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Creative Gilling Class Coming, Oaxacan Review

By Jane Butel  June 23, 2022

Grilling is a fun and delicious way to cook. Grilled foods bring out a lot of natural flavor, yet are oh so easy to prepare.  Often time, less seasoning is best, especially for vegetables and fruits.   The intense heat of grilling  seals in the flavor and creates a natural juiciness and the best part of grilling is there are far fewer pots to wash!

We still have openings for our Grilling class set for next Thursday, June 30 at 5 PM.   You will learn lots of hints and tips for grilling success.  The menu is fun and amazingly delicious.  We will create dishes,  you can have great pleasure sharing  with guests and family.  Also, they are great dishes  for sharing the  preparation.

Here's the menu....

  • Parching/Freezing of Green Chiles
  • Grilled Pork Satays with Special Dipping Sauce
  • Grilled Caesar Salad with Cilantro Cream  Dressing
  • Grilled Dallas -Style Flank Steak
  • Grilled Lemon-Basted Pork Tenderloin Rounds with Wilted Spinach & Pecans
  • Italian Grilled Peaches

The next two classes are  New  Mexico Favorites on July 14 and Take a Tortilla and ..on July 21.  Both will be at 5 PM.

I am discounting  20% off for the next two days our fall weekend classes  which are  September 16 - 18  and November 4 - 6.  I  hope  you can join us.  These classes have been rated as "Best in the US" by "Bon Appetit magazine and Gayot.com.

We had a fabulous group of 9 on our Oaxaca Culinary tour.  Unfortunately, one of the tour participants became ill the day before the tour or we would have had 10. 

We had three cooking classes.  In each a different style of Oaxacan specialties were made.  We had three different types of tamales, Mole Negro and many, many different side dishes.  (Group photos next week.)

We were treated at  the Casa Oaxaca  for the opening night dinner to many yummy and beautifully plated dishes and the finale dinner was totally amazing.  We had  a private  chef's dinner artfully prepared by  Chef Rudolpho Castellanos   of six courses, each paired with a different complementary  wine or mexcal.   The space was gorgeous and we had it all to ourselves. 

One day was dedicated to touring to Monte Alban and various villages where each had a specialty such as pottery or the colorful wooden abrehae.  There was also time for shopping and relaxing while sipping on a margarita or whatever.  All in all we have agreed to stay in touch and have a followup party at my house in about two months.

Here are a favorite grilling recipe (not in the class, but won a best of show award for me at the Gourmet Products show in San Francisco and  a Oaxacan recipe.


Pecans grow all over the Southwest. The richness of pecans tinged with tart lemon and tarragon is delicious. This can be served with grilled vegetables.

Yield: 6 servings

Lemon-Pecan Butter (see below)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper

6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley or tarragon

Lemon-Pecan Butter

¼ cup pecans

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

Zest of 1 lemon, minced

2 teaspoons fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.

  1. Prepare the Lemon-Pecan Butter, called a compound butter and chill in the freezer.
  2. While the butter is chilling, brush chicken with lemon juice and melt butter, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat grill to medium or 350°. Place rack 4 inches above heat
  4. Arrange chicken on rack: grill 6 minutes. Turn and grill 5 to 6 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife and the interior is 185°.
  5. To serve, place 1 breast half on a plate and top with 2 thin slices Lemon-Pecan Butter. Garnish with parsley.

Finely grind pecans in a blender or food processor. Add butter, lemon zest, tarragon and lemon juice and process until combined. Place on a plastic wrap or waxed paper, forming into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Refrigerate until firm. (Freeze if time is short.)


(Open Face Tortillas with Refried Black Beans) 

I remember first trying these in the delightful green pottery village of Santa Maria Atzompa outside Oaxaca.  We take our culinary tour to watch these being made and sample, before shopping for their beautiful pottery. 

Yield:  6 main dish or 18 appetizer servings 

Clayuda Preparation 

3 cups canned black beans, drained (2 15-oz. cans)

1/3 cup lard or vegetable oil, divided

2 cloves Mexican or large garlic, minced

1 1/2 dozen white corn tortillas

1 cup crumbled white cheese—queso blanco or feta

2 green onions, thinly sliced on an angle

1 small bunch cilantro sprigs

1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream thinned with a bit of milk

1 cup salsa fresca or chopped pickled jalapenos 

  1. Make refried beans by melting 1 tablespoon of lard in a heavy skillet. Then add garlic and sauté until it becomes slightly tinged or very light brown.   Add beans to skillet, reserving most of the juice.  Use only enough juice to gain a thick mixture like pudding.  Keep warm.

    2. Meanwhile heat the lard or oil in a small skillet. For main dish size, fry each tortilla until crisp.  For            appetizers, cut each tortilla in quarters, cutting almost to the center, but leaving the center intact.            Fry each whole, tap center of tortilla when crisp to break apart; then place on paper towels to                  drain.  The tortillas can also be baked (see note below).  

  1. To assemble, place the tortillas on the desired serving plates or platters and smear with the refried beans, dividing among the crisp tortillas. Top with a sprinkle of cheese, green onion, cilantro sprigs and a drizzle of crème fraiche; dividing the toppings among all the tortillas.  Serve with salsa to drizzle over the top. 

Note:  To cut fat, bake the tortillas at 425° F for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp, placing them on a cookie sheet and using a smaller sheet centered on top to weigh them down for the first five minutes.  Then remove smaller pan and bake until crisp – about 5 minutes more.




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