Since Oaxaca is the birthplace of corn and the daily diet is centered around an array of corn products, this class is all about corn. We start by stopping in a molino to grind corn for corn masa. We will use the fresh corn masa to make appetizers and snacks. Also we will make two flavorful red and green salsas using traditional techniques. The sweet course is corn bread made with fresh corn.
This menu was created at a time when we had a special guest in Oaxaca and special insects too… We will cook tasty guias soup, salsa de chicatanas and a very old recipe of chichilo which is a mole very few people prepare because the chiles are quite expensive.
We call this menu Amarillo, because the main dish is mole amarillo del valle, or Amarillo mole from the valley, a basic mole thickened with corn masa dough. This dish is eaten any day of the week at homes all over Oaxaca. We also will prepare our own tortillas to make quesadillas, accompanied by a spicy salsa made with local dried chiles.
The principal meal in this menu is not a mole, it´s a popular dish we serve in the central part of Oaxaca. People mix toasted corn or wheat or beans with a few chiles, and serve it with tamales. In this case, the tamales don´t have any stuffing, just the flavor of the avocado leaves.
In this menu, we prepare the traditional mole ‘coloradito’. I describe this as a simple but special mole. It is accompanied with chicken, rice flavored by a Oaxacan herb. The menu concludes with a Oaxacan guava dessert.
For baptisms and other religious ceremonies in Oaxaca where a lot of children are present, it is very common to serve Estofado (stew). The ingredients are similar to those in moles but Estofado is not spicy. It will be served with rice made with corn and squash blossoms. For dessert, we will make caramel-flavored gelatin, appealing to kids of all ages.
After more than 10 years of experience with cooking classes, I wanted to add a vegetarian menu which is popular among tourists that come to visit Oaxaca. In this menu, I’ve tried to select a variety of local ingredients and traditional plates, such as the poblano chiles filled with Oaxaca string cheese, squash blossom, squash, and corn.
The idea for this menu came from a friend from San Francisco, who loves seafood and fish. One day, when we had gotten together to cook, he said, “Pilar, I’ve attended many of your classes and I wish we could make something different.” Each time we prepare this menu, all the staff and students really enjoy the dishes. The appetizer of fresh ceviche is accompanied with tostadas. The main course is camarones a la diabla, shrimp dipped in spicy tomato and chipotle chile sauce.
For this menu I chose the most representative chiles of the region: fresh chile de agua and dried Oaxacan chile pasilla. Each type of chile is filled with different ingredients. For dessert is rompope gelatin, a perfect counterbalance for the chiles.
This is a specially-designed menu because I like the Isthmus food so much. I selected the dishes I like best starting with garnachas, appetizers of finely chopped meat and salsa atop a corn tortilla. We will make molotitos, appetizers of fried corn masa wrapped around a filling and tamalitos de chambray with a filling that is both sweet and savory with chicken, olives, raisins and capers.
In this class we use mezcal in two of the recipes. The appetizer of grilled shrimp is marinated in mezcal and served with mango salsa. For dessert we make Mexican cheesecake with chocolate and mezcal sauce. And so that you aren’t left craving mole, we have yellow mole on the menu as well as memelitas.
This menu is very laborious, for the main dish is ‘mole negro’ (black mole) which is considered the king of the moles and is very popular for big parties in Oaxaca. Here we try to balance the intense flavor of the black mole with a Oaxacan style rice that consists of the herb ‘hierbabuena’. We conclude with a Oaxacan rose petal ice cream, which is naturally smooth with a crunchy almond texture.
This menu is called ‘Patrio’ which means patriotic because we prepare it for ‘La Noche Mexicana’ on September 16th, Mexican Independence Day. We cook a traditional ‘Chiles en Nogada’, stuffed chiles served with walnut sauce. Finally, we finish off the menu with a delicious coconut flan.
Trying to pick the most popular tamales for this class was very difficult. I’ve included tamales with chepil, a wild Oaxacan herb, which are layered with squash blossoms and wrapped in dried corn husks called totomoxtle, as well as tamales with black mole wrapped in banana leaves. To accompany the tamales, we are making salsa with three different kinds of dried chiles. To balance the menu there will be salad with jicama and tender cactus. The meal ends with refreshing mango nieve.
Here are more tamales: tamales with Coloradito mole wrapped in banana leaves and tamales with black beans wrapped in dried corn husks. For a change from savory tamales, we will make tamales sweetened with pumpkin puree and Oaxaca chocolate.
In this menu we cook another very simple mole that has a very distinctive aroma and is the color green… well, it’s green as long as it has recently been made! Mole verde (green mole) is very popular here in Oaxaca and the local people eat it with pork spine. Also on the menu are memelitas as appetizers, and a flavorful soup made with squash blossoms. For dessert, is Oaxacan cheesecake drizzled with a warm sauce made from Oaxacan chocolate.
Another important cuisine of Mexico and one of my favorites. We will start with quesadillas, followed by lime soup and cochinita pibil, a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish. Without forgetting the tatemada habanero sauce. Using ingredients brought directly from Yucatan. For dessert we make a mango sorbet.