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Cooking Class--Nueva Cocina Mexicana & a Recipe for Risotto with Veracruz Style Snapper

Posted Oct 15 2008 12:00am
My Hawaii Foodie Friend Michelle from The Accidental Scientist and I decided it would be fun to take some cooking classes together at Kapiolani Community College. We signed up for three classes; one on Mexican cooking, the second on fish and the third on learning about and tasting chocolate. Our Mexican cooking class was this past Saturday. Entitled: Nueva Cocina Mexicana (roughly translated to mean New/Fresh/Modern Mexican Cooking), the class covered mixing traditional Mexican ingredients with global ingredients, recipes and cooking styles.

Our instructor Adriana Torres led a very hands on class and had us watch and then prepare three different recipes: Risotto Veracruz Style with Snapper, Rock Cornish Hen in Adobo Sauce and Guajillo Chile and Oyster Mushroom Fettuccine.

Some of our ingredients below:

Michelle was a great and fun partner to cook with and we quickly divided tasks and got at it. The kitchen was hot, the knives a bit dull, and the pans not quite the right sizes but we managed to turn out the three dishes and have a blast doing it. (although we think we need to bring our own plates next time to plate the food and take better pictures!)
We got to learn about cooking with dried chilies--something neither of us has had much experience in. We also took home a lot of food which made a couple of meals for my Mom and I. I actually liked all three recipes and would try them again, maybe with some modifications. I think my favorite was the risotto (I loved all the flavors and I am a sucker for anything with capers!) so I'll post that one now and maybe the others later on. Plus this is now my second risotto so I am getting to be quite the pro at it! ;-)

Risotto VeraCruz Style With Snapper
Chef Adriana Torres
4 servings (as appetizer)
6 oz Aborio rice
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup white wine
4 cups hot chicken stock or broth (approximate)
Veracruz Style Snapper:
4 oz snapper filet, cut in small
1 1/2 cups canned, diced tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp capers
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 chilies gueros, or pepperoncini pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp green olives, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter

For Veracruz Style Snapper: Heat oil in pan, add onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, cook for 2 minutes, add oregano, bay leaves, capers, chilies and green olives. Mix all ingredients. Add water if needed. Add fish. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

For Risotto: Heat oil in a medium size pot, saute onion until translucent. Add aborio rice and stir until all grains are coated. Add wine and cook until reduced. Add hot broth to cover, continue cooking over medium heat until liquid is absorbed, adding 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often. Cook for approximately 20 minutes. When rice is tender yet firm, add Veracruz Style Snapper. Stir to combine with rice. Remove from heat and add olive oil and butter. Serve immediately. Buen Provecho!

Note: Chef Adriana noted that although we made the dish as an appetizer, it could easily be an entree by leaving the fish whole or in larger pieces, cooking it in the sauce and topping the risotto mixture with it at the end.

Thanks Michelle for being a blast to hang out and cook with! I can't wait until next month's fish class.

BTW: Michelle is bravely taking the Eat Local Challenge this month and has some excellent and interesting posts about the challenges of eating locally in Hawaii. She is making me very depressed about the state of the majority of foods here but I am learning a lot through her detective work and I admire her for doing the challenge! Check out her "Labels that Lie" post here.
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