Our Contemporary Southwest Cooking instructor was Kathi Long, an expert in New Mexico regional cuisine and author of four cookbooks. While preparing our meal, Long demonstrated cooking techniques using highly technical terms such as "fizzy bubbly-ness." She gave things to think about: "Chiles and things that are hot should be an accent to the flavor, not an endurance test." And she shared her opinions about frozen corn: "This [fresh corn] is going to taste a hundred times better than frozen corn because... well... it tastes like corn!" We chuckled as Long told us to keep our full attention on making caramel for our flan, then she almost burned the sugar herself as she spoke with a student. We worried when flames leapt from the pan where Long was searing the salmon for our main course, but she was cool as could be, calmly waiting for the flames to subside as if a fire in the kitchen were an everyday event.
Our lunch menu included Seasonal Greens Salad with Sherry-Orange Vinaigrette; Lime Marinated Salmon with Ginger Lime Butter and Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa; Southwestern Scalloped Potatoes with Green Chile and Cheese; Stir-Fried Julienne of Summer Squash, Carrots and Red Peppers; and Vanilla Flan. It was a meal as good as any in Santa Fe, and I looked forward to showing off my new-found skills at home.
PracticalitiesThe Santa Fe School of Cooking is located at 116 West San Francisco Street in the Plaza Mercado, just a couple of blocks from the plaza. Classes last from two to five hours, all of their classes include a meal and you get all the recipes to take home with you.
And, if you can't get to Santa Fe yourself you can still enjoy the Cooking School's cuisine. Just order one of their cookbooks and New Mexico cooking staples online.