Saturday, January 23, 2010

Really Cookin'

If you have been paying attention , you know that I went on a lovely trip. Part of my vacation included a cooking class --IN MEXICO. It was at a day resort called Playa Mia.  Fun! We did a simple but elegant meal. We made an appetizer called Huaraches. Our main course was baked grouper which we seared first and then wrapped in a banana leaf and then foil. mmmmmmm. For dessert we made a rice pudding tower. That involved making some little thin flat cookies to stack in the tower.

I have lots of photos so I am sharing a few of them.
First let me introduce you to our main man, Chef Luis. Luis trained at Culinard in Mexico. He also studied in France and Italy. The boy knows how to cook!

Next we have Luis with his assistant, who also knows how to cook, Moises.  That is "Moe -EE- sAz" (the 'a' is long) Hey, I tried to do it phonetically but I am not sure it is exact. I can say it, that I know!

Next is a picture of my workstation. We shared a four person station. In the back are my new friends, Pat and Rosemary. Across from me is my good friend and traveling partner, Dave.  In this picture they are sauteing the peppers and onions for our grouper. Those go on the fish before it is wrapped.

Here is a picture of Dave stirring the rice pudding mixture.

Ha ha.  Here I am pretending with the skillet and spatula.  We took this one before we started cooking.

One of the really cool things we did was learn to decorate the plate.  We also put our names on them so everyone got his/her own cooking we we were served our meal later.

Here is a picture of Dave stirring on the rice pudding.  We had to reduce it down so that all the milk got gone but not burned or scorched! (it was perfect!)

This is me working on the same rice pudding mixture. We shared the work.
See that little styrofoam tray with four balls of dough?  That is the cookie dough for the cookies in the rice pudding tower.

That wooden press served dual duty. We flattened the cookies in it AND used it to press our masa dough for the huaraches.

And here are our huaraches cooking on the grill -well actually at this point we had turned off the heat. See, they are golden brown and we are adding the black bean mixture on top. Later we added some chorizo and finely diced potato that we had cooked up. The whole thing was topped with a little lettuce and a fancy drizzle of heavy cream then dusted with red pepper. It was delicious.

Here is someone's dessert plate. She did a nice job and mine looked sloppy, so I took a picture of hers to use. Ha ha. Mine will be pretty next time!

After we ate our exquisite meal, we went out to the ocean --because Playa Mia means "My Beach."  I took some time to rest under the palm fronds and just relax. After all, I had studied, worked hard in the kitchen and my tummy was full and happy.

I was happy too. Can you tell?

I hope you enjoyed my excursion to cooking school.


Barb said...

Gene, that sounds like so much fun and yes, you do look happy!!

ooglebloops said...

Muy, muy bien - tengo mucho hambre!!!! Looks like you had a great time!!!

Pat said...

I really enjoyed these photos. I'm impressed with the plate decorations, too.

Melissa ;-) said...

I am officially very jealous. I would love to go to Mexico and take a course like that. However, while I may eventually get hubby down there, I doubt I'll be able to convince him to take a cooking course. Looks like you had fun, though!

Needled Mom said...

Sounds like a great excuse for a school!!! I'll have to remember that one.

Qubie said...

Looks like you had fun. Louis is a little hottie!!! Sign me up lol

quiltmom anna said...

What a fun way to spend a vacation - it looks like you learned some new things and had a great time with friends. Mexico is such a relaxing environment- the laid back way of living makes it a really enjoyable place to visit. We were there many years ago and we loved it.

Tangos Treasures said...

Wow how cool is that! Yes you look happy & relaxed!! Whole point of vacation!!

Sue said...

That was fun, I felt like I was at the class too. I think your plate decoration is every bit as good as Heather's.

Unknown said...

I like your plate and hers too. Like the picture of you under the fronds.

Micki said...

The cooking class looked like such fun...You look so happy!

The Other Barb said...

great blog about your trip. I feel like I was there . Could almost smell the food cooking :) I love rice pudding. Interesting to have it in a tower. You do look like you had a great time.

Rhonda said...

Alright Gene, now I'm a great trip....cruising and learning new ways to cook...can't wait to see more of your trip and read the great stories....BTW, you are a very good story teller.
Take care.

Vesuviusmama said...

It sounds and looks WONDERFUL!

Kaye said...

When are we invited to Dinner? All kidding aside it looks like you had a great time. I am glad for you. Thanks for sharing


My husband would love the opportunity to do this cooking. Looks delicious and fun.
Glad you had your trip. With my computer down, I hardly missed you!