Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saturday Cooking Classes

Lisette and Luis are two of my favorite people.  Luis and his brother Armando were baptized a month ago and they were kind enough to ask Mike to participate in their priesthood ordination, even though he had to confer it in English.  Their mom, Lisette, is an exceptional mother and we took a liking to each other right away.  She speaks about as much English as I do Spanish, so we grope our way along, language-wise.  Lisette wanted to learn to make lasagna, so she asked Sr. Otto to see if I would teach her.  We got together a week ago and had a lot of fun making it, especially since it was quite delicious.

By the time we got it ready, some of us were very relieved to finally be fed.

Now it's Lisette's turn to teach me something new.  Mid week she has Srs. Otto and Benton help her with the tedious chore of making French hot chocolate. To make this delicacy you have to start by roasting the beans.  Then, they are opened one at a time, which is much like opening pistachios and makes your fingers equally sore.  She prepares the chocolate with oil for an emulsifier and takes it along with azucar (sugar) to a company that blends it to equally distribute the sugar within the chocolate.  It is formed into patties that are about 3/4# each.

Lisette brought two of the chocolate patties over and we started with oil in a Dutch oven.  After it heated, we added about 4" of water and brought it to a boil.  She then broke up the chocolate patties and whisked them into the water.  Once it was blended she added an equal amount of milk, more olive oil and again brought it to a boil.  The finished product was excellent and the best part came when she left the remainder of the chocolate mix with us!

Tonight, along with the hot chocolate, we're making Guatemalan enchiladas.  Lisette brought laurel (bay leaf) from a tree in her backyard and she sautes it with some onion.  I'm not sure you could do this with American bay leaf, as the flavor is not the same.  This laurel produces a very satisfying aroma.

There are three pans cooking at the same time, each an integral part of the enchilada 
recipe that is one of the Guatemalan people's favorite foods.  

These little guys don't look very filling, but they are surprisingly satisfying, even if you are famished.

By the time we polished off three trays of the enchiladas and the hot chocolate
 we were barely able to eat brownies.  
Next Saturday we're going to do Asian and I'll teach Lisette how to make hoisin stir fry chicken.  

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