried mustard

2 teaspoons caribe chile

1. Press the spinach into a colander to squeeze out excess moisture. Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat. When melted, add the onion, green chile, ham and red bell pepper and cook until the onion is soft. Add ½ teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir in the spinach. Taste and adjust seasoning.

2. Layer 1/3 of the bread cubes in a buttered 3 quart casserole. Top evenly with 1/3 of the spinach mixture followed by 1/3 of the cheeses. Repeat twice again.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining salt and a few more grinds of black pepper. Pour evenly over the layered bread mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator—at least 8 hours, which allows the bread to absorb the custard.

4. 1 ½ hours before serving, uncover the wrap and preheat the oven 400 F. After the strata has set for 30 minutes at room temperature, bake in the center of the oven until the middle of the strata is puffed and golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. This will take about 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving.




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