Friday, November 6, 2009

SEE JANE (& Monica) COOK: New Mexico Cooking class

     Monica (right) and cookbook author Jane Butel 
in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Got to meet & cook with a very famous New Mexican chef, Jane Butel, while I was in Albuquerque. If the name's not ringing a bell, Jane is credited with starting the Tex-Mex trend, and she published her first book on New Mexican and American Mexican food in the 1960's. She taught me how to make Sopaipillas, a disturbingly delicious fried bread recipe that originated in Albuquerque, 300 years ago. (I admit when she first said fried bread, my mind was reeling...FRIED FOOD!?! But this was worth the calories. Jane greeted me at the door of her beautiful adobe-style home, with her frantic 7-month old daschaund lapping our ankles. After giving me some of her fascinating history, I watched as Jane expertly mixed up a dough recipe all by hand (after removing some of her beautiful turquoise rings). I took copious notes, wanting to try this back home in New York. When Jane was rolling out the smaller amounts of dough on her granite counter, she used a small wooden mini roller, which was the perfect size for the amount of dough she was rolling out. 

After cutting the dough into quarters, Jane slid the 
pieces straight down (so the oil wouldn't splash) into a pre-heated TeFal deep fryer. Jane's kitchen, where she has been teaching cooking classes for many years, is a dream spot for any cook. It opens up onto a large casual dining area with large windows that face the jaw dropingly beautiful Sandia Peak (part of The Sangre De Cristo mountain range). Jane's kitchen has everything, from two red KitchenAid standmixers to a garland stove to massive cookbook storage shelves---and more specifically everything she needed to create the thousands of New mexican recipes that have gone into her 18 cookbooks. 

As a New Yorker with a small kitchen/limited space and as someone obsessed with kitchen tools, I was having serious gadget envy. 
Jane kindly arranged to have her publisher send me her latest book "Real Women eat Chiles". And of course I splurged and bought 4 bags of the amazing chili spices she makes: Chipotle Chile, Pequin Quebrado, Caribe Chile and New Mexico Red Chili. I can't wait to try some of these recipes out on my chili-loving husband Kerry. 

For more details on Jane's books, spices, cooking classes etc..check out her website below. She's living the spicy life www.

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