|Chef Johnny Vee and Students|
We arrived for class not exactly knowing what to expect. Being the first ones there, we tried to figure which seats around the kitchen counter would be the best and chose the corner. As it turned out, seating wasn't important because after a short lecture by Chef Johnny Vee on New Mexico chilies and cuisine, and an overview of what we'd be cooking, all of the chairs were pushed back against the wall and the cooking commenced.
|Chile con Queso and Green Chili Enchiladas filling in the works|
During the process of cooking, Chef Johnny Vee would periodically get everyone's attention to show us the important points of each group's recipe. He is a very good at what he does. He was able to keep up with what each group was doing and still make sure that everyone understood how to make each dish, even though we were working on different dishes. As we worked, we found that, in our group, we had to let the sopaipilla dough rest and ice cream for the tacos set up, so we had a little down time, which we spent helping other groups. I'm thinking we were in the best group because the other groups didn't have that kind of opportunity.
As the salsas, guacamole and queso were finished, we helped ourselves to a bowl of tortilla chips and dug in. So delicious! The queso was so much better than the old standby Velveeta/Rotel mixture that we're so accustomed to. The Chile Con Queso recipe required 16 ingredients, one of which was tequila. Only two tablespoons, but we learned that it helps keep the emulsion of ingredients from separating from the fats. The salsas were mild and flavorful with instructions as to what chilies to use to bump up the heat.
|Grilled Eggplant Adovado|
According to Chef Johnny, in traditional New Mexico cooking, enchiladas are stacked rather than rolled. Maybe that's why when we've had enchiladas here that were rolled, they were specified as such on the menu. We watched as Chef assemble the first enchilada then turned the process over to the enchilada group. The Grilled Adovado group's dish came out first and we got to sample that with some of the homemade tortillas. Wow! And I'm not fond of eggplant! I think, though, when I try this recipe at home I'll do it with pork. Chef said we'd just have to cook it longer.
By the time everyone had tried the adovado the enchiladas were ready. Oh my goodness! The chicken had been cooked before the class in chicken stock. Our teammate, Diana, shredded the bird during some of our down time and the shredded chicken was then reheated in the Green Chili Sauce. All of this is layered between the Homemade Corn Tortillas and cheese. Unbelievably good!
|The Spread sans the Enchiladas and Dessert|
This class was so much fun and I would do another, even at full price, which generally runs about $80 per person. A bargain for learning new skills, not to mention the confidence you gain from actually making the meal yourself with a master chef at your side. As I mentioned earlier, we did this class on a Groupon, but classes are ongoing and can be booked through Epitourean, Edible Destinations! (http://www.epitourean.com, http://www.cookingvacations.com) For more information on Chef Johnny Vee, his cookbook (which we now own) and the cooking classes at Las Cosas Cooking School visit http://www.lascosascooking.com/cookingclasses.aspx.