What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Diana Kennedy

I was absolutely thrilled last Saturday to have the pleasure to take a cooking class at A Southern Season by Diana Kennedy. It wasn't really a class, in the since of a hands-on kind of thing. It was more like a demo. The classroom is well done, tiered so that everyone can see and they have close-up cameras so you can see the preparation very close-up. There were about 50 people in the 'class'. She actually came to town early and they shop and do the preparations so that even though she is actually preparing it 'live', they (the cooking school staff and volunteers) have collectively assisted her in pre-preparing the food in advance so that by the time she finishes a dish there are small plates of food for each of us to try. We started with hibiscus tea and water at every plate.

About Diana Kennedy: She is truly a legend; most assuredly the best known expert on Mexican cooking in the world. She went to Mexico in 1957 to marry Paul Kennedy, the foreign correspondent for the New York Times. In 1969, she started teaching Mexican cooking classes and published her first cookbook in 1972. I probably bought in in the mid 1980s. She has been decorated with the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor bestowed upon foreigners by the Mexican government and is recognized by them as the authority on the regional cooking of Mexico.

She was delightful and very outspoken and opinionated and generously spent a good deal of time answering questions. She is very passionate about ecological
preservation (hates plastic bags and saves oil and doesn't waste water). She made three dishes for us:

The first course was Sopa Seca de Fideo. I don't know how it translates. It is
basically angel hair noodles which are fried in oil, then tomatoes, onions and garlic are added and the noodles are broken apart and cooked until they are softened and the liquid mainly cooked away. Then chicken stock is added and it cooks some more. It is finished with cheese and creme fraiche. Totally yummy! The second dish was Ensalada de Nopales, which was a salad layered with lettuce, cactus pieces sauted with onion and chilled, tomatoes, red onion, pork rind, cilantro, cheese and avocado with lime juice. This was my first experience with cactus and I really liked it so we (my sister Jo Anne, who attended the class with me) came home made it for the hus. They didn't permit cameras in the classroom, but since I made it at home, you get to see what it looks like it looks like when we added it to the lettuce after cooking and cooling and the finished salad.

We served it with pork cooked in a chili sauce.

The last dish was Pollo en Mole Verde or Chicken in Green Mole. Mole is really a mixture and this was was filled with green goodness, lettuce, cilantro, chard, parsley, pablano, serrano, tomatillo, among other things. Really, really good!

I highly recommend her books especially if you are into authenticity. The books I have had for years are The Art of Mexican Cooking, about to be republished and Mexican Regional Cooking. I just bought My Mexico. I can't wait to try a lot of the recipes. I hope you will too!

For recipes, check out the website and until next time

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  • At 1:02 PM, Blogger Katie said…

    How fun! One of these days I'm going to take a cooking class.... It's been on my list for years. This would be fun as I know nothing about Mexican cooking!


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