I decided to take a cooking class at Casa Crespo. After watching a video of Chef Oscar Carrizosa on his website: http://casacrespo.com/redescubre-mexico-buick-mexico/, I decided I could probably make it through four hours of cooking class–if there were more people.
When I went to sign up, I was the only person on the books for the day.
I arrived, and there were two other students, and then two more arrived. I was relieved.
We started off with a mug of hot chocolate (or coffee, but they make their own chocolate) and bread with jamaica jam. Delicious!
Then, we made our menu together:
- Mole fiesta/bueno, a mole with seventeen ingredients, including chocolate (we would have this with chicken and in our tamales)
- Avocado gazpacho
- Regular and squash blossom and cheese tortillas
- Guacamole: avocados and garlic pulverized in a molcajete and topped with diced mango
- Four salsas: regular (tomatoes, onions, garlic), regular with toasted avocado leaves, regular with crushed worms, and regular with cumin
- Quesadillas with epazote and squash blossom or with grasshoppers
- Empanadas with cheese or with spinach and mushroom
- Chiles relleno with chicken and mole sauce tamales
- Sorbet with mezcal and orange juice
After planning our menu, we headed to the market and to the corn mill. We picked up some ingredients, had a fresh juice break, and got corn milled for masa for tortillas and a different mixture for tamales.
Then, with the help of a couple of sous chefs, we were off and running. I was happy to see that my classmates were about as adept as I am with kitchen utensils. We all expressed a mix of enthusiasm and intimidation. We did a good job of sharing the tasks and letting everyone have a try.
In the middle of the afternoon, as our mole and chicken were stewing and our tamales were steaming, we headed up to Casa Crespo’s terrace and had a beer.
We ended the meal with a shot of mezcal and some chocolate samples.
The eating went on and on. We had to sample everything, and when we did it was so delicious, we could not help ourselves.
At one break in the symphony of yumming, I asked the others which course was everyone’s favorite. After tremendous deliberation and much admiration for the mole recipe, we unanimously agreed that the chili stuffed with tamale stuffed with our mole and chicken was probably our masterpiece. At the same time, the dish we all agreed we would likely replicate is the silky avocado gazpacho.
This multi-sensory adventure as so many of my experiences here made me feel uncomfortable and ignorant, but, in the end, I cannot help but be happy with what I learned.