Today we had class with La Teca, a legendary lady from the isthmus (coastal) region of Oaxaca. She taught us dishes typical of that region's cuisine, many of which I sampled on my first evening in Oaxaca.
We were able to utilize the kitchen space of El Origen, where we had our group welcome dinner. La Teca divided us into different stations to tackle different dishes. I went to stand by the plantains, because I love plantains. My station made both the plantain dish and the mashed potato dish.
For the plantain dessert, we started by boiling whole plantains (peel on, ends cut off) until the plantains were bursting.
Then the peels were removed and the plantains mashed.
Then La Teca showed us how to make the molotes (traditionally masa with potato and chorizo filling) by first oiling our hands, then taking a dollop of plantain and smashing it flat in our hand, then filling the middle with a mixture of queso fresco and crema.
The edges of the plantains were then sealed (as if a dumpling) and then rolled into these oblong shapes, which were then fried. The trick here is to have a teflon/non-stick pan, otherwise the molotes will stick to the pan and fall apart.
By the time all stations were finished, we were able to sit down to a feast. For starters, these garnachas - fried masa rounds topped with a beef and onion mixture, red salsa, and dry cheese (similar to Parmesan). It came with a simple cabbage/carrot/jalapeño slaw.
Then fresh corn tamales, which were literally the freshest corn tamales I'd ever tasted. Makes sense too, since we shucked the corn and everything.
Mashed potato casserole, which contained carrots, peas, parsley, onion, egg, cream, dry cheese, mustard and salt - baked till brown.
Pork chileajo, with the isthmus version of mole coloradito sauce.
Then for dessert, the molotes garnished with more queso fresco and crema.
After class, Jennie introduced me to the best bakery in Oaxaca. Pastries galore - donuts, cookies, croissants, everything.
And gigantic bins (plus more racks!) of bread! I got a whole armload of stuff for 30 pesos... unbelievable.
After walking around and shopping for souvenirs, it was time for our last Spanish class. In my class we played a fun matching game where we had to match Mexican food names with their descriptions. Made me realize there are still foods I haven't heard of and haven't tried. Now that my mouth is better, it's about time!