When Chef Dan and I travel we try to do as many "foodie" things as possible (he's a chef, duh!), because that's basically the only chance he gets all year to eat fine and inventive food, shmooze with chefs, and learn new techniques and recipes for the Elkhorn Inn. On our recent cruise, Chef Dan and I spent our one day in Cozumel, Mexico taking an excellent cooking class at Josefina's Cooking School, and it was WELL worth it! (See below for info on the cookbook- trust me: you will want this!!) On a previous cruise we took a 'cooking class' at a "tourist" resort in Cozumel and it was rather a disappointment- more about drinking and being silly than real Mexican cuisine- so this time I searched the internet, including TripAdvisor, for a REAL Mexican cooking class, and from everything I found online, Josefina's seemed like the "real deal"- and it was! Located in a nice residential area just a few short blocks from the tourist area on the water, the intimate class is held in the kitchen of a lovely private home with a delightful garden in the back; the market we went to is just a few, short blocks away. Luis and Tania were Excellent instructors, and we started our class with Luis taking us on a shopping trip to the nearby market to get the ingredients for the many dishes we were to prepare; after the class Dan and I went back to the market to buy a fabulous, huge (and heavy!) mortar and pestle like the one we used in the class! In addition to getting spices, fruits, veggies, and fresh fish for our dishes, one of the places we stopped at was a small tortilla shop, where we got to sample hot-off-the-press tortillas- thin and warm, and oh-so-good!
|Luis & The Spices!|
|Veggies and fruits!|
|Luis and Dan: Fresh fish!|
|Spices and ground pumpkin seeds- staple of the Maya!|
|Luis & our hot, fresh tortillas!|
|Tortillas- hot and fresh!!|
Then we went back to the kitchen and began making our lunch! We made a truly unique (to me!) pumpkin seed pate (Xilkil-Pak), using the ground pumpkin seeds we'd bought at the market; I had no idea that pumpkin seeds were a staple of the Mayan diet- I've never seen this dish- or anything like it- on a Mexican restaurant menu in the USA- and it's SO good!!
We started our class (and lunch) with Hibiscus Flower Water, and then made the Xilkil-Pak Mayan Pumpkin Seed Pate, Tikin'xic (Red Snapper in Achiote Sauce), tried different Mexican cheeses with great salsas that we made, created a delish guacamole with lots of texture and taste, made tortillas from scratch, and a dish of fried Nopales (Cactus)... and at the end we were treated to flan for desert, and a REAL Margarita! What a great lunch- and what a great day in Cozumel!
If you enjoy Mexican food, you REALLY need to get Josefina's cookbook! You will discover SO many authentic Mexican dishes that you NEVER see on menus at Mexican restaurants in the USA, and that you can make with ingredients you can get here so easily! Order the downloadable cookbook for $10 from Christina Cannon at email@example.com - and please tell her Elisse sent you! :-)
|We went back to the market to get a mortar and pestle like this!|
|Tania, making the Achiote Marinade for the fish...|
|Tania, marinating the fish in Achiote Sauce...|
|Learning to cut up cactus (Nopales)|
|Chef Dan, cutting up Nopales!|
|First lunch- and then, last but not least- Luis making us a REAL Margarita!|
|Red Snapper in Achiote Sauce|
|Chef Dan, learning to make a tortilla!|
|Dan's perfect tortilla!|
|Luis making us the Mayan Pumpkin Seed Pate|
|Chef Dan crushin' & cookin'!|
To contact Josefina's Cooking Class (Cozumel Chef) and book a class, go to: http://www.cozumelchef.com/services/authentic-mexican-cooking-classes/\
To order their great Mexican Cookbook, email Christina Cannon at firstname.lastname@example.org - and please tell her Elisse sent you! :-)