It was getting to be about time for another cooking class. This time Andrea, Dixie and I attended the Southwest Entertaining class with the Dining Diva. This was my second trip to the Central Market Cooking School, and although there was no blue cheese cake, it was an interesting experience nonetheless.
On the menu for this class was:
Tortilla Soup with delicious crispy tortilla strips
Deep Fried Panko Avocados with a green salad and Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing
Chicken and Rice
Some of these things were more successful than others, I think I would definitely make a less spicy version of the soup, and the tortilla strips were amazing. I also really enjoyed the deep fried avacado, but I doubt I will be making that since there are not enough safety glasses and fire extinguishers on the planet to make Doug agree to let me deep fry in our house!
As for the dessert, normally I’m not adverse to a little liqueur in food when someone else makes it. After all, I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings who worked really hard to make something that was both tasty and relaxing, but I hate the smell of coffee, and so using Kahlua didn’t do anything for me personally. I think if I was going to make that particular recipe I would use maple or almond flavoring (thanks for the suggestion, andrea). The diva wasn’t too much help with looking for alcohol substitutions. I get the feeling that this woman enjoys the properties of certain alcoholic beverages … strictly for their culinary value, of course!
The best part of the evening came when the diva was giving helpful hints. One was to turn the exhaust on fifteen minutes before you start cooking fish so that your house won’t smell. I’m not sure if I really buy her logic there. Her other hint was about cumin.
Apparently you should never buy groung cumin, only cumin seeds. Then, when a recipe calls for cumin you toast it on the stove (being very careful because apparently sizzling cumin seeds fly everywhere!), then you put the toasted seeds in the spice grinder. And voila! You have cumin on speed. You will never go back to regular cumin again!
I’ll let you know if I ever try this, but for know I have a whole jar of cumin powder in the pantry that I have to use up. Waste not, want not!