Beat the heat this month with cool culinary events
July is more than halfway done but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of cool culinary offerings to help you beat the sizzling heat. From Native American and Spanish cooking classes to an elaborate cake decorating workshop and flamenco fare, here are some of Gourmet Girl's recommendations for summer fun.
Wednesday Nights in the Railyard
Let's start with tonight's debut of the Wednesday Night Market, where many of the regular Santa Fe Farmers' Market vendors will be selling their fresh, locally grown fare for those of you who can't get to the market on Saturdays or Tuesdays. From 6 to 8 pm, you can purchase fare from Pollo Real, Intergalactic Bread, Old Pecos Foods, Mi Young's Farm, Jacona Farm, Green Tractor Farm, Nambe Orchards, Orozco Farm, Revolution Farm, Gavilan Farmstead, Ligaialien, Malandro Farms and others.
The Wednesday Night Market takes place during Wednesday Nights in the Railyard—Feed the Senses, a collaboration of local businesses in and around the Railyard that offers family fun, from live music and dancing to dinner, drinks, family movies, lectures, art and more. From 4 to 8 pm, enjoy specials and live music at SecondStreet Brewery and Wednesday Family Movie Nights at Violet Crown Cinema. Galleries in the Railyard Arts District offer extended hours so you can enjoy exhibits, special presentations and other events and Santa Fe Clay offers a free Ceramic Artist Lecture Series.
Santa Fe School of Cooking Classes That Celebrate Culture
Native Americans are considered to be America's first great cooks and they used an impressive range of foods they grew as well as gathered. Find out what they were making in their kitchens during the Santa Fe School of Cooking's Native American Class, taught by James Beard award-winning author Lois Ellen Frank, who holds a PhD in culinary culture. She'll present a fascinating look at Native American food and culture in a three-hour demo class that starts at 10 am on Thursday, July 31. You'll learn to make some truly unique fare, including Blue Corn Gnocchi Arrowheads with Guajillo Chile Sauce, Seasonal Greens with Jalapeno Dressing, Lamb-Stuffed Rellenos with Tomato Sauce and Sweet Frybread with Seasonal Berries and Prickly Pear Syrup.
If you love mole as much as I do, then don't miss the cooking school's Mole & More Class, which explores this flavorful sauce that originated in the Mexican states of Puebla and Oaxaca. Many versions of mole exist—black, red, yellow, green and pipian—and chile peppers are the common ingredient. It's made more complex by the addition of chocolate, pine nuts, pepitas, sesame seeds, cilantro and many other ingredients that add complexity and richness. In this three-hour demo class, held Thursday, July 28 starting at 10 am, you'll learn how to make Smoked Chicken with Mole, Perfect Protein Salad, Arroz Verde, Chile Glazed Carrots and Onions and Mexican Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Glaze.
Celebrate Spanish Market at the cooking school with a Spanish Market Class taught by James Campbell Caruso, acclaimed chef/owner of La Boca and Taberna and eight-time nominee for the James Beard Best Chef of the Southwest award. You'll sample tapas from his restaurants that are not only delicious, butextend way beyond the ordinary. This demo class begins at 10 am on Saturday, July 30 and includes recipes and a full meal and 20% of the proceeds will benefit the Spanish Colonial Arts Society.
Flamenco has a long history that began among the gypsy people of southern Spain. A folkloric art form that includes singing and dance as well as guitar playing, vocalization and hand and finger clapping, it's popular in Santa Fe thanks to our city's long connections with Spain and also to legendary flamenco performer and native New Mexican Maria Benitez.
You can immerse yourself in this passionate, seductive living tradition during a three-part evening devoted to flamenco on Friday, July 22. The event begins at 4 pm with a tour of Flamenco: From Spain to New Mexico, an exhibit at the Museum of International Folk Art featuring more than 150 objects tracing flamenco's arrival in the U.S. and its evolution as an international art form beloved by millions.
Following the optional tour, renowned chef John Rivera Sedlar will serve a three-course meal of small plates inspired by gypsy flamenco food at his restaurant Eloisa in the Drury Plaza Hotel at 5:30 pm, followed by a stunning flamenco dance performance.
And looking ahead, mark your calendar for Eloisa's inaugural Apricot Festival, celebrating New Mexico's favorite stone fruit on Saturday, August 6 from 3 to 7 pm.
Cake Craft at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy
If you've always yearned to create an edible work of art, don't miss the Fondant Cake Decorating Workshop at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy, held Saturday July 30 from 9 am to 3 pm. You'll learn all the techniques you need to make a cake that leaves a lasting impression, from assembling and covering cakes with fondant to decorating , texturing and stenciling techniques as well as hand painting your cakes. Become an expert in royal icing, fondant and gum paste flowers and putting together multi-tiered cakes. You'll even learn the art of cake serving.
This class is taught by Zara Southard, who trained with the late, much-missed Maggie Faralla, who was known as the cake queen of Santa Fe. Southard is Faralla's step-daughter and she's kept Maggie's Cakes going after Faralla passed away from cancer in 2014. Southard holds a degree in Ceramic Arts and has used her skills of working with clay to create elaborate and specialized fondant cakes.
A Little Night Music
And finally, for a little night music with your supper, head over to La Cantina at La Casa Sena, where the singing wait staff will serenade you with a repertoire that includes the best of Broadway and Disney show tunes as well as as jazz. You might hear songs written by Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim or Andrew Lloyd Weber as you feast on New American cuisine, which stars local and sustainable foods. Order the Pan-Seared Ruby Trout or the Pork Shank Osso Bucco. Or try the classic Green Chile Cheeseburger made with grass-fed beef or Traditional Enchiladas with chicken or cheese. Then sit back and enjoy a tune from The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, The Producers, Frozen or other hit shows, sung by the server who just delievered your appetizer, entree or dessert. Each singer is accompanied by one of Santa Fe's acclaimed pianists, and the food shares top billing with the singers, who are chosen for their talent and have been featured in media across thec ountry. This is a unique experience in Santa Fe and it's a great way to get out of the heat and spend a memorable evening. La Cantina is open Wednesday through Sunday starting at 6 pm.