Being away the week just before Christmas makes it very difficult to get into the festive mood. My mind set for the last post was really my vacation, though I did manage to make the marshmallows, all I could think about was warm and sunny beaches, fresh fruit and tons of spicy peppers, not stuff that I would normally associate with Christmas. I’m used to the cold blue haze of winter and the warmth of fires and down filled comforters. As much as it’s difficult to be back to bundling up I have to admit that I like my bed, and Christmas and snow and cold just seem to go together for me, though I’ll be bringing some of the Mexican into my Christmas meal, for tomorrow, stuff that I’ll share shortly. For now, I’d like to share some of the fun from our experience at The Little Mexican Cooking School in Puerto Morelas about a half hour drive from Cancun. It was a blast! Let’s begin with some pictures of peppers!
We made Enchiladas Queretanas… That’s enchiladas dipped in the Macha Estilo Bajio and then fried, with cheese inside and topped with fresh lettuce, crème fresh, fresh cheese and a mixture of potatoes and carrots. These were particularly yummy.
We also made a fiery Salsa Macha with peppers and garlic and peanuts…
And here is the recipe for the Salsa Macha
- ½ Cup piquin chili pepper (dried peppers)
- 1 Cup Vegetable oil
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 50 Grams peanuts (or a handful)
- Salt to taste
First roast the dried chili peppers in a pan, (over fire really). The recipe calls for piquin peppers but it came to my attention at the cooking class that so many peppers are very indicative to their own regions even within Mexico and aren’t popular in other provinces or regions of Mexico. This being said, for those of us who have difficulty telling the difference between various hot hot peppers any hot dried pepper would do for this. Blend the roasted chili in a blender until it is a powder and in the meantime drop the garlic clove into the oil and heat it until the garlic is nice and roasted (dark brown) infusing the oil with a nice garlic taste once it is browned then squish the garlic with the back of the spoon to further infuse the oil with garlic and then discard it. Make sure that you take the oil off the heat as soon as it starts to boil.
Add to the oil the peanuts and the chili powder seasoning with salt. Don’t forget to taste.
This cooking class was fun and yes, it focused mainly on cooking with various types of peppers, many of which most of us in Canada wouldn’t be able to find and some of you in the States may have a little more luck with, so the recipes don’t translate exactly outside of Mexico. The recipes we focused on came from the Bajio region of Mexico so even in the other regions they would not be making them the same way… or at least not always with the same peppers.
For me this Mexican cooking experience provides the spark to think a bit differently in using various ingredients and I hope it does the same for you. Stay tuned for more… and have a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!