“WOW, what a wonderful cooking class on the Cape!”
Anejo Mexican Bistro’s head chef Joshua Hanoka was wonderful. Yes, much to our delight, he has promised to return for another Cape Cod cooking class this Spring and a complete series of classes next winter. The details for these cooking classes will be listed in our spring newsletter.
Josh started the class by teaching us a few interesting facts about knives. He brought his own “rocking knife” for this demonstration. This is a truly beautiful instrument that was made in Japan by the same company that makes samurai swords. The steel in the knife was formed by using the same technique of folding the steel back upon itself many times as is used in the making of the swords. This technique not only produces high quality metal but also a unique almost iridescent pattern forms on the surface of the blade.
Josh began by teaching us the distinguishing characteristics of several of the peppers that are used in Mexican cooking. We also learned that most of the heat of a pepper is found in the seeds and inside membrane. Therefore, if one prefers a milder version of a dish he/she can filet the membrane out of the pepper, leaving only the sweet outer skin. Josh demonstrated this technique.
Jesse Kersey, one of Anajo’s owners, served a Spanish version of champagne for tasting as class started. We were happy to use our new engraved champagne glasses. The engraving was done by Maine Coast Stone Engraving of Bar Harbor, Maine. They not only engrave stone but also commemorative bricks and glass. For more information go to: www.mainecoaststone.com
All of the food that is made for Anejo is made freshly in their kitchen by Josh and his team. He mentioned that some diners have commented on some of the sauces varying in flavor and intensity from one visit to another. His explanation is that the fresh vegetables that are used are not always the same flavor and intensity, thus giving the dish a slight variation.
About half way through the class Josh took a break to reorganize, and Jesse stepped in to instruct us in the proper method of making a margarita. All of the lime juice that is used for the margaritas and in the cooking at Anejo is hand squeezed. The margaritas were delicious.
During the second half of the class we learned to make: Fire roasted Tomato Salsa, Pork Pabil, Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Refried Beans, Pico de Gallo, Hot Salsa, Salsa Verde Cruda, Salsa Verde (cooking sauce), Salsa Rojas, Mexican Red Rice, Mole Sauce and last but by no means least guacamole. No one went home from this Cape Cod cooking class hungry.
At Anejo, diners can have their guacamole prepared to their liking at table side.
During Anejo’s first summer in Falmouth, we had three lovely students from Romania working at the Palmer House. They would work for us during the mornings and at 4:00 PM they would walk to Anejo to bus tables. It was not long before Jesse and Jamie Surprenant, his partner, realized that these charming young women were an asset to their establishment. They taught the girls to wheel the carts from table to table and to make the guacamole. Many of our guests were surprised to find that the same person who served them their breakfast at the Palmer House also made their guacamole that evening. As the students were headed home at the end of the season, their only regret was that when they returned to Romania they would not have the ingredients to show off their new-found skills.
Anejo Mexican Bistro & Tequila Bar has been a wonderful asset to Falmouth and Cape Cod. We at the Palmer House are pleased that we have formed this cooking partnership, and are looking forward to future classes. This Cape Cod Mexican Cooking Class was held on March 10, 2012.